‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 2.09 Recap: “Ooh, Hats!”

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ may have only taken one week off, but somehow I’d already forgotten that it was supposed to come back this week. Even though I mentioned in my last recap that the show would have two more episodes before the end of the year, I got it in my head that it was already on break. Therefore, I was a little surprised to see it turn up in my DVR recording list, which meant that I’d need to find time to watch and write about it this week. Honestly, as much as I like this season a lot better than last year, the show still rarely feels like appointment television for me.

Anyway, episode ‘Ye Who Enter Here’ opens with Skye having a nightmare about a creepy music box and a baby (presumably herself). So, if you’re one of those viewers who hates the Skye character, brace yourself for a lot more of her this week. Fortunately, she’s not the only focus of the episode.

Coulson reveals to the team that the alien city has been located off the coast of Puerto Rico. He intends to fly there and destroy it before HYDRA can get to it. He’s not taking Skye with him, however. He’s sending her on a side mission because he doesn’t want to risk her father finding her.

Elsewhere, in some random city, Raina notices that Agent May is tailing her. But wait, that’s not May! It’s HYDRA’s Agent 33, with the partially-disfigured May mask still stuck on her face. HYDRA agents converge on Raina, until she’s whisked to safety by two new Koenig brothers, Sam and Billy (both Patton Oswalt), one of whom is carrying a handy stealth umbrella that encases her in an invisibility cocoon. Neat-o.

As ordered, Skye arrives to extract and interrogate Raina, but Agent 33 interferes. She and Skye have a big catfight, and we’re expected to believe that Skye could actually hold her own for a few minutes against a vastly superior fighter. Agent 33 eventually gets the upper hand, but Lance barges in to kick her ass and save Skye. Whew, good thing a man showed up!

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Coulson and Bobbi play tourist as they make their way to an old fort that’s concealing an entrance to the underground alien city. The scenes before they get to the fort amount to a lot of blatantly time-wasting filler. There’s a whole storyline about Bobbi meeting up with an old contact named Diego, who’s only ever shown in the background of shots, never has a line of dialogue, and then just leaves because (we’re told by Bobbi) he believes the fort is haunted. This serves no purpose at all, and I’d be very surprised if the Diego character is ever revisited or even properly introduced. By the time Coulson and Bobbi get to the fort, Fitz, Simmons and Mac are already there waiting for them.

Aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane, Raina tells Skye about her Daddy, and is very obviously working her to switch sides, which of course Skye seems totally oblivious to. Raina insists that both she and Skye are able to touch the “Diviner” obelisk that’s deadly to anyone else. When Skye asks if that’s because they’re alien, Raina says, “We’re human, just with the potential to be more.” That should pretty much confirm that this storyline is a set-up for Marvel’s upcoming ‘Inhumans’ movie. Raina further explains how Kree aliens came to Earth once upon a time and built a city. The Diviner is a key to the city that chooses which people are “worthy” to enter. If anyone not deemed worthy tries to go in… well, bad things will happen. Uh oh!

Skye tries to contact Coulson to warn him about this, but her signal is jammed by HYDRA, which sends jets to intercept the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bus. Daniel Whitehall threatens to shoot down the Bus unless S.H.I.E.L.D. turns over Raina. A boarding party led by Ward enters the plane. Ward not only takes Raina; he insists that Skye must come with him too.

Back at the fort, Fits sends some drones down a deep tunnel shaft, but they mysteriously crap out on him halfway down. Mac, who has apparently never seen a horror movie in his life, volunteers to be lowered into the dark tunnel to investigate. When he gets to the bottom, he touches a stone that lights up and leaves a symbol embedded in his hand. He screams in pain, at which the others haul him back up. Seconds later, Mac becomes possessed by some mysterious force. He goes berserk and attacks his friends. Icer stun rounds have no effect on him. Bobbi fights him off, but in doing so knocks him down the tunnel. Coulson immediately orders that it be sealed, trapping Mac below. Whatever happened to him, that’s not Mac anymore.

As the episode ends, Whitehall is a little miffed to learn that Ward let the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane go, so he orders his jets to shoot it down. We leave off with that as a cliffhanger. I don’t imagine that anyone on the plane is really in danger.

This is one of the lesser episodes of Season 2. Although it does its job of moving the story arcs incrementally forward and is never outright terrible, it has no real excitement. Very little of interest or importance happens in it beyond moving the characters closer to the alien city. I think it’s time to just get there already. I assume that will happen in next week’s episode, which will be the winter finale.

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