This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we get a case involving someone who seems to have an actual superpower, which, in the wrong hands, could become a huge threat to S.H.I.E.L.D. With his pyro-kinetic ability, Chan Ho Yin, who’s been serving as a street performer, becomes a target of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s enemies, The Rising Tide. After Chan is picked up following a hack in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s system, with Skye’s ties to the terrorist organization, she’s naturally assumed to be the traitor, and, at this point, we honestly don’t know for sure whether she is or not.
This week’s guest was fantastic, hilariously optimistic, and entirely too gullible, but entertaining nonetheless. Wanting to be remembered for his powers, and The Rising Tide wants to give him this shot by turning him a superhero, albeit with the laughably bad title of “Scorch”, which he characteristically seems to love. Obviously, the promise of being the next “Captain America” is just a ruse, and it’s pretty obvious what a guy with the ability to manipulate flames could be used for by an organization that works with Extremis.
Riding the line between ally and enemy, Skye (Chloe Bennet) keeps us swerving back and forth, and they’re doing a great job of keeping her away from the predictable character that I originally thought she’d be. Her arch makes you question exactly which side she’s playing. After a run-in with one of her old hacker buddies, S.H.I.E.L.D. takes her in as their suspect for who has been hacking their system. This betrayal sends shockwaves through the group, even digging up a bit of those feelings that were hinted at from Agent Fitz, let alone her relationship with Agent Ward.
Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) feels as vulnerable as we’ve seen him yet. After initially not even wanting Skye to have anything to do with the team, advising Coulson against it, it’s clear that something has developed between the two, further than him being her S.O. Ward seems surprised himself at falling for Skye, especially when he meets her friend. Even though he still stays by the book when dealing with the situation, he oozes jealousy, which adds another layer to his character entirely. Starting this series as the unstoppable, young, super agent stud, he’s more relatable here than ever before. You feel his personal stake in the situation, and just about everyone knows what he’s feeling all too well.
They may not have been raucously funny this week, but the quirks of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are easily one of the best things about this show. Despite being relegated to generally only giving us moments of levity so far, Fitz and Simmons actually get a bit of emotional depth in this episode. With how they deal with Skye being labeled a traitor, it’s probably one of the most solid indicators of how close this team is becoming, past what we’ve seen on screen. Although it’s ever so slight, it’s nice to see these characters being used as something other than comedic relief.
Always being one step ahead, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) sends Melinda May after Skye to find out the truth behind who’s been hacking S.H.I.E.L.D., which, as I’ve mentioned, leads him to think that his suspicions have been confirmed. Coulson really starts to second-guess himself and his decision to let Skye on board to begin with. Making such a rash decision to bring Skye on to the team, he starts to think that he’s changed since his “death.” Luckily, he’s got Melinda May to lean on, who’s rightfully there to tell him she told him so.
To my own surprise, I actually found myself not hating Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) this week. She didn’t overdo the callous bit, and instead acted as something of an emotional crutch to Phil and Ward. Not only does she come in handy in revealing Skye to Coulson in the team, but also she actually lives up to her legendary ass kicker name.
All in all, tonight’s episode really hammered home the idea of this team, and what an integral part each member is. When one spoke in the wheel snapped, it sent ripples through the rest of the team. Aside from further establishing the team’s dynamic, this episode served as a solid advancement of the plots involving The Rising Tide, Centipede, and Extremis, which made for an exciting episode.