Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Hen in the Wolf House”

Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird

I hope you’ve got your lanyards handy, because Agents of SHIELD got serious again this week.  Last week’s episode was all fun and action (and Philinda), but this week was drama, suspense, and emotional moments.  While last’s week was more of a standalone episode, giving us some small progress but not doing much to advance the plot, this week took some major steps forward.  We didn’t get any concrete answers to the show’s main mysteries, but they did shake up the status quo quite a bit.  Simmons undercover experience with HYDRA came to a head, and Coulson’s secrets are becoming less secret.  We learned more about the Doctor, none of which sounds good, and Raina was put in a tough position.  Oh, and there’s Bobbi Morse, who is the best.  So let’s dive right into “The Hen in the Wolf House,” written by Brent Fletcher and directed by Holly Dale.

Tonight’s episode opens with a wedding.  No it’s not a flashback to Coulson and May getting married, nor a flash forward to FitzSimmons wedding.  It’s not even an imaginary wedding taking place in Ward’s head between him and Skye.  Instead, it’s a wedding filled with men from the Navy, wearing their uniforms and watching as one of their own is toasted by his slightly drunk best man.  His toast sounds a bit interesting to us SHIELD fans, given the nature of the Marvel universe, as he says, “The world is full of people seeking change.  Hoping to become something else, something better.”  As he rambles on about their exploits in Tijuana, much to the groom’s embarrassment and the bride’s frustration, one of the guests asks a waiter if they have anything stronger to drink than the champagne but she’s told that’s all that’s available.  The toast finally ends, they all raise their glasses and take a drink, and that’s when things start to go bad.  Many of the guests’ mouths start to turn black and they begin coughing, while others start to see an entire transformation into the sort of corpses we’ve seen as a result of contact with the Obelisk.  The waiters all pile into a van outside and make contact with Bakshi, who asks about the results.  They tell him that there were eight dead, some just sick, while the others were scared but very much alive.  Bakshi is disappointed and tells them that Dr. Whitehall will not be pleased that they’ve failed again.

Coulson is getting briefed about the incident, too.  May tells him that six of the dead were in the Navy, and all of them were part of an anti-HYDRA unit.  The similarity to the Obelisk-related deaths they’ve seen means they have to assume that HYDRA has the Obelisk.  The team (minus Fitz) discusses their options, and while some want to send someone into HYDRA to find out, Coulson would rather wait for Simmons to make contact.  As they talk, Skye notices some alien carvings on Coulson’s desk, but when she asks about it he dismisses them as sketches.  She says she’s talked to her Rising Tide contacts but no one knows any more about the alien writing.  She asks about the source for all of the images he’s given her, but he tells her it’s classified.  She doesn’t want to hear that, and tells him that given that he is the boss man, he could declassify it.  “I could.  I won’t,” is his response.  He says he already answered that question, but she says he just skirted it and there’s a difference.  It’s a difference he’s comfortable with, and he warns her not to question his authority or they’ll have a very different conversation.  She leaves, followed by the rest of the team, but on the way out May turns to him and says, “You know, keeping her in the dark won’t end well.”

Skye’s father, the mysterious Doctor, is busy operating on a patient with a gunshot wound.  He’s removing the bullet in a small, dark operating room that feels like it’s in a basement, and he’s working alone.  The wounded man’s friend is talking to the patient, waving his gun around and telling him they’re going to get revenge.  Clearly these are some shady characters.  Suddenly a red light starts flashing on the wall, next to a security camera.  The Doctor looks at it and nods, and Raina comes in.  The patient and his buddy aren’t happy about the breech in discretion, but the Doctor doesn’t listen.  He reminds Raina that he told her never to interrupt him while he’s working, as the patient’s privacy is important.  “I’m in trouble,” Raina says, which disappoints the Doctor’s hope that she was bringing good news.  She tells him that she needs to borrow the Obelisk temporarily, but there’s no way he’ll agree to that.  She says please and starts to beg, but he cuts her off and tells her to stop.  He says the begging reminds him of when he first found her, hungry on the street with a head full of fairytales.  “You said you’d make them come true,” she says.

