With The Obelisk, the first 0-8-4, in the hands of Raina and Dr. Kyle MacLachlan, and the military led by General Glenn Talbot, as well as The Kraken, Bakshi, and the hordes of Hydra after them… things look a bit grim for our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So what better time to dance? Meet me after the jump for my review of this special Agent May spotlight, “Face the Enemy.”
Dancing with the Stars
While we are left to ponder the miracle of a 500 year old painting that survived a church fire, our agents are playing spy. Agents Coulson and May hit the floor of an exotic high class party in Miami and put “Dancing with the Stars” to shame. As they case the room, in between suave dance moves and steps, they reminisce about missions past and present. It’s refreshing to see they are not just teammates, but friends.
This mission to retrieve the painting is not official, it’s personal. This piece of art may have survived because of the alien writing on the back of it. That’s what Coulson is after. The writing – lets just say it’s Kree, because it is – has been clouding his brain for months. He goes into trances and recreates it, over and over again. He’s had Skye studying it, but to no avail. And now with this painting, or at least the back of it – it looks like someone else is doing it as well.
The party is to display the miracle painting to raise money to rebuild the burned church. When General Talbot also shows up, the decision is made to just grab the painting and go, cover over and done with. It’s a good thing they chose to just go for it when they see Talbot… because shocker (to comics fans and TV fans alike) he’s with Hydra, reporting directly to The Kraken. I know Talbot is stupid, but really, is he that stupid?
This entire sequence is a spotlight on Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May. We love her, but this is our first chance to really see the spotlight turned directly on her. As her teammates notice, May speaks more undercover than they have ever heard her speak before. And that horrific sound? It’s her laughter, a sound they’ve never heard before. I myself laughed when she said she’d kill for a pair of flats. And she does look dazzling in silver.
Talbot, who has gotten to it first, offers Coulson a deal, come along and help him decipher the writing on the back of the miracle painting. When May goes to accept the deal later, she makes a terrible discovery. It’s not Talbot, it’s Bakshi wearing some sort of computerized face mask, a disguise that invokes old Spider-Man foe, the Chameleon. Once incapacitated, Bakshi’s female companion takes May’s face the same way Bakshi took Talbot’s.
Fake May returns to The Bus, drops off a virus bomb then leads Coulson back to Bakshi. More talk of old times comes, but when May shows some warmth, Coulson knows she’s fake and punches her in the mouth. The battle between Real May and Fake May is relentless, bordering in comparison with the “Family Guy” fights between Peter and the chicken, just more entertaining. Loved it.
While Coulson and May are mixing it up with Hydra, the rest of the crew are bonding. Well, all of the crew, except for Fitz, who has resorted to talking to the imaginary Simmons again. I so miss the days when Fitz and Simmons were a team, conjuring that “Torchwood” vibe and making me smile. Those days are gone I suppose, until, however likely, Fitz gets his wits back.
Somewhere in there is the Fitz we all know and love. I’m unsure we will ever see him again, unless of course they give him a Kree transfusion, but sometimes he does pop out to say hello. This episode is one of those times. He sees the virus bomb, and he guides Mac in disarming it. It’s slow-going but he saves The Bus and his fellow agents. He even gets to bond with his buddies and a beer like the rest of the boys… with imaginary Simmons smiling on. It’s a start.
A Kraken Epilogue
In the end, there’s verification of Coulson’s and May’s endgame deal. If he goes over the edge, he wants her to shoot him and take over S.H.I.E.L.D. Not going to happen, says May, she’ll take care of him and get him out of there. This weird pact is the only one that’s acceptable between these two, I think, and I like it. I just wish it hadn’t taken up so much time that could have been used with other characterization.
While the team is busy bonding and beating, we check in with Raina at the end of the day. She too is on her way to Miami to see the painting (how did she know?), but is interrupted as she gets into her car. At first I was sure I saw Garrett in her rearview mirror, but maybe not. It is Daniel Whitehall, The Kraken, and he’s given her 48 hours to bring The Obelisk to him… or else… I guess we’re back in the game next week…
Next: Raina, Skye’s Dad, and… Mockingbird??