This is it, the second season finale of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and it’s a big one – all out war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans. Whose side will Skye be on? And what role will outsiders like Mister Hyde and ex-Agent Grant Ward take? This is it, meet me after the jump for my review of the special two-hour season finale, “S.O.S.”
Before we get to the main event, I want to offer congratulations to both “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Marvel’s Agent Carter” for getting renewed by ABC for third and second seasons respectively next year. I really dug “Agent Carter” this past year and hope the next season delves more into the Marvel Universe of its time, maybe even more into the Cold War, perhaps seeing some of the heroes of that time. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the Howling Commandos, but how about giving us Miss America, the Yellow Claw, Jimmy Woo, the replacement Captain America, or even Patsy Walker? Now that would be fun. Apparently Peggy will be moving to Los Angeles, so we’ll see.
As far as the Mockingbird spin-off from “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” goes, the news was initially bad, as ABC passed on it, but news from Variety today seems to indicate otherwise. A network head, who raved about the characters, said that the spin-off is still a possibility. I guess time will tell. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” returns next season with “Agent Carter” running during the mid-season hiatus, just as it did this year. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the last episode I speculated on Jiaying’s mental state. Yeah, she seemed normal and a good person, but in the back of all our minds are two things. She was killed and dismembered by Daniel Whitehall, then put back together by her husband, Calvin Zabo. That can’t be good for anyone’s headspace psychologically. And then there’s the bottom line that she fell in love with, and married, Mister Hyde. And then she really delivered on the cray-cray.
While it’s true that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s intentions were not the best – putting the Inhumans on The Index, a cataloging of enhanced individuals – they were not asking for a war. Jiaying killed Gonzales with a terrigen crystal, then shot herself making it look like self-defense, although anyone who thinks about that more than a minute won’t fall for it. Then as we open on this two-hour season finale, Jiaying has Gordon and others hijack a quinjet and fire on Lai Shi. She may well be crazier than her hubby. This was a declaration of war.
As before, Skye is caught in the middle. Things move very fast once Jiaying is shot and the stolen quinjet attacks. Skye has to choose sides quickly and without much information, and when May tries to retrieve Gonzales, they come to blows. It’s teacher vs. student, and once May decides not to pull punches, it should be all over, however Skye has mastered her Quake powers, and it’s no contest.
Raina’s prophecy that Skye eventually lead the Inhumans, and then her death at Jiaying’s hands, may have turned the tide for Skye. I can’t help thinking however that this may have been a lost opportunity for Skye to side with her people, if only for a little while. Speaking of missed opportunities, tying her Quake hands for so long during this two-hour episode was a bad idea. If you’re going to do carnage, come on, let’s do carnage.
Since his first appearance in Journey into Mystery #99, Mister Hyde has been one of Marvel Comics’ most dangerous super-villains. More maniac than master criminal, Hyde is actually chemist Calvin Zabo who developed the Hyde formula to increase his size, strength, endurance, and bestiality. Chiefly an enemy of Thor and later Daredevil, he has contended with many of Marvel’s best, and as one of the Masters of Evil nearly killed Hercules when they fought the Avengers in the classic Mansion Siege.
Here in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” as played by the crazily enthusiastic Kyle MacLachlan, Zabo is a manipulative psychopath who wants to do right by his family, Skye and Jiaying. There has always been the shadow of the monster over him, and while we rarely see it, we always feel it. He was given over to S.H.I.E.L.D. by the Inhumans as a peace offering, and empty vials of his Hyde formula are found on him. He contends that if he wasn’t born with Inhuman powers, he would make his own. Cal gave himself up as a Trojan horse, once inside S.H.I.E.L.D., to ‘take out as many agents as he can.’
While I knew (heck, we all knew) Mockingbird wasn’t dead at the hands of Ward and Agent 33 last episode, I still worried. Ward is a sociopath, and he’s capable of anything, especially for his ladylove. As it turns out. What he’s looking for from Agent Morse is a simple apology for selling out Cara to Hydra while she was undercover. Ward tries to torture her, the squeamish should turn away at one point, but Bobbi Morse is Mockingbird, an Avenger in the comics, and she does not go down that easily.
Bobbi gives Ward a hell of a fight, but alas, he fights dirty and gets the upper hand. Agent 33’s unwillingness to finish Morse off however, to me, either demonstrates the character’s wishy-washy-ness, or the writers’ – and I wonder if the state of the spin-off affected the outcome of this subplot. Might it have been going somewhere else? Somewhere besides a hackneyed race against time on a surgery table?
The Good Guys
I was so glad to see that Coulson and crew saw through the Inhumans’ ruse so quickly. I was however bothered by the idea that a transponder to track Gordon could not be kitbashed. They had one, albeit built by Hydra, but no one could replicate it? I had a similar problem with this week’s episode of “The Flash,” concerning remaking tech that that person created in the first place. If you did it once, why can’t you do it again?
I was impressed with the use of an actual organization behind the name S.H.I.E.L.D., multiple quinjets, reinforcements, enough to actually fight a war. This is closer to what this show should be about, as I discussed in my ‘three years later’ review of the first Avengers film. Hopefully all of this will carry over to the third season.
During Coulson’s interrogation of Cal Zabo, the formula does its job, and kills him. He flatlines, and in an attempt to save him, Simmons gives him a shot of adrenaline which is the activating ingredient. Behold, at last, the real Mister Hyde. Much like his literary and cinematic namesake, MacLachlan performs a wonderful transformation into a believable monster. Hyde is terrifying and well worth the wait.
As Hyde rampages through S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, the ship is under attack by the Inhumans. One standout Inhuman with Mulitplex/Jamie Madrox powers is stuntwoman Alicia Vela-Baily who steals the show easily as a one-woman army. The Inhumans are ruthless and take the ship easily, settling the question of who the real monsters are here. Meanwhile Clark Gregg’s Coulson proves why he’s the star of the show by actually reasoning with Mister Hyde, and turning his favor.
With his inventive deathtrap he set for Morse and Hunter, I was able to think of ex-agent Grant Ward as nothing but a super-villain. I had feelings there a couple episodes back when Coulson got the old team back together, but now, especially with the heart-rending death of Agent 33, I think a new identity is being forged. I wonder if it will be someone new or someone familiar… as the new head of Hydra…
Jiaying is killing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents like it’s going out of style, it takes longer than it should but eventually the right folks get the hint that she’s gone over the edge. My one disappointment with the final battle between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans is that Hyde actually tries to emulate Coulson when he encounters Jiaying, he tries to reason with her, when he should have just gone off full-on Hyde.
The Final Battle
This was a nail biter. I loved seeing the Quake-less Skye hold her own against Alicia. The best line was from Mack when he and the teleporting Inhuman are introduced, “I’m the guy who kills Gordon,” and of course Fitz’ “Science, biatch.” My love for Fitz is renewed. Welcome back, man. I have to say that I was also disappointed that once again the heroes were not directly responsible for the defeat of the villains, Gordon by his own carelessness, and Jiaying by Hyde, but at least the good guys came out relatively on top.
There are scars, as with any war. Bobbi is on the mend, with Hunter at her side, and retirement (and spin-off not picked up) on her mind. May is taking a vacation, her first. Hyde gets T.A.H.I.T.I.ed as a veterinarian. It looked as if Fitz and Simmons might have been going out on a date, but that Kree artifact had other plans (!). Skye gets a new start as well with a covert powered individuals team I’m sure we’ll see next season, along with Coulson’s new robot hand. Or maybe they could use that tech Hawkeye got after being shot in the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
What ride this episode has been! So until next time, stay away from fish oil pills…