Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep03 – Making Friends and Influencing People

The real, non-imaginary Simmons returns in “Making Friends and Influencing People.” In addtion to giving fans a much needed update on her whereabouts, this episode places Fitz’s current dilemma more into the foreground while also further developing HYDRA into the big bads they really are in the Marvel universe.


Real Simmons returns

It was surprising seeing such a forgetful villain like Donnie Gill (known as Blizzard in the comics) return to the series. His last appearance was in the season one episode “Seeds,” back when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was still in its awkward phase. As much as I didn’t care for him then, this time his character was utilized correctly effectively in a plot line that revolved heavily around Simmons. Early on in the episode we see Simmons working with the enemy. HYDRA. Fortunately, any theories of her switching sides or being a HYDRA agent all along like Ward are quickly debunked when Coulson visits her at her apartment. We find out she’s working as a mole within HYDRA and feeding Coulson intel. I appreciate the fact that we didn’t have to wait too long into the season to see the real Simmons again and am glad she’s not actually working with HYDRA. That would have been redundant.

Of course, working as a mole has its downsides. Simmons is later required to prove her loyalty to HYRDA as they send her on a mission to recover Gill from a boat he took over with his ice powers. Her previous connection with him in “Seeds” makes her an ideal candidate. HYDRA’s plan nearly backfired on them as Coulson’s team made their way on to the ship as well. Fortunately, for HYDRA, Simmons is able to lure Gill to her superior officer who, through the power of his voice, is able to take control of Gill. The revelation that HYDRA has been brainwashing and controlling people like Gill as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents themselves is an interesting twist. It makes us worry for for Simmons in her current state as we know she might be brainwashed herself and also makes us wonder how many of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents revealed to be working with HYDRA last season and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier were really working for HYDRA by their own free will.


Fitz continues to struggle with his issues

Fitz played a major role in this episode as well. His relationship with Mac seems to be blossoming into an actual friendship and Mac has been growing on me as a character as well. He’s very frank and direct in a respectful manner, and seems really interested in helping Fitz figure things out even more so than seasoned team members like May and Skye. Fitz’s current state of mind continues to be very heartbreaking and a lot of credit has to go to actor Iain De Caestecker for being able to portray Fitz the way he is. His eventual scene with Ward was intense throughout as we see Fitz break down even more, barely able to speak, when confronting the man who tried to kill him.

Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond), the current face of HYDRA it seems, made several appearances in this episode as we see him attempting to break Agent 33 (Maya Stojan) and brainwash her. Not much has been revealed about this character since this season premiered other than he is a generic villain and is also portrayed as such. As of right now I’m more interested in the character portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), whose involvement with Raina implies that he’s Skye’s father. Unfortunately, Skye’s father made no appearance in this episode, but the episode ended off with Ward revealing the truth about him to her.

“Making Friends and Influencing People” may have had some dull moments and also brought back Donnie Gill, a forgettable villain I had no interest in, but the scenes with Fitz continue to impress me and I’m finding Simmons’ current predicament compelling enough to keep watching. Also, it seems Gill was left gunned down and frozen in the bottom of the ocean, so at least we won’t be seeing him for a while. He at least displayed some cool powers while on screen and even froze a man and smashed his frozen body to bits. That was a little gruesome. There was also some humor floating about in this episode mostly revolving around Lance Hunter, May, Skye, and Tripplet. Also, I liked seeing Coulson cook for Simmons. I got a nice father/daughter vibe from it. Overall, “Making Friends and Influencing People” was a satisfying addition to this season.

It appears that there will be a bit more humor in next week’s episode as the team attempts to pull of a heist. Check out the promo for “I Will Face My Enemy” and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Making Friends and Influencing People” in the comments.