After a rocky start of seemingly more of the same, Agents of SHIELD delivered the goods last night with what I would consider one of the finest episodes in the show’s history. If there was any doubt, Agent Carter’s impending 8 episode miniseries has breathed life into this plodding master class in disappointment. Last night that meant Agent Carter appearing mid-episode to launch the story into the next gear, and forcing Agents of SHIELD to prepare for a midseason finale that actually delivers some Marvel Universe goods!
When I wrote my perfect plan for Agents of SHIELD season two way back when, one of my main desires was a SHIELD with “wheels within wheels.” This is a show about shadowy organizations and mythical artifacts; it should basically be a requirement that it’s carefully spinning mass quantities of plates at all times. Episode 8 delivered, blending the history of Daniel Whitehall, Mockingbird interrogating our captured HYDRA lieutenant, Coulson and crew executing a Bond information heist in Hawaii, a surprisingly solid Ward family reunion, and Skye’s Father (COOOOPPP!!!) completely stealing every scene he even blinks at.
Kyle MacLachlan not only continued to craft the single most interesting character in the history of Agents of SHIELD, but he also delivered information pertaining to the Marvel Universe at large! Can you believe it?! One of the other primary focuses in my ultimate Agents of SHIELD season two plan was the development of Marvel’s Inhumans within the confines of Agents of SHIELD, and if I know my mythologies involving blue aliens and human experimentation that’s actually going to happen.
This is hugely exciting, and completely unprecedented within Agents of SHIELD. So far, the show has been allowed to respond to events that have already happened within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (most notably with Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier), but has it ever created anything? Aside from the Deathlok program, there isn’t a whole of relevant, new Marvel Universe coming out of Agents of SHIELD, and that’s been a huge disappointment.
There’s a possibility that disappointment may find a temporary relief in these final two episodes of the first half of the season. The Diviner (the deadly artifact Daniel Whitehall and Hydra have been exploring all season) has now clearly been described as a key to Attilan, or at least some Inhuman city. There’s a possibility it’s actually Atlantean, and I’d be ok with that too, but odds right now are strongly favoring the discovery of an Inhuman city.
This is genuinely exciting big picture Marvel stuff, and for the first time that I can remember, I don’t want to wait the requisite two weeks to see how the show’s first half wraps up. Combined with the World War II history and atrocities of the Red Skull’s pal Daniel Whitehall, and his completely fascinating incarceration at the hands of Agent Peggy Carter, you have one of the most compelling Agents of SHIELDs episodes I’ve seen. Here’s to hoping the momentum continues.
5 Things I Want to See in Agents of SHIELD Moving Forward
This one might feel like a no-brainer, but I would not be shocked if Director Coulson and team discover an abandoned Inhuman City with no actual inhumans around. I don’t expect Black Bolt to be waiting on a throne for them when they enter, but some actual Inhumans running the joint – or better yet, an entire populated city hiding the heir of Thanos – would be ideal.
2) COOP!!! Goes Monster
There have been a lot of allusions to the monster hiding in Skye’s father. Now that we’ve delivered the backstory on Daniel Whitehall’s HYDRA past, it would be a great time to reveal either Kyle MacLaughlan’s backstory, or at least the monster within.
3) More Like This
One of my long running critcisms of Agents of SHIELD has been their bewildering refusal to embrace the vast opportunity within the Marvel Universe. So yes, the discovery of a potential Inhuman city is very exciting, and the entire episode has an Indiana Jones vibe it’s been missing. But couldn’t we also do this with Atlantis or any number of other Marvel properties unique to the Universe? Don’t stop here!
4) Kraken Helmet
Make it happen. It’s time.
This is a mid-season finale. Don’t just leave it hanging on a cliffhanger. That’s not a luxury this show can afford. Deliver something new that we can talk about for 8 weeks during Agent Carter!
CBH Score: An earnest 4.4 out of 5
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