He strokes her face and asks who wants the Obelisk, who it is that has made her so afraid.  When she says that it’s Daniel Whitehall, his hand moves to her throat as he asks if Whitehall scares her more than he does.  She says that Whitehall is very powerful with lots of resources, but the Doctor says he’s a butcher.  “What are you?” Raina asks, as his grip tightens.  “I’m a man trying to put my family back together,” he says.  She tells him that he’s losing control again and that he needs her.  “If you’re not careful you’ll lose Skye forever if she sees you like this,” she says.  “I’m the only one who can bring her… and I can’t breathe.”  He releases her, and then smashes the glass cabinet behind her in frustration.  He says that the Obelisk is the only thing that will make Skye understand him and he won’t turn it over.  Raina insists that Whitehall will cut her to pieces, which the Doctor doesn’t deny.  He suggests that she go beg him for mercy, because “maybe he’s turned soft in his old age.”  Raina goes to leave, with tears in her eyes, but on the way out she turns back and says, “I really wanted to bring you Skye.”  “That’s not her name,” the Doctor replies.  As she leaves, the patient’s friend asks if they can get back to work, telling the Doctor to try to keep it together.

Simmons is busy at work in the HYDRA lab, as Turgeon, her superior, looks on.  She asks what kind of cow could produce “carbide milk,” but as he says the file just says “Bessie.”  They don’t get to discuss the HYDRA cow anymore, though, because they’re summoned to a conference room and given a file to look over.  Turgeon spots Whitehall waiting in the hallway and whispers to Simmons that he’s “one of HYDRA’s new heads.”  Whitehall comes in and greets everyone, saying that he needs their help.  They’ve been trying to reverse engineer the “artifact” (the Obelisk) using tissue samples from its victims, but the results haven’t been so successful.  He shows them images from the wedding reception, but assures them that “many” of the deceased were enemies of HYDRA.  He has loftier aspirations, however, and he’s waited his whole life to get his hands on the Obelisk.  He notices that Simmons isn’t listening and is reading through the file, and he calls her out by name to ask her opinion.  He tells her that Bakshi tells him that she has a passion for these sorts of projects, and he wants to know where his other scientists went wrong.  She says that she’s not sure they did, that they’re dealing with alien technology and alien metal that reacts with our biology in unpredictable ways that are impossible to predict without a sample.  Whitehall asks if they’ll be able to weaponize the Obelisk’s effects if they can get a sample, and after a pause she says they can.  As he leaves, Turgeon is jealous that Whitehall knows her name, but she has other concerns.  “Do you know what this means?” she asks.  “This could kill millions or billions of people.”  “Pretty awesome, huh?” he replies.

Skye has snatched the painting they stole last week and almost runs over Hunter as she takes it back to her bunk.  “Don’t mind me just standing here,” he says, annoyed.  Fitz watches, with “Simmons” by his side.  “Did Skye just steal that painting from our lab?” he asks her.  “Simmons” however is much more interested in watching Mack work on a vehicle.  She points out that Mack has a very impressive physique.  Fitz says that he must agree, since “Simmons” is just a part of his subconscious.  She’s excited by this comment, because it means that he’s coming to realize she’s not real, but Fitz isn’t interested in having a conversation with himself.  She tells him that he has real friends again and doesn’t need her any more.  “But I miss you…. her,” Fitz says.  “But she left you and moved on,” Simmons says.  “Maybe it’s time for you to do the same.”


11 thoughts on “Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Hen in the Wolf House”

  1. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “A Hen in the Wolf House” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  2. This has probably been my favorite episode of the season so far (which is probably why I’m commenting on it twice), but that probably means something dreadful’s coming up soon 😦

    Totally agree with you about the recap thing. It really gets to me when reviewers or other recaps don’t seem to be fans of the show or remember other details. I understand that you can’t love every show, but there are some considerations people can make. Heck, I knew that Skye wasn’t her real name since the first episodes (why else would she be looking for her family?). That was how I found you in the first place! Really wish you could get paid for it though, you give the most thorough recaps.

