The fourteenth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up where the previous story left off, with Skye (Chloe Bennet) having been shot by the villainous Ian Quinn (David Conrad), and now fighting for her life. Despite the best efforts of the team medic Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) Skye isn’t going to survive, leading Coulson (Clark Gregg) to make a desperate gamble to save her.
Things are definitely high stakes in this episode, and there’s a huge sense of tension from the very beginning as the ultimate fate of a member of the team hangs in the balance. Whilst this show is far from being Game of Thrones where no character is safe from death, the fact that Skye isn’t a character from the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe or comics lends a genuine degree of peril to her situation. Essentially she’s a character that the show-runners could kill off without any huge impact on the larger universe.
It also adds some good character drama as we get to see how each member of the team deals with the situation. Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) blames himself for not stopping Skye from being shot, Ward (Brett Dalton) blames himself for not having trained her better, whilst Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) simply blames Quinn, focusing her anger on him. The reactions from the team show how far the characters have come, and how much they actually care for each other now. It wasn’t too long ago that May didn’t want Skye on the ship, now she’s beating the man who tried to kill her.
Whilst the team spend time placing blame for the event Coulson makes the bold move to try and use the technology that brought him back from the dead to save Skye. The mystery of Coulson’s resurrection was always going to be a big part of the first season, and this episode reveals that there’s a lot more to the mystery than first speculated, especially when the team manages to locate the mysterious ‘Guest House’.
With so much of the focus of the episode on the central S.H.I.E.L.D. team the show is still able to introduce two new members of the organisation, John Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Antoine Triplett (B.J. Britt). The late great Paxton is brilliant as John Garrett, an old friend of Coulson who also appears to be an agent with a degree of freedom to operate how he wants. With several more appearances from the character announced throughout the rest of the season there’s little insight into who he is in this episode, but it’s a solid introduction for him that makes him an enjoyable addition to the the show.
Joined by fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents John Garrett and Antoine Triplett Coulson locates the ultra secret facility where he was brought back to life, a facility that is so off the books it isn’t even run by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Here they discover what has to be the most shocking revelation in the series to date, that the technology comes from an alien body.
Despite the fact that aliens are well established within the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point thanks to the events of Thor and Avengers Assemble it’s still a bold move for the series to take, and one that fans didn’t actually manage to predict. Of course, there’s still huge unanswered questions around this reveal, most important of which is ‘is this the first appearance of the Kree in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?’
That question might actually get answered sooner than expected as the episode ends with a set up for the following episode, the arrival of the Asgardian villain Lorelei (Elena Satine) on Earth. Perhaps aliens are about to become a big part of the series.
Are you a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What do you think of this episode? Let us know.