Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep20 – Scars

While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. succeeded last season at delivering an amazing two-part tie-in to last summer’s blockbuster hit, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this week’s episode doesn’t mesh as well with Marvel’s current blockbuster, Avengers: Age of Ultron. That being said, “Scars” still delivers, further developing the Inhumans and bringing their relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. into new territory.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep20 - Scars (2)

Sam and Billy Koenig briefly return

Between the power struggle at S.H.I.E.L.D., the rise of the Inhumans, and the evolution of Skye, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been telling a very compelling story this season. The story has been so interesting on its own that the inclusion of mentions and references to Age of Ultron seem out of place and unwarranted. Anytime Gonzalez (Edward James Olmos) mentions Ultron it just feels forced, but at least the tie-in (specifically in last week’s episode) explains the opening scene of Age of Ultron and the origin of a certain helicarrier. Also, the episode allowed a well-received, brief scene involving Sam and Billy Koenig, which was seemingly shot in actor Patton Oswalt’s own bedroom complete with Star Wars sheets.

Moving past the Age of Ultron stuff, “Scars” continues to demonstrate Raina’s ability to recieve premonitions about the future. Knowing Raina’s past, it’s hard to trust if some of her premonitions are genuine or if she’s faking some to manipulate those around her. This theory is later addressed by Skye’s father, Calvin, who advises Jiaying not to trust her. Before this distrust occurs, both Raina and Gordon teleport to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, as she receives a vision of a Kree artifact in their possession. Gordon’s appearance at S.H.I.E.L.D. then allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to track the whereabouts of the Inhuman city, Afterlife.

With Afterlife discovered, S.H.I.E.L.D. now has the opportunity to have a formal meet-and-greet with the Inhumans, and with Skye currently at headquarters she is able to serve as a liaison between both sides. Skye’s internal conflict of who she sides with more plays a strong role in “Scars”. She may still be trusting of Coulson, but not Gonzalez and other members of S.H.I.E.L.D. who Coulson has found best to ally himself with. The trust between other characters continues to weaken as May continues to distrust Coulson after he hid Theta Protocol from her. Also, Mack decides to quit S.H.I.E.L.D. after Gonzalez agrees to let Coulson remain as director. It would be nice if Mack remains on the series somehow. He has been a welcome addition to the cast this season.

Having ignored Raina’s advice to not meet with S.H.I.E.L.D., Jaiying sets the meeting in motion. With Coulson being too close to Skye and the matters at hand, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new found unity allows Gonzalez to be the one to meet with Jaiying. Both parties bring their own bargaining chips. Jaiying seemingly gives up Calvin and Gonzalez supplies her with an old family heirloom retrieved from the offices of Whitehall. While Gonzalez may want Jaiying’s trust in return, he still desires to index all the Inhumans and potential Inhumans in a S.H.I.E.L.D. database. It’s worth noting, as Marvel Studios is not able to bring the concept of mutants into their cinematic universe, this indexing of Inhumans is proving to be very similar to the mutant registration act seen in X-Men films and comics. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s desire to index super powered beings in general may most likely also lead to the events that will occur in Captain America: Civil War, as the comic book counterpart dealt with similar issues.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep20 - Scars (4)

Jaiying meets with S.H.I.E.L.D.

Unsurprisingly, Jaiying doesn’t want to go along with Gonzalez’s plans. What was surprising, though, was how she dealt with the situation – igniting a Terrigen crystal in his face, killing him in the process. She then proceeds to shoot herself in the arm with his own gun to make it appear as if Gonzalez started the confrontation. Nothing that has happened in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far has hinted at Jaiying making such a drastic move like this. It was pretty shocking and a great way to end off the episode as it will lead both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans into a battle.

A side plot in “Scars” dealt with Bobbi and Agent 33. Agent 33 seems to be back to her old ways, posing as Agent May and working for Ward. After a somewhat intense fight, Bobbi is taken out by Ward with an icer. Honestly, I’m not sure what Ward and Agent 33’s plans are anymore. At first it seemed like Ward either wanted to regain his former team’s trust and/or just disappear and never be bothered again. Taking Bobbi hostage doesn’t really help him accomplish this, so I’m sure we’ll get to see more sinister acts from this character in the upcoming season finale.

Overall, “Scars” was a great episode and a good lead-in to a potentially amazing season finale. While the Age of Ultron references did feel forced, they didn’t distract much from the compelling arc Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to tell. With Jaiying now revealed to have ulterior motives, I wonder what that will mean for her relationship with her daughter. Once the dust settles, where will Skye call home? I’m even concerned about her relationship with her father, which has grown stronger in the last couple of episodes. The two even shared a nice scene together as Skye felt thankful for getting to know him. Also, I believe “Scars” is the first episode where we heard the word “Inhumans” as an actual name of the people Skye is associated with, which I definitely appreciate.

In next week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we’ll see Skye struggle with taking sides as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans go to war. Check out ABC’s official promo for their two-hour season finale, “S.O.S.”, below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Scars” in the comments.