While the Arrow and The Flash crossover has nabbed the headlines, the last couple episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. likely has just as many bombshells dropping.
With “Ye Who Enter Here,” AOS confirms a long held fan theory, doling out some answers, while dangling other questions at us and sneering, teasing fans like Tom Felton to Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Hopefully AOS will end better for all parties involved, with its midseason finale coming next Tuesday.
In the meantime, let’s talk about the ninth episode of an incredible sophomore effort from Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, Jeffrey Bell and company. “Ye Who Enter Here” definitely suffers from “penultimate set up syndrome,” which didn’t deserve quotes and needs a better phrase to describe it. We’re building to a great cliffhanger conclusion, and this feels like an episode throwing all of the characters like chess pieces into their rightful places.
We open with an over the top dream with Skye in a dress (I didn’t really get a good look at it, but I’d be willing to bet it was a flower dress à la Raina), all alone, screaming after Coulson. It involved the box holding the obelisk, dark corridors and May and Coulson leaving a crying baby alone on a slab (probably Skye, or human Simba). Skye touches the box and turns to crinkly stone, waking up at Coulson’s urging.
This is a Mack episode; Henry Simmons’ giant softie has been a welcome presence on the show this entire season, but he’s been almost TOO wonderful, too friendly, a best bro of Hunter AND Fitz, proving to be one of the most versatile friends in the MCU. Here, we see that perfect side: he made a remote control Lola car for Coulson to let him work on it, while also forcing Fitz and Simmons to confront their issues. We also learn there might be something more under that delightful exterior: he and Bobbi Morse are in on something together, something that even Hunter isn’t (curious, since it involved Hartley, Hunter’s former mentor/fuck buddy/leader?), which is why Mack’s concerned by Bobbi and Hunter’s relapse into each other’s beds. A “storm is coming,” he warns Fitz, who’s oblivious to pretty much everything. That storm erupts at the end of this episode…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
There’s a lot of cryptic chatter about what’s coming, as the characters in this episode are practically counting down the clock until next week, as Skye mumbles, “something bad is gonna happen.” In better news: Trip’s pretty much good to go despite almost dying at the Doctor’s hands.
Coulson gathers the groups and reveals the location of the city housing the temple: San Juan, Puerto Rico. Not Atlantis (NAMOR?!) or somewhere within the Bermuda Triangle (which they solved in the 80’s, apparently). There’s an underground city, and Coulson’s going to blow it up, to prevent Hydra from using the Obelisk to kill millions of people.
Raina’s in Vancouver, using her feminine wiles to get chia from unsuspecting rich old dudes, until Hydra shows up, in a familiar guise. In 2×4, Agent 33, a brainwashed SHIELD agent, used a face-swapping device to mimic Melinda May’s appearance. Apparently, after getting a beat down by May herself, the technology malfunctioned, leaving her with a disturbing scar around her eye and face; May’s face, that is. It’s sweet. Raina’s in deep $#*! until the Koenig’s save her (Billy and Sam), as Sam envelops her in a hug and invisible umbrella to elude Hydra. “You’re gonna need a lanyard,” he says, eliciting potent Comic-Con flashbacks and pure glee. Patton Oswalt’s twin “brothers” are hilarious in this episode, giving us the most we’ve seen of him in awhile, as they nerd out about the Calvary coming to save them (“You can’t even do a sit up, you’re not going to hook up with the Calv–“) and joke CONSTANTLY about one another; each one claims the other is shorter. When Trip asks them how many brothers they have, they say “13,” and then bust up laughing at their clever jest. But I mean, come on, let’s just confirm they’re Life Model Decoy’s already.
Coulson sends May, Skye, Hunter and Trip to extract Raina and the Koenig’s, going with Bobbi, Mack and FitzSimmons to Puerto Rico, keeping Skye away from the city and her maniac daddy. Not that that strategy works.
Before they go, Bobbi gives Simmons a pep talk about Fitz, urging her to tell the truth, which seems to be that she only sees him as a best friend, but she wants him back. FitzSimmons and Mack are forced to work together, and Mack leaves, forcing them to broach the subject. Simmons starts, but Fitz interrupts, notifying her that he’s going to leave the lab and work in the Garage with Mack; “I can work for you, but not with you.” Simmons is on the verge of tears; LET THE WOMAN TALK, Fitz.
In Vancouver, Hunter and May make quick work of Hydra red shirts, while Skye gets to take on Agent 33/May’s evil twin, and it’s a standstill. A lifetime of SHIELD training = a few months of having May as your CO. Agent 33 eventually gets the upper hand, but Hunter saves the day at the last moment. Instead of you know, capturing Agent 33, they leave her there to hound them for weeks to come.
Once Skye meets up with Raina, she begins to talk, revealing that Hydra wants her because she can touch the Obelisk, that she’s “worthy.” She also tells Skye that she can touch it too, that it’s their destiny. Caught up in the moment and realizing Hydra has the Obelisk, she tries to run into their custody, but May and company prevent that…for a couple scenes anyways. On the bus, Raina reveals how she met Skye’s father, that she was a con artist with a bunch of “freaks,” until her Dad picked them up and helped them. Then the truth comes out, or some of it: “We’re human, but have potential to be more.” This is pretty much confirmation that Skye and Raina are Inhumans, humans with untapped genetic potential, that will be unlocked when going through the Terrigen Mists, a popular theory for how Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch get powers, and how the very idea of powers will be explained in the MCU with mutants on the no-no list. With an Inhumans movie coming in 2018, it makes even more sense, though it begs the question: how much can AOS really do on the show that won’t step on the movies toes? They have FOUR whole years until the movie is coming, and while we’re all happy the story is picking up the pace, that seems unsustainable considering the timeline. Raina goes further, revealing the identity of the blue angels/aliens: the Kree, who left the Diviner in order for the worthy to conquer the Earth. It’s what we all expected, and I’m ecstatic it’s finally confirmed.
In San Juan, Coulson and Morse track down the temple to a guard tower on the water, a garrison nicknamed the “Devil’s Sentry,” which might be the closest the MCU ever gets to referencing the bat$#*! insane Sentry. Once inside the haunted tunnels, their tech goes haywire, so they decide to send Mack down a massive hole. He touches some symbols, and then goes berserk, turning into a one-man wrecking crew, taking on Coulson, FitzSimmons and Bobbi. It’s an even fight, especially since nothing will take him out, except Mockingbird’s snazzy bo-staffs. Unfortunately, it sends Mack toppling 100 meters down the shoot. Coulson orders them to close up the tunnel, even with Makc down there, because “that wasn’t Mack.”
The revelations on the Bus are interrupted when Daniel Whitehall sends a Star Trek-like communique over the intercoms, preparing to board their vehicle. They were able to track Raina down because they learned that SHIELD had bugged her, and good ole Ward was able to lock onto it. Ward boards the ship, taking Raina AND Skye with him. Skye agrees to go, not seeing a choice. Ward lets them live, which is kind of him, considering the show can now continue, but Daniel Whitehall’s not too enthused, as he wasn’t granted the power to make that kind of decision. But Ward does what Ward wants, and that’s why he’s one of the best characters on the show, and a psychopath.
This wasn’t the best episode of the season, but I’d be shocked if the next one wasn’t. Is Mack dead or permanently evil? What are Mack and Morse up to anyways? Will Fitz and Simmons boink already, or at least put their cards/genitals on the table? Will SHIELD rescue Agent 33 and then have “Freaky Fried May” and the real May date the Koenig’s (it sounds like an incredible sitcom)? How is Skye going to react to finally meeting her Dad? I bet it involves punching, which is a safe bet for almost every scene in next episode.