The second season has been picking up the pace and last night’s episode was no different as they march towards Avengers: Age of Ultron.
There are two main focuses in this episode. The first details Agent May’s life-altering experience in Bahrain, while the second involves the relationship between Skye and her mother, Jiaying. The magic of this episode brings the two storylines together in dramatic fashion.
The episode opens seven years ago in the past with Agent May and her now ex-husband, Dr. Andrew Garner, enjoying themselves in the shower. May is full of life and her happiness is contagious. Coulson comes calling, bringing her onboard for a mission to Bahrain to deal with a powered Russian who has super-strength. Agent May is actually excited to go on the mission and has an optimistic attitude.
There are quite a few excellent transitions between the two stories that leave us at just the right moment of high tension. The scenes between Skye and her mother are extremely emotional and beautiful, whether Skye is creating an avalanche as she learns to harness her power or she is discovering the identity of her mother. This is a nice subplot where Skye employs her insatiable curiosity and ability to determine whether or not someone is hiding the truth from her.
In between these two main story arcs, there are quite a number of subplots running throughout the episode. Gordon attempts to connect with Raina as she still remains disgusted with herself. He manages to make some headway despite a number of outbursts where her disgust begins to be projected outward in the form of jealousy towards Skye. There is a major reveal about what her gift could be and her desire to know her destiny ties right into it.
A secondary subplot involves Coulson and his hidden agenda. May discovers Coulson has been keeping tons of secrets (something which we have known for quite a while in the brief shots where he has been interacting with Fury’s toolbox). There is an interesting conversation between May and Agent Morse about having faith and trust in others’ decisions and sometimes sacrificing understanding of a decision can lead to pain. To be honest, it was more of a smack-down given to Morse, but Morse’s points about understanding decisions somehow created a gut check for May. This subplot went a little bit off the rails as May’s position does a complete 180 as she begins working with Jemma to figure out what Coulson has been up to. Hopefully, it is just May and Jemma acting as the spies they are and not switching allegiances.
The episode focuses more on character development rather than action, but Agent May fills the gap nicely towards the end as she earns the nickname “The Cavalry.” She is sent in on a rescue mission after an extraction team goes dark. She craftily sneaks in subduing would-be guards and eventually ends up face to face with the super-strong Russian. The two go toe to toe with each other with May relying more on her wit to outmaneuver her foe. Eventually, she uses a rogue pipe to end her. However, this super strong foe was not the real enemy. There is a much more sinister foe at work that completely breaks May’s spirit turning her into the hard as ice queen she is today. The Bahrain story ends with May showering alone and then standing at her kitchen counter a stony look imprinted on her face as her husband looks on with concern. It does an excellent job of contrasting from the opening scene where she is happy and optimistic.
While May is fighting her super-powered Russian foe, there is an excellent voice-over from Jiaying bringing the two stories full circle intertwining the Inhumans with S.H.I.E.L.D. This hints at the social structure of the Inhumans without really informing us of how it all works. The narrative also reveals the theft of the terrigen crystals, but does not reveal what happened to them.
The episode ends on a light note with Fitz contacting Coulson through Fury’s toolbox whereupon Agent Hunter begins detailing a strategy for Fitz to lose his tail; it begins with a hand dryer and ends with your imagination!
This was one of my favorite episodes of the season. We are finally told what happened in Bahrain after almost an entire season and a half of hinting at it. There is also some definite build-up towards the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie with a focus on powered people. I would not be surprised if we get to see guest appearances by Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver or even Baron Strucker. One major reveal during the episode was the potential loss of the terrigen crystals after the fight between May and her sinister foe. It is quite possible the terrigen crystals may have fallen into the hands of Hydra in order to activate Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Is it possible they are Inhumans since Marvel and Disney do not have access to the X-men and mutants?
What are your thoughts? Do you expect to see Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver in an upcoming episode leading up to May 1st and the Avengers: Age of Ultron release? What will become of Raina? Will we get to see more of the Inhumans hierarchy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.