“Who You Really Are” offers a bit of a bait-and-switch. While it first focuses on the return of Lady Sif to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the story reaches far beyond Asgard and Midgard. A flesh-and-blood Kree—and not a partial one in a tube—is on the loose, and the team has to figure out 1) why he’s there, 2) what Sif has to do with it, 3) and what that means for S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Really Are” sets itself up as a moment for everyone to take a breather before diving back into the many problems they face. May is helping Skye control her emotions (even if she doesn’t know exactly why Skye needs that help). Lance is thinking about sticking around permanently, and Coulson wants to do right by every team member.
But, as S.H.I.E.L.D. has so often proved in this second season, there’s little time to rest when the fate of the world (or worlds, in this case) is at stake.
Let’s start with the good Lady Sif, though. “Really Are” picks up with her on the beaches of Faro, Portugal, where she emerges from the sea to briefly terrorize a group of kids around a bonfire. Why is she attacking this bunch of strangers? Well, that’s the thing. Everyone’s a stranger to her, as she’s suffering from amnesia, only remembering her mission involves someone or something named “Chava.”
Sif’s appearance attracts Coulson’s attention, however, so he and a select group, including Mack, who he’s asked to join them in the field, head to sunny Portugal. There, Coulson attempts to refresh her memory with photos from their last meeting in season 1 (let’s just ignore that those images almost look like stills from an episode of TV…), but, other than Chava, all she remembers is her Asgardian heritage, and whatever she was taught as a child.
Luckily, Coulson isn’t the only one who’s taken notice of Sif. A few videos appear online of her fighting a man wielding what looks like a tiny hammer on a pier. Their bout ends in this mystery man tossing her into the ocean. Fitz and Simmons spot some blue liquid spouting from his chest when Sif strikes him, but otherwise his identity is as uncertain as are the rest of Sif’s memories.
What they also don’t know is that the mystery man, whose got a blue skin condition, is looking for information at a local hospital. When he doesn’t find the answers he’s looking for about someone who has “changed” on Earth, he attacks the nurse behind the counter and wipes out her memory.
Meanwhile, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team investigates the pier, discovering some of that blue goo on a lamppost when Lance touches it and splits the post in two. (Mack assures him no one would ever believe he was that strong on his own.) Simmons analyzes a sample and determines it’s liquid nitrogen.
While Coulson, May, and Sif are interrogating a beach balloon vendor, Bobbi and Skye find the man at the hospital. He takes on Bobbi, making quick work of her, but the frenzy becomes too much for Skye. She loses control of her emotions as she pulls out her gun, and a series of tremors kicks up. Rather than helping her, they cannibalize any attempt to stop this man, allowing him to flee instead.
The team regroups and reassesses the situation. All the evidence points to this unknown assailant being Kree, and Sif reinforces this leap in logic by revealing that “Chava” is a Kree word meaning “keys.” (Apparently Asgardians learn alien race’s entire languages as children, a revelation that simultaneously surprises Coulson and shames the entire American school system.)
They also determine that Chava may point to Chaves, a city in Portgual, which also conveniently appeared in Whitehall’s SSR files. They figure it out just in time, as the team corners the Kree, carrying a massive metallic chest, and hauls him back to their base.
Interrogating the Kree (played by Eddie McClintock), Vin-Tak, he reveals the weapon he was carrying, a truncheon, can wipe a person’s memory, and also restore it. As a sign of good faith, he returns Lady Sif to her pre-amnesia state and explains he came to Earth after being alerted to the Diviner and Terrigenesis Bomb set off in the first half of the season.
Vin-Tak goes into a bit of an exposition mode, but it’s all a crazy amount of backstory that sets a lot of the groundwork for future Marvel films and shows. A rogue group of Kree genetically modified species on different planets, and while most of their efforts failed, they succeeded on Earth. The Kree had thought they put an end to this group’s plans, but he knew the bomb’s detonation meant someone had to clean up the rogue Krees’ mess before a series of “abominations” (his word) could be activated by more Diviner/Terrigen Mist activations.
