For the most part, this season of Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ has been pretty dark. From Fitz’s condition to Coulson’s episodes to Skye’s… well, everything, the team has certainly gone through some tough times, especially Simmons, who happens to be in deep cover within HYDRA. However, this week things get a little lighter and allows for some team bonding. There are even a few beers shared on the Bus, which is a great way for the agents to celebrate after a job well done.
In the latest chapter of the first television series to take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s Coulson and May’s turn to go undercover as they attempt to retrieve a mysterious painting that survived a church fire because it sports the same alien markings that they’re investigating. But things get considerably more difficult when they find that someone else is after the painting as well and their cover may be blown.
Though not much happened in this episode in terms of earth shattering reveals or major overarching plot progression, I would say that ‘Face My Enemy’ took a nice blend of James Bond and Indiana Jones and applied it to the world of Marvel Studios. The snappy banter, superb action, and fun gadgets were on par with the two movie icons, but it was made even better because it mostly came from Coulson and May for change. Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen play off of each other so well that one might think that they’ve known each other as long as their characters have. But not only were their moments filled with witty one-liners and ass-kicking, but there was some heart in their part of the story as well since Coulson kept trying to get his long time friend to do what needs to be done if/when he starts to lose it like John Garrett. These two work so well together and I hope that there are much more scenes where they’re together in the future.
Another thing that I liked in this episode was the fight choreography. Wen really showed off her action chops with some extremely demanding and entertaining fight sequences. Forget Shang because in this show it’s Mulan that will make a man out of you. (Before anyone says anything, Ming-Na Wen voiced Mulan in the 1998 Disney film. I didn’t say that just because she’s Asian.) The veteran actress especially shined when she essentially had to fight herself. I hope to see some sort of making of featurette when the Blu-ray is released because that sequence was a lot of fun.
But one thing that I’ve noticed happening this season is the misfortunate, but probably unintentional omission of Agent Antoine Triplett. While the writers did a good job of letting us get to know Hunter and Mac better through the bonding scenes on the Bus, Tripp has somewhat fallen to the wayside in that department. Aside from some good lines here and there, we mostly see him in the background. We already got to know the rest of the team last season and now we’re learning more about the newest recruits, but where does that leave us with the grandson of a Howling Commando? Hopefully we get more of Tripp in the future because there is definitely a lot of potential in his character.
Finally, it doesn’t seem like I can get through one of these without mentioning Iain De Caestecker’s Agent Leo Fitz. The actor has really been doing a great job with his role this season. Every time he’s onscreen he evokes such emotions with his performance that you can’t help but feel for Fitz and his situation. Because the audience feels so connected to the character, it means that much more when he achieves victories such as the one in this episode where he stopped the plane from blowing up. Props to the writers once again for not making this go away magically in between seasons. But at the same time, damn them for Fitz’s lines about Simmons at the end of the episode. UGH IT HURTS! But I totally won’t stop watching it.
Compared to last week’s episode, ‘Face My Enemy’ wasn’t as strong in terms of story since there was so much going on instead of being more focused. Regardless, all that stuff that was going on was very fun and even though there were a few problems, it was entertaining overall.
‘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 9:00pm on ABC.