Saturday, 12 April 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Yes Men

"I'm not sure how I feel about Dr. Simmons. She's so strict!"

This episode goes full-on with characters from Thor's supporting cast, with Lorelei as the baddie of the week and Jaimie Alexander reprising her role as Sif from the films.

The result is a thoroughly entertaining one-off, with Lorelei using her powers to enslave men's minds, including those of Ward and Fitz. It's left to the women (and Coulson) to save the day.

That's what's going on on the surface, anyway; there's also a lot of arc and character stuff bubbling away underneath. Coulson is being very cagey about what happened last episode, something which May is quick to notice. He asks Sif about blue aliens of her acquaintance; as I failed to notice last week (duuuh!), the damaged figure seen by Coulson was apparently blue and non-terrestrial. Sif spouts a long lists of aliens, none of whom have ever visited Earth, including the Kree. Hmmm.

Coulson is much distracted by events of last week, enough so as to have an interesting chat with Jasper Sitwell in which he learns that Nick Fury is "off-grid". Presumably this is because of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I saw on my honeymoon in Edinburgh nearly a fortnight ago.

Skye, meanwhile, is back and healing with incredible speed; it seems this mysterious substance was indeed a wonder drug. It's fascinating, too, to see a clash between Coulson and Simmons, hardly natural antagonists, on whether the drug should be researched for general use. Not until the end do we understand his reluctance.

The big moment in the episode, probably, happens when May encounters her lover, Agent Ward, while he's under Lorelei's control. Earlier there was a sex scene between them- unlike her other male slaves, Lorelei actually finds Ward sexy- but here comes the real betrayal: "He told me who he desired before me. But... it wasn't you." Skye, anyone? My then-fiancée predicted this long ago...!

We end with Coulson confiding in Skye, and only Skye, that the drug used to save her (and him) is of alien origin and that the side effects are unknown. He demands answers, and to hell with the rules; he and Skye will get their answers. Only thing is, May is listening in, and reporting to someone...

There are a couple if minor gripes: sometimes, as in this case, the "previously on" bit at the start can act as a spoiler by highlighting the arc strands to be covered in the episode, and I'm afraid Jaimie Alexander does an awful British accent. Otherwise, a solid episode very much in keeping with the show's recent dramatic upturn in quality.

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