Agents Of SHIELD: 2.18 Frenemy of My Enemy
At last, the puzzle pieces have started to come together. Season two of Agents Of SHIELD has woven several storylines throughout the year; SHIELD's war against HYDRA, the allegiance between the traitorous Grant Ward and Agent 33, the conflict between the two rival SHIELDS and Skye gaining her powers, her connection to her parents and the debut of the Inhumans. This week all those worlds collided in Milwaukee. And the show looked to be heading straight into The Avengers: Age Of Ultron territory too.
With the death of Daniel Whitehall, HYDRA have been rather quiet of late, but emerged just as strong through the arrival of Doctor List, recently seen in the new Avengers movie alongside the other head of HYDRA Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. It was List who was behind the experiments of the Maximoff twins using Loki's scepter as introduced in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and seen here experimenting - and inadvertently killing - the Inhuman Ethan at the start of the episode. I won't veer further into Avengers territory for those who have not yet seen the last entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But suffice to say, the connection to the latest movie is becoming more and more apparent.
To get the List, Coulson, and Lance, reunited with Fitz after a dramatic escape and an invisible quinjet, had to first locate Ward and Agent 33. The reunion between Coulson and Fitz was both tense and amusing, Ward walking into the cafe with a smug smile to greet his former boss all the while watched over by Coulson's latest ally, the super-powered Mike Peterson / Deathlok. Better still was Fitz's reaction to seeing the man who almost killed him and Ward's awkward "how are you?" followed by Fitz's enraged attempt to attack him.
It was an episode filled with unholy alliances as the new 'team' used a brainwashed Sunil Bakshi to enter List's inner circle, with Deathlok as his 'bodyguard'. This was where the episode really started to have fun as we were treated to a series of double-crossing bluffs, as everyone turned their guns on each other when they suspected the other of betraying them. Yet for all the lies and deceit, the alliance seemed to hold and the infiltration into the highest levels of HYDRA was successful.
Talking of double crossing, we saw May this week drawing ever further away from Coulson and his lies, even telling Bobbi about Fitz stealing the Toolbox and seemingly selling him out to protect Simmons from being complicit in the whole affair. Just whether May is playing a longer game or has seen the light and is willing join Gonzales at his table remains to be seen. Considering it looked as if it was going to be Simmons who would 'turn', May's change of heart surely looks to scupper whatever plan Coulson has been concocting.
In terms of changing allegiances, that family dinner must have worked last episode because Skye was willing to leave Afterlife with her father Cal. Whether she suspected that her mother Jiaying wanted to cause him harm or whether it was just a concern for what he would do when he was left alone I wasn't sure; she certainly had her SHIELD hat on but was obviously starting to feel sympathy for him too. Chloe Bennet and Kyle MacLachlan added some real emotional depth to the extended father daughter talk as they walked the streets of the city in Milwaukee and it was great to see Cal as a sympathetic father and not just the monster of earlier episodes. It was also great to see Skye contact May, bringing her plot back into line with the others.
The final battle was full of great moments. Lincoln batting Deathlok to save Skye. Simmons and May hacking into Deathlok's camera and discovering Coulson and Ward are working together, shortly before Skye comes face to fave with both. Gordon rushing in to transport Skye away, Deathlok and Lincoln being captured by HYDRA as Bakshi's ruse was revealed. Cal all enraged as his father, daughter moment was jeopardised. And Bobbi and Mack arriving too late and finding Coulson alone in Cal's office, ready to surrender.
Frenemy Of My Enemy wasn't the strongest episode this season but it certainly was a momentous one, bringing every sub plot to the fore in one final, dramatic showdown. With just three episodes left, it is about time too.