TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2 Episode 20 "Scars"
EPISODE 20: "Scars"
SYNOPSIS: Skye is torn between her loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. and her connection to the Inhumans as tensions rise between the groups — and Coulson reveals a secret he’s been hiding from even those closest to him.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
Well, what do you know? It turns out that Coulson was a big factor in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON after all. After a flashback to one year prior shows that Coulson had hidden away a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier for an emergency, we flashforward to the agents watching the news footage of The Avengers defeating Ultron. Coulson admits that he needs oversight and proposes that the two factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. unite with him as director and Gonzales' team acting as an advisory council.
Skye comforts a recouperating Lincoln who is afraid that now that S.H.I.E.L.D. knows they exist that they will not stop until they find Afterlife. At the safe city, Raina has finally come to terms with her gift and her visions are coming more regularly. She tells Gordon of a vision involvind a stone being smashed by waves and it reminds him of a Kree legend of a stone that could kill them all. Jiaying gives permission for Raina to go with Gordon to find the stone before it can hurt all of the Inhumans. Raina and Gordon teleport to the site of her vision and the location of the stone: the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier.
While searching for the stone, May, Bobbi, and Hunter come across Raina and Gordon who teleport away and find the Kree artifact in a containment box. It is able to melt into a black liquid and then reform. Before they can be caught, Gordon and Raina teleport away. We then learn that HYDRA was looking for the stone and that S.H.I.E.L.D. took possession of it after it was recovered from a dig site 100 years earlier. Coulson asks Skye about the stone but she doesn't know anything. Coulson doubts her honesty about the Inhumans and they argue about why she won't reveal the location of the Inhumans or why she trusts them. At the same time, Bobbi is informed they were able to trail Gordon after his last teleport and now know where Afterlife is.
Coulson argues with Gonzales' team who want to pre-emptively attack Afterlife and the Inhumans. Coulson and Bobbi are against it and suggest a sitdown with Jiaying instead. Coulson tells Skye what they plan to do: catalog the Inhumans and put them on the Index but Skye pleads him to let her go first and prepare Jiaying for their arrival. She also reveals to Coulson that Jiaying is her mother. Coulson informs May but it is clear their relationship is no longer the same. May doesn't share the same trust with Coulson any longer.
Raina rushes to Gordon and tells him she had a vision of S.H.I.E.L.D. attacking Afterlife and that it begins with them talking to Jiaying and suggests she meet with S.H.I.E.L.D. in her stead. After being outvoted, Coulson changes his plan and sends Gonzales to Afterlife instead. Mack resigns as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent because he doesn't trust Coulson and how Fury resurrected him using alien blood. Coulson accepts his resignation and sends the mission into action. Cal cautions Jiaying about S.H.I.E.L.D. but says Coulson does have Skye's interests at heart and offers to give himself up in exchange for keeping them safe.
As Gonzales takes a failsafe device to his meeting with the Inhumans, Bobbi is cornered by Agent 33 who is posing as May. 33 remembers what Bobbi did to her and, as their quinjet lands, Bobbi is able to knock her out. Bobbi steps out of the plane and is promptly shot by a waiting Grant Ward. Jiaying, Gordon, and Skye confront Raina for lying about her vision but Raina pleads that she is telling the truth. Jiaying turns Cal over to Gonzales and Skye takes her father into custody. Gonzales offers a gift to Jiaying: a Chinese talisman she intended to give to Skye as a child. Gonzales urges S.H.I.E.L.D. is there to protect the world from those with bad powers but not to hurt those who have good intentions. Jiaying offers a gift in return: an artificial Terrigen crystal. She then spouts that indexing never has led to fairness through history and will not let S.H.I.E.L.D. do it to her people. She then breaks the crystal which kills Gonzales. She takes his gun and shoots herself, posing it as a S.H.I.E.L.D. attack. As she stumbles out, Jiaying declares it to be war. The stinger shows Ward and 33 reunited and planning their next actions.
Another solid episode building on the events of AGE OF ULTRON while also posing the endgame for the season. With Phase Three set to kick off next year, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is poised to kickstart a war between humans and Inhumans, something that will be vital for the next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I called it when I said the factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. would unite and it looks like that potential spin-off could focus on the agents on the helicarrier as opposed to Coulson's squad. It feels like a lifetime ago when Inhumans were not a factor on this show and it has grown dramatically in terms of quality over the first season. With the big finale coming next week, I am hoping the show can stick the landing.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The helicarrier Nick Fury used to assist The Avengers in rescuing the citizens of Sokovia was part of Coulson's Theta Protocol and instrumental in the final act of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Tony Stark's creation of Ultron also plays into a comparison to why Coulson should not be allowed to make decisions without oversight.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 21/22 "S.O.S. Part 1 and 2" airs May 12th - S.H.I.E.L.D. puts everything on the line to survive a war that blurs the line between friend and foe. Coulson and his team will be forced to make shocking sacrifices that will leave their relationships and their world changed forever