Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 14
"Love in the Time of Hydra"
WRITER: BRENT FLETCHER
DIRECTOR: JESSE BOCHCO
AIR DATE: March 24 2015
'Love in the Time of Hydra’: a creative title for the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., all the more since it doesn’t really involve the nefarious organization directly. As seen last time out, Hunter (Nick Blood) has been brought by Mack (Henry Simmons) to a place he’s referred to as the real S.H.I.E.L.D., a cryptic sort of notion, given that we’ve been following a S.H.I.E.L.D. agency under the command of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).
This time out we get some explanations along with Hunter, though we might have cause to be dubious. Hunter is introduced to the boss, Robert Gonzales, and his colleagues and associates. Gonzales, played by Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), informs Hunter that his organization is founded on the notion of transparency, rather than compartmentalization, which was the Nick Fury standard operating procedure, and which Coulson has adopted for himself. As such, Gonzalez and his people deem Coulson to be a threat to the world. Are they on the up and up about this? We’re left to wonder.
Ward gets closer to Agent 33
(as she looks like Skye)
Coulson himself is doing a bit of housekeeping with his team. He’s dispatched Skye (Chloe Bennet) to a cabin for a breather, outfitting her with a way to repress her powers, suggesting she needs time to learn to use those powers first before she can be back out in the field. There’s a nice in-reference to Steve Rogers spending time at the place when he was first thawed out. The state of relations between Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), which had been slowly improving in more recent episodes takes a step back this time out as the two find themselves in a disagreement.
The other primary plot this time out brings back two familiar characters who have been absent. Ward (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33 (Maja Stoyan), the Hydra agent brainwashed by Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) and who had been left with a scarred version of May’s face are back. Their purpose is simple: break Bakshi out of the facility where he’s being held, conveniently commanded by Talbot (Adrian Pasdar). It requires fresh use of the same technology Agent 33 used to pass herself off as May in a new way, and features some moments with the audience wondering if this person or that person is who they say they are. What they have in mind for Bakshi isn’t the freedom he would have wanted, however.
There are two character moments that stand out this time. One is the aforementioned Agent 33. Stoyan’s been more voicing the character thus far - Ming-Na Wen has been playing her instead, facial scar and all. When it’s all said and done, we see her original face again, and she has her identity back again, and she has a moment of relief at the restoration - mixed with the payback that she’s getting on the person who stole that away from her. Stoyan, who is a semi-regular over on Castle, where she plays a precinct tech officer, might take this character in some intriguing directions from here out.
The other involves the career officer Talbot. At the realization that an imposter who can change faces is loose in his base, Talbot gets a bit paranoid - I was reminded of William Stryker in X-Men 2 in terms of an order he gives. And yet when it’s all said and done, and he’s communicating with Coulson about the situation, there’s just the hint of a sense of humour in the character... even though he’s going to be spending awhile in the proverbial doghouse. This is a first for the character, and it’s a welcome one.