    There’s still the possibility of Inhuman blood in Skye, especially since Kevin Feige has been eager on the Inhumans for a while. Still, just because they’re all out of HYDRA doesn’t mean I’m not worried about them!


    • It really was a great episode, wasn’t it? I hope you’re wrong about something dreadful coming soon, but with this show I feel like it’s always waiting just around the corner.
      Thanks for the compliment! I’d love to get paid, but then I’d probably have to be a little more reliable about when these recaps are posted, so it’s probably for the best. I’ve been contacted about writing for bigger sites, but it always fell through. But even if a recapper isn’t a huge fan of the show, I would at least expect them to watch all of the first season, and the Mary Sue Poots scene was pretty memorable.
      Feige is definitely an Inhumans fan, so I think that’s certainly a possibility for Skye and her father. (We’re not the only ones.) I think we’re more likely to see an Inhumans story on TV than we are as a feature film, as I couldn’t see it fitting in with the MCU direction at the moment.
      You’re right, just because they’re out of HYDRA doesn’t mean they’re safe! I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before something awful happens.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment (twice!). It means a lot to me, and I love interacting with people about shows we love.


  3. Pingback: Trailer Thursday: Avengers: Age of Ultron | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  4. I have to say that the writing this season so far (I know, only a few episodes) has been great, compared to how it was going after Season 1 got started. I don’t know if they were really constrained by the movie(s) and having trouble finding themselves, but it has really improved, and I like it. Ratings have dropped some, but hopefully not enough to put them in danger of cancellation. I feel that part of their survival is that they are a weekly marketing engine for the Marvel movies, and as long as they can keep that connection strong, they will continue. But yes, exciting episode!


    • I agree completely! The writing has definitely improved over the first chunk of season one. It might have to do with the writers having to hold things back until The Winter Soldier, or it could just be that they’ve found their groove with the characters. Regardless, I’m loving this season and I hope it will stick around. I think it will!


  5. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “A Fractured House” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  6. Pingback: Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “A Fractured House” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  7. So Bobbi is the badass in the tumblr feed…


    I see these “spoilers” come up on my tumblr feed, and rather than being spoiled, I am intrigued (whattheheck is that gonna be?!???).

    She’d better stick around, she’s just epic heroic. We girls want a few more role models you know, though SHIELD is doing a better job than most TV on giving us strong female characters.

    I had to google Inhumans…. well now………. that’s interesting…….

    The show has definitely found its feet this season. They may have just needed that much time to solidify the characters, their relationships, and the direction of the stories… and to untangle themselves from the film franchise. In the old days of the 60s, TV shoes took a couple years to find their feet, their audience, their direction, to become really good. Now our corporate consumer culture expects awesome ratings on Day One, or the show dies.

    SHIELD has become a fantastic addition to television, and to the Marvel Universe… carry on!


    • Yes, Bobbi is the badass. I’m glad you’re not put off by the spoilers, especially since you’re fated to be a week behind. I think she’s going to stick around a little while at least.
      I’m not particularly familiar with the Inhumans either, but I’m trying to learn about them, especially with the film they announced coming out in 2018. It’s definitely an intriguing theory about Skye.
      I agree completely about the difference between shows in the 60’s and now. I feel like there’s no patience anymore, and with DVR and streaming and on demand and twitter and all of that, everything has to be an instant hit, which leads to some shows getting renewed just because they deliver a huge hit while others are cancelled before they get a chance to shine. I’m glad SHIELD is still around and has gotten to mature and become even better this year!
      And thank you as always for taking the time to read and to comment. I know I’m sometimes slow to respond, but know that I always read your comments right away and they mean a lot to me!


  8. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “The Writing on the Wall” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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