Acting on information provided by Agent Coulson at the end of the last episode, the Avengers defeated Baron Von Strucker and raided his Hydra base in Sokovia. Then the war with Ultron began in the second Avengers movie. Where does that leave our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the aftermath with only two more episodes left? Meet me after the jump for my review of “Scars.”
The Koenig Brothers
Our opening shows Patton Oswalt as Sam and Billy Koenig, seeming twin brothers of Eric Koenig (all played by Oswalt), reporting to Coulson regarding Theta Protocol. “Robot Tourist” by Tam Nightingale playing over the sequence betrays the probability of the Koenigs being LMDs, Life Model Decoys, robot replicas of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, programmed to think they are real. The Theta Protocol, which at first in previous episodes seemed to be so sinister is revealed to be the new helicarrier seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Yeah, nowhere near as sinister as it was made out to be. Did the showrunners maybe not know what it was until the last minute?
This is one year ago, a little flashback built specifically to tie up loose strings, and a bit too tidy too if you ask me. That said, I did enjoy the Star Wars bed spread and pillows, and the fact that the Koenig ‘brothers’ play Call of Duty together. Oh, and SkyMall. We definitely need more Patton Oswalt. I found it ironic, when Coulson and Koenig meet, they also discuss Simmons infiltrating Hydra, as her morning spotlight back in “Making Friends and Influencing People” was also a music video in disguise. And did I mention more Patton Oswalt?
Age of Ultron Aftermath
When we return to the present, it’s a week later and Avengers: Age of Ultron has happened and is over. This episode seems to operate as one huge catch-up epilogue/prologue. Skye is back, and caring for Lincoln, even though he’s not happy he’s at S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent 33, Kara, seems to be blending in well. And most importantly of all, despite resistance and mistrust, Coulson is now Director again, of one S.H.I.E.L.D., as he’s convinced Gonzales in the wake of Age of Ultron, to merge the two organizations into one – after all Coulson “prevented Ultron from killing thousands of people.”
The series is taking the benefit of the doubt that Coulson was, off-camera of course, on board the helicarrier when Ultron was trying to destroy Sokovia. This conceit, and the quote from Gonzales above, leads to the merger. Ultron is mentioned as many times as they could get away with in this episode, always vaguely, no specifics, but a nice companion piece if you watch the movie and the TV series. It would seem that Ultron’s attack on the human race will become just as much a major event in history as the Battle of New York was in the original Avengers movie.
Merely trading her flowered dress for pointed spines, Raina is still seeking power, perhaps more subtle than before, but using her visions of the future to her advantage to manipulate people to her will. Her dreams of Ultron came true, but now she’s dreaming of something new, a giant stone, apparently something out of Kree prophecy that could destroy the Inhumans. When they learn that the stone is the mystery item in the hold of Gonzales’ ship, it’s determined they must obtain it.
Meanwhile Mister Hyde and Jiaying discuss Raina, as Hyde knows her longer and better. He doesn’t trust her. This is the point where I ask, and not for the first time, how these two were married, were a couple. Jiaying seems sane, yet we know that Doctor Cal is batshit crazy. Of course at the end of this episode we finally find out the answer to that question… because Jiaying is batshit crazy too. And what exactly is in the hold of Gonzales’ ship? A melty moving black rock, and as far as I can tell, it has no comics parallel. It’s Kree, and it’s bad. Maybe a terrigen bomb?
Sides are being chosen it’s true, but why does it already seem like there’s a war brewing? It’s coming, yes, but how is it both sides are so paranoid? Could the mystery shifting artifact in the hold be affecting everyone? After Raina and Gordon teleport onto the ship to see the stone, S.H.I.E.L.D. tracks him back to Afterlife. A meeting is arranged, and with Skye in the middle, guess who gets to be the negotiator? Yep, Skye, once again in the middle of a war.
Hyde fans the flames of war with Jiaying, encouraging her to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and after she turns Cal over to them, along with his Hyde serums, that when she loses her mind. Gonzales gives her a protection idol she made for Skye as an act of good faith (at least that what it seems to be). In this moment, he seems sincere, and that’s when Jiaying breaks. She breaks a terrigen crystal, petrifying Gonzales, then steals his gun so she can shoot herself in the shoulder, twice. Perhaps not a perfect plan, anyone who thinks about it for more than a minute will see through it, but I’m sure it makes sense to her. Did I mention batshit crazy?
Jiaying isn’t the only one who losing her mind and trading sides. Kara, Agent 33, managed to get Bobbi Morse alone on a quinjet while disguised as May. After a quick fight, which honestly is all it should have been, we are talking about Mockingbird after all – we get the big surprise. To paraphrase Quicksilver from Age of Ultron, I didn’t see that coming. Ward shoots Morse down, then plugs her several more times later. I certainly hope he’s using an icer.
Off and on topic, Mack took a moment or two to quit earlier in the episode. He just couldn’t bear to work for a man like Coulson. I found that kinda funny, seeing as how he’d worked for Nick Fury. I had assumed this was his goodbye as he moved on to the spin-off next year, but with Mockingbird down, I wonder if there’ll even be a spin-off…
Next: S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans at war in the two-hour season finale… they should have listened to Raina…