The Agents of Nothing are on the run and have found refuge in a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base called Providence in the Canadian wilderness manned by Eric Koenig, played by Patton Oswalt, unfortunately Hydra is in hot and devious pursuit, as Agent Ward, secretly working for Hydra, has arrived at the base. All that and a super-villain and a love from Coulson’s past turn up as well. Things are looking grim for our heroes, check out my review of “The Only Light in the Darkness” after the jump.
Like I said last time, it is truly chilling how easily Brett Dalton’s Agent Ward lies so well to his assumed friends and companions. Truly chilling. He has gone from hero to villain seamlessly, and gone on to show his acting chips brilliantly in the transformation. If you go back and look at earlier episodes, Dalton’s expressions and gestures as a seeming good guy are identical to his current sinister ones as a baddie. It works so well.
Coulson wants to dispatch a team to re-capture prisoners that Hydra released from The Fridge, many dangerous, some even super-powered. One in particular he put away personally, Marcus Daniels. In the comics, Daniels was the costumed super-villain Blackout who had the ability to tap into a dangerous extra-dimensional energy called the Darkforce, and was more than a little unhinged mentally. His main claim to fame was being part of the Masters of Evil, a team of villains who not only succeeded in taking over the Avengers headquarters, but completely defeating them in combat, causing severe injuries to many members. And now here he is, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” equally sociopathic, and equally dangerous.
The Lie Detector
Besides being an absurd trust exercise that Agent Koenig insists upon so Coulson’s team can operate without interference, being strapped into The Lie Detector and asked questions is also a huge treasure trove of Easter eggs. We learn that Triplett is a legacy and that he had a relative in the Howling Commandos. Skye’s name is made up and she really doesn’t know her real name – Carol Danvers maybe? Simmons mentions the TARDIS, which I loved. Koenig also drops bombs from Captain America The Winter Soldier as well, nice touch.
Ward’s session is one of the most tense sequences in the series so far. Koenig almost catches him and puts a bullet in him, suspecting him of being Hydra. Ward beats the device by shoving a metal sliver into his thumbnail and answering truthfully but indirectly by saying he’s there for Skye. Have I mentioned what a great actor this Dalton guy is? Patton Oswalt is no slouch here either, and I bet he loved doing this.
Marcus Daniels is after a woman, and that’s how Coulson’s team finds him. Once they have the woman, Audrey, a cellist that Daniels was stalking, calling her his light in the darkness. Coulson saved her life, and they became involved – until Loki killed him of course. That’s what makes this one so personal. If I recall correctly, she may have been mentioned in passing, but not by name earlier in the series.
Daniels on the other hand has evolved his powers in the time since he was put away in The Fridge. He doesn’t just absorb Darkforce energy, but he projects it as well, saying that he was experimented on in The Fridge. They gave him an upgrade, making him deadlier. I’m guessing they had to be Hydra scientists who did this dirty deed. Also, there are some nice special effects when showing the Darkforce.
After Agent May leaves after another, yes another, trust dispute with Coulson (it’s getting old – get over it, Phil), the Providence base turns into a little bit of a slasher flick where you’re waiting for the next victim to get theirs. Koenig gets offed by Ward before his and Skye’s first kiss. The kiss being more disturbing than the killing really. I didn’t like these two together even before I knew Ward was Hydra. It gets worse when Skye finds Agent Koenig and realizes that Agent Ward is the bad guy.
The Bride and I were taking bets as to what happens next. Does May come back and save the day, does Skye finally emerge as a 0-8-4 (Ms. or Captain Marvel), or does she just take him out herself? Looks like it was none of the above as she lets herself be willingly kidnapped. This is a real disappointment from the living dangerously Skye we had seen before. Remember when she impersonated May?
I liked the way, in keeping with the horror movie vibe, the defeat of Blackout is done in very Phantom of the Opera style. Still Coulson leaves his true love in the dark, pun unintended. Sad. The team returns to find Providence empty and Bus-less. Meanwhile May calls Mom and goes looking for Maria Hill, and Ward and Skye are airborne. I liked that May’s Mom holds an edge over her daughter.
There were lots of tips of the hat in this episode, including the bits already mentioned. Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Nick Fury, and Natasha Romanoff are all namedropped. This wasn’t the strongest episode, but it had fierce moments and kept the tension rolling. Next week, in the penultimate episode of the season, we get the returns of Maria Hill, Glenn Talbot, and Deathlok. See you then…