Agents Of Shield: 2.08 The Things We Bury
This week Agents Of SHIELD acted as much as a prelude to the upcoming Agent Carter series - why doesn't this have a UK channel or air date? - as a continuation of the mythical city plot. The answers kept coming but there was also still plenty of mystery over what was still to come.
First up was the team discovering the true identity of Daniel Whitehall even as the audience learned about his past through flashbacks. It was only a matter of time with both Simmons and Bobbi meeting him during the undercover missions in HYDRA. The flashbacks picked up from the season opener, where Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos arrested Werner Reinhardt (aka Whitehall) and obtained the Obelisk, tying up many of the loose plot threads in the current show and the era of Agent Carter herself.
We were right back in the aftermath of Captain America: The First Avenger as we learned about Reinhart's horrific experiments on people using the Obelisk and the subsequent death of Red Skull and his interrogation by Carter. Those experiments were particularly brutal but even more shocking was his release after decades of imprisonment where he all but slaughtered the poor woman who survived the experiments in Austria during the Second World War - all in an effort to gain her blood and rejuvenate himself.
An even bigger surprise was the identity of the woman, who had survived touching the Obelisk and had not aged in 44 years. Yes, we learned the identity of Skye's mother, played by Dollhouse's Dichen Lachman. Like fellow Wheedonite Amy Acker, I would have liked to see this actress have a bigger role in the show - she was one of the highlights in Dollhouse. All she really got to do was look scared and scream a lot. Still, it was a pivotal role that explained away Whitehall's lack of aging, recounted just what happened to Skye's village when she was a child and gave some big clues to the Obelisk, the city and the aliens (Kree?) that built it all.
It turns out they came to destroy humanity, allowing a chosen few - like Raina and Skye's mother - the divine right to live. There is still plenty of internet rumours as to the end game but for now half the fun is seeing the mystery reveal itself piece by week.
But the episode wasn't all about the team sitting around a table reading old SSR files, far from it. Coulson led Fitz, Tripp and Skye on a global mission to uncover the location of the mysterious city. In season one-style, they took the bus to Hawaii and then Australia, all to take down a network, hack the global satellite network and get the location. Now that they've found it, I'm intrigued to see where the show goes next - and who will get there first.
The encounter with Skye's father also upped the ante. Given his 'guest star billing' and lack of a significant role this season, I wondered if Tripp was going to die for his gunshot injuries, perhaps at the hands of Skye's father. With the team expanding, someone surely has to be the next casualty in the war against HYDRA. Still, he lives to fight another day for now. It was also nice to see Fitz getting something to do by picking up his old field duties for Coulson.
Back at the base, Bobbi dug into the mind of the captured Bakshi and we learned that there was perhaps more to her infiltration of HYDRA than we realised. I suspect we have only seen a glimpse of what Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird) can do on the show. This week we got to see her ability to play mind games with the enemy, even if Bakshi eventually got the upper hand by killing himself with a special cyanide pill in his cheek bone. The relationship between Bobbi and Lance took another turn as they let their passion take over. Was sex in the car a one-off thing or a re-kindling of their relationship or the first of a number of 'one off flings'? I suspect there is a lot more fun to be had with these two yet.
Grant Ward wasn't forgotten either as he continues to be stepping up a big player in the show, now that he has seemingly allied himself with Whitehall. I'm still not convinced as to where his true loyalties lie - he could be playing HYDRA off against SHIELD for his own secret agenda - but one thing is certain; Ward has become one of the more fascinating character this season.
The purposely bland action hero early on in season one, his switch into evil psychopath was shocking in Turn, Turn, Turn. But then he became a somewhat ambiguous evil guy towards the end of that first run. But in season two, Ward went from a Hannibal Lecter-like prisoner in the early episodes to a full on mysterious killer, Brett Dalton is really nailing this role now. I wasn't sure what the show was going to do with him after season one. Thankfully they kept him on board, using him sparingly into these last two dramatic episodes. His confrontation with his brother Christian was thrilling; I didn't quite know how the incident at the well was going to play out. But I was still blindsided by the final news item, revealing that Ward had killed his brother, mother and father in a house fire. Ward has become more unhinged than ever.
With just two episodes left before the mid-season finale, things continue to heat up. I'm excited to see what secrets the mysterious city holds and the truth behind Skye's heritage. Few shows are keeping me on tender hooks as Agents Of SHIELD right now. Who would have said that a year ago?