TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2 Episode 18 "The Frenemy..."
EPISODE 18: "The Frenemy of My Enemy"
SYNOPSIS: Coulson and Hunter form a dangerous alliance as they turn to someone unexpected for help; Lincoln and Skye are drawn into a conflict.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. first debuted, we had our heroes and a mysterious haze of super-powered "villains". Fans didn't like it so the showrunners replaced the bad guys with one foe: HYDRA. Now, the show has evolved to the point that we have four distinct groups to follow: S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA, The "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Inhumans. Technically, you could put other foes under a miscellaneous category, but my point is that this show has grown from being black and white to a multi-faceted view of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this episode was a perfect example.
Coulson needs to find a way to combat the growing forces against him and gather the super-powered individuals around the world, including Skye, to protect them from Gonzales' splinter S.H.I.E.L.D.. With Fitz delivering Fury's Toolbox, Coulson says they need to make a deal with HYDRA to find the Inhumans. That means making a deal with Grant Ward. Ward and Agent 33, now with her original face, meet Coulson in Tijuana thanks to Deathlok's assistance. It is there that Coulson makes Ward an offer: help him find HYDRA's new leader, Baron Von Strucker, and he will wipe Ward's memory using the T.A.H.I.T.I. protocol and give him a chance to start over. Ward accepts, seemingly with ulterior motives, and delivers Mr. Bakshi.
Meanwhile, in Afterlife, Skye is worried about her father, Cal, being sent away from the Inhuman safety zone. But, her mother says his existence there endangers them all. She also has her hands full trying to determine if Raina's power truly is precognition or something else. She seems to have ulterior motives of her own as she lies to both Skye and Cal about her true plans. Skye, knowing her father is leaving, offers to go back home to Milwaukee with him. Naturally, they disagree, but Skye is allowed to go.
At Gonzales' S.H.I.E.L.D., Simmons reveals to May that they switched the Toolbox with a fake. Thinking she can trust May was a mistake as May reveals the truth to Bobbi. Simmons is shocked but May's rationale is that the Toolbox was their only way to understand what Coulson was doing. Bobbi seems to have doubts about Coulson being their foe and Mack is now coming around himself. The question is whether they are going to join forces and bring S.H.I.E.L.D. back in line together or not.
Plans change for everyone though, as both Skye and Coulson have to deal with changes of heart. First, Coulson realizes that Ward and 33 tricked them as they overhear Bakshi offering Deathlok as a gift to HYDRA and they pull guns on one another. Ward convinces Coulson to have Deathlok play along. Listening in to their conversation, Coulson hears that they are looking for signs of quantum entanglement, the residue left by Gordon teleporting, which also indicates that HYDRA wants Skye. In Milwaukee, Skye humors Cal and lets him take her on a tour of his hometown while leaving a cell phone signal open for May and the team to track them down. Her view of her father changes and she realizes that despite being volatile, he is not an evil man. Cal explains how he reassembled his wife to save her life and Skye tells him the truth that they cannot be back together like a real family.
As Cal realizes that their day together was going to be goodbye rather than the beginning of a new relationship, Deathlok, Bakshi, and the HYDRA team enter the building. Cal loses his temper and begins to fight with Lincoln when HYDRA engages them. Lincoln tells Skye to run and she runs into Deathlok. Lincoln uses his power and scrambles Deathlok's feed and they cannot get it back online since SImmons is trying to hack in. Once she gets in, they see Coulson and Ward together which obviousl spells traitor to May. Bakshi turns on them and takes Lincoln and Deathlok prisoner. Coulson and Ward find Skye but before they can get her, Gordon takes her and Cal away. While Coulson laments just missing Skye, Ward tells him they are outgunned and need to regroup. In the final stinger, Bobbi and Mack arrive at the building where Coulson is waiting to turn himself in.
I have been concerned about the storylines this season and how they all felt unresolved but this episode single-handedly converges all of the stories and shows us the plan for how to align everything. With talk of a S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off in development, I can see a lot of potential in following another squad of heroes on their own missions, but this main series has shown itself capable of telling interesting stories without relying too heavily on MCU references. In fact, this episode managed to throw an AGE OF ULTRON reference out there without being too overt. Only two episodes remain this season and they look like they could be damn good ones.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Using Fury's Toolbox, Coulson mentions the new head of HYDRA, Baron Von Strucker. Skye learns her full birth name is Daisy Johnson, the same as Marvel Comics character Quake. Hulk gets name-checked.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 19 "The Dirty Half Dozen" (Airs April 28th) Gonzales and Coulson must find a way to put their differences aside and work together against Hydra, even if it means teaming up with someone they don't trust,