Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – One Door Closes Review
One Door Closes is the best episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that I’ve had the opportunity to review. I honestly am having difficulty thinking of any complaints, and I don’t mean “I can only think of nitpicks.” I can’t really think of much of anything that this episode does wrong, and I made sure to watch it three times. It builds off of last week’s strong buildup and writing, and provides one of Agents’ best and most enjoyable experiences to date. I can’t actually believe that they are not taking a break after this episode. I’m not complaining, but these days it seems like any show that has a particularly good and eventful episode is obligated to follow it with an overly long break right afterwards, regardless of whether or not they just recently took such a break (I’m looking at YOU, Gravity Falls!). One Door Closes displays a masterful understanding of how to utilize rising and falling action to keep an audience on the edge of its seat up until the very end.
The story picks up right where Love in the Time of Hydra left off, with Bobbi returning to the base to retrieve Fury’s toolbox from Coulson’s desk. Meanwhile, Coulson gives Mack the opportunity to look under Lola’s hood, but quickly turns the conversation towards the miniature model that he made. It doesn’t take long for Coulson to drop the pretext and start questioning Mack openly about the device inside the model and about Hunter’s disappearance. Realizing that Bobbi is involved as well, Coulson sends May to intercept Bobbi who has already collected the toolbox. Bobbi ultimately evades May and the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents by activating a device that she had planted earlier which knocks out the power throwing everyone into disarray and allowing Mack to escape as well. From there it is a full on infiltration as Bobbi floods the base with knockout gas and Gonzalez’s agents move in to secure it. The episode often cuts to flashbacks of the day that S.H.I.E.L.D. fell with Gonzalez, Mack, Bobbi and Hartley trying to recover Gonzalez’s ship from the Hydra forces that seized it. This aids in breaking up the action at the base, as well as illuminating some of Gonzalez’s character. It gives the viewers a glimpse of why he came to view Fury’s approach as wrong and why he thinks Coulson is the same. The scene in which Gonzalez and Coulson come face to face is done very effectively, as neither one comes off as outright villainous in this situation. While it certainly doesn’t feel like Gonzalez is in the right, some of his arguments against Coulson do have a hint of truth to them. To top it off, their conversation ends with May showing up and subduing both Gonzalez and his agents, allowing for Coulson to escape through a hidden elevator. The episode concludes with Coulson meeting up with Hunter at a bar where Hunter offers his services as a full S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and inquires as to what their next move is.
Skye’s involvement in this episode is set up in such a manner that it effectively serves as a mirror to the action going on at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. As the action is ramping up at the base, Skye’s scenes remain subdued and offer a break from the action, and the same is true of the reverse. This week we see Skye as she tries on the gloves Jemma designed and as she explores the cabin a bit more. The gloves don’t seem to come into play much since she only puts them on for a little while, and they apparently make her disoriented and uncomfortable. This leads her to try and contact S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ only to find that the connection isn’t operational. However, it is around this point that she receives a visit from the eyeless Inhuman, Gordon. Up until this point, Gordon has been a slightly annoying character due to the fact that he was mainly used as a post-credits stinger and a Deus ex Machina. Fortunately, we get to see a bit more of him here, and he provides something that none of the other characters have truly been able to provide Skye, namely acceptance and guidance. He explains aspects of her powers to her, and offers to bring her with him so that she can learn more about how to harness those abilities. He calmly accepts the fact that she is not currently ready to join him, but states that the offer is always open and that when she is ready he will find her. It’s at this point that Bobbi and Kirk Acevedo’s Agent Calderon come to collect Skye. While Bobbi is clear that she intends to take in Skye alive, it would appear that Calderon secretly overrode her orders. He attempts to shoot Skye with live ammunition, but Skye uses a shockwave to deflect the bullet causing a large amount of destruction in the process. She calls out to Gordon for help and he arrives instantly to escort her.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Okay, I completely forgot about Agent Weaver having previously appeared back in the first season episodes, Seeds and Turn, Turn, Turn. Fortunately, her interactions with Jemma and Leo served as a very quick reminder of the fact that she had been the head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy.
- Gonzalez seems convinced that some of Coulson’s team will be willing to work with him. I’m curious as to whether or not any of them will. I particularly hope Jemma won’t come to their aid, but, if she does, it’s possible that she will be trying to aid Coulson in a manner similar to her undercover stint at the Hydra facility.
- I have to admit, I am a bit eager to see a few more Inhumans. So far, the only one we’ve seen who has even a halfway decent grasp on his powers is Gordon, so I’m anxious to get more of a look at the MCU’s approach to this faction.
- Calderon takes a large piece of wood through the shoulder after Skye unleashes that shockwave. I doubt that the wound was fatal, but I also suspect that it did nothing to put him at ease.
This is an episode with surprisingly few flaws. The only notable issue occurs in the flashbacks when Bobbi decides to destroy the key to a potential last resort option. Even this is defensible though, as doing so caused the immediate end to an argument that was underway. There are no characters that feel left out or superfluous in this episode. Everyone has something to do, and it is impressive how tightly written it is. While Gordon’s last minute appearance in One of Us irritated me, One Door Closes uses him far more effectively by allowing the viewer to get a feel for his character, and by establishing the likelihood of a last minute appearance in advance. What can I say? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really knocked it out of the park with this one.
One Door Closes is an exceptional piece of storytelling that feels crisp and tightly contructed with very few notable problems. Agents is on a roll.