NEXT: Skye’s secret is out!
The case he had housed several other Diviners, but they’re all missing. That’s concerning enough, but Vin-Tak’s worries grow when he learns Skye saw Raina transform. All of the pressure is, again, too much for Skye to handle, though. The ground begins to shake, but this time, May recognizes that Skye is the cause of the quakes. Skye’s emotions rise to such a fever pitch that she shatters an entire wall of glass.
This revelation, throwing Skye’s new nature into the spotlight for all of S.H.I.E.L.D. to see, receives a few diverse reactions. Sif wants to take Skye to Asgard to protect Earth. Vin-Tak simply wants to kill her. May grabs Skye and the two flee as Sif and Vin-Tak chase after them. The latter falls into a fight with Bobbi yet again. She holds her own, though, in another fantastically choreographed fight where she comes out on top and erases his memory for good measure.
May and Skye take shelter in Ward’s old cell (Remember him!?). Nothing May does calms Skye down. Skye’s panic reaches new heights, so she takes matters into her own hands and knocks herself out with May’s tranquilizer gun. Her action is enough evidence for Lady Sif that Skye is at least treating her condition seriously.
The traumatic ordeal shifts the entire status quo of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sif takes Vin-Tak back home, but she warns May and Coulson about the threat that Skye poses, and she suggests forces out of their control are at work here. May is inclined to agree with her, but for now she and Coulson are going to work against the hand of fate and help Skye.
The rest of the team are handling it with a less measured response. They have discovered Fitz knew about Skye’s condition and are furious with him for not saying anything. Fitz claims they need to protect Skye, but Mack disagrees—they’re the ones who need protecting from her. Skye overhears them, and there’s nothing quite like hearing all of your friends talk about you like a monster. But she doesn’t entirely disagree. She’s decided to cordon herself off in the bus’ interrogation room, leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. fractured physically and emotionally.
- As you may have noticed from the byline, I am not Joshua Rivera. As Josh mentioned in last week’s recap, I’ll be recapping S.H.I.E.L.D. and am so excited to dive into the show. I hope that my having played Mario Kart with Agent Simmons herself will at least give me some credit with you all for taking over recapping duties.
- One subplot I waited to discuss is Bobbi and Mack’s secret meetings about a secret thing they’re working on together… secretly. It’s certainly intriguing, but there’s virtually no hint as to what it is or how it plays into the rest of the season. Mack intimates that what they’re doing could be seen as shocking as when they found out their coworkers were Hydra, but other than that, it’s difficult to say what’s happening. It must be important if Bobbi is willing to push Lance away so soon after the two are falling back into each other’s good graces—and each other’s beds. Any guesses?
- It’s great to see Jaimie Alexander reprise her role as Lady Sif season 1’s fun “Yes Men.” I certainly won’t complain if Alexander can jump in once or twice a season. There were plenty of highlights from her appearance, from the unstoppable smile spreading across her face at the mention of Thor (even without her memories) to her surprising knowledge of alien species. She and Son of Coul have a great dynamic together that I hope the show can revisit down the line.
- I was surprised by how much the episode explained the Kree history for the cinematic universe. Vin-Tak drops a tremendous amount of information that will have implications in the short- and long-term for the increasingly cosmic MCU. If anything, it feels like this episode not only set up the endgame for the season (hunting down Diviners, finding out how to harness Skye’s powers, and look for other potential Inhumans), but establishes some major threads for other upcoming Marvel films and shows.
- TAG: Whatever Bobbi and Mack are up to, their secrets will have to be spilled soon. When Lance goes to confront Mack, he’s met with denials and a knockout choke that leaves Lance unconscious. He of course had to leave Lance alive, but I don’t think he’s going to want to stay silent after that encounter.
NEXT WEEK: Drea De Matteo! Blair Underwood! Supervillains! If there were any worry S.H.I.E.L.D. would slow down in this half of the season, it looks like those fears can be put to rest.