Thursday, May 7, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2x20 "Scars" [Contributor: Alice Walker]

Original Airdate: May 5, 2015

It all comes down to control, in the end. For generations people have been trying to control... everything. Other people, natural elements, the world. It's a way of feeling powerful, but more than that, it's a way to not feel scared. We want to feel like we're in charge of our destiny. That our actions matter, our impact matters.  We get up every morning thinking we are in charge of our own fate, until the universe decides otherwise.

The need for control is everywhere this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as everyone scrambles for footing in a world that's becoming more and more unstable. Suddenly HYDRA isn't the only enemy; they've now got aliens to deal with. Aliens of unknown origin and strength, numbers and powers. We're thrust fully into the world on Inhumans (said, I believe for this first time in this week's episode after much fuss over powered people) and everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to control what happens next.

Coulson certainly is fighting for control. His solution to S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0's coup is a simple one, and proves why he was such a successful agent. He diplomatically agrees to have a council watch over him, help keep is power in check. But is he in control of himself? He'd like to think so, but that's the thing about being taken over by aliens -- you can never be too sure. His resurrection has been sidelined lately with all of the Inhuman action going on, but that's the question we continually return to with Coulson.

Mack has that same question and leaves the company he has dedicated his life to because he fears Coulson doesn't have control. Mack has seen firsthand what aliens can do, and he's honest enough to admit that he needs to stay away. When Coulson claims to have never lost control (his biggest fear? I'd put money on it) Mack simply responds with, "Skye is living proof that you did." Oh Mack, I'll miss you. I'll miss your big arms and your big feelings. Come back any time.

Raina is looking for a little control herself, leaning into her powers and letting herself embrace the new her. She might be less beautiful, there may be thorns on her skin but her core is the same. She needs power; she needs to control others. It appeared, for a moment there, that Gordon was her ally, but these people aren't so easily fooled and Jiaying has been running things for a while now. What do you do with someone who can tell the future, but can never give anyone an honest answer? Raina may just find that out.

While everyone else struggles with keeping their footing, Skye is busy walking a fine line between worlds. This story has always been about Skye: her identity, the quest for her family. She's picked up each with S.H.I.E.L.D. and now found her own with the Inhumans and it's time for her to make some hard choices. Her interaction with May (who, for all intents and purposes has served as a mother figure to Coulson's fatherly one) as she revealed the truth about Bahrain was heartbreaking. May's face was shocked and frozen, then angry. Everyone wants Skye to choose a side, but most assume she will side with the Inhumans. She seems to think so too, though I am not so sure. Something tells me she won't be giving up her badge, especially as she learns more about what her mother has done.

Skye might be trying to play both sides, but Lincoln knows how dangerous him being there is. His alarm at being in S.H.I.E.L.D. was telling for how the Inhumans refer to agents, and I just do not think it is a coincidence they shot a close-up on Simmons as he woke, searching for danger. Is she the new big bad? We've entered into a whole world of grey here.

The danger that Lincoln so feared brought itself right to the doorstep of the afterlife, as Gonzalez searches for the order of the Index. He wants to control the unknown by putting them on a list, writing down their names and information while tracking their behavior and making sure all is proper. Alphabetization - that's control. Information is power and Gonzalez wants all of it. Is he wrong? His speech seems innocent enough, but we all remember what HYRDA did with the Index, how quickly that power can turn against you.

Skye's parents exert their control in their own ways, both to protect their Daisy. Cal, for once, can protect his family by turning himself in. Jiaying can protect her family by... starting a war. I'll admit I was nervous throughout her entire scene with Gonzalez. I was tense, waiting for him to pull out a gun or weapon and kill her, maybe as Skye watched. When she showed her hand, when she revealed how far she was willing to go to protect her people, I was surprised. I didn't picture her ever being the one to kill him, though in retrospect I should have seen it coming. She has seen firsthand what organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D. can do, and she is not impressed. It's funny, having Skye's dad be the bad guy was an easy sell, but seeing her mother in that same light it harder to believe. Jiaying is a force and she needs to remain in control.

It looks like she'll go to war for it.

Assorted thoughts:
  • In an anti-climactic turn, Theta Protocol turned out to be the helicarrier. Well okay then.
  • I covet Agent Koening's sock collection, hard.
  • Coulson prevented Ultron from killing everyone? 
  • Did anyone else think the alien rock was the plutonium from season 1? 
  • I'll admit I didn't see the face/off play coming. Ward and Kara continue their master plan of overcoming their identity crises, but I'm not ready to get off the Ward train yet.
  • Even kidnapped Bobbi's hair is flawless.  
  • Seriously what did Bobbi do to get HYDRA to trust her? That's a flashback I want to see. 
Noteable Quotables:
  • Cal: "This power that she has, it lets her control you." 
  • Lincoln: "The indexing? They just asked a lot of questions. I'm sure you guys already have my blood from when I was out, right?" 
  • Coulson: "It's protocol." 
  • Lincoln: "HYDRA said the same thing."
  • Coulson: "I think we've been spending too much time together."
  • Skye: "Our ancient ancestors called themselves Inhumans and we just want to be left alone."


  1. I was thinking, maybe we understand now a little bit more about why Cal and Jaiying are good together! Neither of them are particularly "nice", at least.

    I agree, I expect Simmons to be the new baddie. She is very scary.

    1. Completely agree - they make way more sense as a couple after this episode. I was also reminded of how they were both called "Monsters" up until we met Jiying in the flesh. Something tells me they've got a long plan in motion against SHIELD we've only seen part of.

      Simmons has come such a long way! It's a sign of a good show when you can see both sides of an argument, which is how I feel about Simmons most days, though generally it's Fitz I agree with!