Agents Of SHIELD: 2.20 Scars

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Picking up a week after The Dirty Half Dozen and that little incident involving Ultron on the big screen, Scars turned its attention towards the Inhumans, who - as far am I am aware - got their first official name check from Skye this week. In a way, the show suffered a little from being in the shadow of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron in that the 'end of HYDRA', which had been an essential part of Agents Of SHIELD, got finished off on the big screen. Perhaps more disappointing was the decision to jump past the film; there was no immediate reaction to what happened on the film, except the newsreels of the destruction caused in Sokovia.

Still, at least everyone learned what Theta Protocol was; a big-ass helicarrier, which should prove to be a worthy replacement for the Bus.

Not that Agents Of SHIELD meandered as a result; it had the confidence to move on to the next big challenge - the coming war with the Inhumans. Since the incident in the temple, we have seen a disconnect between the internal SHIELD conflict, with their war against HYDRA and Skye's journey to Afterlife. If it has been a somewhat frustrating affair of late, that was finally over this week as the location was discovered and SHIELD closed in.

It was never going to be a peaceful affair and the question was more about how the conflict would arise, rather than when. Gonzalez choosing to lead the first contact situation suggested his hard nosed approach to people with powers would lead to disaster, that his forceful nature would cause Jiaying to break. Surprisingly he approached the whole situation with a clear head and appeared willing to work with the Inhumans. His recent camaraderie with Coulson certainly suggested that the latter's views had started to rub off on him.

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Of course it was Jiaying that turned out to be the villain. In the last few episodes it has been more and more difficult to read her and she could easily have gone one way or another. Her past with Daniel Whitehall and HYDRA proved to be the catalyst for her actions and the fierce manner in which she attacked Gonzalez with the Terrigen crystal revealed that she was both terrified on having her people monitored and examined and ready to wage war against SHIELD to protect them. It was also interesting to see that her connection with Cal was more than just pity service; giving him up to SHIELD was just a ploy to put a monster in their midst and the ruthlessness with which she shot herself just to prove SHIELD was the enemy showed just how far she would go.

As for Skye, I feel sorry for the choices she is going to have to make. She admitted to Coulson earlier in the episode that she wasn't sure she was a SHIELD agent anymore and now she is going to have chose between her friends and colleagues and her parents. For a character that was rather dull for much of season one, she has developed into a key part of the show by season two's end and I think her actions will have a huge impact in what happens in the two-part finale.

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Of course, there was so much more going on in the build up to those fateful final moments. Raina made a play for power within the Inhumans, convincing Gordon of the need for change and seemingly becoming the chief villain before Jiaying took that top spot. Cal described her as very manipulative and ambitious and perhaps we saw that in play this week. But I still wonder what side she will end up on. Like Skye she could become a hero or villain, assuming she survives season two at all.

As for SHIELD, it wasn't all sunshine and roses, even if Coulson found himself director with Gonzalez's committee as his chief advisors. Mack made the bold decision to quit the agency while Lance found himself on the outside of the new happy family. May and Coulson looked to be drifting further apart and even Fitz was questioning Simmons. As to how the team will look in season three remains to be seen, but I suspect Gonzalez won't be the only loss.

Then we had Kara, at first looking to be reformed as a SHIELD agent, before attacking Bobbi - disguised once more as May - and teaming up with Ward. Despite the latest conflict in their relationship, I suspect it will be Lance that comes to Bobbi's rescue, though not before Kara and Ward wreak more havoc in the coming war with the Inhumans.

Scars successfully put all the key players in place for an explosive showdown, even if it did gloss over the end of HYDRA and the events of The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron. It is exciting that the show isn't beholden to the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by moving past HYDRA to focus on its own conflict with the Inhumans. There is still a lot to be seen with this super-powered group and I can't wait to see them unleashed by season two's end. And as for the giant rock under lock and key in the Helicarrier, no good can ever come from that...

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