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

Skye, "What They Become"

Skye rushes over to Coulson, bursting into tears and saying over and over that she’s so sorry.  She says she couldn’t kill her father even though she wanted to.  She apologizes again and says she’s going to go make it right and find the Diviner.  She says again that she’s going to make it right and she stands up and runs off as Coulson weakly calls after her not to go down to the city.  Agent 33 finds Ward, who is still slumped against the wall, bleeding.  She reaches inside his jacket and finds a flat piece of something that he slid inside for protection.  It didn’t stop the bullets, but it did slow them down.  She tells him that Whitehall is dead and Coulson killed him, which Ward says means she’s free.  She says she doesn’t know what to do, and he tells her to help him up, and that he’ll get them out of here and then they’ll figure it all out.  May, Hunter, and Bobbi meet up, looking for Coulson while Skye heads into the basement.  She finds that the hole has already been finished and the box that held the Diviner is empty.  We see Raina as she searches the city and comes across Mack.  He doesn’t respond when she looks into his face, but when she tells him to take her “there” he leads her where she wants to go.

Coulson, his face bloody, has made his way to the hole as May catches up with him.  He realizes that Skye has gone after Raina and tells May he’s going after them.  She doesn’t want him to go alone, as he can barely stand, but he insists.  He says he put her on this path and he has to make it right.  Just because Whitehall is dead doesn’t mean HYDRA’s going to pack up and go home.  He’s not saying it’s a good plan, but after all of the carving he’s done and everything else he just wants to see what all the fuss is about.

Trip and FitzSimmons have made it back to the surface with time to spare, but they get a call from May saying that Raina has gone down to the city.  Trip doesn’t think that’s much of a loss, but when May tells him Skye and Coulson have gone after her Trip slides down the rope into the hole, against FitzSimmons’ objections and without his hazmat suit.  Mack stops and Raina wonders what’s wrong, but looking around him she sees that they’ve reached the temple.  She heads inside, where a beam of light from above illuminates a stone pillar in the center of a small but tall circular room.  Trip races to detach the detonators from the bombs as May sends Bobbi and Hunter to clear out the building before things explode.  Skye comes across Mack and is relieved to see him, but is confused when he doesn’t respond and she sees that his eyes are all dark.  She tells him they have to get out of there, but he’s completely impassive, and with confusion and concern she decides to head on, telling him that she’ll come back for him.

Inside the temple Skye finds Raina, who is holding the Diviner and has been waiting by the stone pillar for her.  She says she knew Skye would come, but Skye says that it’s just to stop her.  Raina insists that Skye’s whole life has been leading to this, but Skye doesn’t buy into the destiny stuff.  Raina says that everyone has got it all wrong, that the Diviner doesn’t destroy, it gives new life.  She says they “finally get to find out what we become.”  The Diviner lights up and as Skye tells Raina to make it stop it flies out of her hand and lands on the pillar.  “Neither of us can now,” Raina says.  Trip pulls out the final detonator at the last possible second.  Raina tells Skye that if she wants to leave, now’s her chance, admitting that she’s actually the tiniest bit nervous.  Coulson comes upon Mack, who hits him and sends him flying.  “Seriously, again?” Coulson says in exasperation, knocking Mack down and dodging around him.  The doors to the temple start to rotate closed, and Coulson is sealed off before he can get inside.  The same can’t be said for Trip who comes in at the last moment as the doors close behind him.  Skye asks what Trip is doing there, and he says that he came to get her, but things have already been set in motion.

The Diviner opens, splitting down the middle and revealing a blue crystal inside.  “How do we stop it?” Trip asks, but Skye doesn’t think they can.  The crystal starts to grow, and Trip asks what’s supposed to happen.  “Something beautiful,” Raina replies, getting closer.  Suddenly there’s a blast of mist from the crystal that knocks them all backwards.  Raina, who was closest, starts to turn black, as if her skin was covered in a cocoon of black lava.  The same thing happens to Skye, and she starts to panic as it begins to seal itself over her face.  When both Skye and Raina are completely covered, Trip can’t take it anymore.  He spins around and delivers a mighty kick to the crystal, shattering it and getting blasted off his feet.  He slumps against the wall, and looking down he realizes that he’s been pierced in the chest by a shard of the crystal.  He looks sadly at Skye, still cocooned, as he slowly turns to stone.

