While Agent Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team face off with Hydra in the present day for the Obelisk, that first 0-8-4 object known alternately as The Diviner, its secrets may lie in the past as Hayley Atwell playing Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve returns in tonight’s episode. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Things We Bury.”
Our opener starts at the end of World War II with Kraken/Whitehall/Reinhardt torturing prisoners by making them touch the Obelisk. They all turn to stone like poor Lucy Lawless until one woman makes it glow like The Doctor, Kyle MacLachlan did. Either she’s an Inhuman or she has Kree DNA in her. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s Skye’s mom? Before answers can be found, news of the Red Skull’s death interrupts them.
We jump forward to the present and Whitehall questioning The Doctor about the Obelisk. Kyle has not been treated well and has multiple guns trained on him. Whitehall is not as trusting as Bakshi was. Skye’s sociopathic and possibly alien Dad is not going to forget this treatment easily I’d wager. The Doctor cautiously reveals that The Diviner, called properly, is not a weapon, while still wildly powerful, but a key. One can assume by what we have seen, it’s a key to a city – and most bets are on Attilan.
As I touched on briefly last time, Attilan is the city of the Inhumans. Created by the masters, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, waaay back in 1965’s Fantastic Four #45, the Inhumans are pinnacles of Kirby design and origin. Hidden away in the Himalayas, the Inhumans became mainstays of the Fantastic Four family and the Marvel Universe, with Medusa and Crystal joining the team, and Crystal later serving as an Avenger.
The city of Attilan, also known as The Great Rufuge, goes back even farther, to a story Kirby did in Captain America Comics in 1941. This city was home to human beings, who in man’s stone age, were genetically engineered into higher beings by the visiting alien race called the Kree. Through exposure to the mutagenic Terrigen gas, the Inhumans bred super powers into their lineage. For a Marvel Cinematic Universe without film and television rights to the X-Men characters, the Inhumans are saviors. There’s a good chance that Attilan is the city everyone is looking for.
There are many interrogations going on in this episode. Morse tries to break Bakshi. There are some very interesting interactions between the two of them before he finally tries to take his own life. Mockingbird sizes him up and breaks him down so well, so sweetly, so succinctly. As I said of Morse when she first appeared – if you can’t have the Black Widow, Mockingbird is the next best thing. Much like the X-Men/Inhumans comparison I made above, you do what you gotta do. Speaking of which, Hunter is so impressed with his ex-wife’s skills, they get down Titanic style later in the episode. Tell me you didn’t see that coming.
Also in the past we see Agent Peggy Carter trying to make sense of the evil of Werner Reinhardt. At The Rat, one of the first of the definitively named headquarters of the SSR, which will eventually become SHIELD, Carter finally gives up trying to figure Reinhardt out and sentences him to life imprisonment in The Rat, similar to Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison. He stays in The Rat until Alexander Pierce (that’s right, baddie Robert Redford from Captain America: The Winter Soldier) frees him using covert Hydra agents.
Before the Shield
While Coulson leads a mission to Hawaii in hopes of sorting out where the city might be, those left back at The Playground begin to do some old fashioned research. No computers, just digging through old files. This SHIELD installation is built on top of and retrofitted from an old SSR base. When they finally find the Reinhardt files, they learn what we have known since this season’s first episode, that Werner Reinhardt is really Daniel Whitehall, known in the comics as Kraken. I loved Simmons’ Cisco Ramon-like enthusiasm when she learns she holding a file that founder Carter also once touched.
We the viewers learn a bit more than the Agents do. After Reinhardt’s release into Hydra custody, he launches a search for the woman from WWII who could touch the Obelisk. When he finds her, she has not aged a day, yet the years have worn heavy on him. He has her vivisected and butchered so he can take as much from her as he can. He is now a new man, younger, stronger, and who knows what else. It’s pretty grisly, and scary. The episode’s final flashback reveals The Doctor finding her body, so he knows… how much he knows however…
We join ex-Agent Grant Ward at his brother’s summer house. Ward kidnaps the senator and makes him dig up the well where their younger brother died. The story, literally a secret origin of Agent Ward, is that Christian made Grant torture their little brother until he died in the well. All Grant wanted, he says, was an apology, which he gets after some bloody hysterics from the senator.
This is a horrid scene, hard to watch, but at the end, when the two brothers hug, and walk away together, you get a weird sense of manipulation. Like I had been played by the writers, as if they wanted to get Ward on my good side, as if he had a heart. This feeling doesn’t last long however. When Ward offers to join Kraken we find he had actually killed his brother, and their parents, framing the senator. Yep, Ward is as heartless as we all always thought, no more games. The question is, now that Ward, Doctor Dad, and Kraken are all on the same side – who will kill who first?
The Best Spy Show on Television
Forget “Homeland,” “Scandal,” “Person of Interest,” “Burn Notice,” any of them. This, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is the best spy show on television. So far this season it has had it all – action, suspense, comedy, romance, double agents, double crosses, all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. Come on, you can’t tell me the cloaked Bus is not just completely awesome. I am enjoying this show almost as much as “The Flash” this season, and that’s saying something.
Next: after the Thanksgiving break and the “Dancing with the Stars” finale, the Agents return in “…Ye Who Enter Here” in two weeks. The city, Raina, faux May, see you then!