By Felicia Kudronowicz
This week on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD our team was tested in a number of new ways. With all the new faces on the show on season two, this episode provided a way to see how they could still work together as a team even if it isn’t the dynamic – or the team – we’re used to. I think it’s also interesting that Ward and Simmons aren’t in each episode, which gives space for these newbies, but doesn’t quite fill the gap.
The episode opens with a church that has just suffered a huge fire, leaving nothing but a single piece of art. This was a painting of the Madonna and child completely unscathed, but the upon further inspection, it has the same alien symbols on the back that Coulson has been carving. The mission of this week’s episode is to recover the painting. It’s a personal project that only May and Coulson know the true nature of.
In order to find the painting they find a way to hack their way into a benefit banquet being held to raise money for the burned church. May and Coulson go in, posing as a married couple. We got to see a different side to May undercover as she has to laugh and smile. At one point Skye is so concerned by May’s laughter that she wonders out loud if something is wrong. I have to agree, it was actually unsettling to watch. In order to scope out security, May and Coulson dance and reminisce about their first mission together. During their dance they spot Talbot and decide to move their plan a little faster.
They break into the room where the painting should be, but quickly find out that Talbot has already removed it. Talbot tells Coulson that they should work together to find out what this mysterious writing is but Coulson isn’t convinced. He sends May in to talk to him alone and find out more. She figures out that Talbot isn’t actually Talbot, but a member of Hydra with a cyber skin mask that has transformed him into Talbot. In order for Hydra to keep the upper hand, they knock May out and use her copy instead.
They have fake May meet up with Coulson and tell him that Talbot is trustworthy and they go to update the rest of the team. While on the bus, fake May implants a virus in its system. Once May and Coulson get back to Talbot’s office, Coulson is thrown off when May touches his hand and agrees to get coffee. He promptly punches her in the face, which was pretty alarming to see. Next the real May breaks free and has an intense fight with herself. It was a very Orphan Black and one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen on TV recently.
While the May on May fight is going down, the bus starts to shut down (hello virus), trapping the rest of the team inside. Fitz comes through and saves the day with encouragement from his Simmon’s hallucination. He is quite aware that she isn’t really there but still continues to talk to her. At the end, he actually celebrates with the new team members and in an act of comradery reveals that Simmons broke his heart, which in turn breaks mine.
In the end, Fitz saves the bus and Coulson and May secure the painting. May discovers that although the painting is over 500 years old, the alien inscriptions are recent, so there is someone else like Coulson out there. Coulson also commands that May terminate him if his condition worsens, which it looks like it will. She refuses to accept it, but agrees. I’m hoping they’ll find a cure or something before then.
This was another solid episode. I am guessing that this cyber face mask/cloning device will come into play again later in the season. I am still eagerly awaiting the arrival of Skye’s dad and I’m always a little disappointed when Ward isn’t present. I do like the unpredictably this season holds. Each episode has a completely different storyline and even varies in which characters are present. SHIELD is definitely keeping me on my toes.
My fingers are crossed that next week will be the week we meet Skye’s dad, but one thing it promises it that the real Simmons will be back!