The agents continue to deal with the growing Inhuman threat, especially now that Thor's friend Sif and a Kree alien are on the hunt as well. New info and hints of a greater space war were dropped in this episode of Agents of SHIELD!
Sorry for the delay. I was incommunicado last week. Next week's Secrets will arrive as scheduled!
This week's entry in the "Art of Evolution" series (providing "cover" art for episodes this season) is by Daredevil artist Marcos Martin. Martin's crisp, clean style and 1960s aesthetic goes a long way to setting the tone for this week's chase-caper.
Having comic artists illustrate episode-relevant images is a great way to raise awareness for both the comics and the show. More comic book series should try this!
There's a lot of stuff going on this episode, so it may not be new-viewer friendly, but it certainly covers ground quickly. Conspiracies deepen, secrets are revealed and Coulson finally gets to meet a live alien (not counting Asgardians).
Spoiler-Light Recap: Skye and Fitz are hiding a secret. Bobbi and Mac are hiding a secret. Sif is keeping secrets from herself and all the fits gunna hit the shan this episode!
On with the Comic Connections
Let's back up and do this chronologically for a minute.
Heimdall saw a Kree landing on Earth and sent his sister Sif to investigate the matter. Now, one might ask, why didn't Heimdall see Yondu's crew pick up young Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, or Red Skull's use of the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger? Well the answer is simple, just because he can see everything, that doesn't mean he can see everything at the same time. He's always looking for trouble though.
Sif, Thor's prophesied wife from Asgard (even if Jane is his current lady love), goes to Faro, Portugal, where she fights the Kree invader, messing up a busy pier (and the kiosk of local vender Cardozo) before getting her memory erased. SIf in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is much more subdued than Sif in the comics. In the comics, she is Thor's on-again, off-again love, but in the movie-verse she's been friendzoned.
Back at the Playground, Coulson and Mac are checking on the supply of jackets from Stark Industries (namecheck Iron Man franchise) so Coulson can have Maria Hill order more (namecheck Avengers and Captain America movies), when May tells them a "blue-dot operative" in Portugal has info on Sif's return to Earth. After a few phone calls, Coulson has the Portugese prime minister (?!) ask the local police to keep an eye on the rogue Asgardian, something Officer Carvalho is willing to do. I'm at a loss as to how the non-agency of SHIELD could call favors from the prime minister (it seems Coulson knows people who know people), and to what a "blue-dot operative" is - anyone have a clue? Presumably this isn't a reference to the European Space Agency, Carl Sagan or even Marvel's Code: Blue, a police subdivision that handles superpowered incidents.
Once the team meets up with the amnesiac Sif, they make a few quick references to the last time she was on Earth looking for someone (along with, presumably, security footage from inside the Bus jumbojet). Thanks to Skye's hacking skills (and Twitter), the team learned about Sif's fight with the Kree. Hunter, Mac and Fitz (whom Mac still calls "Turbo") go on forensics detail looking for clues and we learn Bobbi speaks just enough Portuguese to ask if someone speaks English, unfortunately, the alien has already amnesia-whammied a nurse and (after a quick fight with Bobbi and a shaking incident with Skye) he's flown the coop.
Turns out the Kree had been looking for "Kava" (which amnesiac Sif thought was a name), a strangely translated name for Chaves, Portugal ("chaves" being Portuguese for "keys"), the site of Whitehall's Hydra dig in 1945 that turned up the Obelisk/Diviner that granted Skye her powers.
With that info handy, the team tracks and captures the Kree guy, named Vin-Tak. Vinny claims to be from a peace-loving sect of Kree (presumably the same ones that entered into a treaty with Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy) and despite his violent reactions and casual use of his memory-altering truncheon, he only wanted to address the threat of Inhumans and prevent invasions by violent factions of Kree. Apparently he was using some kind of nitrogen-based armor to appear human. Vin-Tak doesn't seem based on a specific comic book Kree, but his name follows general Kree naming conventions (i.e. Mar-Vell, Yon-Rogg, et al) and the idea that Kree would have violent subfactions is well established. Vinny's weapon is also reminiscent of Ronan's Universal Weapon (that hammer-thing from the GotG movie) but his seek-out-and-capture mission makes him seem like a Pursuer (unlike Ronan, who is an Accuser). Interestingly, this is the first living Kree on Agents of SHIELD, following the dead Host from "TAHITI."
