Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×10 Review: What They Become

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Daisy, Daisy we all kind of knew it was you. But Daisy, Daisy that doesn’t make it less cool. There’s something beautiful about fan theories being validated in the best way. Not as a result of predicability, but instead because it was well set up and executed in a fun and exciting way. The Inhumans are here, Whitehall appears to be dead, Ward’s in the wind, and there was one hell of a cliffhanger to keep us talking until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns.

It kind of feels like this is where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been heading all along, and the implications of introducing an Inhumans storyline are enticing to say the least. But the best thing to come out of this episode of big reveals was Skye’s indignity. Daisy Johnson (aka Quake) has a seismic (earthquake producing) ability – thus the name Quake. Got to love those comic superheroes, they’re never very subtle. She’s also one of the only S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to have a “Level 10” security clearance – along with Fury and Black Widow. She’s teamed up with the Avengers and even became director of S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s amazing.

CHLOE BENNETNow we don’t know which aspects of Daisy’s character will be incorporated into the MCU, but as someone who’s been a fan of Skye since the series began I can’t help but feel a little validated. Plus, this should finally shut up all the people that were disappointed when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t include an established Marvel hero. Skye is amazing and the haters can suck it.

For those of you not familiar with the comics universe, I might be getting a little ahead of myself but I had to geek out a little. If you’re wondering how we know that Skye is Daisy all this stuff when a lot of it hasn’t been explicitly stated in the show yet. Well, the answer is that they set it up so well that they didn’t have to explain it explicitly. Also Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen confirmed it in an interview but it was mostly just good storytelling. Even viewers that don’t have the knowledge to name what’s happening can easily understand what’s going on.

Skye is part of a group of special humans with latent abilities that come from ancient interactions with blue Alien’s called Kree (you might remember them from Guardians of the Galaxy). In order to unleash these abilities, they have to be exposed to a mist that comes from the Obelisk (or Diviner). See, even without any additional information from the comics you have a pretty decent beginning to the Inhumans backstory. Especially if Marvel plans on using the Inhumans as the MCU version of mutants (that’s just speculation at this point but it seems to be heading that way).

Sorry, I should probably stop squeeing about Daisy and the Inhumans and actually talk about the episode. The thing is there’s not much to say about the episode because it was great. It was exciting and fun and everything I want an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be. Kyle MacLachlan continues to be brilliant as the character we now know is Calvin Zabo (aka Mr. Hyde). Insane and also kind go evil Ward is still the best decision this show ever made. And it was great to see Fitz and Simmons working together again – although I do hope they aren’t just waving the magic hand over his disability.

The only real problems with this episode stem from wider issues rather than story specific stuff. Because before this season began, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. put themselves in an unfortunate position – the only expendable members of the team are POC. This is a BIG problem: because narratively Tripp’s death was justified, while socially it was not. I mean, it’s a big battle, there’s got to be at least one casualty and Tripp is the logical choice because his death has the most emotional impact without being detrimental to future stories. That is not a problem, the problem is that Tripp was the one in that position while characters like Lance Hunter and Grant Ward are safe and secure as series regulars.

Before anyone feels the need to caps lock at me, I do not think that Tripp was killed because he is black but I do think we need to acknowledge that the color of his skin put him in a position where his character was expendable. While it’s possible that any character could die, it was safe to say that only two S.H.I.E.L.D. members were realistically in danger. Last week it looked like Mack would be the one to go, but “What They Become” gave us a last minute bait and switch so we lost Tripp instead. Either way a POC was going to die.

The reason that Nick Blood gets to be a series regular while B.J. Britt does not is because writers, directors, producers, network executives, advertisers and even audiences are subconsciously compelled to favor white men. As a result of this inherent prejudice the addition of minorities into a story is more often than not a second thought, which is why queer characters, female characters, and POC tend to be more expendable than their white counterparts. This is why so many minority characters end up dying. Even if the death makes sense doesn’t make the implications any less problematic.

aos1Then there’s the fact that Lance Hunter continues to exists. Seriously, I’m still assuming that he will have a reason for being at some point in the future but at the moment he’s just dead weight. I think he’s supposed to be the loveable rouge but he’s not particularly roguish or loveable. It’s not like they could kill him off either. His death wouldn’t matter because they haven’t taken the time to connect him to any of the core characters. Instead they keep wasting time on his romance with Bobbi Morse, which is difficult to care about; they are both new additions to the cast and we haven’t really had time to get attached to them yet. I want this show to prove me wrong, I want Lance Hunter to matter but at the moment he is like an annoyingly persistent pimple.

Anyway, moving on from Mr Boring Face, the highlight of the episode was without a doubt the moment that Skye shot Ward. The look on his face was priceless. He was so shocked. Like dude, you’re literally a murderer who betrayed everyone she loves and then kidnapped her, what did you expect. Man I love insane!Ward.

What did you think of the mid season finale? Was there enough there to keep you hooked through the hiatus? Are you exited about the introduction of the Inhumans? Do you think Chloe Bennet will make an awesome Daisy Johnson? And how many ways can you think of to bring Tripp back to life?

Author: Undie Girl

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.



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