Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Melinda” and “The Frenemy of My Enemy”

Ward and Coulson

Our latest episode follows the threads left at the end of “Melinda.”  May, with Simmons’ help, is digging into Coulson’s secrets, Skye has reunited with her parents, and Fitz is on the run hoping to hook up with Coulson and Hunter.  This episode is more plot-centric than “Melinda,” advancing all of the storylines and even bringing Ward back into the picture.  So let’s jump into “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (and finally be caught up once more), written by Monica Owusu-Breen and Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Karen Gaviola.

  • The latest episode opens with Fitz on the run from the SHIELD agents tailing him.  Literally, his plan seems basically to be run away.  He gets to the roof of a parking deck and vanishes into Coulson’s waiting quinjet, baffling the SHIELD agents until one of them walks right into the side of the invisible plane.  As they fly away, Fitz returns the toolbox to Coulson, who fills Fitz in on the plan.  They’re still trying to track down Skye, and at the moment their best lead might be HYDRA, who have been researching people with powers.  Fitz understands the need to make a deal with the devil, which is a relief to Coulson because they’re going to have to team up with Ward in order to get anything out of HYDRA.  Perhaps Fitz isn’t as big a fan of the plan as he let on.
  • Ward and Agent 33/Kara have been making a life together, with Ward going so far as to pick up a plant for their house, which will look nice next to the brainwashing screen and the captive Bakshi.  Coulson catches up with Kara as she’s calling her mother from a restaurant payphone, and they use her phone to call Ward and arrange a meetup.  Ward joins them and he and Coulson verbally circle each other like predators getting ready to fight to the death.  Coulson lays out the plan, telling Ward that they think he can find them a way into HYDRA, and in exchange Coulson will let them go free.  The catch is that Ward will have to go through the TAHITI protocol and have his mind wiped first.  Coulson says that considering Ward willingly gave up his freedom for Kara, there must still be some good in him, and they could wipe away all of the bad stuff and let him be his true self once again.
  • Ward agrees to the plan, and they recover Bakshi from their house.  The idea is to send Bakshi to meet with HYDRA head Dr. List, with Mike Peterson posing as his bodyguard allowing them all to watch what happens through his cybernetic eye.  Bakshi is fully compliant with Ward’s commands, and will be able to explain his recent disappearance using his weaselly skills.  Fitz spends the entire conversation sitting with his hand on his gun, and when Ward eventually makes an effort to talk to Fitz he snaps and lunges for Ward, caught just in time by Coulson and Hunter.  Clearly Fitz hasn’t forgiven Ward for dumping him and Simmons in the ocean and nearly killing them both.
  • Things seem to be going smoothly at first.  Bakshi explains how he escaped the bloodbath at HYDRA headquarters by telling List that he was captured by SHIELD and only broke out with Mike’s help.  But when Bakshi seemingly offers up Mike to HYDRA as a gift, things start to get a little tense.  Ward explains that Bakshi alone wasn’t enough to lead them to Strucker, who might have some intel on Skye, but Deathlok opens the door.  Fitz, however, thinks Ward is selling them out, and moves to draw his gun, leading to a standoff in the plan with guns pointing in every direction and Kara holding a knife to Fitz’s throat.  Deathlok, meanwhile, has armed his weapons, anticipating a double-cross and the need to make a quick exit.  Ward and Coulson eventually agree to lower their weapons, allowing Fitz to send a “play along” message to Mike before he can blow List and Bakshi to kingdom come and ruin their chances for more information.  List gets word that HYDRA has detected something they’ve been searching for, and their plane takes off, followed secretly by the quinjet.
  • At the Inhuman village, meanwhile, things have gotten a little complicated.  Cal is thrilled at how their family dinner went and is already anticipating the next one.  He laments that Skye is still afraid of him, but knows he’s to blame for that, but he promises to be quiet and to behave and to cause as few problems as possible now that they’re all back together.  Jiaying plays along, humoring him and telling him that Gordon is going to take him home to retrieve some of his belongings, but keeping the fact that he’s being taken away for good from him.  Skye’s not happy with the situation at all.  She admits to Lincoln that the dinner was surprisingly nice, and worries what will happen when Cal is sent away.  She raises her concerns to Jiaying, telling her that he’ll snap and people will get hurt, but Jiaying just says that those innocent civilians are not her concern.  Skye says that as a SHIELD agent they’re her concern, but Jiaying insists that he can’t stay at the village because he’s not one of them.
  • Skye decides to pay a visit to Cal, and it’s surprisingly sweet.  He tells her that he wanted to call on Skye after the dinner, but thought that might be overdoing it, as he’s a “big overdooer.”  He asks if she wants to put in an order for something from the mainland, maybe some Funyuns.  She’s more interested in where he’s going, and is surprised that instead of heading to China he’s headed to Milwaukee.  He explains how he was only supposed to be in China for two week while working with Doctors Without Borders (“Hard to picture that, right?”), but when he first saw Jiaying she stole his heart and he couldn’t leave.  Skye asks if she can go with him to Milwaukee so he can show her around his home, and he practically lights up, proclaiming it to be the “best day ever!”
