Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 10
"What They Become"
WRITER: JEFFREY BELL
DIRECTOR: MICHAEL ZINBERG
AIR DATE: December 9 2014
‘What They Become’ marks the mid-season finale for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and an absence for the series until March (that’s way too long!). It brings us to more than one cliffhanger, and also establishes identities for major characters that make sense when you come to think of it. Along the line we get death stepping in, taking away characters we’ve come to love or hate. It’s a confrontation between opposing forces led by Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Whitehall (Reed Diamond), and not everyone gets out of this in one piece. The setup from the previous episode pays off here in a big way.
The hidden city is front and center throughout, as Coulson’s team deals with what’s become of one of their own. It also factors into Whitehall’s schemes, as his forces infiltrate the city. All the while we have the family reunion of Skye (Chloe Bennet, who’s really come into her own as an actor) and her deranged father (Kyle MacLachlan). While big events play out between them, their reunion is filled with tension and uncertainty - Skye can see he’s unhinged and bent on revenge instead of emotionally stable, and so can we. And along the line, revelations are made about who both of them are, and both of them turn out to be people with history in the Marvel Comics universe. The doctor’s true identity is particularly fitting, given the deranged mindset of his comic series counterpart.
Father and daughter
There's an interesting twist about the renegage agent Ward (Brett Dalton), who's been busy assuring Skye that he'll never lie to her (again), that he's on her side (funny way of showing it), and that he'll do all he can for her. He's of assistance at a critical moment to Agent 33, who happens to be walking around with a scarred version of Agent May's face and a bit of a temper. I found myself wondering how long it'll be before they're knocking boots, so to speak. Any port in a storm, that Agent Ward...
encased in a cocoon
Everything builds at breakneck speed to a climax in the passages of the hidden city, with confrontations, violence, revelations, and a twist involving three characters at the heart of a physical reaction. The sequence plays into theories about what the lost city actually is - or who it belongs to, and it ends in a permanent way for one of them, namely in a death (at least now we see why the actor was billed in a guest star capacity all season long), and in another permanent way for the other characters, namely in a transformation of sorts.