TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 5

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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EPISODE 5: "A Hen in the Wolf House"

SYNOPSIS:  Coulson's team is up against the beautiful and deadly Bobbi Morse–Security Chief for Hydra. Meanwhile, Skye's father forces Raina to reunite him with his daughter at any cost.

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

After a less than stellar episode last week, we return to the plot concerning the mysterious orb and Skye's father.  The episode opens with an opulent military wedding where waiters hand out glasses of champagne.  As the best man finishes his toast, all of the guests who drank suddenly choke to death, their mouths turning blue and ashen.  In the van escaping, Mr Bakshi reveals the mass death to be another failed HYDRA experiment.  The team indicate the deaths all appear to be similar to that of the obelisk.  The team meet Coulson for a briefing and Skye notices the weird etchings on his desk but tells him her sources have come up short in regards to the painting from last week's episode.  Skye challenges Coulson to reveal his source for the etchings and he says it is classified.

We next find Skye's father (Kyle McLachlan) in an underground facility operating on a man with a gunshot wound.  When a red light comes on, it signals the arrival of  Reina who tells him she needs the obelisk back.  She tells him that Daniel Whitehall wants it.  McLachlan very creepily spouts about trying to put his family back together and Reina cautions him not to lose control again, alluding to the powers he had that killed people in the backstory we heard last season.  He refuses Reina's request for the obelisk, essentially sending her to her death,  Reina says she wanted to bring him Skye and he says that is not her name and returns to help his patient.

At HYDRA headquarters, Simmons is called into a briefing led by Daniel Whitehall who is referred to as one if HYDRA's new heads.  Whitehall mentions they all have their passions and that he has been waiting for this power.  He calls out Siimmons in the meeting who mentions dealing with the alien hardware is difficult but feels she could make it happen with the obelisk in hand.  Back at S.H.I.E.L.D., Fitz speaks with Invisi-Simmons and admits to her he knows she is a figment of his imagination.  We next see Skye and Hunter discussing the painting and questioning why Coulson is keeping secrets.  Hunter then suggests Skye ask Ward.

Ward once again promises Skye that he is not lying about knowing about her father.  Skye assumes he is lying and demands his source to which he tells her: Reina.  Skye scoffs and says Reina played Ward for his intel.  She cuts him off and asks about the symbols.  Ward first learned about it after Garrett began making the etchings.  Back at HYDRA, Reina spots Simmons and knows she is a mole.  Skye confronts Coulson and says she knows he is the source of the etchings.  He admits it and tells her he believes the GH Formula is the reason.  Skye says she was injected but isn't making the symbols. Coulson says that is why they need to monitor her.  The reason Skye has not been on active assignments is because they have been watching her and saw that she isn't reacting possibly because she has alien DNA already.

At that moment, Reina calls Coulson to say she knows about Simmons.  An alert goes out at HYDRA and we see Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) state they know there is a S.H.I.E.L.D. mole in their midst and the building is on lockdown until they are found.  Morse calls out Simmons based on her past. Simmons' supervisor is next found with her remaining encrypted documents, planted by Simmons to deflect her identity.  At a restaurant, Coulson meets Reina who flirtatiously reveals she knows about Simmons.  Morse confronts Simmons in the bathroom at HYDRA and tries to pry the truth from her, but Simmons holds strong.  Reina tells Coulson she will destroy the photo but she wants to take Skye with her.  She puts a two minute timer on the phone or every HYDRA agent gets the photo.  When Coulson asks where she wants to take Skye, Reina says she wants to take her to her father.

Coulson refuses Reina's deal and the file transfer goes through, revealing Simmons as the mole at HYDRA.  Bakshi approaches to try and take her into custody and she runs down the hall with Bobbi Morse approaching.  Suddenly, Morse pulls out two batons and takes out the HYDRA agents, revealing herself as S.H.I.E.L.D. spy code-named Mockingbird.  Coulson learns from Reina about what Whitehall did to her to persuade her to blackmail them and they implant a tracker in her, the plan all along being to use Reina as bait to get to Whitehall. On the roof of HYDRA, Morse and Simmons await their extraction team. Jumping off the roof, they land on the invisible QuinJet and fly to safety.

As the team discusses next steps at the restaurant, they recall the mention of Skye as a child that "wherever she goes,death follows".  Coulson looks around and they find that Skye has gone, trying to find her way to her father.  She finds his underground facility and a photo of him holding her photo.  Coulson shows up and Skye says she just wanted a glimpse of him.  Her father watches from his vehicle outside via hidden camera.  They do find all of the criminals, including the ones Skye's father was working on earlier, killed either by blade or brute strength.

Coulson welcomes Simmons back and informs them that Bobbi Morse has been asked to join the team.  Fitz and Simmons are reunited, awkwardly.  Hunter sees Bobbi and they launch into an argument about her hair color and that he prefers her blonde.  When Triplett asks what the deal is, May reveals that Bobbi is Hunter's "she-devil" ex-wife.  Skye waits in Coulson's office and tells him she understands why they need to go after her father and that she is on board with it.  She only demands that he be fully truthful with her from that point forward.  Coulson agrees and shows her the massive etching he has behind his office wall.  Skye then reveals her theory is that the etchings are a map.

The stinger scene shows Whitehall and Bakshi packing up the HYDRA offices only to be interrupted by Skye's father who beats all of the guards and opens a case to reveal the obelisk.  He tells Whitehall in the object's native language it is known as The Diviner and that he knows more about it and tells Whitehall he will teach him how to use it in exchange for killing Coulson and all of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Whitehall mentions The Tesseract and alludes to The Red Skull's interest in it.


"No, a theory is what scientists use to prove things in nature.  This is you telling me that I might be an alien!" – Skye to Coulson


Bobbi Morse kicking ass with her batons and helping Simmons escape HYDRA was a nice little action sequence.  Something about Adrianne Palicki kicking ass with her hair down is all sorts of all right.


A lot of exposition and double talk about Coulson etching the symbols and the (almost) big moment of Skye meeting her father, but no true explanations as to what is happening and why.


Another episode and more half-delivered answers.  I enjoy AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and I am more than willing to go the distance each year, but episodes like this frustrate the hell out of me.  Essentially, nothing happened this week.  All of Simmons undercover work is blown up just for the sake of introducing Bobbi Morse and to give Reina a reason to blackmail Coulson, but ends up just feeling like a wasted opportunity to have Simmons as a double agent or worse, possibly get brainwashed.  We also have Coulson who has for weeks refused to tell anyone about the symbols suddenly and inexplicably reverse decision to share everything with Skye.  I get that he cares for her, but he was stingier with May for the past four episodes.

I liked how Adrianne Palicki played Mockingbird and I am enjoying Kyle McLachlan's unhinged performance, but it was not enough to elevate this episode for me about a placeholder to fill in the full season order of the show.


Episode 6 "A Fractured House" – The world turns against S.H.I.E.L.D. when Hydra impersonates them to attack The United Nations, and an unexpected enemy leads the charge to bring about their downfall.



About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.