'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' react: Growing a bad seed
After dropping Tahiti on us last week, it was hard to say where this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to take us – and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the result. The show effectively introduced another Marvel universe supervillian Blizzard, and gave us a lot of intel on Skye’s backstory mystery, so let’s dive in, just like the badass Melinda May would dive into a storm.
We started at what we eventually learned is the Academy, where a few kids were goofing off in the pool after hours while a loner named Donnie Gill (Dylan Minnette) tried to study. (In the comics, Donnie Gill was a kind of thug that was hired by Justin Hammer, aka Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2, this Donnie was more of a shy and quiet kid with a love for science.) Anyway, back to the after hours pool party. The kids’ fun was cut short when the pool water started to turn to ice, though thankfully, they were able to get out mostly unscathed – a rarity for the first three minutes of a Joss Whedon show.
Back on the bus, the team discussed their latest case, with FitzSimmons revealing that they actually created the device that caused the random icing to occur. Ward gave Skye the lowdown on the Academy and the difference between “science” and “operations.” Coulson, still recovering from last week’s Tahiti revelation, sequestered himself away to look forlornly at depressing scans of his brain. (Look, I don’t blame him. I mean, if I died and came back to life, I’d be pretty depressed, too.)
Basically on their own without the grownups to assist them, Skye, Ward, and FitzSimmons met up with Agent Weaver at the Academy, trying to find the “bad seed.” FitzSimmons (who are apparently Bruce Banner level popularity here) went off to do some fun scientific lecture stuff while Ward showed Skye the Wall Of Valor, a memorial that exists in every S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and is dedicated to those who have fallen in the line of duty. (Please note my time of death at approximately 8:20pm, when the name “Bucky Barnes” was casually uttered.) Skye didn’t share my heart-shattering devastation of hearing Bucky’s name, however, and instead started brooding about how everyone on the wall has earned and deserved their place. “I hacked my way in,” she told Ward, before he assured her that didn’t matter — all you really needed to be worthy of a name on the Wall of Valor was dedication to the greater good, which Coulson saw when he brought her on in the first place.
Back on the bus, May yelled at Coulson for obsessing over his files, and Coulson told her that the real reason why he was so upset was because he couldn’t reconcile Tahiti with what actually happened. May told him that according to Director Fury, that was the truth (because we all know Director Fury always tells the truth.) She then went on to tell him that she had a lead in Skye’s parentage mystery, and was going to Mexico City to track down former agent named Richard Lumley who was partnered with the woman who gave Skye up to the orphanage.
At the Academy, Ward talked up Seth, trying to narrow down who might be involved in the case. Seth pointed out Donnie and noted that because of his loner status, he had trouble communicating, so essentially he had no friends (hey, if I was stuck in the Sideways World, I’d be pretty hard to communicate with too). Elsewhere, FitzSimmons gave a speech about science to a roomful of eager and hopeful students and shared stories about untested biology falling into the wrong hands. Just then, the same freezing effect that happened at the pool started happening to Donnie in the auditorium. FitzSimmons’ quick thinking and scientific knowledge saved him as Skye helped by breaking the canister causing the freeze and we cut to Ian Quinn who angrily told a mysterious someone on the other end of the phone that he didn’t want any excuses as to why “it” didn’t work.
Ward decided that the team needed to take this investigation into their own hands and delegated Fitz to go talk with Donnie, while Simmons brought him down to the place where all the cool kids go when they want to get away from authority – the super swanky boiler room! (Haven’t you heard? All secret awesome operations happen underground.) In Donnie’s dorm room, Fitz attempted to bond with him over scientific stuff that’s probably dumbed down and still confusing to me. Appropriately impressed by all of Donnie’s inventions and toys, he helped him complete a complex power source that Donnie was having trouble with.
In Mexico City, Coulson and May sat in Lola and basically stalked the location where Lumley was supposed to be. Coulson wanted to know why May was being so conversational, and furthermore, why she was suddenly on the Skye train. Coulson then told her that he wasn’t really dealing well with the fact that his memories were changed, and he’s tired of secrets, and seriously, if you weren’t actually shipping May and Coulson…actually, wait, scratch that, because just as I was starting to really get on board with this, May dropped that she had been having sex with Ward.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Coulson’s reaction because Lumley chose that moment to come out of hiding. May chased him down an alley like the bad ass she is, and when he tried to get away via the fire escape, Coulson used trusty Lola to trap him. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D., Lumley revealed the whole story: Skye was a “0-8-4” and an entire Chinese village died to protect her. The other agents protecting her were slowly killed off, until they erased her from existence, which is why she was shuffled around to so many different orphanages.
Back at the boiler room bar, Ward chatted with another student who was at the pool the day of the incident. She shared how excited Seth and Donnie were to meet FitzSimmons, and her over-excited admission led Ward to realize that the team had been set up in order to gain Fitz’s help with how to fix the device. Naturally, Fitz got knocked out right as he discovered this for himself.
On the bus, Coulson rejoined his team, and Skye figured out that the boys probably had a backer for their device – Ian Quinn, who just happened to work for Seth’s father. Skye finally confronted Coulson about ignoring her and being generally distant for most of the episode, and Coulson broke down and told her the truth about her past even though he had been warned not to. Meanwhile, Seth contacted Quinn himself looking for a way to still get the device to him even though he’d been set back. Quinn basically told the boys they were S.O.L., but hey, why don’t they turn the device on anyway, because what’s the worst that can happen?
(Never listen to a mysterious man in a suit, guys. Just don’t.)
Seth and Donnie created a super storm, and the whole thing started to look a little bit like the end of the world a la Thor 2. Donnie tried to shut it down once he essentially realized what he had done, but couldn’t stop it from exploding when lightning hit it. Enter Team Coulson & Co.! May flew the plane down through the storm like it was nothing and saved both Donnie and Seth, though the latter ended up dying from injuries sustained when the device burst.
Later, when everyone was safe and sound, Coulson and May reconvened, mostly so May could get her response to “by the way, I’m sleeping with Agent Ward.” Sadly, Coulson was pretty much unimpressed with the fact, so we didn’t get a patented Coulson reaction face. He was much more concerned about Skye, who apparently was reconsidering her stance on if she was enough of a good person to be on the Wall of Valor or not. (Spoiler Alert: I think she’s gonna be okay.)
Coulson called Quinn with a message that was more or less “we know what you did and if you try anything, we’ll basically shoot you from one of our many S.H.I.E.L.D. locations because, you know, we can do that.” Quinn retaliated, telling Coulson “the Clairvoyant told me to say hello.” Dun, dun, dun…
What did you think of “Seeds?” Are you excited that the show introduced another big Marvel villain? Sound off in the comments below!