Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – What They Become Review
Well… that was interesting. In a number of ways, What They Become reminds me a bit of the finale of the 3rd season of Person of Interest, Deus Ex Machina. If you don’t follow Person of Interest, a significant paradigm shift occurred at the end of that season and it left many viewers wondering where the show could possibly plan to go from there. While What They Become is not as good as Deus Ex Machina, it does leave me with a similar sense of tentative excitement. We have moved into full on superpowered heroes territory (something that the Agents has generally lacked), and I’m quite interested in seeing how the show builds upon this. What They Become, for the most part, splits its focus between the interactions between Skye, Raina, Ward and the Doctor, and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as they try to locate Hydra and recover Skye.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the interactions between Skye and her father serve to steal much of the viewer’s attention. The reveal of their identities was well handled, from Kyle MacLachlan simply introducing himself to Skye as “Cal” to his humming of the song “Daisy” as he tried to comfort her. For those who are unfamiliar with the comics, theories have been floating around for a while that MacLachlan’s character was, in fact, the villain Dr. Calvin Zabo, better known as Mr. Hyde, which in turn would make Skye’s true identity that of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake. Now that Calvin is reunited with his daughter he is prepared to inflict upon Whitehall all of the horrors had been committed against his late wife. Unfortunately, Whitehall has already come to realize that Zabo and Ward are not on his side and quickly subdues them.
It’s at this point that Coulson’s team, who was largely forced into the role of “Muck about until it is time for the climax,” shows up (Just in time for the climax!). Their assault on the Hydra forces plays out well enough, with Coulson apparently killing Whitehall, and Skye shooting Ward several times in the chest. Ward is clearly not out of the picture yet, as a confused and mentally broken Agent 33 helps him escape despite his injuries. I’m uncertain as to whether or not I think Whitehall is truly dead. Although it seems appropriate that Coulson would steal Zabo’s one chance at revenge, it still feels like an oddly abrupt end for the Hydra executive. Either way, Zabo is clearly not pleased and proceeds to beat Coulson senseless, only stopping when Skye threatens him at gunpoint. Before he retreats, Calvin tells Skye her real name and that, no matter what she becomes, he will be there for her and will accept her. Skye then gives chase after Raina who has taken the Diviner into the Kree Temple. This culminates in Skye, Raina and Triplett trapped in the temple as the Diviner opens to reveal the Terrigan Crystals inside. As Skye/Daisy and Raina are encased in cocoons, Triplett attempts to destroy the Crystals, but is turned to stone by a fragment of the Diviner case. As a portion of Daisy’s cocoon cracks off, she bears witness Triplett’s petrified form and releases a shockwave that destroys her cocoon and seemingly the temple around her as well.
Christ. Remember how the show Chuck decided to give its titular hero the power to fight back? It served as a major shift in the show’s struture, and it is a little hard not to view the events at the end of this episode in a similar light. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I know little to nothing about the Inhumans. My general understanding is that they are an intriguing but poorly implemented concept due in large part to the fact that they are complete dicks. That being said, this does present an intriguing change for the show. Daisy is the first member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to possess actual superpowers, and I am quite interested in seeing where the show goes with this. The emphasis of superpowers could open the gateway for the show to introduce a number of intriguing B-listers, and allow for it to tie in with the Cinematic Universe a bit more. For now, What They Become offers tantalizing hints as to the show’s direction, and honestly it looks like we may have an interesting second half of a season ahead of us.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Triplett’s death doesn’t get much attention, due to it pretty much occurring immediately before a cliffhanger ending. I hope that the show gives it some attention when it returns. I’m not saying we need a whole episode devoted to grieving his passing, but he was a significant enough character that I hope his death doesn’t simply get lost in the shuffle.
- MacLachlan really hit that perfect blend of happy enthusiasm and unhinged madness. I hope that it won’t be long before before we see the good Doctor again.
- Mack is still alive, fortunately. I wonder if his possession by Kree technology will have any lasting effects.
- In a sense, I felt the saddest thing about Triplett’s death was that he never figured out the truth behind the Koenigs. Honestly, if it turns out that they aren’t LMDs I’ll probably be disappointed.
- If Whitehall is truly dead, then that leaves the show with a bit of a villainous vacuum. I wonder who will be the one to fill it.
- Maybe the eyeless man at the end of the episode will be filling that vacuum… the current fan theory appears to be that he is The Reader, though, once again, I know dick about The Inhumans, so don’t expect some grand insight from me. I also have no idea what Raina turned into. It appeared feline, but it’s hard to be sure.
What They Become is not exactly a poignant or hard hitting emotional episode. If anything, it plays out more like one long climax as it throws various characters against one another. Still, it heralds an interesting shift in the show’s dynamic and serves as an effective end to a chapter of Skye/Daisy’s story. It is nothing if not fun and it does an effective job as capturing that sense of joy and excitement that one associates with comics.
What They Become is an episode of action-packed, high-octane fun. Agents clearly knows how to keep its viewers attention through the winter break.