Last week’s episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ marked a monumental return for the freshman Marvel series as we learned some new details about Agent Phil Coulson’s resurrection. In ‘The Magical Place’, the mystery that plagued the Marvel Cinematic Universe since this show came to be finally took some steps towards closure after what seems like endless episodes. But now, in the latest installment of the series, the focus shifts from Coulson’s secrets to Skye’s.
This week’s episode titled ‘Seeds’ lead Coulson and May to Mexico where they finally uncovered the truth about the Rising Tide hacker’s origins and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that were involved in bringing her to the first orphanage of her young life. Meanwhile, Ward, Fitz, Simmons, and Skye get schooled as they visit the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy to investigate a mysterious incident involving a supped up ice machine that utilizes some of the two scientists’ designs from when they were students.
A common criticism that I’ve been seeing about this show is that there’s not really anything on the line and there’s nothing to gain. However, I feel like this episode was a good example of why that isn’t true. I looked at this episode as one of new beginnings. For Skye, this marked the birth of a hero after she found out about her extremely bleak backstory that found her sleeping in the arms of a dead S.H.I.E.L.D. agent as a baby. For Donnie Gill, who lost his only friend at the academy, there were the beginnings of a supervillain out for revenge, potentially on Ian Quinn, who returned in this episode to pass along greetings from the Clairvoyant. And for Coulson, this was the start of his new mixed feelings about the organization that he dedicated his life to. He was the poster boy for S.H.I.E.L.D., but now that he’s uncovered all these secrets that they’ve been keeping from him about him, he’s starting to second guess everything that he knows and everything that he’s being told. He even says himself, “No more secrets.” (And May followed that up with that quick and comedic admission of her relationship with Ward.) Yes, Gill isn’t a regular on the show, but after that tease, he could come back in some way as his comic book counterpart’s villainous persona, Blizzard. But besides him, what I’m getting at is that the other two main characters have grown since the start of the series in interesting ways and I’m willing to keep following along with them to see how they and their teammates continue to evolve.
While my main focus during the episode was what was going on with Skye and Coulson, it was pretty interesting to see Fitz and Simmons return to their roots and be adored as the cool kids. That whole part of the episode was just a fun time. A lot of the comedy in the episode came from the academy portions like when Skye says that “the tin man has a heart after all” when Ward tells Fitz to hang out with Donnie because the kid needs a friend. Also, Fitz’s line about everyone else being jealous that he looks so young was really funny.
Finally, there were a couple of quick things that went by so fast that I almost didn’t pick them up. First, there was the mention of Bucky Barnes when Skye and Ward were checking out the Wall of Valor. Aside from the fact that Bucky is one of my favorite characters, it’s been said that the show will tie into ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ in some way considering that S.H.I.E.L.D. plays a big part in that movie. Not only was that a cool Easter egg, it could have been a reference to what’s to come. The other thing is that when Lumley was talking to May and Coulson, he mentioned something about the baby having some kind of powers. Up to this point, we haven’t seen any indications of Skye being anything more than a regular human being, but maybe her powers are dormant and haven’t manifested themselves yet. This is a stretch, but maybe her parents were Inhumans, which is why they were killed and S.H.I.E.L.D. swooped in to try to save the day. Don’t take that as any more than speculation because it’s a developing theory of my own creation, but could you imagine? I know that Marvel is working on bringing the Inhumans into the spotlight, so wouldn’t it be cool if they started here?
Though many of my colleagues across the internet may not agree with me, I feel as though ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has really picked up the pace. So far, these episodes after the mid-season break have been action packed and have moved from a slow burn to a boil in terms of how fast we get new and valuable information. I hope that the rest of the season continues like this and doesn’t sink back into that slow, drawn out speed it had in the first half of the season. Especially because Stan Lee is guest starring in the next episode, so let’s keep up the good work as the Generalissimo drops in on Agent Coulson and the gang.
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 8:00pm on ABC.