Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “What They Become”

Bobbi and Hunter, "What They Become"

Simmons tells Coulson that she thinks they can safely enter the city by wearing hazmat suits.  Coulson says that he, Trip and May will plant the bombs while FitzSimmons run things from the Bus.  Trip asks Billy Koenig where his brother is hiding, and Billy says with a smile that the excitement fried his circuits and he had to go recharge his batteries.  Trip gives him a shrewd look and says, “I know what you’re doing.”  Coulson tells Billy and Sam to head back to HQ and in case things go south they should activate the Theta Protocol.  When Billy starts to question it, Coulson insists that it’s an order.  They get a call from Bobbi, who has followed Diego’s note to the Ponce de Leon theater.  When Coulson aligns the theater over the map of the city they find that it’s right over the suspected location of the temple.  This necessitates a change in plans, as he and May head to back up Bobbi and Hunter, while Trip and FitzSimmons set the explosives.

HYDRA is using a plasma drill to cut through the ground into the city.  Skye and Cal are lead out into a hallway, where they’re met by Ward, Raina, Whitehall and a handful of guards.  Whitehall says that they’re all there because of Raina, Cal and Ward, offering his praise to Ward for delivering Raina, Raina has finally earned Whitehall’s trust after some early doubts, and Cal’s knowledge led them there.  His only question is where Skye fits in.  Ward says he needed insurance in case SHIELD tried to strike back, but that doesn’t make any sense since Whitehall ordered the Bus shot down, which would leave no one to try to rescue Skye.  Whitehall says he has a theory, and when Agent 33 appears carrying the Diviner in a box he orders Skye to pick it up.  “You first,” she says, but the guards train their guns on her and she has no choice.  Cal gives her the slightest of nods, and we see a scalpel hidden in his hand.  Skye picks up the Diviner and it glows with orange, alien writing, just as it did for Raina.  She takes it and touches it to the exposed skin of the guard closest to her, and he starts to turn to stone.  Her father stabs another guard in the neck, while Ward knocks one out and takes his gun.

They’re still outnumbered, however, as Whitehall says to Skye, “I hope you’re as special as your mother.”  He confesses that he didn’t recognize Cal when he first barged in, but now he clearly remembers what happened all those years ago.  “If my daughter weren’t here I’d tear you to pieces,” Cal snarls.  The only thing Whitehall can’t figure out is why Ward is there, what brought him to HYDRA when he has no loyalty to them.  “It’s love,” Raina says, saying that he’s helping Skye fulfil her destiny, to see what she really is.  Whitehall tells Cal that he won’t get his vengeance today as a guard knocks him out, and he orders Ward tied up, warning the guards to be careful as he’s a trained killer.  Still, he thinks in time he might be able to make Ward comply.

The Bus lands on the roof of the theater, and despite the situation not being ideal, Coulson, May, Bobbi and Hunter suit up.  Coulson reminds them of their objectives, to find Skye and stop the plasma drill, but Bobbi adds, “Don’t die out there.”  Coulson gives her a look and says that he thought that was implicit, but Hunter says that he and Bobbi tend to remind each other not to die.  She says that he likes to hear it, and he asks who doesn’t.  Meanwhile Trip is getting ready to rappel down into the city, telling FitzSimmons to wait, even though he’d love to have company.  They just have to insert the detonators into the explosives and set the timers.  They ask what they’ll do about Mack, and he says if he’s dead they’ll bring his body back up, and if he’s not dead then he’s not Mack and killing him would be doing him a favor.  Trip drops down into the hole, wearing his hazmat suit and carrying a lit torch.

