TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2 Episode 14 "Love in the Time.."
EPISODE 14: "Love in the Time of Hydra"
SYNOPSIS: Coulson and his team are still reeling from a shocking revelation that leaves the team fractured as they must decide what to do with one of their own. Meanwhile, Bobbi and Mack reveal their true allegiance to Hunter, while elsewhere, Ward and Agent 33 embark on a personal mission
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
At a diner, Agent 33 and Grant Ward share a meal and bask in each other's friendship after almost dying earlier in the season. They then pull their guns and take a man hostage with the goal of fixing the scarring on 33's face. Using high tech tools, the man repairs the scarring and allows her to alter her appearance for new operations and that she can only store three faces at a time.
At S.H.I.E.L.D., Fitz and Simmons fit Skye with arm braces to try and protect her body from the micro-fractures suffered during her earthquake fits and argue the merit of her powers. Fitz compares Skye to a potential Avenger while Simmons cautions that she could be as dangerous as the Hulk. Skye causes a tremor and removes herself from the conversation. Coulson and May discuss Skye and Garner's recommendation that she be removed from the equation. May cautions that she doesn't know how to control Skye and that her alien DNA means she doesn't know herself anymore either.
Mack brings Hunter to the office for the Inner S.H.I.E.L.D. where they meet the leadership for the organization. They claim that Nick Fury had too many secrets and didn't operate with transparency, which they promise to do as the original mission of the elite organization. Hunter says he respects Coulson while they disagree. Bobbi walks in and reveals that she agrees with the Inner S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assessment which turns Hunter's stomach. Hunter decides to hear the man out who says he was a close friend of Isabelle Hartley but her death could have been avoided if not for the search for alien artifacts and the Kree city. They blame Coulson's behavior on the alien DNA injected into him by Fury. Hunter questions why they didn't confront Coulson and the leader, Robert Gonzales, say that is why Bobbi and Mack were clandestinely watching S.H.I.E.L.D.
Simmons provides Coulson with a case and the agent then has Skye pack a bag for a little trip. As they fly, Coulson recalls memories of his father fixing cars and all the time they spent working on it together helped him learn something about himself and their relationship. Coulson reveals it was, in fact, his car Lola, but no matter how important the car is, it is still just a car. They head to a cabin safe house, one of Fury's retreats, and says it is where Steve Rogers came after thawing out. He then tells Skye he is pulling her from duty and she will stay at the cabin for the time being and gives her time to get a handle on her abilities. He reveals the case Simmons provided are some gauntlets made to limit her powers magnitude so she can heal. There are side effects, but Skye asks Coulson what he would do and he cannot give her an answer.
Agent 33 and Ward discuss the next phase of their plan, but 33 is not sure she has anything she can give Ward. Ward says that is not why he was doing this, so 33 shifts her face to Skye's and tries to seduce him. But, Ward says that is not what he wants and the feeling was not mutual. Ward says if he will be with her, he wants it to be her true face, but 33 says Whitehall wiped everything that she was from her memory. Ward relates how reconnecting with his family helped him, conveniently leaving out how he murdered them but offers 33 closure. He gives her a folder showing Bakshi's location under General Talbot's watch. Ward manipulates 33 into wanting to take Bakshi out.
33, posing as General Talbot's wife, tries to get into the facility. Talbot gives the okay and lets her in. As she cuts the security feed to allow Ward in, Talbot's wife calls which triggers that they are compromised. Talbot notifies everyone about the mask and gathers all female staff to try and find the agent wearing the nano-mask. Talbot questions the female officers with personal questions to weed out the mole but none of them turn out to be her. 33 shows up at the front, in the guise of a male guard, and the two find Bakshi. He tries to use Whitehall's trigger, but 33 knocks him out. Talbot takes his wife down at gunpoint before realizing it really is her and is at a loss as to where 33 could be.
Gonzales tells Bobbi and Mack to get back to S.H.I.E.L.D. and that Hunter will be staying for security reasons. May confronts Mack about Hunter's status. She says Hunter is an issue but Mack dances around his location to throw May off his scent. Bobbi meets with Hunter and apologizes for lying to him and says she gave his name to Coulson and didn't expect him to stick around. Hunter says their marriage was always based on lies and asks her to leave with him and try to be better to one another, but Bobbi says she has to finish what she started. Hunter understands but says he is leaving and she cannot stop him. Hunter tries to get out, taking down some guards, and finds he is on a remote helicarrier. He steals a sub and escapes.
Fitz asks Coulson where Skye is and he simply says she is safe. Fitz asks Simmons what she gave to Coulson and she says it is something to help her. Fitz confronts Simmons' motivations but she says she wants to fix Skye and feels something is wrong with her. Fitz says they changed, but Simmons changed more. Talbot notifies Coulson and May about what Ward and 33 did, leaving Coulson unsure as to what they want Bakshi for. He tells May he didn't feel right about what he did with Skye and thinks maybe he did the wrong thing. Coulson then asks May if she believes Mack and both say they don't.
Gonzales and Inner S.H.I.E.L.D. discuss the missing Hunter, Coulson relocating Skye, and what comes next. Bobbi, despite Hunter being able to blow her cover, asks to go back in and end the operation once and for all. In the stinger, 33 removes her mask, revealing her scarred face and Ward says it is nice to meet her finally. They introduce themselves and 33, now revealing her name is Kiera, thanks him. We then see Bakshi strapped to a chair with Whitehall's subliminal messages on the screen.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: A mention of Steve Rogers location after the end of THE FIRST AVENGER are mentioned as a name check for Hulk.
REVIEW: After several roller coaster episodes in a row, this week's entry felt a little off kilter, pacing wise. It was definitely interesting to learn more about the Inner S.H.I.E.L.D., but the promises of learning what Bobbi and Mack were up to still feel vague. Yes, this is a second S.H.I.E.L.D. that wants more transparency and doesn't trust Coulson, but is there really room for two of these groups? I am convinced that one will become a different group entirely, the question is when that will happen. Ward and 33 got a lot of the screen time this week that seems to be building towards something, but again this is vague and stretched out. One of the issues the first season of this show faced was poor pacing and a lot of red herrings. Unfortunately, tonight's episode felt like a call back to last season. Even General Talbot, who was a hard ass character in every other appearance, feels like comic relief here and it just didn't fit with the tone of the show. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been solid for over a dozen episodes in a row, so I will just count this one as a misstep and look forward to next week.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 14 "One Door Closes" (Airs March 31st) - War comes to Coulson’s doorstep in a way he never anticipated as shocking revelations are brought to light, and Skye struggles to control her new abilities but will soon make a decision that irrevocably changes her life