Things heat up on Agents of Shield as Skye’s secret agenda is revealed.
That was my feeling throughout the entire episode, “Girl in the Flower Dress.” And it was great to finally have that feeling. The ep was chock full of humor, great emotional beats and (at last) substantive character development. I hope this is a sign of things to come and not just a little anomaly.
The story centers on a guy named Renshu Tseng, who is a small-time magician who somehow has developed the power to bend fire. And as everyone knows, fire benders are volatile and untrustworthy.
Renshu gets kidnapped by Raina, the one in the flower dress. And this gets noticed because he’s on a list that S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps of potentially dangerous people and things. Renshu had to promise to not bend fire or kill any Avatars or he would get tossed in the penalty box.
Skye is beating Ward at the board game, Battleship, which is kind of funny—especially when she demands he say “you sank my battleship.” He is slowly defrosting towards her, which she is all happy about because she has no idea that Bad Things are about to happen.
Her pals, The Rising Tide, are connected to Renshu’s kidnapping. And she immediately insists she had nothing to do with it, which is true, but that just had to look suspicious. To prove her loyalty, she tracks down the hacker who is actually responsible.
The culprit turns out to be Miles Lyden, who is something of a celebrity in hacker circles. I wonder if there actually are any big name hackers in the real world or if this is just a common fiction writers keep repeating.
Anyway, Lyden spots Ward checking him out on the street. But instead of treating it as the meet-cute that it is, he bolts. Seriously, if Ward was looking at me like that, I’d make sure to stay put.
Well, Lyden cleverly escapes their little trap. And when he gets home, Skye is there and it turns out they are more than friends. She reads him the riot act for interfering in her infiltration scheme. At this point, I’m starting to get annoyed that she apparently can play the likes of Coulson and May for fools.
Well, to make things up to her, Lyden offers her a roll in the hay. And while this seems completely gratuitous at this point, I am willing to forgive it because Chloe Bennet has it going on. I know my sweet gay peeps will be scandalized, but it must be said. The girl is fine.
The real point of the naked hijinks though, was to set up the awesome cold-water-to-the-face that followed. Skye is looking everywhere for her top and when she opens the door to the next room to get it, Agent May hands it to her.
The frostiness in the look that she gives Skye is just epic. And I let out a whoop of delight that these professional spies caught on to little hacker girl’s duplicity. I love it when smart people are actually smart.
Another whoop is elicited by the fact that May doesn’t handle this quietly or ask for any excuses or anything. The team is called in and Skye is treated as an accomplice.
Everyone seems angry except Fitz and Simmons. Fitz is all hurt and confused, wondering how Skye could betray them all. It’s sort of sad, and Simmons is sweet the way she tries to comfort him like he’s her little brother. I wonder if maybe Fitz is somewhere on the autism spectrum.
Coulson isn’t merely unhappy. He’s enraged. It’s interesting see his normally serene veneer crack. May sums up her perspective on the scenario beautifully: “When someone breaks into my house, I don’t invite them to stay.”
To her credit, Skye is pissed at Lyden for all the crap he’s pulled and she’s distraught for hurting her team. That doesn’t get her out of the dog house, though.
Lyden rants and raves and insists he’s all about freedom of information and then Ward drops the bomb that he got paid a million bucks for selling out Renshu. That makes Skye want to leap across the table and rip his throat out, but fortunately for him, she’s still cuffed.
They are able to track Renshu down to a facility run by Centipede. I thought Centipede was the name of the project to turn humans into superhumans, but I guess it’s the whole organization. Not exactly the most imposing name for an evil global organization, but it’s hard to find a unique name you can get the URL for, the Tumblr for, the Twitter for….
Renshu thought his new pals were going to give him the hook up, but it turns out he’s just a lab rat to them. He gets to run around the maze and eat some cheese, but in the end he’s going to be pinned to a bit of cork and sliced open. At least that removes any ambiguity about whether or not Centipede is truly evil.
Coulson decides to lead the team to rescue Renshu, and I love that even when going into combat, he only ever wears his suit and tie. It’s so a part of his every-man charm. It’s like he’s so bad ass that he doesn’t even need to put on airs.
There’s a cool shout out to Iron Man I, where they use the same explosive Coulson used in that movie. Little fan moments like that help to make you feel like this show is part of a greater universe.
Renshu has gone a little crazy. May tries to talk him down, but even reasoning with him in Chinese doesn’t help. He wants to burn sh** down. And he gets his wish is a scene so horrifying I couldn’t believe they actually put it in prime time. He burns the evil scientist lady to ash. Eeeek….
Then again, this is Joss Whedon who got a death-by-flaying-alive on the air.
Coulson fails to save this one, and it hurts him. Even though Renshu was totally crazy (and an evil fire bender) he still wanted to bring him in alive. When that doesn’t work, he has May overdose him on the Extremis drug so they can have him go up in a controlled explosion.
Yikes. This is not the softer side of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Lyden is allowed to go, only with a little bracelet that will make it hard for him to use a computer or do anything naughty. Not sure how that works, but I approve. I also love how Coulson kicks him off the plane in a strange country with a decided air of “I don’t give a crap if you live or die.”
Coulson then confronts Skye and demands she fess up her secret. Wow, daddy is pissed. I’ve gotten so used to unflappable Phil that I didn’t think he had real feelings. It definitely makes his character more interesting.
Skye’s secret is that she’s looking for her birth parents. This seems kind of weak to me. I mean, infiltrating a top secret organization, risking imprisonment and worse, just to find your folks?
But I guess the secret had to be something innocuous instead of, say, her wanting to find a person so she can kill him. This way the character is sympathetic and the audience doesn’t hate her for breaking Fitz’s heart.
Coulson offers to help her, which doesn’t surprise me. Then he gives her a bracelet of her own, which does surprise me. Is this the end of her hacking fu? What now for Skye? Can she get the trust of the team back?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. And I’m eager to see that unfold. This show ihas had a slow start, but I think it is building towards something and I am getting into it.
What did you guys think? What were your favorite lines? Best moments? Who is your fave on the team? (Hands off Fitz, he’s all mine.)