Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 3
"Making Friends and Influencing People"
WRITER: MONICA OWUSU-BREEN
DIRECTOR: BOBBY ROTH
AIR DATE: October 7 2014
'Making Friends and Influencing People'; such is the name of this latest episode of the series, and it takes the team of field operators in some unexpected directions, all while bringing us back to a familiar face from the first season. What has become of the real Agent Simmons, who has been seen this season in Fitz' hallucinations caused by the brain injuries he sustained at the end of the last season? Well, this episode answers that question, putting the cheerful scientist squarely undercover in the pit of the enemy- right inside Hydra. It's a good touch for the character, who would seem to be not particularly adept at undercover work, and yet is quick on her feet and resourceful. Elizabeth Henstridge has from the beginning of playing the role made Simmons an empathetic character, someone inherently decent, and we can make assumptions about what is motivating her to work undercover for Coulson in this capacity. It also gives the writers a chance to explore in depth the inherent differences between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra, something that no doubt will continue to play out as the season goes along.
Her season one partner in the lab is in a different direction with the main part of the team, and Iain De Caestecker continues to convey Fitz' new status in interesting ways, more so than we would have thought of the character had he not gone through what happened to him at the close of Season One. He's not himself, troubled by how wounded he has been, and has been treated by most of the others on his team like they're walking on eggshells around him. Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) is the exception to that, and their friendship is a good touch that seems to be keeping Fitz grounded. One startling scene, however, involves a confrontation for Fitz with the former friend who betrayed everyone, and what Fitz does... well, we can't say we blame him.
On the opposite side of things, we get to see a bit more of Mr. Whitehall (Reed Diamond), the Hydra officer who we first met in the Second World War flashback earlier in the season. Diamond's an actor I've liked ever since he joined the cast of Homicide: Life on the Street as Detective Mike Kellerman. That show, for the first five of its seven years, was the best show on television, and Diamond's entry into the mix was welcome. He's one of those working actors who appear in many roles over a lifetime, and he's worked with the Joss Whedon crew before- he had a big role in Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing a couple of years back, where he appeared opposite Clark Gregg. He'll continue, no doubt, to be a menace as the season goes along, and there are many questions yet to be answered about him.
Skye tries to get information from Ward
We also get a return from last season in the form of Donnie Gill, whose presence forms the major issue for the team to solve this time out. Gill is a character from the comics, of course, where he's best known as Blizzard, a frequent foe of many a hero, particularly Iron Man. The writers changed things around for the character somewhat in the first season appearance, and his return this time out makes sense given the current status of S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention the team itself. His powers remain much the same, and the character finds himself the object of a race between our heroes and Hydra. If this is the last we'll see of Blizzard (not likely), it's been welcome to have the character around.