Agents of SHIELD season 2 has come to a close – so what happens to the Inhumans, what is that giant rock, how did Cal transform, and did anyone else catch the cameo by Loki?!
Two Art of Evolution posters were provided this week. One, shown above by Joshua Budich, featuring the dynamic split Skye faces this episode. The other poster (shown at the bottom of last episode’s recap) by Ryan Sook.
That second poster seems a little misleading, as fans had been teased all year with the big “Mr. Hyde Reveal” only to learn that a) Cal apparently didn’t fully transform until now, and b) his whole transformation was from random crazy guy to random crazy guy with prosthetic muscles. He’s just not as scary as he could be. When the Flash recently went up against the giant talking, telepathic Grodd, it set a high water mark for other shows to strive for and (hopefully) surpass.
Still, if the special effects were shoddy, the story was enthralling and the twists unexpected!
Spoiler-Light Recap: The Inhumans and SHIELD are ready to go to war, but who’s fighting and why?
After Jiaying claims Gonzales was the aggressor, Gordon and another Inhuman steal a Quinjet and destroy the building housing Gonzales’ remains. In the confusion, Skye takes out an agent, then takes May on one-on-one. Skye actually holds her own for a bit before resorting to her powers to push May away. If all of Jiaying’s scheming seems a bit harsh (and it is), it’s not without precedent. The Inhuman Royal Family has been known to manufacture a fake war from time to time if it was in their interests (as Medusa did during Realm of Kings, for example).
Despite previous episodes of slightly ambiguous but still generally helpful behavior, Gordon and Jiaying quickly reveal their true selves as Jiaying drains the lifeforce of a random hostage Gordon collected so she can heal her self-inflicted wounds. Later, Cal adds that Jiaying has survived for draining willing sacrifices for decades – mostly Inhuman Elders – before she started taking unwilling victims. Healing by stealing life from others has been a tradition in storytelling for years. At Marvel, the immortal seductress Selene has been surviving by draining her victims dry for millennia. Consider Whitehall copied Jiaying’s abilities, does that mean he can heal any wound by draining someone’s life? Wonder if that means he’ll be back.
Raina is appropriately aloof as she dispenses confusing chunks of prophecy on Skye. Aside from predicting her own death, she also says Skye will lead someday, and be key to saving the Inhumans. Does that mean, however, that she will be leader of the Inhumans, or the leader of some other group that helps save the Inhumans? After two seasons (or at least a season and a half) of manipulating and lying to everyone around her, for once Raina seems to be on the up-and-up and where does that get her? Business end of Jiaying’s knife, that’s where. Skye sees the whole thing, drops the Chinese charm Jiaying gave her as a gift, then tried to reason with her mom for a bit before Jiaying’s lackeys took her down.
Jiaying also establishes that she founded the Afterlife, and her grand plan to stop those who used technology to find them is to kill them all. For someone who’s lived decades, she doesn’t seem to know how technology works. Once the genie’s out of the bottle, there’s no putting it back in. If not SHIELD or Hydra, someone else will inevitably figure it out.
Cal, meanwhile, has turned himself in – after imbibing his own concoction – bides his time singing a creepy version of “Daisy Bell” (is there any non-creepy version of that song?). Please in SHIELD’s vault, Coulson has him monitored at all times (using the same tech that once monitored Skye) while Simmons investigates the vials to learn they have steroids, metabolic enhancers, methamphetamines, gorilla testosterone, and a drop of peppermint. Cal flat-out admits that he’s a Trojan horse, sent to kill as many SHIELD agents as possible, but when his serum causes a heart attack, Coulson has his people work to revive the criminal. It works a little too well as Mr. Hyde is finally let out. Ever the pacifist, Coulson has the building evacuated (except for himself and Fitz-Simmons) while he tries to talk down the raging violence beast. Realizing most of his evil acts were in service to Jiaying, who hasn’t been the same since he reassembled her following Whitehall’s vivisection, Hyde switches sides and offers to help Coulson.
Over at the Iliad aircraft carrier (apparently the non-flying variety), Agent Oliver gets a few rare lines as he tries to get Mack to stay just before the ship is invaded by Inhumans. Or rather, Gordon and a few other Inhumans including some unnamed guys, Lincoln, and the “Ginger Ninja” named Alisha (according to the credits), who can multiply herself to search the whole ship at once. Although Alisha doesn’t seem based on any particular Inhuman, there are plenty of multiplying comic book characters, like Marvel’s Multiple Man, DC’s Triplicate Girl, and Image’s Dupli-Kate. Mack escapes this initial attack, finding Skye (who Gordon brought with them for some reason) and using her uncanny abilities to save the day – no not her vibrational powers (as the Inhumans apparently have power dampeners), but her all-but-forgotten hacking skills. Jiaying decides to establish her superiority by murdering Agent Oliver (we hardly knew ye), causing Lincoln to have second thoughts. Given the opportunity, he decides to join Skye, but Mack knocked him out before he could make it official.