  • Jiaying still isn’t thrilled with the prospect, but Skye tells her that they can’t just dump him on the side of the road like an unwanted puppy (and is careful to clarify that you can’t do that to puppies either).  Jiaying tries to convince Skye that she’s not responsible for the innocents for whom she seems so concerned, but Skye actually says she wants to go because of Cal.  She says she empathized with him at their dinner, that she could relate to his struggle because she spent her whole life bending and breaking the law trying to track her parents down, and unlike Cal she didn’t even have any memories of what she’d lost.  She insists that she’s not asking to let him stay, she just wants to let him know that she’ll visit, and that he hasn’t lost his family forever again.
  • Gordon drops them off in Milwaukee for a father-daughter date they both admit is more than a little weird.  He decides to take her to the small pastry shop around the corner, where they can get to know each other, but is dismayed to see that it’s now a currency exchange.  They set off looking for something to eat, while he reminisces about his plans for their family.  He lived outside of town but had a practice near where Gordon dropped them off, and he imagined dropping her off at the nice charter school near their house, helping her with her science fair volcano, and going out for ice cream.  He pauses and apologizes, knowing that a trip down memory lane is not much fun, but the thought of ice cream lifts his spirits and he sets off again.
  • They can’t find ice cream either (“the internet killed everything”), so Skye suggests they get some malt liquor, which bothers him until he realizes that she’s funny.  She bumps into some tough-looking guys, and when Cal demands an apology from them she talks him down before he starts murdering people in the street, sending him in a store to find some ice cream.  While he’s gone she pulls out the cell phone she pocketed from the guy she bumped and calls May.  May’s stunned to hear from Skye and insists that Coulson is out looking for her, while Mack, Bobbi, and Simmons listen in.  She says that she’s with Cal, and asks them not to hurt him, but when he returns with ice cream she drops the phone in the trash.  They listen in, saying that it sounds like she’s not a hostage and is just playing along, while Simmons traces the call.
  • Cal takes Skye to his old office, where Skye learns from the sign on his door that her birth name was Daisy Johnson.  The office is a mess, covered in dust, and it’s been shuttered a long time.  Cal lets slip that he owns the building, and that Skye would have had a comfortable life growing up.  She notices a hula girl on his desk, and points out that she had one just like it in her van, which Cal says can’t be a coincidence.  He shows her his field kit, which he used to help put Jiaying back together, calling her a walking miracle and admitting that he still loves her.  When he makes a comment about the family being back together, though, Skye starts to be firm with him.  She points out that she’s an adult now and he needs to move on, the old days are gone.  She says that Jiaying is responsible for the whole village, but when she adds that she’s going to visit him he starts to get angry, realizing that he’s going to be dumped there.
  • They hear a noise outside, but it’s just Lincoln, who has been following them on Jiaying’s orders just in case things didn’t go well.  The situation gets more complex as everyone starts to converge on the building.  HYDRA has been tracking Gordon’s teleporting, which shows up on their instruments as a quantum entanglement, allowing him to be in multiple places at once.  They send in Mike Peterson and HYDRA troops to capture any powered individuals in the building, and while Cal takes on HYDRA soldiers, Lincoln and Mike face off.  Lincoln is surprised to find that he can’t fry Mike the way he would fry others, and they knock each other down.  Bakshi leads a HYDRA group inside, and they fire a stun weapon at Mike and Lincoln, capturing them both.  Ward, Coulson, Kara, and Hunter head into the fray as well, though Hunter is wounded in the leg quickly.  Kara helps him back to the quinjet while Ward and Coulson fight HYDRA and look for Skye.  They eventually find her, and Coulson and Skye lock eyes at opposite ends of a hallway for a moment before Gordon appears to teleport Skye back to the village despite her plea to stay.  At the last moment, Cal launches himself at them, and is caught up in the quantum entanglement as the three of them disappear.  Ward recommends a withdraw to Coulson (“We’re outmanned, outgunned, and our only backup is Fitz”), and they’re forced to make their way back to the quinjet.
  • We also got a glimpse this week into the mess of conflicted feelings back at SHIELD.  It started with Mack and Bobbi sparring, despite their different styles (Bobbi encouraging Mack to do a flip to escape a particular move, while acknowledging that her skillset doesn’t allow her to “benchpress a small hatchback”).  Mack thinks Simmons is stalling on the toolbox, which doesn’t seem to bother Bobbi, who is more concerned that they’re so focused on Coulson when HYDRA, the real enemy, is still out there.  She admits that Hunter might be right and Coulson isn’t the enemy, something Mack doesn’t seem too pleased about.  Meanwhile May informs Simmons that a fancy laser capable of cutting vibranium is being flown in to help with the toolbox, at which point Simmons finally confesses that she only has a fake and Fitz has the real device.  She says that May is the only one she can trust, and May promises to take care of it.
