Agents of SHIELD: 212 “Who You Really Are” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
After a pretty heavy week last week and an even heavier midseason finale before that, you would forgive Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for taking it easy on the characters this week and having some lighter, less consequential fun with them. However, this is not season one any more, and apparently the showrunners don’t know the meaning of the term ‘taking it easy’, and more revelations are thrown around with only a returning character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to hold our hands through them.
But that’s not to say this episode is entirely humourless, as there are some nice moments between Coulson and the guest star as they play with some of the more outlandish elements of the universe in which this show exists. Even with these moments, though, the mythology of the season continues to point only to ominous things for these characters and with ten or more episodes still to go, I get the feeling things are going to get really dark this year.
Anyway, the episode opens with returning guest star Jamie Alexander as Lady Sif of Asgard, dressed in civilian clothes as opposed to her Asgardian finery but still wielding a sword, marching out of the ocean onto a Portuguese beach and startling some locals by throwing one of them halfway across the beach before stating that she doesn’t know who she is. Meanwhile on Team Coulson, Skye is still dealing with the effects of the Terrigenesis even as May is working to train her back up to fighting standard, Bobbi and Hunter are considering taking their relationship more seriously as Hunter takes on a permanent position within S.H.I.E.L.D., and Coulson offers Mack a position in the field, which the big guy isn’t overly keen on. However, he doesn’t have much of a choice as the team are called into action in Portugal, and ‘Son of Coul’ is reunited with Sif, who remembers that she is Asgardian and retains some of the knowledge from her youth, but not much else.
May manages to find a video posted on Twitter of a fight between Sif and an unknown man, who tags her with a weird truncheon weapon and then throws her into the ocean. The team visit the site of the fracas and discover that Sif managed to hit something during the fight that leaked liquid nitrogen, and surmise that the attacker is probably trying to find more: this is proved correct as we see him march into a hospital and demand to be given access to their fuel supplies while his face turns a little bit blue.
Skye and Bobbi manage to track him down to the hospital, and witness the liquid nitrogen-powered device disguising his blue skin as something more human-coloured before getting their asses handed to them thanks to a combination of his crazy alien-strength and Skye losing control and causing a minor earthquake. However, the rest of the team manage to follow him to a cave on a beach where he is recovering a large trunk, and with the help of a funky new electrified-net-throwing gun, they bring him in and confront him.
He reveals that he is a Kree warrior named Vin-Tak, and offers to use his truncheon to give Sif her memories back, claiming that he only used it to make sure he couldn’t be followed as he went about his mission. After some uncertainty, he manages to get the truncheon off the team and restore Sif’s memories, and the truth is allowed to come out: he received a signal back on his homeworld which told him that one of the Diviners had been activated, and he followed the signal to retrieve them and destroy those affected by it. He throws the word ‘abomination’ around a few times to describe the people who have been changed through Terrigenesis, and gives some backstory about the Inhumans: although he doesn’t name them as such, he tells the team that the Kree experimented on a number of races in order to create super-powered soldiers, and while the process failed on most worlds it had to be stopped on Earth.
Unfortunately, the stress of all of this hatred and fear causes Skye’s powers to manifest in front of everybody, and although May and Coulson both rush to her defence both Sif and Vin-Tak take exception and try to kill her. May rushes her down to the holding cell in order to try and calm her down, while Mack, Bobbi and Hunter distract Vin-Tak for long enough to allow Fitz to shoot him with Coulson’s Destroyer gun, incapacitating him and allowing Bobbi to tag him with his own truncheon, wiping his memory of the reason for his presence on Earth.
May tries to reason with Sif, who seems hellbent on killing Skye, until Skye shoots herself with an Icer in order to stop the tremors: Sif is impressed that Skye would harm herself before others, but is still apprehensive about leaving Skye on Earth, requesting that they allow her to go to Asgard. Naturally Coulson refuses, telling her that their team is the safest place for her, and there’s a slight cooling of the overzealous Asgard-fan in Coulson as Sif tells him in fairly cryptic terms that Skye will inevitably bring chaos down upon them. As she leaves via Bifrost, May and Coulson remember the agent that told them of Skye ‘wherever she goes, death follows’, and after hearing the rest of the team (bar Fitz, the sweetheart) talk about her as a potential threat, Skye exiles herself to the armoured cell on the Bus for the foreseeable future.
Alongside all of this, Mack tells Bobbi that it’s too late for her to bring Hunter in on their ‘secret project’, and tells her that it would be better for her to distance herself from him before they reveal themselves. He even likens it to when they discovered that some of their friends were working for Hydra, and while Bobbi insists that they are not Hydra, she does take his advice and starts acting coldly towards Hunter. When Hunter realises it is something to do with their secret, he asks Mack about what is going on, and Mack responds by putting him in a sleeper hold and knocking him unconscious.
My money’s still on them working with Nick Fury, if anyone’s keeping score.
Another round of revelations and secrets for our favourite Agents this week, and while not as earth-shattering (excuse the pun) as last week’s episode, “Who You Really Are” still offers some fascinating glimpses into what is to come for Team Coulson.