Ever since ‘The Avengers’, it seems like super-powered team ups have been all the rage in the comic book movie genre. From the upcoming ‘Arrow’/’The Flash’ spinoff to the potentially defunct ‘Sinister Six’ to the big screen adaptation of ‘Suicide Squad’, everyone is getting in on this action. Now, a supervillain team comes to ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ in an attempt to take down Director Coulson and his crew. However, these aren’t exactly the heavy hitters that anyone was expecting.
As advertised, this episode sees Kyle MacLachlan’s Calvin Zabo assemble his own team of gifted individuals with scores to settle with S.H.I.E.L.D. and its leader. But instead of antagonists that we’ve seen before like Grant Ward, Dr. Franklin Hall, or Carl “Crusher” Creel, Cal uses the organization’s index of powerful and potentially dangerous people to bring together Aangar the Screamer, the razor blade wielding Karla Faye Gideon, roid rager Francis Noche, and remorseless techie Wendall Levi to challenge our heroes in Coulson’s hometown. Meanwhile, Coulson and May look to help Skye contain her powers by bringing in psychiatrist (and May’s ex-husband) Dr. Andrew Garner and Mack slinks around in the background to keep Hunter from divulging Mockingbird’s true mission.
Though Cal’s team wasn’t exactly the most impressive collection of villains, they did play an important part in planting the seeds for the Index. These people are the tip of the iceberg. They’re only the ones that Cal was able to round up, but it was indicated that there are even more dangerous people on that list. I mean, we’ve even seen more dangerous threats on this show. The point is that this list business could all come to a head in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has a history of huge payoffs from seemingly small details. I have a feeling that this Index could be one of those big payoffs in the future on the show and in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On the other side of that coin, Cal’s storyline could lay even more groundwork for ‘Inhumans.’ Since his introduction, we’ve learned a good bit about what Inhumans are capable of. Now that Cal has been taken by Gordon the teleporter, I have a feeling that we’ll be meeting some Inhuman characters that we’re more familiar with from the comics. Gordon did hint that Cal’s fate isn’t up to him, so I’m leaning towards a member of the Inhuman Royal Family being introduced soon.
Aside from being introduced to the Index in this episode, we also met Blair Underwood’s Andrew Garner. His presence was particularly interesting because it revealed some great details about Melinda May’s past. Underwood’s chemistry with Ming-na Wen was so great and it added a whole other mysterious layer to the character of May, who is largely unknown to everyone who isn’t Phil Coulson. Though their relationship is rocky both professionally and personally at this point, I hope to see Underwood return again.
Even with a lot of good things coming out of this episode, one thing that was troubling to me was the relationship between Fitz and Simmons. This is an area that I’ve been hoping that they’d explore for some time now, but their strained friendship is magically repaired by the end of everything here. Jemma even vented to Bobbi about how things couldn’t go back to normal between the two, yet at the end of the episode, they were bantering just like they used to before Fitz’s accident. They fell into old habits with very little effort. It could have been a side effect of all the proverbial bombs being dropped in this episode, but I felt that this plot point wasn’t resolved in the most effective manner. I know that some friends are able to forgive each other at the drop of a hat, but I think that FitzSimmons were leading towards a much more heated conflict before they resolved things. Hopefully this storyline continues to develop in interesting ways before the end of the season.
Finally, Mack and Bobbi’s secret was finally revealed as we learned that they are working for “the real S.H.I.E.L.D..” Part of me was super disappointed that they weren’t working for S.W.O.R.D. and Abigail Brand, but seeing Edward James Olmos is involved with “the real S.H.I.E.L.D.” makes me think that this development will be awesome regardless of what we’re calling this group. With 8 episodes left, I think that this new organization will play a big part in the remainder of this season. It might even overshadow the Inhuman storyline for a bit before everything culminates. But no matter how it all plays out, I’m expecting big things once everything is said and done.
After finding a few things under par about last week’s episode, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returned to a good place this week with a strong showing. With the introductions of the Inhumans and this new, even more secret S.H.I.E.L.D. offshoot, I’m especially looking forward to seeing how the repercussions of this series play out in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe in the coming months.
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adrianne Palicki, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 9:00pm on ABC.