Just as the stone engulfs him, the cocoon around Raina starts to crack and fall away.  We see her fingers, which now look like they have claws on them.  The covering over her eye and cheek drops away, and we see the beginnings of coarse hair on her face and her eye has turned orange.  Skye’s cocoon also starts to crack and fall away, before the entire casing bursts away in slow motion, blasted apart from the inside seemingly from Skye’s power.  The earth starts to tremble as outside Coulson and a recovered Mack huddle for protection as the roof starts to splinter.  Up in the theater May worriedly stares down the hole as what feels like an earthquake begins.  Skye, suspended in the midst of the tremors, watches as Trip’s stone body crumbles and falls apart, perhaps the first casualty of her new powers.

After the credits we see a box sitting on a table surrounded by books, from which a glowing light emerges.  A man opens the box and pulls out another diviner with his bare hands, which glows with the alien writing.  He picks up the phone and calls someone, asking, “Are you seeing this?”  He waits for an answer and says, “There’s someone new.  Tell the others I’m on it.”  He hangs up the phone and as he turns towards the camera we get a look at his face, which is completely eyeless, with bare skin covering the area where they would be.

This was a big episode, certainly the biggest since last season’s finale.  It gave us some really satisfying developments on some of the plotlines we’ve been following all season.  We learned a lot about Skye’s father, Cal(vin Zabo), and Skye’s real name: Daisy (Johnson/Quake).  We got our first introduction to the Inhumans, who include Skye and Raina, as well as the no-eyed man and presumably some others.  The Diviner is used to release the Terrigen Mist, which triggers an evolution of sorts in those “special” people who have potential gifts.  Whitehall was killed, presumably setting HYDRA back for the moment.  Bobbi’s side game got a little more mysterious, involving a suspicious flash drive.  And, most importantly, Trip was killed in heroic but devastating fashion, attempting to save the day but not surviving long enough to learn if he was successful.  It may not have been the top episode of the show in terms of pure entertainment value, but it was one of the most important and emotional of the series thus far.  Once again, things on SHIELD have been shaken up for good, and nothing will be the same.  I can’t wait to see what the spring holds for our characters, and I imagine the next few months will be full of theories and predictions.  Read on for some of my thoughts on the season thus far, tonight’s episode, and predictions for the spring, and be sure to check out my instant reaction for more on the Inhumans, Mister Hyde, and Quake, and much more.

 S.H.I.E.L.D. Thoughts

So what do think will happen in the second half of the season?  Obviously the Inhumans will play a big role, but what more can we expect?  Here are some of my predictions: First, I think the early episodes will deal with Skye learning to use and control her powers.  I expect Cal’s prediction will come at least partly true, that she’ll be met with a lot of fear, even from those who love her.  Especially considering Trip’s death and the fact that no one else saw it, I would expect a healthy amount of suspicion (perhaps led by Mack, given his reaction to Coulson).  I think she’ll eventually seek her father out, hoping to learn more about what it means to be an Inhuman.  I also expect Raina to factor in heavily, perhaps joining up with the no-eyed man or perhaps working against him.   I think she’ll remain a wild card rather than picking a particular side.  I think Bobbi’s plan will be another major leg of the story, and I feel like she and Hunter are going to end up in a place where they feel like they can’t back out even if they want to.  Maybe they’re working for someone (the big bad?) and don’t know much about him/her, and when they find out they’ll be put in an awkward situation with having to choose between SHIELD and whoever they’re working for.  And I expect big things from Ward, perhaps even becoming the season’s big bad as I imagine HYDRA will take more of a back seat in the spring.  (What if Bobbi is working for him and doesn’t know it?)  He’ll act in a way that he thinks is helping Skye, or maybe he’ll be out for revenge after being shot, but either way I expect him to become more evil and less of a gray character.  I expect things to tie in with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I don’t think it will be on the level of Winter Soldier.  And I imagine we’ll see at least one major appearance from an MCU character.

How about what you want to happen?  I’m not talking about answers to all of the big mysteries, because obviously those will eventually happen, but things that haven’t been hinted at.  What do you want to see from the characters, and what plotlines do you want to happen?  Obviously, I want to see Fitz continue to heal and I’d like to see his relationship with Simmons continue to develop.  I want Mike Peterson to return (for more than one episode), possibly teaming up with Skye and helping her come to terms with her new self.  I want to see Ian Quinn return with the Gravitonium from season 1.  I want more of a focus on the rest of the team.  As much as I love Skye, the ensemble is one of the best aspects of the show.  I want Joss Whedon to return and write/direct an episode.  And I’d love to see the return of the political commentary from the first season, which gave the show some of its most powerful moments early on in its life.