  • Taking care of it apparently means ratting Simmons out to Bobbi, though fudging the truth by playing it off as entirely Fitz’s plan and making out like Simmons is just covering for him.  Bobbi seems very understanding, knowing that Simmons doesn’t know who to trust, which earns a significant look from Simmons to May.  May says that now that Mike Peterson is in the picture, they can hack into his eye and see what he’s seeing, asking Simmons if that will be a problem.  She says that it won’t, since it will help prove that Coulson is innocent after all, and she throws the fake toolbox in the trash.  Later, Simmons confronts May over her throwing Fitz to the wolves when she knew full well that it was Simmons idea.  May insists that she was only trying to protect Simmons, but Simmons says that May has now clearly joined the other side.  May says it’s not about sides, and that Coulson was feeding them a mountain of lies, but Simmons honestly doesn’t care because she knows he was trying to protect Skye.
  • After they receive the call from Skye, May sends Mack and Bobbi to that location, hoping they can rescue Skye from Cal.  Simmons, meanwhile, continues to try to hack in to Mike’s eyeball, and eventually succeeds just as things are going down in Cal’s office building.  She and May get a clear view of Coulson and Ward fighting side by side, before Mike is incapacitated by HYDRA.  Mack and Bobbi arrive too late to have any part in the battle, but Bobbi does recognize the rounds on the floor as being HYDRA standard issue.  Moving into Cal’s office they find Coulson waiting for him, who puts up his hands and says he’ll tell them all about it back at the base.  “Take me to your leader,” he adds.
  • There were a couple of other plot developments this week as well.  Firstly, Ethan, one of the potentials from the Inhuman village, went backpacking and was snatched by HYDRA and Dr. List, who experimented on him for 37 hours until he died, and was subsequently sent off for comparison to the other samples.  Secondly, Gordon and Jiaying discussed Raina’s potential power to see the future, observing that there’s no record of any of the Inhumans having precognition, making her the first of her kind and potentially giving them the ability to see threats before they happen.  Still, Jiaying isn’t 100% convinced of Raina’s power just yet.
  • I really enjoyed watching Mike Peterson in this episode.  His comment to Kara about whether there were any more of the facial meshes lying around, so that he might hide his scars and return to a normal life, was just heartbreaking.  I liked that his first instinct was to fight his way out of the situation with HYDRA, especially given his history with them, but I was wary of them sending him in as Bakshi’s bodyguard, and I’m very concerned now that he and Lincoln have been captured.  The last thing I want is Mike being controlled by HYDRA again, he’s already got enough guilt to live with.  But I loved Coulson correcting Ward and insisting that Mike is a SHIELD agent, “with rockets in his arm.”
  • I’m not entirely sure what to make of May.  I know that she and Bobbi are supposed to be parallels, both questioning their roles in what has happened, but I think May knows Coulson well enough that she shouldn’t be so quick to stop trusting him.  I know her backstory in Bahrain gives her good reason to be wary of SHIELD’s plans regarding powered people, but I feel like she shouldn’t be so quick to give up on him.  Of course, she might just be playing her role in order to not make waves with the new regime.  On the other hand, given Bahrain, it’s possible that Gonzales and his people fed her lies that they knew would get her to start questioning Coulson given her background.  I still don’t trust them, and I don’t think their motives are as pure as simply wanting transparency.  If all they were worried about were Coulson’s secrets, then they wouldn’t have been so bothered about being unable to open the toolbox, because simply having possession of it would have kept those secrets out of Coulson’s hands.  I think they’re after something bigger.
  • Speaking of plans, I’m very curious what HYDRA is up to, particularly with how it connects to Avengers: Age of Ultron this week.  Obviously, Strucker and List have already appeared in the MCU, specifically in the mid-credits scene of The Winter Soldier, so we know their experiments led to the creation of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but what are they after in the larger sense?  Do they simply want an army of powered people to do their bidding, or are their goals more complex?  I think we’ll learn more next week, when everyone teams up in a mission against HYDRA.
  • And then there’s Ward.  I’m oddly touched by his relationship with Kara, the way he supports her and buying the plant, but I’m not sure I believe it.  He’s proven over and over how skilled a liar he is, and I think he might be playing her to accomplish his own ends, whatever those might be.  I don’t want that, because I feel genuinely sorry for Kara and everything she’s been through.  Ward had the ability to choose to follow HYDRA, but she never did.  She had her identity ripped from her and is trying to piece it back together again.  I’m just afraid I don’t see this ending well for her.
  • And how do the Inhumans factor into all of this?  Jiaying is starting to worry me, particularly with her disregard for innocent humans who might get caught in the crossfire.  She seemed perfectly at piece throwing Cal out into the cold to cause havoc and rack up a body count.  Gordon definitely seems like a ruthless kind of guy, but I thought Jiaying would be different.  However it seems like her only concern is Skye and everyone else doesn’t matter.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’re villains, but they’re too self-concerned to be heroes.

