Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected

Illustration for article titled Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected

I’ll give Agents of SHIELD this much — I didn’t see the biggest twist in last night’s episode coming, at all. The storyline involving Robert Gonzales has been on the boil for months, but it didn’t go where I expected. And then there’s Agent 33. Spoilers ahead...

Actually, a good amount of last night’s “Scars” felt a bit anti-climactic. That mysterious item in Gonzales’ hold, that was such a terrible secret that Coulson felt the need to say that he was still willing to work with Gonzales in spite of it? It was just another piece of Kree technology, one which poses a vague threat to the Inhumans. The Theta Protocol that Coulson kept secret from even Melinda May? It was just that helicarrier that turned up randomly in Avengers: Age of Ultron. A few shoes dropped last night, except that they turned out to be slippers.

And the schism between Coulson’s SHIELD and Gonzales’ upstart alternative, which had seemed to be turning into a violent feud, seemed to be settled quite amicably. But if there was a certain amount of anticlimax last night, it did leave us open to a huge surprise, where Gonzales’ intentions were revealed.

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Illustration for article titled Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected

In a nutshell, here’s what happens in “Scars”: Coulson makes a deal with Gonzales to let Coulson stay on as SHIELD Director, with Gonzales’ council advising him. And almost immediately, they face their first test. Thanks to Raina’s psychic visions, the Inhumans figure out that Gonzales’ aircraft carrier holds that dangerous Kree artifact, and Gordon and Raina go to deal with it. But instead, they attract more attention from SHIELD, which already has Skye and Lincoln — plus SHIELD figures out how to track Gordon back to their home base, the Inhuman Day Spa.

So there’s a disagreement over how to handle the Inhumans, a whole race of people with superpowers who could pose a huge threat to SHIELD and to the human race. Skye wants her people left alone, but all the SHIELD agents, including Coulson, want to understand what they’re dealing with — which means cataloguing the Inhumans. And Gonzales, predictably, takes the most xenophobic and alarmist position.

But Skye manages to convince both sides to sit down and hash out their differences — she wants Coulson to meet with her mother, Jiaying, but it turns out to be Gonzales instead. Because Gonzales convinces everybody that Coulson has a blind spot when it comes to Skye, and this is Skye’s mother.

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Illustration for article titled Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected

This all leads to the big surprise of the episode, which is also the anticlimax that pays off with an actual climax. Gonzales is going into his meeting with Jiaying with a box that he calls his “insurance policy,” and it appears to be some kind of weapon — but no, it’s actually a Chinese protection against evil spirits, that Jiaying had intended to give to Skye but which she lost when Whitehall vivisected her. Gonzales is surprisingly nice to Jiaying, and seems to be negotiating in good faith, or at least putting on a smooth act.

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For a moment, it seems like Gonzales is winning Jiaying over, and this might end well — even though Raina has predicted that if Jiaying meets with Gonzales, it’ll be a bloodbath. (Everybody thinks Raina’s making a power grab, but the big surprise is that she’s just being honest.) But then Jiaying subjects Gonzales to terrigen mists, killing him, and then shoots herself and blames him, starting the war that everyone was trying to prevent.

Oops.

Illustration for article titled Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected
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Oh, and before that, Jiaying hands over her ex-husband Cal, aka Mr. Hyde, to SHIELD custody, as a show of good faith — something Cal suggested. But Cal has a bunch of empty vials on him, and the episode is very careful to have Gordon mention that Cal sometimes drinks a formula that gives him super-strength, aka “Muscle Milk.” So that prisoner may actually be a Trojan horse.

What’s Bobbi’s (new) secret?

The other big surprise in the episode involves Agent 33, who really seems to be adjusting back to life at SHIELD. We’re told early on that her brain scans are surprisingly normal, and she seems to have no lingering trace of Hydra brainwashing. Yay. But May still doesn’t trust her, ordering her locked up apparently due to a lasting grudge from that whole “stealing May’s face” business.

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Then we lose track of Agent 33, but May appears to be in two different places — flying Gonzales to the Inhuman Day Spa, while also flying Bobbi off on a recon mission. Except that Bobbi’s not with May, she’s with Agent 33, who holds a grudge about something that Bobbi did to her when they were at Hydra. Agent 33 insists that when Bobbi was comforting her back at the SHIELD base, Bobbi was actually just trying to find out if Agent 33 remembered something — and she does.

