Agents of SHIELD: 209 “…Ye Who Enter Here” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
Big things are coming in the world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and if an episode with a title whose logical first half is ‘Abandon All Hope’ is anything to go by, those big things are going to be far from good. Indeed, the events of the episode don’t do much to assuage those fears, with our Agents left in a bunch of pretty terrible places by the end.
But let’s backtrack, as the episode opens with what seems like a sign of things to come: Skye experiences a strange nightmare full of symbolism, as she runs through an abandoned Playground in a flower dress, adding another layer to her mysterious connection to Raina. She eventually finds Coulson and May, and a baby whom they leave on a table and walk away, mentioning something about a ‘sacrifice’, clearly indicating Skye’s anxiety about her father, who seemingly abandoned her as a baby. The dream ends as she finds herself turning to stone after touching a music box playing ‘Daisy Bell’ (because who doesn’t love 2001: A Space Odyssey?), but she is woken by Coulson before it can finish her off.
Anyway, the episode proper picks up shortly after the end of the previous instalment as the team moves to find the lost city: Trip is recovering from his gunshot wound, and Coulson seems more motivated than ever to go about his work. The only unfortunates are that Fitz and Simmons are having trouble working together, only talking to each other through Mack and Bobbi respectively; and that Bobbi and Hunter are seemingly back together, which apparently spells bad news for everyone involved.
Things are slightly derailed by Whitehall’s men, including the doppel-May Agent 33, complete with a hefty facial burn after the team’s last encounter with her, attempting to pick up Raina who has apparently seduced a bigwig businessman into hiding her in Vancouver. She is saved by two of the Koenigs, leading to a few nice jokes throughout regarding people not quite knowing how many Koenigs there actually are: in fact, Patton Oswalt unsurprisingly provides a lot of the humour in this episode, and even gets his very own James Bond moment with a cloaking umbrella.
So the team splits up, half going to San Juan to find the hidden entrance to the city, the other half to Vancouver to retrieve Raina: Skye is on the latter, somewhat to her dismay, but she gets to have a pretty cool one-on-one fight with Agent 33 and shows just how much she has matured as an Agent under May’s tutelage. Over coffee with Skye on the Bus, Raina reveals things that we’ve all been wondering about: that she can hold the Diviner without it killing her, and that she believes Skye can too; that the Diviner is an artefact which can unlock potential in those it deems ‘worthy’ and make them ‘more than human’; and that it was left on Earth by a race of ‘blue angels’ known as the Kree. That’s right, the same Kree represented in Guardians of the Galaxy by the insane fanatic Ronan, one of whom was cut in half and left in the Guest House. All of this points to the Diviner being an object called a ‘Terrigen Bomb’, which releases a gas which causes people with the correct set of genes to undergo a process called ‘Terrigenesis’ which unlocks super powers and causes them to become Inhuman.
Speaking of the Inhumans, Coulson and Bobbi manage to get into a fort, under which the city, and the temple within, apparently exists. Fitz sends his family of drones down into the catacombs beneath the fort, but they malfunction and Mack has to go down to fix them. However, after rappelling down and finding some familiar-looking markings on the ground, he starts screaming in pain as the markings burn themselves into his skin: the team bring him back up, but his eyes turn red and he displays crazy berserker rage and the strength to go with it. The team just about manage to subdue him, but Fitz is forced to almost shoot his new friend and mentor, and Bobbi manages to electrocute him, which has the unfortunate side effect of sending him tumbling back down into the temple.
Damn it, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you can’t just make us invest our feelings in an awesome new secondary character and then go and mess with, and possibly murder him. That is really not fair.
And besides all of this, Hydra manage to track Raina based on the S.H.I.E.L.D. tracking device she is implanted with, and they send aboard a representative to pick up Raina. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that representative is traitorous, ambiguously-aligned bastard Grant Ward, who threatens to shoot the Bus out of the sky, then takes Raina back to Whitehall. Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, he takes Skye along with him, telling her that he is going to keep his promise, and she is forced to go with him. There’s a heartbreaking moment as May, who previously promised Coulson that she would look after Skye, realises that she has failed to do just that.
Then, as the episode closes, Whitehall gets Agent 33 to make the call to the Hydra Quinjets surrounding the Bus: she orders them to shoot the plane down, and the stage is set for some pretty explosive moments in next week’s midseason finale.
While a lot is revealed in “…Ye Who Enter Here”, what remains concealed from us seems to vastly outweigh it, and it feels like the set up to something much bigger next week. There are many questions to be answered: what is the true nature of Skye’s father? What is Skye’s real name? Who is Ward really working for? What will happen when the Diviner reaches the temple? Why the hell are there so damn many Koenigs? How many of these questions will be answered next week remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.