What do you think?  Did you enjoy “The Frenemy of My Enemy?”  How do you see the next episode tying into Age of Ultron?  What is everyone up to?  Is the new SHIELD after more than transparency?  Will the Inhumans and Jiaying start causing bigger problems for Coulson and his team?  What does HYDRA have planned for Mike and Lincoln?  Does Ward really care about Kara, or is he just using her?  How with things shake out with Coulson, May, and Bobbi?  Did Simmons make you proud for defending Coulson no matter what?  Were you expecting more from Fitz’s escape from his SHIELD tails?  Will Mike Peterson ever earn his redemption?  What do you think of the news that a spinoff is planned focusing on Bobbi and Hunter?  Are you excited for Age of Ultron?  (Or have you already seen it?)  Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Melinda” and “The Frenemy of My Enemy”

  1. Awesome that you’re back on track, which is good considering if this Marvel tie-in is even partly like the Winter Soldier one, we’re going to be racing to the ending. These episodes, in particular, were good to me mostly in the case that I now have to mourn the alternate universes of May and Andrew raising a family and Skye as Milwaukee Daisy Johnson (who sounds more and more like she’d grow up to be Jemma Simmons).

    I don’t know what to make of Real SHIELD or May’s choice, but I trust May and even Bobbi far more than I trust Gonzalez. I just keep remembering May and Bobbi’s protection of Skye even when she was a threat and can’t possibly think that anything they do comes from an ulterior motive. They just want to stop hiding things (don’t we all?) and aren’t sure of the right way yet. On the bright side, Simmons has quickly come back to my good graces in her unwavering loyalty to Coulson and Fitz. I still hope that they will address her as well as the team’s opinions regarding super-powered people, but it’s nice to be reminded that Simmons is ultimately the caring individual she always was.

    I have never fully trusted the Inhumans and these episodes confirmed that I probably won’t any time soon. This is in no way an insult to their story as they become so much more interesting especially since they may have a point. Judging from Skye’s experience with the team, it’s no wonder that they may be mistrustful of people who aren’t like them, but it seems as though they’re starting to swing too far to the other side as things start heating up. 2.18’s ending perfectly shows this contrast as Gordon outright takes Skye despite her wanting to stay as opposed to 2.15 when he waited for her choice (dammit Gordo!). I hope we get a follow up on that since it could be a turning point in what Skye thinks of these people.

    Speaking of Skye, in the midst of all these revelations, I just wanted to take some time to appreciate her character. Despite being separated from the group, she still maintains a sense of loyalty to those who care about her as well as her sense of empathy and humor, which apparently both come from her father. What’s interesting about her character at this point (other than the superpowers) is that her sense of loyalty and her empathy are now both at odds with one another as she wants to keep people safe but feels obliged to her exclusive people whether SHIELD or Inhuman. In the end, this is why I want her back with Coulson since he’s one of the few people in this show to understand the concept of both having empathy for others and loyalty to a group.
    Finally, there are all sorts of directions that tomorrow’s episode will bring. Cobie Smulders is likely to return as Maria Hill, the team, however dysfunctional, is back together for one mission, and judging by some pics, Skye might use her powers in action. The connection will probably never rival the Winter Soldier shakeup from last year, but there undoubtedly is one with Hydra’s interest in powered people. Showing Ethan’s fate obviously raises the stakes for Mike and Lincoln with either death or brainwashing being an option. I would like nothing more for Mike to be safe, though this situation with Lincoln no matter what happened will undeniably add a level of tension with the Inhumans.

    Wow this was really long, but considering how fast the show is, it’s probably better to get it all out now. Always good to hear from you though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “The Dirty Half Dozen” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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