Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 5
"A Hen in the Wolf House"
WRITER: BRENT FLETCHER
DIRECTOR: HOLLY DALE
AIR DATE: October 21 2014
‘A Hen in the Wolf House’; a fitting title, since we’ve had Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) undercover in Hydra since the season started (when she wasn’t turning up in Fitz’ subconscious hallucinations, anyway). How long could that play out? When would things suddenly turn worse? And what was the contingency plan to get her out? Those were all questions on the minds of the audience, and as it turns out the decision to play it out this early in the season was the right one.
S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra are, effectively rival agencies, both wanted by more than one government, but whereas the former acts in the greater interest, the latter is acting for its own devious ends, employing any method to continue to attain power. Whether or not Hydra is truly united at the moment is a question - Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) is a formidable villain and is certainly leading what we’re seeing here early in the season with a ruthless quality. There’s also Baron von Strucker out there, as seen at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and he might have as much claim to leadership. Coulson’s choice to insert an agent deep undercover was a wise one, but as we see it could only last so long. Fortunately Coulson seems to have the sort of mind that plans ahead.
This episode introduces Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Paliki), who any comic reader will know as Mockingbird, a member of the Avengers. We first meet her in one capacity, deep under cover and coming across as a serious threat to Simmons, who must be wondering at this point if her cover’s been blown. The fun of how she reveals her true motives is left to the audience. She is a serious threat, but not to Simmons, and we get a look at her fighting style, which reminds us of the Black Widow. Bobbi is someone you do not want to get mad at you.
While Simmons gets the lion’s share of the character development and screen time this week, along with a subdued reunion with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), there are other character moments of note. Coulson (Clark Gregg) is more open about both what he’s going through and about secrets about herself with Skye (Chloe Bennet), who learns that her father is out there, and just how much of a monster he is.
Speaking of whom, it was inspired casting to bring in Kyle MacLachlan in the role. He did a lot of work with David Lynch, particularly Twin Peaks, where he was the heroic lead. We haven’t seen too much of him yet this season, but this time out really demonstrates how malevolent and dangerous he really is.
And so we leave off with the team reunited, new members and all, and a cinematic universe version of a character who fits in with the expectations you might have thought (complete with her choice of weapons). The writers continue to advance their plotlines this season, moving things along at a brisk pace.