Agents of SHIELD: Hydra returns

Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

It’s true what they say about Hydra, when one head is cut off, two more grow in its place. In the scramble to replace Whitehall, Dr. List and Baron von Strucker have become the new Hydra heads, bringing the threat of Hydra back to the forefront of Agents of SHIELD.

Could the Inhumans and SHIELD be forced to work together by the end of the season? The beginning of the episode showed Dr. List bagging a deceased Inhuman candidate that we met in last week’s episode, while the end had both Deathlok and Lincoln captured by the organization. With only a handful of episodes left to go, it’s hard to believe that Jiaying and Gordon will agree to team with SHIELD when their agents can’t even trust each other. Then again, the next Avengers film may completely change the game.

In “The Frenemy of My Enemy,” Coulson sought help from Ward to get to Hydra, offering him a new life in exchange for his services. He agreed, but let Agent 33 know that he’s only using Coulson to get to their true endgame, which we still don’t know. There’s no real indication we should trust Ward, so his relationship with Agent 33 still feels like another manipulation from him in order to get what he wants. Whatever it is, it can’t be good.

Agent 33 herself still seems fragile after everything that happened to her with Hydra. The mask may be able to hide her physical scars, but the emotional ones are still easy to detect. However, she may have found someone to relate to in Deathlok. One interesting moment in the episode had Deathlok questioning Agent 33 about her mask, asking if she had another one. Behind all the gadgetry it’s hard to remember that he was once just Mike Peterson, a man desperate to be a hero for his son.

Skye became a master manipulator in her own right this episode, convincing Jiaying to let her accompany Cal back to Milwaukee in order to reduce the damage when he realized he wouldn’t be returning to Afterlife. Unlike Ward, there’s still a sense that Skye was genuine in wanting to get to know her father. That in itself is a tall order – the more we learn about Cal the more tragic he becomes. However, she still took the first opportunity she got to contact SHIELD in order to give them her location. Too bad she wasn’t expecting Coulson and Ward to show up at her doorstep.

Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

The still-mysterious Inhuman Lincoln was also around to keep an eye on Skye, but ended up being taken by Hydra in the crossfire. As much as I want to know more about him, getting information via Hydra torture is never fun for anyone. Okay, well, maybe for Hydra. Before his capture, we were given one slightly awkward moment between himself and Skye. Romantic sparks may be flying for the two, but based on her relationship history it’s likely Skye will want to keep some distance. Plus, let’s not forget that the real love story of this series is between Coulson and Lola.

There was plenty of in-house fighting at Coulson’s former HQ, whether it was physical sparring or a verbal showdown between May and Simmons. While the truth about Coulson and Fury’s toolbox shook May to her core, Simmons continued to be loyal to him and Fitz. You have to hand it to Simmons – she’s been thrown a lot of curveballs this season, but has always remained steadfast in her loyalty to the team. Just when you think she’s had enough, she surprises you. However, will the realization that Coulson was working working with Ward be one shock too many?

In the last scene of the episode, Coulson voluntarily handed himself over to SHIELD 2.0. Whether it’s to gain access to something at HQ or to gain back the team’s good graces, it may have been one of Coulson’s smartest moves. Any more running around with Ward would have cut all ties of loyalty for good. At least now he can explain himself.

Overall, the episode felt like the beginning of several stories finally starting to overlap. With only a few episodes left before the end of the season, it’s hard to believe they’ll all be resolved before the end.

Bonus thoughts on “Frenemy:”

  • Watching Bobbi and Mack spar definitely got me excited about the concept of her having a spin-off series. Sadly, I’m just not sure it should be with Hunter. Their chemistry has never seemed quite right to me.
  • “He’s not a cyborg, he’s a SHIELD agent. With rockets in his arm.”
  • Hydra trying to explain the science behind Gordon’s teleportation was certainly headache-inducing.
  • Was Bakshi’s betrayal part of Ward’s so-called endgame? Or just a case of failed brainwashing?

Were you surprised by Coulson’s decisions in the episode? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below. In next week’s “The Dirty Half Dozen” both sides of SHIELD may have to set aside their differences to stop Hydra once and for all.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and ABC.