Bobbi gets the upper hand against Agent 33, but then Grant “I’ve changed” Ward shows up and shoots her. Turns out that Grant and Agent 33 are still planning something nasty, and this involves “digging in” to help Agent 33 reach closure. Are they going to brainwash Bobbi, like they did Bakshi?

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So it sucks for Bobbi that she didn’t manage to mend fences with Lance Hunter, before she left with “May.” Lance is pissed at her for plotting against Coulson and for lying to him about what was going on, and Lance has made a big show of forgiving Mac just to torture her with his lack of forgiveness for her.

Bobbi tells Mac that Lance wears his heart on his sleeve, and she doesn’t know how to do that. “I think there’s something wrong with me,” she says.

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But what’s Bobbi’s secret? There seems to be some weird past involving her and Agent 33. And earlier in the episode, Simmons acts all squirrely and weird when Agent 33 brings up Bakshi and Simmons’ time undercover at Hydra with Bobbi. Simmons tries to pretend she didn’t know Bobbi was undercover at the same time, because Bobbi’s hair was darker. Wha?

As for Mac, he’s decided to quit SHIELD, because he can’t work for an organization that has Coulson as a director. He can’t trust a guy who was brought back from the dead using alien blood, and after Mac’s own experience with being under the control of Kree technology, he doesn’t want to mess with anything alien — or work for someone who hasn’t learned that lesson.

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Melinda May is pissed

So Coulson is back in charge of SHIELD, and things seem to be going his way after his actions saved a ton of people in Age of Ultron. But Mac’s not the only one who’s having a hard time with Coulson being in charge — Melinda May, who was telling Coulson just a few weeks ago that SHIELD’s survival depended on him, now seems to have turned against him.

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Why is Melinda so pissed? Is it just because Coulson met with her ex-husband, or didn’t tell her he was rebuilding a helicarrier in a secret base staffed with Patton Oswalts?

Illustration for article titled Agents Of SHIELD's Bloody Schism Goes To The One Place We Never Expected
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It seems to be something more than that — dealing with the Inhumans is bringing up a lot of stuff for May. Her big defining trauma in Bahrain involved killing a little girl who was one of the Inhumans, something Skye makes clear for her. She never told Coulson that she killed a child, but she did tell her ex-husband Andrew — because back then, they had a clear demarcation in their relationships, but that’s all gone now.

Melinda tells Skye that she can’t be in the meeting between Gonzales and Jiaying because she, like Coulson, can’t be objective. And she also tells Coulson that Skye is “living proof” that he lost control during the time when he was carving into the walls under the influence of Kree blood. Why does she think that, given that she, too, cared about Skye a lot until recently? Has May’s perspective changed purely because she learned that Skye and the child she killed belonged to the same race? Or is there something else going on?

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DISCUSSION

Cool_Breeze
Cool_Breeze

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

For those of you who are so inclined, and have a little time to burn, here’s a link to my take on Age of Ultron:

(Thar be spoilers…)

http://cool_breeze.kinja.com/excelsior-1702…

I hope it doesn’t disappoint. BECAUSE THAT MOVIE SURE AS SHIT DIDN’T!

Anyway.

Marvel is doing a bang up job connecting all of its properties. I’ve heard some reviews of Ultron suggesting it suffered because it was laying the foundation for too much outside the movie, but to me that’s not a drawback at all. NOPE. We’re now 11 movies in to this universe, and I’m completely invested. I WANT to see the nuggets where Klaw loses his arm, and where Thor sees (What I think was) Valhalla, and the FREAKING GEMS, and Fury drop hints about Agents of SHIELD. I NEED it. Give me more.

Last season this show had to tread water for a few (nay, many) episodes waiting for Winter Soldier to drop on us, and afterwards it hit the ground running. Sure there was that one episode where Coulson’s team was involved in the clean up after Dark World, but it didn’t really feel THAT connected. Then the episode right before Winter Soldier hit and the show hasn’t looked back. WE EVEN SAW HULK’S FIST DENT THIS SEASON.