Agent 33 is guarding Skye, and Ward, who are all tied to chairs.  Ward’s curious about 33, wondering how he got May’s face.  She says it was in the service of Whitehall, that she didn’t have a purpose before, that she was lost but now she complies.  She says she’s not loyal to HYDRA, she’s just loyal to Whitehall.  Ward points out that the guy he was loyal to went insane, which makes for some awkward silence among the group.  Cal lies on the floor, and when he starts wake up and make for Whitehall he activates a device attached to Cal’s neck that disables him, sending him convulsing to the floor.  Whitehall says he’s waited years for this, and he walks over to Skye and tells her that her mother’s gift was that she didn’t age like the rest of humanity.  He says he wonders if that’s Skye’s gift or if she’s special in another way.  “Discovery requires experimentation,” he says, telling Cal that before he kills him he wants him to watch what he does to his daughter.  He’s interrupted before he can do any more by the sound of gunshots.

Coulson’s team has infiltrated the theater, taking out guards wherever they find them.  He says to May, “Know what we could use?”  “Another fifty men?” she answers.  “I was gonna say a dozen but I like your idea better.”  Agent 33 and Whitehall leave, leaving only one guard behind to watch Ward, Skye and the immobilized Cal.  Ward starts to talk to the guard, asking how many men they’ve got in the building, adding that it probably isn’t enough.  While he talks, Cal overpowers the device, pulling it from his neck and tossing it aside.  Ward points out to the guard how outnumbered he is, and as the guard starts to get jumpy Ward tells him to take it easy.  He’s just trying to be helpful, and he’s a lot nicer than Cal’s going to be.  Cal comes up behind him and attacks him, breaking his neck and dropping him to the floor, earning a smile from Ward and a grossed out look from Skye.  Cal, however, doesn’t free Ward or Skye, telling them that he’s going to do something to Whitehall that he doesn’t want them to see.  Ward says he wouldn’t mind seeing, and he’d be happy to help, but Cal is determined to do it himself, and he leaves Skye and Ward alone.

Trip and FitzSimmons set the first two charges, but things are going slower than planned, not leaving them much time to get out before things explode.  Fitz suggests they split up, which Trip and Simmons aren’t keen on, but he convinces them that he knows what he’s doing and isn’t afraid.  He then heads off in the wrong direction until Simmons wearily calls his name and he realizes his mistake.  May and Coulson split up, and Cal eventually finds Whitehall.  Just as he’s about to attack the murderer of his wife Whitehall spots him and pulls a gun.  Shots ring out and Whitehall falls to the floor, Coulson standing behind him.  Cal screams, “What did you do?”  Coulson confusedly says, “You’re welcome?”

Cal is furious, saying that Whitehall was his and Coulson killed him.  Coulson promises to do the same to Cal if he even moves, saying there’s no way he’s going to let Cal take Skye into the tunnels to trigger Armageddon.  Cal tells him that it can’t be stopped, but before they can talk anymore Agent 33 comes in and they both run for it, while 33 rushes to Whitehall’s side, not knowing how to react to his death.  Hunter and Bobbi are pinned down by HYDRA and they return fire.  “Join SHIELD,” Hunter says, “travel to exotic and distant lands, meet exciting and unusual people…”  He leans out around the corner and fires some shots before adding, “…and kill them.”  Cal hits Coulson, knocking the gun from his hand as the two get into a brawl.  Coulson has the training but Cal seems much stronger, getting the upper hand.  Coulson says that they both want to help Skye, but Cal replies, “I’m her father, not you!”

Ward cuts himself loose with the dead guard’s knife, and he goes to cut Skye free.  He says he’s sorry the family reunion didn’t go as planned, but the least he can do is get her out.  He tells her to sit while he checks the door, but when he’s around the corner she grabs the gun off the dead guard.  Ward turns back from the door and is shot five times in the chest by Skye, who says, “Never turn your back on an enemy.  You taught me that.”  She coldly leaves him there to bleed and sets off to find Coulson.  Coulson is losing the fight with Cal, who pins him to the floor and starts repeatedly punching Coulson in the face.  Skye rushes in, points her gun at her father, and warns him to stop or she’ll shoot.  He doesn’t listen to her at all until she calls him dad.  “He took something from me,” Cal says of Coulson, but she replies that Coulson kept him from killing more people.  He says they have to finish what they started but she tells him that she’s not going down into the city, that she’s not going to change or transform.  He asks why she can’t see that it’s a good thing and she says that she’s going to make sure the Diviner never goes down there.  She gives him once chance to leave or she will kill him.  He gets up and says, “I’ll be waiting for you.  After you change no one will understand.”  He says that they’ll be afraid of her, because change is terrifying, and before he leaves he says, “I’ll always love you, Daisy.”


