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Last week on the ever-improving Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., things began to come to a head. Skye’s power still wasn’t under control, so Coulson sent her off to a safe house. Bobbi and Mack’s secret allegiance was finally revealed – a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. organization that claims to be the real deal. Better yet, it’s led by the almighty Edward James Olmos. They don’t like Coulson’s alien blood and think it makes him dangerous. Hunter was captured and they attempted to convert him, but he was having nothing to do with it and ran off to warn Coulson, though The Man and May already have their suspicions. This week, ‘One Door Closes’ offers a little S.H.I.E.L.D.-on-S.H.I.E.L.D. action along with a surprising twist for Skye. Read on for all the S.H.I.E.L.D.-y goodness.

We begin with a little trip to the past. It’s back in the time when S.H.I.E.L.D. fell to HYDRA and Fury was presumed dead. We get to see a bit of Mack and Bobbi’s back-story and, as a result, the reason they ended up in “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. After escaping the HYDRA invasion on their ship, they find poor Eddie Olmos all busted up. They rescue him and make moves to carry out Fury’s last orders – sink the ship to the bottom of the ocean, along with the “special” cargo it carries. But Bobbi has a change of heart and decides that they can take the ship back from their enemies. That question, however, will not be resolved this episode…

olmos saved

Back in the present, it’s Bobbi, Mack, Eddie Olmos and the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Coulson and the crew. Coulson figures out that Mack is full of crap and confronts him. At the same time, Bobbi is seeking out Fury’s “toolbox”. When she does find it, May confronts her and it’s some serious May-on-Mockingbird violence. Unfortunately for S.H.I.E.L.D. proper, both of the suspected traitors manage to escape. It’s only through some clever thinking from Simmons that Bobbi finally goes down. Alas, it’s all for naught, as here comes “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. with a full-scale invasion.

They take over everything and all the crew end up captured except for the bad-ass vixen-of-doom, May. She lurks in the walls and eventually springs out to rescue Coulson and send him on his way. Not before Coulson and Olmos get a serious face-to-face, however. Olmos is concerned with Coulson’s strange, alien blood and makes no excuses for not trusting him. He’s quite eager, in fact, to have Coulson crack Fury’s Toolbox and let him in on all those juicy secrets.

coulson and mack

On the other side of things, we have Skye’s story. She’d having a miserable time in isolation and finally decides to put on those special gloves that Simmons made for her. They don’t seem to help much, however, and generally make her feel like crap. But… who’s that? Oh shit! It’s the blind guy. The very same one that trained under Skye’s mother and then later rescued her father. And he’s here to let her know that there are others just like her and even a community that will help her discover what it is that she can do. He doesn’t seem to like S.H.I.E.L.D. too much though…

When the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. finally finds out where Skye is being held, they send in a team to get her. Luckily, May is on the job and lets Skye know what’s going on before it gets out of hand. She tries to run and ends up having to face down the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D., complete with Mockingbird accompaniment. But then – BOOM! – out comes the pain. Her powers manifest and save her ass. But that’s a bit too much for Skye. She gives the call-out for blind-guy to come and take her away and then off they go to God-knows-where.

skye safe house

Here’s the part where I talk about the good and the bad things this episode. Honestly, it’s almost all good things. I have a slight beef with the way Simmons’ character seems to have hated super-powered beings and then just forgotten about it within the time it takes to have a decent bowel movement, but that’s about it. Mostly it’s just good things. And has been almost consistently since the new season’s beginning. Which is a pretty damned good thing.

First of all, the fight choreography between Bobbi and May was pretty damned good. I’ve had my issues with this element in the past, but they seem to have gotten some new talents onboard and now we’re seeing better brawls.

Second, the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. story arc is much more interesting than they first made it out to be. Now that it’s out in the open, we’re free to speculate. And with Edward James Olmos as the leader of the rival group, it’s even better. The big question is – where will they take it? They could set it up to be just another HYDRA plot, with Olmos trying to take control now that most of the other leaders are dead, but that seems so mundane that it would be a huge disappointment. The other main option is that the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. is a conservative version of the organization, while Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. is the progressive version. Thus, we have an ideological battle. THAT is way more interesting.

fitz and simmons

Third, we have a variety of small things that are getting better and better. Simmons’ defeat of Bobbi by using her spy skills and brain was AWESOME. I only hope they develop her character more solidly in the future. Also, the show in general has a better concept of pacing. Even the flashbacks were used well. As a whole, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has evolved and become a far better program than it was in the first season. Kudos to whoever managed to pull that off.

In the end, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has matured. I’m glad I managed to choke down the first season-and-a-half to make it to this point. I only hope that they continue to improve. As it stands, I’d put the writing and execution on par with Arrow (if not quite level with The Flash).

Next week, ‘Afterlife’ promises a showdown between Coulson and the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. We’ll also be getting a look at Skye as she undergoes indoctrination into the club of super-humans. Will Skye like what she sees? Is Coulson really a good guy or just a dupe of alien blood? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

Category: reviews, TV

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