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Agents of SHIELD continued its strong second season this week with “The Things We Bury”. The trend of answering the show’s mysteries continued this week not to mention its sharp turn into dark town. I mean, it’s nothing too mind blowing, but for a show on prime time ABC, it went pretty far.
Let’s get into it.
In this episode, SHIELD continues to hunt down the strange alien city as Hydra, with the help of Skye’s dad, closes in on it themselves. Meanwhile, Grant finally confronts his father and Bobbi attempts to break the tough-as-nails Mr. Bakshi.
So, in this episode, we learn two important facts related to Skye. Not only was Skye’s mom one of the “chosen” (INHUMANS, JUST SAY IT, PLEASE), but she was also ageless. Whitehall, then simply a Hydra scientist, attempted a dissection before the SSR stopped him. For me, the most brutal part of this story is the fact that Skye’s mom thought she had gotten away before Hydra agents brought her back 44 years later. The sudden realization that you never escaped, that he had you again. It’d tear you apart. Although, for network television, her dissection was a pretty graphic representation of being torn apart too.
So the fact that Whitehall was able to roll back the clock back on his age permanently raises a few question. What exactly did he do to himself? I mean, he said he took “everything he could” from her, but that doesn’t really explain it. I mean, if it was something he could inject, he could do that to multiple people, right? Whitehall is arrogant and a sociopath, but he seems like the kind of guy who would put making Hydra ageless at the top of his list. I don’t know, maybe there’s something more. An organ transplant maybe. I hope they’ll dive into it more in the future.
As a side note, I have to point out the inconsistent German accents. They weren’t the worst, but they definitely came and went. You can totally notice them slipping back into an American accent at the end of sentences or on consonants. Agents of SHIELD is dotted with the occasional bad actor — as I’m sure most network TV is — so this doesn’t really surprise me too much.
The show refuses to give us a straight bead on Grant Ward and I’m digging it. It’d be easy to make him the rogue agent with a dark past trying to make amends. However, in this episode he tortures his brother pretty blatantly, and while his brother did admit to being the more sadistic one, Grant ended up straight murdering him along with their parents. That’s not really the actions of a rogue agent making amends. That’s the action of a sociopath killer struggling to find himself.
Which surprised me. Not only is it not the easy way to go, I’d assume it’s not the way the executives would have wanted it to go. Ward is still very much the traditional leading man, I’d think the higher ups would worry about turning audiences off on him. I mean betraying them at the behest of Garrick, that can be forgiven. Fratricide, Patricide, and Matricide? Unforgivable. Perhaps Disney just trusts the Marvel property enough to let them do as they please. Within reason, of course.
But what could his motivations even be? He told Skye that she could expect a lot of “presents” from him and I think he was sincere. Personally, I really hope he’s just your average psychopath and this is his twisted way to get back “on the team”. To get Skye to like him again. It’d be a very Whedon way to go and the kind of depth I’m looking for. Depth is the one of the best thing Agents has over the other comic book shows on TV.
So this mystery city. More signs point to Attlian. It’s said in this episode that stories put it somewhere in the East. Attlian was originally in the Himalayas, which, depending on where on where you are, is in the East. I didn’t get a good look at where the satellite located it at the end of the episode, but I’d like to believe it was a mountain range.
We learn from Skye’s dad that if someone takes the Diviner or Obelisk into the city’s temple “something really cool will happen”. That, coupled with the fact that when the blue visitors (Kree, you guys, it’s gotta be) visited Earth all those years ago, they did it to end all mankind. I don’t believe they aimed to end it in a “kill everyone” way. I believe — I hope — it’s in a “turn all humans to Inhumans” kind of way. Well, maybe not all human. Just the ones who are able.
The question is, when you take that object into the Temple, do only the people present get the cool whatever-it-is, or is it a worldwide thing? Because, honestly, a worldwide event would change the MCU’s landscape, not to mention Agent‘s. All of a sudden thousands of people have powers. Imagine the new villains we’d see. The new heroes. So many opportunities for stories. It’d be amazing.
Skye’s dad is quickly becoming my favorite part of the show. I had worried that too much exposure would cause him to wear thin, but it doesn’t appear to. Kyle MacLachlan plays off of everyone so well, every interaction is unique. The simmering rage with Coulson, the quiet condescension with Whitehall. He devours the scenery, he plays it with nothing on the table. It’s so weirdly new. The world is a heightened reality and the characters are slight exaggerations, but everyone plays them with a level of gravitas. There are real emotional things going on behind the scenes. Skye’s dad, however, is balls out crazy, everything is cranked up to 11. Even his tragedy, loosing his wife and daughter, is played with such super melodrama. Shakespearean vows and all that. I can’t tell why it works. He’s just fun to watch.
It looks like we’ll be seeing more of him and I’m hyped. To the extreme. The way they build the tension with him, the way you know how he can explode, it’s fantastic. You’re just always waiting for him to come unhinged, to finally snap. There’s also the feeling that he’s not quite human. He’s overpowered some tough dudes and killing a whole village? That’s Inhuman. So much left I want to see from him.