5 thoughts on “Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “What They Become”

  1. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “What They Become” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  2. Definitely the biggest thing I’m looking forward to in March is Skye’s story. There are so many directions this can be taken that all have different results. Jed and Marissa (the creators) have mentioned many questions such as how the team would react or even if Skye knows she has powers that would affect the entire structure of the rest of the season. I personally think that, like you mentioned, the main issue will be Skye focusing on her new powers, but I personally think it would be interesting if the team didn’t know immediately when we return in March. Part of Skye’s character, which was revisited last week, was a fear of abandonment from the people she cares about, so I don’t think that it would be out of character for her to keep something like this that clearly separates her from the team, even if it would only be for about an episode. No one else in there could testify that Skye has abilities but Raina who the team already doesn’t trust.

    Then again, they are moving quickly through plots, so the show will probably touch upon the team’s reactions faster than we think. The team (at least the original team we started with) wouldn’t be quick to distrust her, but I agree that it will be an elephant in the room just like Skye’s betrayal early last season. She’ll probably seek her father out (Kyle Machlachen’s just too good to lose) but I think it’ll require something big happening. Perhaps another casualty or even a team member hurt as a result of her abilities. Either way, I see a time where Skye leaves the team at least to “make things right.” That being said, Mike Peterson would definitely fit in with that phase of her life as both would be dealing with who they are and what they have done. That’s more of wishful thinking, but I would greatly prefer her to be with Mike than her father for her sake.

    I am excited for Agent Carter (though some of the taglines are getting worse). Unlike SHIELD, there will likely be a beginning, middle, and somewhat end to this story which could make for a less complicated plot filled with hidden motives and sketchy actions. I can see your recaps being shorter because of that, and maybe a brief repose from analyzing every line for some deeper implication, but that’ll definitely return in March. Plus, Agent Carter has the chance of ending on a somewhat positive if foreboding ending as it takes place seventy years in the past. The beginnings of SHIELD and the strength and skills of Peggy Carter could lead to exciting adventures and an even more rich canon of the TV universe. I’m still curious if they’ll make any connections between Agent Carter and SHIELD. I feel like there would be, but I’m still in the dark about how that will happen. Marvel is unusually secretive about its storylines, so it could be anything.

    I’ve never had to think about how I watch TV. I think it usually depends on the show. For comedies and reality, I usually look at the show episode by episode, but for things like SHIELD I tend to look at the big picture. I think my greater inclination is to the greater story because I enjoy seeing characters develop from the starting point to the end. Like Skye developing from a hacktivist living in her van to a full-blown superhero agent of SHIELD, the story becomes even better as you see moments of her growth as something she wouldn’t do in the pilot like trust the team. On the other hand, it probably diminishes my ability to judge an episode on its own merits. All I really notice about individual episodes is whether I prefer them which is a very broad category (I liked episode 2.05 of SHIELD more than 2.06).

    Personally, I’m in a show for the overall story and whether or not I like the characters. I sometimes welcome bad things happening (though probably not to the extent of SHIELD) to test their development, but I’m only human. I cried at the season one finale and usually hope against hope that something good will happen at the end (like Skye meeting with Mike Peterson instead of her father). Most of the time, that makes me think that writers usually shouldn’t take into account what fans want all the time because they all have different ideas (after all, some still don’t care for Skye), but there is some attention that needs to given to viewers. After all, no one would be happy if they randomly killed off Agent May, that would make an interesting story, but it would probably tick everyone off.

