‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 2.12 Recap: “There Are Tides in the Universe That You Cannot Swim Against”

It’s a shame that ABC has another show on the air right now called ‘Secrets & Lies’, because that would have made a good title for this week’s episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’.

The actual title of the episode is ‘Who You Really Are’. The main storyline sees the return of Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif from the ‘Thor’ franchise. The Asgardian warrior last paid a visit to S.H.I.E.L.D. around the middle of Season 1. This time, she’s found walking out of the ocean onto a beach in Portugal with a case of amnesia. Although she can remember basic information about Asgard and Earth, she has no idea who she is or what she’s doing in “Midgard.”

After Sif makes a spectacle of herself, a contact in the country tips off Coulson to come pick her up. He quickly earns her trust by showing her a photo of the two of them working together previously, as if that couldn’t be faked. Security camera footage from the area caught her fighting with a mystery man on a pier. The man hit her with something and then tossed her into the water. Sif is baffled as to what that’s all about.

The perp in question turns out to be a Kree alien. Bobbi finds him trying to steal liquid nitrogen from a hospital, which somehow turns his blue skin into a human flesh color so he can disguise himself. Bobbi tries to capture him, but she’s no match for his superior strength.

Coulson and team eventually track the Kree to the cave where the Diviner obelisk had originally been found. He’s caught digging up an old trunk when the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies trap him in a fancy high-tech net.

The Kree (Eddie McClintock from ‘Warehouse 13’) says his name is Vin-Tak and insists that he’s here to help, not to cause trouble. He uses his magic truncheon weapon to give Sif her memories back, and then tells the “Tale of Terrigenesis.” According to the legend, the Kree race had come to Earth millennia ago and genetically manipulated a group of early humans to transform into powerful and dangerous living weapons, but the plan backfired when the subjects (the term hasn’t been used in the show yet, but comic fans know them as Inhumans) rebelled and instead formed their own underground city on Earth. The Diviner obelisks are the key to activating these weapons. Skye listens to this story with both keen interest and growing horror. The pieces of her origin story are finally falling into place.

Vin-Tak claims that he’s part of a separatist group of Kree who don’t want their race to ever obtain control over these “abominations.” When he detected the activation of a Diviner, he came to Earth to find and kill the person it transformed (the others assume that’s only Raina) before she can develop her full potential, and also to collect the other Diviners in the trunk before they can be used. Of course, the trunk is empty, with several slots for missing obelisks.

Not included in Vin-Tak’s story is any acknowledgement of the other Inhumans (like that guy with no eyes) who have already been on Earth for a long time. Why isn’t his group concerned about them?

The more Skye hears, the more anxious and scared she becomes, and the less she’s able to control her new telekinetic powers. She gets so worked up that she causes an earthquake in the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. At that point, the jig is up. Everybody realizes that she’s responsible, and that obviously she was transformed into one of these Inhuman abominations when she was exposed to the Diviner in the underground city. Sif wants to get her off Earth and bring her to Asgard for safekeeping. Vin-Tak wants to put her down immediately. Even most of her S.H.I.E.L.D. friends want to lock her up until they can figure out what to do with her. Only Fitz is on her side and argues with everyone to leave her alone. Nobody much listens to him.

Vin-Tak goes on the offensive and tries to kill Skye. Bobbi redeems herself from her earlier failure by holding him off and using his own weapon to wipe his memory (which contradicts what we’d been told just minutes earlier that only Vin-Tak himself could operate his truncheon thing.) May races Skye down to the basement holding cell and tries to get her to calm down and focus on stopping the earthquake, but Sif chases after them and just escalates the situation even more. Finally, Skye knocks herself out with May’s icer gun, ending the earthquake.

In the aftermath, Sif agrees to leave Skye in Coulson’s custody, then returns to Asgard with the amnesiac Vin-Tak. Fitz continues arguing with the others about their treatment of Skye, while Skye voluntarily locks herself in one of those special anti-superpower cells that S.H.I.E.L.D. has.

Intertwined with all this, Mack and Bobbi secretly plot a coup against Coulson for control of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Fortunately, it’s confirmed for us that they are not HYDRA moles. (We’ve had enough of those!) They just fear that Coulson has been compromised by his exposure to alien science and isn’t making the hard decisions that are necessary to protect Earth. Bobbi wants to bring Lance on board their team, but Mack thinks he might side with Coulson. He advises her to push Lance away and convince him to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. until the situation has resolved itself. At episode’s end, however, Lance confronts Mack about all the secret scheming he’s noticed. Mack knocks him out with a choke hold.

This episode lays out a lot of important plotting for what will obviously be a civil war storyline within S.H.I.E.L.D. Already, lines are being drawn. I think this could be some really compelling territory for the show to delve into.

With that said, honestly, I found a lot of the episode kind of dull. For as much as I was interested in Mack and Bobbi’s plan, as well as Skye’s secret finally coming out and the back story about her Inhuman heritage, the Asgardian silliness didn’t do much for me. I like the Sif character in the context of the ‘Thor’ movies, but she feels out of place walking around Earth and interacting with normal people. I mean, I get that there’s supposed to be a fish-out-of-water element to that, but it feels forced and goofy. I just don’t buy it. The same goes for the Kree guy. Even so, I still look forward to the rest of the season. I think (or at least hope) that exciting things could be in store.


  1. Bryan

    *Comic fanboy mode on*

    It’s not “Terran Genesis” – it’s “Terrigenesis” (exposure to the “Terrigen Mist” that is the source of the Inhumans’ transformations/powers.

    *Comic fanboy mode off*

  2. Bill

    Lady Sif talks like a Valley Girl and the Kree guy is also not very convincing as an alien. Too much backstory and not enough happening in the present time makes for a dull episode. The series is going to lose its large mainstream audience and become something solely for Marvel fanboys (and girls) if it doesn’t get back on track.

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