Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – …Ye Who Enter Here Review
All things considered, …Ye Who Enter Here is quite an impressive episode for Agents. This is not because it has spectacular revelations or high-octane action, but because performs its purpose rather effectively. That purpose being to orient its various players and pieces in preparation for its midseason finale, while building interest in its viewers. It succeeds by blending gradual plot development with intriguing character development. The episode splits its focus between Coulson’s team which contains Bobbi, Fitz, Simmons, and Mack as they investigate the alien “city,” and May, Hunter, and Skye as they attempt to recover Raina before Hydra can.
I generally haven’t been a fan of Raina in the past, but I didn’t really mind her in this episode. My problems with her can largely be attributed to the fact that the show usually restricts her to offering vague hints regarding the plot, and acting like an evangelical pursuer of some truth only to have her cower the moment someone threatens her. Ye Who Enter Here (I am leaving out the “…” because it gets annoying) allows her to be a bit more direct as she discusses the Diviner, Skye’s father, and even goes so far as to acknowledge that the mysterious blue aliens are, in fact, the Kree. This isn’t really a revelation since everyone who is even mildly familiar with the Marvel Universe has probably assumed that they were dealing with the Kree since back in season 1. While S.H.I.E.L.D.’s attempts to recover Raina feel slightly stretched in order to fill time, that really isn’t anything more than a nitpick. It also provides Skye with an opportunity to go up against Agent 33 in a rather awesome fight scene, though, given how Agent 33 held her own against May, Skye’s ability to fight her off as much as she does comes off as a tad unbelievable. It is also a bit odd that 33 still has a scarred copy of May’s face. Is the mask still working despite having been partially melted? Simply punching Bakshi was enough to cause his mask to glitch, so it’s hard not to question the logic here. While the team does succeed in recovering Raina, the victory is short lived as Ward uses the S.H.I.E.L.D. tracker in her leg to locate both her and the bus. He then proceeds to order the release of both Raina and Skye into Hydra custody lest he open fire on the plane. His insistence that Skye accompanies him as well as his apparent refusal to fire upon the bus provides further confirmation that his loyalties lie with the Doctor and not Whitehall. By taking a step back, it’s relatively easy to see the intention of the creators behind this plot thread. For the midseason finale, they need Raina, Ward, the Doctor, and Skye in the same place and at a glance everything that follows is simply pushing the plot towards that state, but, with strong characterization and strong writing, it avoids feeling forced or unnatural.
Coulson’s race to find the alien city ends up feeling a bit weaker, but that is largely because it feels as if the characterization there is intended to carry the plot as opposed to simply support it. In fact, the team seems to spend most of the episode just faffing about in Puerto Rico. On their own, scenes of Coulson talking to Bobbi about hats and acceptable losses or Fitz and Simmons discussing their work environment are enjoyable enough, but there is very little actual plot progression until around the third act when they lower Mack into the city to find out what happened to Fitz’s scouting drones which suddenly went offline. One glowing Kree alchemy array later, and Mack has become an unstoppable juggernaut who turns on the team. He ends up falling down the hole they were using to access the city with his actual fate being uncertain. I find it a little hard not to feel like we kinda end the episode not that far from where we started… minus one Mack. An argument could be made for this plot thread having the purpose of establishing the threat posed by the Kree technology, but that was already done via the Diviner, so it still comes off as a bit superfluous.
Before I wrap up, a Few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Skye’s dream at the opening provides a nice glimpse into how S.H.I.E.L.D. has become a surrogate family for her and how her fear of abandonment still drives her.
- Mack and Bobbi apparently have some secret that they’re hiding from Hunter. Currently, I’m a bit ambivalent to the show’s hints, as there really isn’t much that has been revealed beyond the fact that there is a secret.
- That tactical outfit that Skye wears really does look a tad familiar. If Skye turns out to not be Quake, I’ll be shocked.
- The city itself currently appears to consist of a couple boulders and a glowing floor pattern. I know that they want to save the actual imagery of the city for the midseason finale, but a little bit more wouldn’t have hurt. At the moment, you could step into my closet and turn off the light and you’d get roughly the same imagery… this is where I’m supposed to tell Agents to come out of the closet isn’t it?… *sigh*
- If it seems like I glossed over Mack’s apparent death, it is due to the fact that it remains unconfirmed.
- The review for the next episode will likely be late.
…Ye Who Enter Here is a surprisingly strong episode that is set to establish the groundwork for the midseason finale. Agents has generally been a little weak on setting up its big episodes since the show tends not to do an exceptional job balancing plot development, intrigue and character development in its less action heavy episodes. Fortunately, despite some slightly irritating padding, Ye Who Enter Here proves to be a fun, informative, and, ultimately well constructed episode that has me legitimately excited for the upcoming What They Become.
...Ye Who Enter Here serves as a surprisingly strong buildup episode. Here is hoping that the midseason finale capitalizes upon the strong foundation that is established here.