Last time around on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the grand mystery of what the hell is going on with the symbols that Coulson has been carving into the walls was finally solved. As it turns out, all those circles, lines and squares were some sort of architectural schematic for an alien city. So now it’s up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to race H.Y.D.R.A. and find the city before they can. To make matters worse, former agent Grant Ward is on the loose again and nobody knows what side he is truly on. This week, ‘The Things We Bury’ begins the race to the city and looks a bit closer at what’s really going on in Ward’s head.
We begin with a flash into the past. H.Y.D.R.A. is testing the obelisk on random people in an attempt to discover exactly how it works. They happen to run into a lady that seems to be in touch with the violent alien artifact. Not only does she not instantly turn to stone from touching it, she also awakens some sort of flashy-light response in it. Naturally, our friends at H.Y.D.R.A. are interested in figuring out the particulars of this anomaly, so they turn her into a test subject. But H.Y.D.R.A. is losing the war (that’s World War II, in case you wondered), so that doesn’t last for too long.
Back in the present, Skye’s father ends up as one of the primary sources for finding out how the obelisk works. Evil H.Y.D.R.A. Overlord Whitehall brings him in and discovers that the obelisk is not just a crazy, human-killing, alien weapon, but that it also happens to be some sort of key to some sort of temple that resides in the mystery city. Furthermore, if what Skye’s father says can be believed, those that touch the obelisk and come out alive are the chosen few that will be allowed to enter said temple. For whatever reason… To be honest, daddy Skye is a bit off his rocker.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s camp, Coulson and the crew are determined to find the location of the alien city. So they set up a plan to break into a place where they can use the computers to take their data and track it across the globe. If it works, they may find a parallel and thus determine the location of the city. But the infiltration proves a bit more complicated than they had hoped and H.Y.D.R.A. is there to do battle. Worse yet, Skye’s daddy turns up and has a nice little conversation with Coulson leading us to believe that he cares very little for either H.Y.D.R.A. or S.H.I.E.L.D. but instead sees them both as a means to an end. That end? Be reunited with his daughter and escort her to the mysterious alien temple in the mysterious alien city.
In the meanwhile, a free-roaming Grant Ward tracks down his senator brother. As it turns out, they both happen to be H.Y.D.R.A. lackeys. What’s more, big brother Ward was responsible for setting in motion Grant’s escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. But instead of thanking older brother and giving him a pat on the back, Grant seems more interested in playing mind games with him and trying to figure out the truth of some certain issues in their past. The final result is less than beneficial to Senator Ward.
As far as the positive elements of this week go, it was nice to finally see Mockingbird (aka Bobbi Morse) develop a little as a character. We got to see her in a situation that demanded her reasoning abilities and demonstrated that she’s more than just a killing machine with a couple of batons in hand. We now know that Morse has an uncanny ability to dig into the heads of her enemies and, hopefully, this will lead to some further character development so that we can appreciate her as a multi-dimensional addition to S.H.I.E.L.D. as opposed to just a wild card that can kick ass in every situation.
Another thing that I enjoyed, and something that’s been utilized more throughout season 2, is the emphasis on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ability to be sneaky and play the spy game with expertise. Coulson is being portrayed more and more as the brains behind the organization and his brain power is quickly matching anything that we could have expected from someone like former S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury. It’s a nice balance to all the super hero stuff that sometimes steals the show in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
My biggest complaint this episode is that they still insist on playing out this annoying tension/lust story between Mockingbird and Lance Hunter. What’s more, it comes complete with crappy, generic dialogue and a random “Let’s just do it!” sex scene. The cliché of the situation is painful to say the least. I was also a bit disappointed with the seemingly dues ex machina connection between the mystery lady of the past, Skye’s father and the ongoing question of why Skye is so special. It feels a bit artificial so far, though I do have hope that they’ll manage to make something more interesting (and believable) of it in future episodes.
Next week, “…Ye Who Enter Here” promises an arrival at the mystery city as well as some unexpected behavior from a certain Agent May. Both of which lead into some not so crazy fan theories. Check out the preview for it below: