Review: Agents of SHIELD Mid-Season Finale

Remember in my last Agents of SHIELD review when I said you couldn’t trust anyone? Yeah, everything went all to hell again in the last twenty minutes of the mid-season finale and I just can’t explain how awesome it was. We’ve been building towards this episode for a half a season, following clues and hints along the way. And now that its arrived I have to say, Marvel did not disappoint. You wanted Agents of SHIELD to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, now it most definitely is. So if you’re not watching yet, get on board ASAP.

* MANY SPOILERS TO FOLLOW *

Since episode one, Skye has been searching for information about her parents and where she came from. We now finally have confirmation that she was born Daisy Johnson, illegitimate daughter of Cal Zabo and an as yet unnamed Chinese woman whose organs Daniel Whitehall (evil doctor working for Hydra) stole to tap into her regenerative powers and prevent aging. Daisy is a more recent addition to the Marvel comic books, but she’s known to be a high ranking SHIELD agent (the only one besides Black Widow with level ten security clearance) and gifted with the power to create seismic shifts similar to earthquakes. At the end of the finale Skye and Raina were transformed by the Obelisk. We don’t know what form Raina’s powers will take yet, but from her ID as Daisy it’s safe to assume that Skye’s new powers will be seismically related.

As for Skye’s father, Calvin Zabo, he was correctly ID’d by fans as Marvel villain Mr. Hyde. According to the comic books his powers were brought about through artificial hormonal injections. They include strength, stamina, and resistance to physical harm, all of which were accurately displayed in the show. After he beat up Colson, Skye held her father at gunpoint and demanded that he leave or she’d be forced to shoot him. Cal backed off, but not before telling Skye that he’d be there for her and love her no matter what when her powers manifested. Now that they have, whether or not Skye will actively seek out her father remains to be seen. But suffice it to say Cal will remain a part of the show for the foreseeable future.

The midseason finale also confirmed the show’s role in another aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the Inhumans. In the Phase Three announcement made last month, Marvel confirmed that an Inhumans movie would be released in 2019. However, since the Inhumans are a more obscure part of the MCU, there is a definite need to build up a fan base before the release. Which is exactly what they’re doing by tying it into Agents of SHIELD.

For those of you who don’t know, Inhumans is not just a substitute for the word “mutant” because Fox owns the rights to the X-Men films. The Inhumans are actually a race of super-powered beings evolved from early humans who were experimented on by aliens. In this case, those aliens would be the Kree, aka. the blue dude who provided Colson with the map and drove him crazy as a result of the Tahiti Project. Inhumans gain their abilities via a process called Terrigenesis, which is a fancy name for what Skye and Raina went through with the Obelisk.

However, not only is Skye/Daisy an Inhuman, but there’s also a strong possibility that the creepy guy with no eyes who appeared at the end is Reader, an Inhuman with the ability to make anything he reads become real. Not much is known about him yet, but we do know that he was blinded by the other Inhumans for being too powerful and that now he uses his powers by reading braille on sheets of paper that he carries with him. What role he will play going forward is unclear – will he “take care” of Skye and Raina by training them or killing them? – but we do know for certain that he’s our foothold into the Inhumans storyline.

For the first time, Agents of SHIELD is going to be on the front line of a major MCU plot point and I know that I’m not the only Marvel fan who’s excited about this. It’s been a long time coming, even with the Hydra tie-in to Captain America: Winter Soldier. Instead of just handling the fallout from the major motion pictures, the show is going to expand the scope of the MCU and introduce some of the weirder storylines that won’t make it onto the big screen.

Going forward however, there are still many questions left to be answered when the show returns in March. Some food for thought:

  • The show led us to believe that the Obelisk was one of a kind. Now that we know it’s not, I wonder: how many are there? And for that matter, is the Obelisk’s power consumed in one go or did the one that transformed Skye and Raina survive to do the same for others?
  • Ward blatantly disregarded Whitehall’s orders by taking Skye into custody. He also withheld an order to attack the Bus, though it was overridden by Whitehall himself later. However, given that Skye’s only instinct was to shoot him (which was awesome, by the way), we can safely assume that SHIELD isn’t prepared to take Ward back. So where does that leave him? Whose side is he on?
  • Where does the Hydra/SHIELD rivalry fit between the introduction of the Inhumans? Hydra may be temporarily without a leader since Colson killed Whitehall, but as the saying goes, “cut off one head and two more grow in its place.” They won’t stay down for long.
  • Bobbi (Mockingbird) was up to something weird with the flash drive she stole from Mac’s lab. Is that leading up to something or was she just missing her friend? Something tells me Hunter wouldn’t have confronted her about it if he thought it was nothing; he knows her too well.
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