    What I do personally, though, is keep track of interviews of rumors, so I tend to know things that could and sometimes do happen such as the Daisy Johnson theory. For shows outside SHIELD, it actually gives me more answers, so a good part of the time I’m not too upset by some plot twists. Still, there’s usually that instant that surprises me, but I like to be well-informed on a show, even if there’s not that much to go on. Either way, I’m in a show for the long run usually until it ends.

    Can’t wait to see Agent Carter in action!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow.

    This just gets better.

    Random thoughts…


    May rules.

    What is The Other Thing that Bobbie and Mack discuss???????????????? (checks Marvel wiki, Mockingjay, er… bird …seems to be a superHERO…). Please never give her a bow. I will be too confused.

    My first reaction to “let’s blow up this cool alien city we just found with unheard of tech and powers and things and stuff was …NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The archaeology. The knowledge. The…

    …potential for supervillains to end the world as we know it.

    Oh well, bring on the Howling Commandos gear.

    Hunter’s “travel to exotic lands… and kill them” riff is on a T-shirt I was given years ago by a cousin. It’s a pacifist riff on the military (the tagline on the shirt says “join the army…”).

    Blessings on you for doing the plenty of comic book research to keep up the appearance of actually knowing what you’re talking about. I love comics, along with the rest of the sci-fi fantasy genre, but Marvel’s world is so convoluted I can just barely remember the names of all the Avengers.

    Skye, indeed, has shown some Marvelous growth from her beginnings to this episode. I like having her as a mysteriously “original” , if fairly mundane character… then having her grow into a known comic book superpowered hero. I too think the actress has kicked some butt here, she might have been a mere trope, but has gone far beyond that.

    Tripp was indeed a terrific character, a solid guy at a time of instability, the sort of buddy you’d want at your back. This series has had a great cast of temporary characters (villains and heroes) who do not feel temporary.

    All storytelling is interactive in some way. Even if you write a classic like Lord of the Rings with no fannish input, fans will take the story and interpret it according to their own experience and personalities (nevermind the fanfiction and art…). Film and TV require less work on the part of the audience, the visuals (and the information they carry) are there, spelled out for you… but there is still room for interpretation, for “reading the story” in your own way. In any tale, we have characters we identify with, or relate to. What happens to a background character may not affect me in the same way as what happens to a character I identify with, or one I simply like (bah, phooey, so sorry to see Tripp go). I do need to have a character I relate to , or identify with; tales with lead characters who are difficult or unlikable are quite literary, but I simply can’t abide those kinds of stories. For me, villains raise my hackles, I have a strong sense of justice and allowing someone like Whitehall to continue is nearly blasphemous (I would have shot him a few more times than Coulson did), so simply continuing a villain forever to have someone for the heroes to fight makes me boil; there are always more villains coming down the pike. I was quite happy to see Skye nail Ward a few times… so sorry he had protection… still… he has some storylines to play out, I’m sure. So far, SHIELD has done a fine job of constructing a story that makes archetypal sense.

    I have seen a lot of tumblr posts on the subject of fans and writers’ interactions: the “we did it! we saved ___________ !” (Fans saved Star Trek for one more year back in the 60s, it’s old hat). Surely creators of stories pay attention to their audiences, the audience, the fans, is what makes your story happen, without them, you are the author of nothing. However, they can’t get too bound up in writing the story FOR the fans. They must first write a coherent tale, according to their own wisdom, their own professional skill. Of course, you pause to get some feedback from the fans, but, in the end, you have to just write it.


  4. Can’t wait to see what you think about Agent Carter.

    Beyond the usual insights, I’d like to see what you think about how it fits into the larger Marvel universe.


  5. Pingback: Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Aftershocks” and “Who You Really Are” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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