Agents of SHIELD: One Door Closes

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Apparently continuing the theme of all the hero shows this week, Agents of SHIELD has a lot of flashbacks in “One Door Closes.”  They jump back and forth between the present and the day SHIELD fell, as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I admire how Marvel is keeping their shows and movies so tightly woven together, even as I puzzle over DC’s choice to do the opposite.  

The scenes in the past are Mac, Morse, Hartley (Lucy Lawless’ now deceased character), and Gonzales aboard the SHIELD carrier Illiad. At first they plan on scuttling the ship based on Fury’s orders. Then, as events progress, they decide to save the ship, kill the Hydra agents, and start their own group, which is the other SHIELD faction we’ve been seeing in the current plot line.

In the present, Morse returns to Coulson’s base, where she and Mac begin sabotaging things. This leads into the other SHIELD attacking, after Coulson had figured out Mac was working against him. There’s a lot of back and forth as people are captured, and then escape and capture others. It’s a big mess, really. I was looking forward to a real big fight between the resident bad-asses May and Morse, but their fight wasn’t that long or decisive.

One of the big objectives of Gonzales’ group has been acquiring a small vibrainium cube that they keep referring to as “Fury’s Toolbox.” For a group that seems so disdainful of Fury, they sure want a lot of his toys. Gonzales and Coulson have a confrontation that also isn’t decisive. In the end, a very few get away to link up and plot a strike against Gonzales and company.

After they take Coulson’s base and keep badmouthing both Fury and Coulson, the other SHIELD decide their next objective is Skye. She’s spent the episode at the remote cabin Coulson dropped her off at last episode. For a remote location, she’s gotten a lot of visitors. First, she finds old damage to the wall that is clearly a Hulk fist-print. Later, the cabin is referred to as “the house that Banner built,” so that’s at least two Avengers that have spent time there (Steve Rogers was referenced last episode). Skye gets a video call from Simmons, a phone call from May later, Gordon the eyeless teleporter pops by for a bit, and then Morse and Calderon lead an assault team to capture Skye. That assault goes badly, and Skye ends up fleeing with Gordon.

A few things I wonder about, in no real order. First off, all those scenes on the Illiad made me wonder what happened to the original SHIELD helicarrier. We see it in Avengers, it survived the events of the movie, and wasn’t shown in at all in Winter Soldier. Was it quietly scrapped? Crashed during the Hydra/SHIELD fighting? The ones in Winter Soldier were new, “Insight” class carriers, not the original. So where’d it go?

On to less trivial matters, I really find Gonzales and company amazingly hypocritical. They claim that they are all about transparency, and that what led to the end of the old SHIELD was Fury’s penchant for secrets. Well, let’s see. Gonzales has placed double-agents on Coulson’s team, attacked from ambush, and which team was it again that had an actual working relationship with the US military? Oh yeah, Coulson’s team. Tell me again how Gonzales is on the up and up? They’ve leapt to conclusions about Coulson with no real information to go off of, and have now got Coulson’s team splintered in three groups: the captured, the free, and Skye with the Inhumans (who still haven’t been called that yet on the show). Coulson’s team helped capture Absorbing Man, stopped Hydra, took out Calvin’s team of crazy enhanced people, and mended fences with Talbot and the Air Force at least. Gonzales and company have been hiding. No secrets, huh?

What I liked: May is still an amazing character to watch in action. Her skills and her loyalty are great to see. Simmons managed a sneaky attack against one of the traitors, even if it ended up not mattering in the long run. Gordon the teleporter has a name! I loved the Hulk references and the damage from his fist.

What I didn’t: As I said, Gonzales and company are just hypocrites as far as I can tell. Their motivation only works if they turn a blind eye to the good Coulson has done and their own doubts about themselves (both Mac and Morse looked guilty during this). What they are essentially doing is tying up resources over “No, MY way is better!” while all the various things SHIELD is supposed to stop are running around unchecked.

I’m not liking this whole SHIELD vs SHIELD plot (anyone else remember the Spy vs Spy comics in Mad Magazine?). I’m giving this episode a low 3 out of 5. I really hope Coulson and company bounce back, kick Gonzales’ ass, and reestablish themselves before Avengers 2 comes out.

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