TV SHOW: Marvel’s Agents of Shield
SEASON/EPISODE: 2.04 ‘Face your Enemy’
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Drew Z Greenberg/Kevin Tanchareon
When a painting with more of the mysterious writing appears at a high-class party, Coulson and May go undercover to retrieve it but find General Talbot standing between them and their objective.
This episode was another fun little ride (in a still impressive start to the second season of Agents of Shield) and had an excellent mix of humour, action and drama. The whole first third was very fun to watch and had a nice Mission Impossible vibe to it, showing how the whole team was working together at different tasks in the build up to Coulson and May’s infiltration of the party.
These two were definitely the focus of this particular episode (since in the previous ones were focused by Simmons, Hunter, Skye, Fitz and Mac) and this was a good thing as Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen have good chemistry. The pair had the lion’s share of the humour for this episode (well, Coulson did) and it was fun to watch the rest of the team’s reaction to May acting quite out of character while maintaining her cover (Coulson “I think the worst of it is over now.”), only to complain about it afterwards. But the scene then became more serious as May brought up Coulson’s deteriorating condition (due to his obsession with scratching alien writing on the walls), leading to a talk that would be brought up a few more times between the pair and ultimately play an important part later on.
Then the stakes were raised once again when General Talbot suddenly appeared (I had no idea that he had an eye for art), so Coulson decides to go straight up and talk to him (a man that had made it his goal in life to bring Shield and Hydra down). And it was here that the plot took an unexpected twist, first of all Talbot was uncharacteristically subdued (when you consider his behaviour towards Coulson in his previous appearances so far) and then we find out he is working for Hydra. When the General then offers Coulson a deal, it was good to see that he and May did not trust him and so the latter was then sent to shadow Talbot.
It was here that we find out that the General was really Bakshi (which was very good, as Talbot working for Hydra would have been too much of a leap for anyone to believe) and we got to see the face-mask tech (last shown Captain America: The Winter Soldier) back in action (which again added to the Mission Impossible vibe). And the Hydra second in command was working with the brain-washed Agent 33, which led to May being captured and the latter taking on her identity.
She then returned to the Bus and sabotaged it before leading Coulson back to Bakshi, but of course the Director saw through it (thanks to the clue brought about by the return of the earlier conversation between him and the real May). This led to May breaking free (and her taking down of Bakshi was rather humorous) and fighting her doppelganger ( I do love how May smashed Agent 33’s head against the coffee table with that nice acrobatic move).
Back on the Bus, Fitz finally became part of the group after helping them neutralise the virus that was going to make their mobile base explode, leading to a nice scene between him, Hunter and Mac sharing a beer. It was funny to see the real Talbot’s reaction to what his doppelganger had been up to (pretty much summed up the audience‘s reaction to it earlier on), before going back to his ‘end Shield’ talk. And this in turn gave us a conclusion of sorts to Coulson and May’s dilemma on how to deal with the Director’s slow decent to madness, which I felt showed how much May cares for her Boss/friend, even though she tries to hide it behind her ice-cold demeanour.
And finally we get a scene at the very end of the episode, showing Whitehall catching up to Raina and coercing her to give him back the Obelisk (or as Marvel probably calls it, MacGuffin number Five), and the Hydra Leader is certainly very good at getting what he wants (Reed Diamond certainly plays the smooth evil guy well) by the look of things.