This season hasn’t had any of that holding back that hindered season one, and it STILL amped it up with the movie connections. Last episode and this one both DIRECTLY affected the movie, and (of course) the movie affected the show. The only difference is, if you’re a fan of the show and have been watching, this season the SHOW had more of an impact on the movie than the movie’s impact on the show.

Unless the Bus is replaced with the Helicarrier. HOT DAMN.

1. Last week, I questioned what the Theta Protocol was, and in my review of Age of Ultron, I thought that it couldn’t really be the new Avengers Mansion (come on that’s exactly what it is) and the Avengers Initiative, because even though Cap and Stark have their differences, it’s still financed by Stark. There isn’t any need for Coulson to use his recourses to scrounge up some beds. Stark will just design NEW, BETTER, BEDDIER beds.

No, I thought (like many people) that those “friends” that got the Helicarrier out of mothball were in fact Coulson’s SHIELD. AND BOY WERE WE RIGHT. If I found a Helicarrier that somehow survived the fall of SHIELD, I would keep it on the down low, too.

And I like how they dropped it on us, much like Coulson dropped his Theta Lanyard on Pointier SHIELD – Here it is. BOOM. Deal with it. No other explanation, or waxing over how hard it was or how it was needed or blah blah blah. Nope. Just accept it and move on, this episode has shit to do.

Now, it was awesome to hear Director Adama say “It’s hard to argue with someone saved thousands of lives.” Like it or not people who don’t watch this show every week, COULSON IS AN AVENGER AND HELPED SAVE THE DAY. THOSE WERE HIS BOATS.

Now that Coulson’s SHIELD and Pointier SHIELD are under the same management (SHIELD 2.0), and they get a cool underground base AND a boat, things should be looking up.

2. That opening. Holy Moley the Koenigs (however many are left) are some of my favorite SHIELD 2.0 agents. Sam and his FREAKING SHEETS, spawn killing like the rest of us. HE IS US. The way the music played while he was lying in bed reminded me of the opening of the episode where Simmons was working for Hydra, Inc. and just getting ready for work. SO AWESOME.

Dude. I have some baaaaaad news about Sky Mall.

Would you say that Sam had a plethora of lanyards?

3. So what is that thing in the cargo hold that was excavated over a hundred years before? I liked how it turned to liquid when Inhumans were near. I wonder if it’s like Anti-Terrigen Mist, and when it comes in contact with Inhumans it does what Terrigen Mist does to humans. HMM.

4. Hunter, I love you. Please don’t change. I literally LOLed when I saw him drawing spines on Raina’s face. And not just Hunter, either. The three amigos (Hunter, Coulson, and Fitz) are perfect together. Maybe THIS is the spinoff show we all deserve. I about died when Hunter asked why they were sending Ahab in for the meeting, and Coulson said “That’s a strange way of putting it” and then realizing that they spend too much time together.

5. There was some good humor hidden throughout this episode, too. May telling Mockingbird that she could talk when Kara took her face. Yes. Simmons explaining that she didn’t know Mockingbird was in Hydra because “she had really dark hair.” YEs. Coulson asking if Skye just clicked her heels and whispered “no place like home” and Skye’s excited response that it really was. YES. Just about everything Cal did. YESS. Gordon talking shit about Cal’s muscle milk? OH YES. May misses the Bus? SO DO I.

6. Let’s talk about Adama. When this episode began I felt that he had just as much bias as Coulson, just on the other end of the spectrum. Coulson wanted to understand (because of his personal connected) and Adama wanted to destroy (because of his personal history dealing with enhanced people). When Adama was elected to be the envoy to the Inhumans camp, I figured he was being just as manipulative as Raina (BOY WAS I WRONG ON BOTH COUNTS). They even telegraphed it with that whole little red box he snuck into the meeting.

But of course, looking back, he was ALWAYS a company man (yaay Koenigs!) and completely loyal to SHIELD. Coulson was right about him when he was looking for him to recruit a year before. The only change was he was hardened by his experiences always dealing with bad enhanced people. Once SHIELD 2.0 was unified under Coulson as a director with the advisement of Pointier SHIELD, he reverted to his loyalty – to SHIELD. If the director wants him to broker peace, that’s what he’ll do, even if he disagrees.