According to Sif, who may not remember her own name but knows all about the Kree, there are seven intelligence species that require breathable nitrogen, but none are humanoid. This isn't a direct reference to Marvel Comics aliens, as most appear to be breathing oxygen, and breathing needs rarely come up. There are a lot of non-humanoids though, like the Trill or the Fomalhauti.
Vin-Tak, Sif and Skye (the latter quoting Raina) describe the Tale of Terrigenesis, when ancient Kree ("Blue Angels who fell from the sky") visited various planets and altering the inhabitants on a genetic level to create living weapons. This follows the origins of Inhumans from the comics, although various retcons have added or changed details over the years.
For example, until recently it was thought that the only successful Inhumans were created on Earth, but it was revealed that the Kree had done similar experiments on thousands of worlds, later hunting down and killing all successfully altered beings - except for those of five worlds, including Earth.
The Kree alteration program (called Metagenesis in the comics) was part of a "very long war." This may or may not be a reference to the Kree-Xandar War, which lasted hundreds of years according to the GotG movie, or it could be our first hint at the must more canonical Kree-Skrull War, which lasted hundreds of thousands of years until the Avengers got involved. Of course, there's still the question of whether Skrulls even exist in the MCU.
Although Coulson's people flooded the ancient city under Puerto Rico, Vin-Tak's search revealed a total of six Diviners that could create "an army" of Inhumans with Terrigen Crystals (named in this episode), and only one is confirmed destroyed. This is horrible news for SHIELD (but great news for the Inhumans).
Vin-Tak and Sif continually talk of putting down Inhumans, with Sif even referring to Raina as an "it," all scary news to Skye who soon reveals herself by causing a small quake in the Playground. Fitz had worked hard to hide Skye's status, even briefly convincing Simmons Skye's DNA results were an "uncanny" simulation. Once Skye's Inhumanness is out of the closet, however, all heck breaks lose with two upset aliens and a lot of confused SHIELD agents.
Coulson calls out for the "Bambino" - the Asgardian-inspired gun Coulson first used in the Avengers film. Seems appropriate to name the big gun after Babe Ruth. Bobbi distracts Vin-Tak long enough for Fitz to find, activate and fire Bambino, allowing Bobbi to use the confused Vin-Tak's truncheon against himself.
May escorts Skye down to Vault D (where Ward was previously kept), and desperately attempts to calm Skye before Sif can break through their defenses. Skye saves them the trouble by shooting herself with an ICER bullet. This placates Sif, who agrees to return the now-amnesiac Vin-Tak to Hala (the Kree homeworld) - no mention of the poor nurse who never got her memories back. Sif warns Coulson that if he plans to keep Skye on Earth, "there are tides in the universe that you cannot swim against." Ominous. Say, did you know there is a tide of destruction that washes across the universe? It's called the Battletide. True fact.
Despite this apparent happy ending, Simmons had talked about detaining first and asking questions later with new ICER bullets specifically intended for superhumans, Mac worries the team needs protection from Skye and May remembers Agent Lumley's prophetic warning that death follows Skye. With all those good vibes around her, Skye locks herself into the Cage, the Vibranium-lined interrogation room on the Bus. This is fortunate, as Vibranium negates vibrations, and could be the one place safe from Skye right now.
Then there's the stinger - ex-spouses Bobbi and Hunter had been getting along great, but Bobbi and Mac's secret conspiracy (which is "not Hydra") forces Bobbi to unceremoniously re-dump her ex-ex. Hunter, encouraged by Coulson's offer of a permanent position at SHIELD (a non-existent organization can offer jobs?) follows up on his hunches and confronts Mac, who proceeds to choke the air out of Hunter. Who are Bobbi and Mac's "Backup" and what will happen to the unconscious Hunter? One of the current fan-theories is that they might be part of a newly-formed SWORD. The idea that Coulson isn't the only former-SHIELD agent forming his own organization makes sense, and it certainly is possible that agents banded together against alien threats after the Battle of New York (i.e. The Avengers movie).
Time will tell.