I‘ve been counting up the major mysteries we have going into 2015.  There’s the question of the Inhumans backstory, specifically a more clear cut explanation for their existence.  Who is the man with no eyes, and what is his agenda?  Where did the dead Kree come from?  What did Raina transform into?  What is Bobbi up to?  What is the extent of Skye’s power?  What is Ward’s plan, and how much does Skye’s father know?  And what exactly is going on with the Koenigs?  I would imagine we’ll get answers to many of these questions in the spring, and developments on them as early as the first episode.  Agents of SHIELD is not Lost, and it doesn’t and shouldn’t survive on its mysteries, but questions that need answering are important to the show and shouldn’t be ignored.  It’s a delicate balancing act, and they’ve managed it very well thus far this season.

Everyone is excited for Agent Carter, right?  I think it’s the perfect way to bridge the gap between SHIELD season 2.1 and season 2.2, without resorting to the horrible scheduling problems that plagued the show last season.  Its tone feels completely different, yet tangentially related to SHIELD, and the cast is shaping up nicely.  I could watch the stapler beatdown from the commercials over and over again.  I think it’ll have some good things to say about sexism and feminism, but more than that I want it to tell a fun and exciting story.  Peggy Carter is a great character, and I really want her to shine.  The limited number of episodes will allow the writers to stay focused, but there still are enough to let them have some solid development.  I’m most interested to find out what sort of connection it will have to SHIELD, and whether any developments we see on Agent Carter will affect the second half of season two of SHIELD.

Let me take a moment to say goodbye to Antoine Triplett and B.J. Britt.  Trip was a fun character, who brought a lot of energy to the show when he showed up near the end of last season.  It was good to see a good guy the team could trust, who fit in with the team yet felt different enough to change up the dynamic.  Britt did a great job, giving Trip a sense of humor and heart that made him a fan favorite, and I’m sad to see him go.  At the same time, Trip never felt crucial to the team or the story going forward, nor was his death particularly surprising even if it was emotional.  The misdirection with Trip being shot only to heal, and then Mack seemingly dead only to survive just as Trip dies felt like a classic Whedon move.  I feel like his death served the story, and it felt true to character, and as sorry to see him go as I am, the stronger feeling I have is one of appreciation for the existence of the character in the first place.  At a time when things were falling apart and Ward betrayed everyone, he brought a sense of stability that the show needed.  I hope we see him again, whether in a flashback, a dream, or resurrected, but if not he’ll still have had a big impact on the show.

Due to the fact that SHIELD is of until March, this will be my last SHIELD recap for months.  (I plan to recap Agent Carter, but perhaps not in as much depth as I do for SHIELD, though I’d love some feedback or advice on that front.)  So before signing off on SHIELD for 2014, let me leave you with a question for discussion, one that’s been on my mind a lot lately.  How do you watch TV?  I don’t mean on what device or through what service, I mean what is your attitude towards TV?  Do you look at it like a story you’re experiencing one chapter at a time, perhaps like a book stretched out over a year?  Or do you view it as an interactive form of entertainment, where those behind the show (writers, directors, producers, cast) are working with the fans to create a new form of media?  Let me put it to you this way: when a beloved character on a show is killed unexpectedly (think Tara from Buffy), do you get mad at the character who killed him/her (Warren) or do you get mad at the writers/staff for creating a story in which that happened?  Do you feel like it’s important to see yourself in a character, to have one you personally relate to and feel like represents you?  And if you do, does finding that character change your wishes for that character and the show going forward?  Are you less willing to see that character do or experience bad things than you would if it were a character you loved but didn’t necessarily view as a mirror of yourself?  What responsibilities do those behind a show have to listen to the fans, and what responsibilities do they have to stay true to the story they imagined?  In short, what is your relationship to this show or others you love, and how does that relationship play out in terms of your reaction to the story you’re given?

What do you think?  Did you enjoy “What They Become”?  What do you think of the season thus far?  Were you surprised by the Inhumans/Daisy Johnson revelation?  What did you think about it?  How do you feel about Trip’s death?  Whitehall’s?  What do you want to see from the second half of the season?  What do you think will actually happen?  What are Bobbi/Ward/Cal up to?  Where does the show go from here?  What are your guesses at any of the mysteries we’re left with?  Are you looking forward to Agent Carter?  Let me know in the comments!

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…

    WHY THE BLEEPIN EVERLOVIN DOODAH ARE YOU GOING INTO AN ALIEN CITY WITH KNOWN BAD VIBE THINGIES WITHOUT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION/LIFESAVING SPACESUIT THINGIES?!?!?!?!? (Oh, let’s put those on this time since somebody got fried the first time…)

    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.

    Like

  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.

    Like

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

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