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Agents of SHIELD – A Hen in the Wolf House Review

"Revelations and Paternal Machinations "
Agents of SHIELD aired its fifth episode this week, "A Hen in the Wolf House". It's an episode chock-full of reveals and emotional pay offs, with a couple awesome new characters. If you're reading this, you probably know that The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is going to air with next week's episode. If you didn't know, well... now you do. If you can't wait until next week, here's the trailer anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmeOjFno6Do Lets get into it!

Plot

Oh man. So as Skye begins to put two and two together about Coulson, Raina seeks help from Skye's father regarding getting the Obelisk back to Whitehall and Hydra. When he refuses to help, Raina seeks Coulson's help by threatening to reveal Simmon's position as Hydra mole. Meanwhile Ward continues to count the pock marks in the wall. Will he make it to two thousand before he falls asleep? Is he man enough?

To Introduce a Mockingbird

Mockingbird's character introduction is pretty solid. Her character's a little flat, but faithful. To be fair, it's only been the first episode she's been in, so, you know, that could change at any time. With what the show's done with its characters so far, I don't see the writers having a problem with Mockingbird, I just worry that she may be redundant because of May. Just a taller, whiter May, if you will. Don't get me wrong, I think Mockingbird is a solid character for the show. She's not a super well known character, but still has enough mythology behind her to make it interesting. For instance, I don't expect her to marry Hawkeye in the MCU, but she can certainly wear a colorful costume and beat some ass. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="326"] Strangely enough, here's her costume.[/caption] The winking comment on her blond hair was a great inclusion, for anyone familiar with the hyper-critical eye of the comic book fan will know well of this complaint. Mockingbird was played off as smart, capable, and kick-ass. The only two real gripes I had are that she seemed uncomfortable with her weapons and that it seemed like the show felt the need to stress how "amazing" she was. On the first, it seemed weird how she handled the... batons? Clubs? When she was walking down the hall twirling them, it looked weird. Like they were weight-less. I'm sure they have foam versions for combat, or maybe it was just a bad take, but it did take me out of it a little. On the second, the show seemed really concerned with how great we thought Mockingbird was. I guess I could see why, I mean both May and Ward have beaten scores of armed men with their bare hands. It'll take a lot more than a good hand-to-hand combatant to impress us. I just wish they did it in a better way than having characters go "man, she's really good! The best!". Show us, don't tell us. [caption id="attachment_61389" align="aligncenter" width="546"]Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 10.35.11 PM Oh hey, Black Wid--oh.[/caption]

On Skye's Pop

This episode has shown us the most of Skye's father so far. While he's still mostly shrouded in mystery, we now at least have tastes of him. Ugh, gross. We have glimpses of him. He's obviously psychotic, super strong, highly knowledgeable, and fairly intelligent. This is a character I can get behind. Kyle MacLachlan really hits it out of the park with the character, never leaving any scenery unchewed. He doesn't just get mad, he goes insane with rage! Everything it turned up to eleven with him! More importantly, it fits the heightened nature of the show. However, it did make me realize something. I'm not really intimidated by him. Or at least not yet. I guess, maybe, my desire to know more about him (IS HE AN INHUMAN?!) has overshadowed my desire for Raina to live. I didn't get a "threat" vibe off him, more of a... fascination. I'd go so far as to say he stole the show this episode. His wild behavior, his ranting, his mystery, his mania. It all worked. It has me looking forward to the episode just so I can see what he does while in cahoots with Whitehall. Especially since he seems to know Whitehall, but Whitehall doesn't know him. It's all very interesting. Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 10.48.39 PM I have serious doubts that he's a preexisting character from the comics, though. Some have suggested Hyde, and I'd say it's close, I mean that'd also could explain Skye's immunity to alien blood (genetic tampering instead of an Inhuman origin, the alien angle just being a red herring). Others, have proposed the more far-fetched Maximus the Mad. However, I don't think they factor in that this show has a tendency to go with original-to-highly-obscure characters for main players. Maybe because they have more freedom that way, who knows, but that's the way its been. Because of that, I'm thinking Dear Ol' Dad turns out to be someone new to Marvel. Which is fine with me, but I've still got to put up with the million fan theories until we get an answer.

Reunited and it Feels So Good

So, as you know, Fitz has been the best part of the season. Or at least the most emotionally impactful. So when Simmons returned to home base, I was pretty hyped for their reunion. Lo and behold, it was every bit as awkward and uncomfortable as a I was expecting. It was also pretty short. Which, I guess, is understandable. There's going to be a ton to work through, so you don't want to stick that at the end of an episode. Best to give it its own ten minute scene early next one. This scene, by the way, was well done from the top down. Written, acted, and directed to the right degree. I was expecting Simmons to be super excited to see Fitz again, but he would be all withdrawn, thus awkwardly spoiling it. However, they were both equally guarded and it worked out much better. There are a couple walls between them now, it's a complete turn around from how they were at the beginning the last season. That's some solid character development and I'm all for more. Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 10.51.36 PM The only worry is that they're going to want to drag this out. It was a problem on other Whedon projects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. An emotional betrayal is dragged out for episodes and episodes before we get a resolution. Joss seems to have his hands full with the whole MCU, so maybe we'll get a quick, satisfying conclusion.

Thoughts on Next Episode

Besides the imminent FitzSimmons argument, I really want to see where the Whitehall-Dad relationship goes. Who even has the power in that situation? What are alliances like? How does Skye's Father handle Whitehall, a man who he clearly thinks is beneath him? I can't wait. This wont be next week, but I think it's going to come down to a fight between May and Skye to kill Coulson. Or "kill" him. Is May going to come around and Skye stop her? Is Skye going to go at it logically but May finally lets her feeling intervene and she stops her? Man, this is getting complex. Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 10.54.08 PM

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • More of Skye's Father
  • Fitz and Simmon's Reunion
  • Cool Mockingbird Introduction
  • Great Cliffhanger Ending
Cons
  • Slower Than the Rest of the Season
  • More Questions Than Answers

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