And that’s what he tried to do. For the last 4+ episodes we’ve seen him wanting to get his hands on some Inhumans to better defend against them and to rid the world of the threat. UP UNTIL his boss told him to play nice, he was ready to bomb the shit out of them. But, he’s a company man, and will do what SHIELD asks. So, he went out on a high note. Good day to you, sir.

7. I’ve been waxing on that May is 100% in Coulson’s corner even though she seems like she is disagreeing with him more and more. After this episode, I’d say that she’s about 98% in his corner, and the cracks are only there because of the Inhumans’ connection to Bahrain. You saw how shaken up May was when SKYE told her about the little girl, and how hard it was for her to tell Coulson that she put the little girl down. Hell, she hadn’t gotten over it when she told Skye that she hoped her mom was everything she dreamed. HARSH.

May will be back on Coulson’s side next week, you watch. And so will Skye.

8. GOD DAMMIT WARD I’M TIRED OF YOUR SHIT.

How many of you, like me, were completely thrown when Kara ended up on the Quinjet with Mockingbird? When Kara took off her face, it hit me: May/33 told Mockingbird that Coulson wanted them on an advance scouting mission ahead of Adama’s Quinjet. There were shots of May flying Adama’s Quinjet, and for some reason I just assumed that was the one Mockingbird was in, too. Marvel did a really good job of hiding that one from us. Bravo.

Mockingbird has GOT to be sick of those icers by now, right? She got shot 4+ times by Ward in this episode alone, and Simmons handed her two a few episodes back when Pointier SHIELD made its move. Kara was no match for Mockingbird, but Mockingbird was no match for ICE ICE BABY.

9. Mack. What crawled up your butt and died? Mack must be part of the Tea Party ‘cause he haaates aliens. But seriously, I’m happy that he respects Coulson, but just doesn’t trust him.

I guarantee he ends up on the SHIELD spin off with Mockingbird and Hunter. They’ll be Secret Avengers or Secret Warriors, and tangential enough away from Coulson that Mack is okay with it. Especially since he and Mockingbird are so close.

10. I love Cal. Please Marvel, make a miniseries or web series or One Shot of Cal and his band of misfits. He’s one of the best characters on this show right now.

When Jiaying asked about Raina and he said “I will personally rip her tainted rat heart out – or not, whatever you want” was PERFECT. He’s got a temper, but he will do whatever Skye or Jiaying asks. When he smashed Jiaying’s old table and IMMEDIATELY apologized. Oh you. When he was talking about killing SHIELD agents (or at least, I don’t THINK they were SHIELD agents. They deserved it) I was dying (apparently like those SHIELD agents).

I even think he sincerely wanted to turn himself in, too. You know, BEFORE the whole “Start a war thing”

11. SPEAKING OF. WHAT. We all thought Raina was the manipulative one (I am guilty, too). I guess Sonic cried wolf one to many times, and no one trusts her. Apparently when she suggested that SHE meet with SHIELD, she was actually trying to help. Maybe if she wasn’t all cryptic with Gordon, and instead told him EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAW, maybe he could have helped.

However, he’s pretty close to Jiaying, seeing how she helped him find himself after the change. If anything, he was in on this the whole time.

Like I said earlier, I think Cal legitimately wanted to turn himself in as a way of helping, until Jiaying convinced him to help her, HER way. I feel bad for those SHIELD 2.0 agents on that Quinjet. HE DRANK HIS MUSCLE MILK PEOPLE, WE WILL MEET HYDE NEXT WEEK YOU WATCH!!!

12. What is Jiayang’s play here? Inhumans have thrived for generations because no one knew they existed. If you want to stay quiet or convince someone to stay away, you don’t START A FUCKING WAR. Did you hear about what the Avengers did to a robot army? A robot army that was sparked from an INFINITY GEM? Sure, you may destroy or cripple SHIELD 2.0, but this little enclave of Inhumans would be the cold opening of Avengers 3, much like Hydra was for Age of Ultron. An afterthought.

Maybe Jiaying is the reason this Inhuman camp isn’t part of Attilan. She is too extreme. And boy is she manipulative.