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Thursday, April 23, 2015

No "Enemy" of MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Article originally written for Seat42F.



The action-packed threads converge in “Frenemy of My Enemy,” the latest installment of ABC’s MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Both S.H.I.E.L.D. and “the real” S.H.I.E.L.D. search for Skye (Chloe Bennet), but they aren’t the only ones, as Hydra enters the race, too. Too bad Skye is woefully ignorant of the danger she’s in, hanging out with her crazy dad instead.

It’s a bit surprising to see Skye sympathizing with Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) at this point. It’s obvious that she is staying by his side to protect others, not because she wants to be there, but her words of comfort to him ring a bit too honest to dismiss. She does understand what he’s lost, and while she may not approve of the way he handles things, it’s clear that she isn’t ready to completely toss him aside. Even if he gets locked up, which has to happen, it seems like Skye might continue to visit him.

This is a long way from Skye’s attitude regarding her father previously, but it makes a certain amount of sense. She has always wanted to find her family, and while she appreciates the clan Coulson (Clark Gregg) has built more than her biological relations, Cal does hold the answers to many questions Skye has about herself. Plus, whatever his faults, he loves her, and losing Skye has caused him huge amounts of pain that Skye has finally opened herself up enough to see. Whatever happens, I expect and hope for a lasting bond between these two.

Other bonds in MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to grow more tenuous. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) confides to May (Ming-Na Wen) that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) has the toolbox. May turns right around and tells Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki). To her credit, Bobbi only asks Simmons to help her track Fitz, not sharing the news with her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. board members. But Simmons feels betrayed by May, even when May points out how erratic Coulson has been acting. I don’t think May will turn her back on Coulson by any means, but she may see the wisdom in someone else leading the organization or making Coulson come clean with the team about his secret activities.

Because of this, “Frenemy of My Enemy” actually begins to heal the rift between the two S.H.I.E.L.D.s. Simmons may not be ready to get on board, but May understands that Bobbi and the others are not trying to destroy Coulson. That’s an important step to righting the ship, whoever ends up being in charge in the end. Coulson turning himself in at the close of the episode will be another important step, if he doesn’t do something horrible while in custody, which is a possibility.

S.H.I.E.L.D. does need to get its act together, though, because there are clearly other dangers out there. The super humans might not be one, although Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) is a bit shady in following Skye. But Hydra is presenting a real threat again when Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) is allowed to hook back up with Dr. List (Henry Goodman, Taking Woodstock). Mike (J. August Richards) and Lincoln are kidnapped and may be controlled by those with less than noble intentions. And 33, a.k.a. Kara (Maya Stojan), and Ward (Brett Dalton) remain at large, assuming Coulson didn’t follow through on wiping their memories, which we did not see him do.

It’s hard to review “Frenemy of My Enemy” as its own thing because it’s extremely interconnected with the rest of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. lately. What is notable is that it is very clear that the series has ramped up, giving us lots of exciting players that keep changing their combinations in new and interesting ways, and the show seems to be rocketing towards what will likely be a shocking, splashy conclusion. I’m happy to be along for the ride.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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