As all this is happening, Lance and Fitz go looking for clues on Bobbi’s disappearance. Fitz attempts to finish most of Hunter’s sentences, much as he and Simmons or he and Mack do for each other, but Lance will have none of that. They quickly suss out Agent 33/Kara’s involvement, so Lance and May take a small team to go find Bobbi, Ward and Kara somewhere near Aranda de Duero, Spain.
Ward and Kara blame Bobbi (rightfully or not) for Kara’s capture, torture and brainwashing at Hydra’s hands, so they intend to torture a confession out of Bobbi. Their rather gruesome techniques fail, so they opt for the old let’s-threaten-your-loved-one-instead routine and lure Lance and May to their location. As mentioned before, Mockingbird has one hell-of-a-backstory involving double and triple crossings, and has been the victim of brainwashing more than once. Also, on a quasi-related note, Marvel spies are trained to take pain – Black Widow once lay perfectly still through an entire operation in which the doctors thought she was under anesthesia.
During the ordeal, Kara reveals that Ward did indeed shoot the dog (much like National Lampoon before him). Last year, when Ward’s origin revealed he was told to shoot his own dog, fans speculated whether or not he actually did the did – this seems to confirm poor Buddy died at the hands of his best friend.
Ward quickly takes out most of the SHIELD team that arrive following his trap, but instead of confronting him directly, May tricks Ward and Kara into fighting each other, causing in a very quick and surprised death on Kara’s part. Ward, beset with guilt leaves, as May and Lance save Bobbi. Watching the on-again-off-again Lance dot faithfully on the recovering Bobbi, other estranged romances are rekindled (or at least kindled). Simmons finally tells Fitz she might like him back (leaving the dude hanging since last year) and May calls her ex-husband Andrew, so they can get to know each other again.
Knowing full-well the Inhumans are planning a trap, Coulson leads a small team onto the Illiad, joined by Cal (now that Simmons has stabilized his transformation). Jiaying’s plan is to release tainted Terrigen Mist into the air, killing non-Inhumans and transforming those who didn’t know they were Inhuman, but Mack personally holds off “No-Eyes” Gordon long enough for help to arrive. Gordon teleports away briefly to lock Cal up (as a good plot device should) then teleports back to find himself in a trap set by Fitz and Coulson. The four men fight in close quarters for quite a bit before Gordon accidentally kills himself on Fitz’s weapon and Coulson loses his hand trying to save the other’s lives from the deadly mist. Dang. This must be part of Marvel’s Phase 2 after all.
Outside, Jiaying tries her best Darth Vader impression on Skye, but Sky will have none of this rule-the-galaxy business. Jiaying tries to drain her own daughter, causing Skye to use her powers to shake Jiaying’s 20-year-old scars open (that’s possible?!) and throw Jiaying’s doomsday crystals into the ocean. Cal arrives before mother and daughter kill each other, only to kill Jiaying first.
Afterwards, the agents begin to pick up the pieces. Cal again voluntarily turns himself in – this time earnestly – so Coulson puts him through the TAHITI brainwashing so he can open Winslow’s Veterinary Clinic. Coulson begins “looking into some options” on his arm. May and Andrew take a much-needed holiday together. Lance and Bobbi reconnect as Bobbi considers quitting. Mack, ironically, decides to stay, but mainly because he’s put in charge of alien artifacts. Last time we speculated what that Kree rock could be, but Mack won’t let anyone’s curiosity put anyone at risk.
The main possibilities so far include:
- Nega-Bomb: Planet-killing bomb based on the Negative Zone (and Captain Marvel’s Nega-Bands)
- T-Bomb: A Terrigen bomb that could rewrite the DNA of humans worldwide
- Slave Engine: A weapon used by Inhuman kings that can turn enemies into a near-mindless slave race
Ward finds Hydra in disarray after the arrests or deaths of various Hydra leaders (the last few in Avengers: Age of Ultron), and after beating up an ex-Hydra tough named Kebo (according to the credits), founds his own Hydra, presumably a Hydra more willing to get its hands dirty.
He’s not the only one making new plans. After Andrew approved Coulson’s list, Coulson hands the Caterpillars folder over to Skye, asking her to lead the program that would bring together a team of superpowered agents using some kind of flying base Fitz is designing. Skye says that unlike the “Avengers,” this team should be “secret.” They should be called … “Anonymous.” Okay, so they’re messing around with audience heads, as this is obviously the Secret Warriors program which began as Nick Fury’s Caterpillar list of young, untapped potential superhumans.
Also, the crystals Skye through overboard cracked underwater, were consumed by fish, who were caught by fishermen, turned into fish oil and sold as a products “that will change your life.” So a bunch of accidental Inhumans could be created from fish oil. Isn’t that almost the plot of the Incredible Hulk movie?
And finally, just as Fitz is able to awkwardly (but successfully) ask Simmons out on a date, Simmons gets eaten by the giant Kree doomsday rock – what?!
Have to get back into this next year, huh?
Alisha is played by Alicia Vela-Bailey, who has provided a lot of stunt-work for the show over the past two years. It’s always good to see stunt actors and other behind-the-scenes people get on-camera work from time to time.
Oh, and Ward’s tattooed sidekick is played by a guy only listed as “Loki.” How nuts is that?