Aired 14/01/2014 on ABC
I’m going to go ahead and say that this was probably the strongest episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the pilot. The plot was decent, there was next to no whining from any of the characters and we finally got a snippet of information regarding Skye and her origins.
Following the aftermath of last week’s revelations, Coulson was spending a lot of time brooding in his office reading files of his supposed ‘Tahiti’ time. Deciding this wasn’t healthy, May pretty much ordered him to stop and then enticed him into going to Mexico with her while the rest of the team were on a mission, to find the partner of the agent who dropped Skye off at the orphanage.
They did find him and after a little spat they took him to the plane to talk, but what was probably the best thing about this whole storyline was the conversation that May and Coulson had in the car while they were scoping the guy out. Seeing as he still doesn’t know much about his death-not-death, Coulson is having a bit of an existential crisis and understandably so. If his memories of what happened when he died had been altered and he can still remember Tahiti happening as if it was real (even though he knows it’s not), who’s to say that the rest of his memories haven’t been altered – he would never know, because he would remember the fake memories as being true.
It’s actually a pretty scary thought but May was quick to reassure him that she knew him before his death and after, and nothing about him is different. He reluctantly accepted it but I can’t see that worry going away as quickly as that. The serious conversation ended with May confessing to her sexy time with Ward, only for Coulson to catch sight of the agent they were after as the same time and ignored it. It was a nice little moment to lighten up the heavy atmosphere; I love the dynamic between these two characters.
Agent Lumley revealed that he was on the run not because he killed his partner Avery, the agent who dropped Skye off as a baby, but to avoid the same thing happening to him. Fresh out of the Academy, they were sent as backup to China to investigate an 084, an object of unknown origin. When they got there, the entire village had been killed protecting it and the senior agent was bleeding out from a gunshot wound with baby Skye in his arms. Apparently she was the 084 and the remaining team took her back with them and tried to protect her, only for them to start being killed off one by one. So they arranged for her to go into Foster care where she would be moved from home to home to keep her safe, and Lumley went into hiding.
My mind immediately switched to suspicious mode, not because I don’t believe the story, but because he said he never actually saw baby Skye use any powers. It would be pretty cool if she is an 084, but the angst of her trying to deal with this revelation only to then find out that it wasn’t completely accurate because they don’t have the full story also makes for a good storyline. Either way, it is an interesting route to go down with Skye as her identity and origins has been her main focus since the beginning, and this is sure to stay fresh for her character in the coming episodes.
Also, props to Coulson for actually telling her; due to his recent discovery he decided he had no right to keep it from her, and I’m glad because I hate it when shows drag out the storylines where one character knows something big about the other one.
While this was going on, Ward, FitzSimmons and Skye went back to the Academy to investigate some strange goings on that lead to the introduction of the Donnie Gill version of Blizzard. Here, Donnie is a super genius student at the Academy who apparently has no friends but a lot of big ideas. When he and fellow student Seth get attacked by a device that rapidly turns any moisture into ice, the team head down to investigate.
Turns out that it was actually Donnie and Seth who made the device and used the supposed attacks to both eliminate them from the suspects list and lure Fitz back to the academy, so he could inadvertently help them solve a power source problem. These impressionable youths may be super smart in all things science and technology, but they didn’t realise that they were getting manipulated by Ian Quinn. They were building a much bigger version of the Ice Device for him (I really hope that’s the actual name, otherwise it’s a missed opportunity) that could cause a super storm, not realising he was actually one of the bad guys.
Blinded by the opportunity to make something this cool and the fact that they were getting a heck of a lot of money for it, they managed to make it work and created a super storm, but also got discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. Quinn backed out once he knew they were involved and Seth was killed by a lightning bolt. Donnie was understandably upset seeing as he was kinda responsible for killing his only friend, but when he was taken by S.H.I.E.L.D. we saw that the lightning bolt striking the Ice Device gave him some super powers, marking the origins of Blizzard. No doubt we’ll see him again soon.
The team all went back to the plane, seemingly ignoring the massive clear up from the super storm, and Coulson called Quinn to casually threaten his existence. Other things that I should probably mention – the rivalry between the Science and Technology Division and the Operations created some good banter between Ward and FitzSimmons, plus did you see the ‘boiler’ room at the S and T Academy? I wish I had one of those at my uni: our student bar was a place you only went to in Fresher’s week or if you were coerced by a friend to join them at a themed night.
Also, I liked the hero worshipping the students had over FitzSimmons being in their midst, plus all the general feeling of the team bonding instead of the distances between the characters that is usually there. More of this dynamic please. Dare I say I’m actually looking forward to the next episode if this keeps up? I think I do…