ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Frenemy of my Enemy TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 2, episode 18, ‘The Frenemy of my Enemy,’ was a good ol’ fashioned spy handler episode; and like any good handler action/thriller, the handled slip the chain in effectively disastrous fashion – just not necessarily in ways viewers might recognize.
While it did not pick up exactly where ‘Melinda’ left off (we were owed some restroom MacGyvery, dammit), the episode got off to a running start. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) got some field exercise, out of shaking his tail detail (more of an escort, really), and Team Coulson (Clark Gregg) got to squeeze another gag out of their cloak tech.
I got nothing against Fitz (at least, not since he got past the Wonder Twin phase), but it was kind of amusing to watch him walk into Coulson’s reveal, regarding the team’s wildcard strategy. For Agents, nothing says wildcard like Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). The trick, of course, will always be getting him to behave in any useful, non-fatal kind of way – and Coulson had an app for that. Considering that Deathlok (J. August Richards) constituted much of that, maybe it was more of an appliance store.
I don’t hate Ward as much as some; but it was kind of oh-so-gratifying to see him derp over being cornered. Much of that was due to his connection to former Agent 33, Kara (Maya Stojan), but I suspect Ward had more self-contained reasons to play along. He also had a wildcard of his own, to throw at Coulson’s problem, in the form of a very compliant Bakshi (Simon Kassianides).
Back at Afterlife, Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) and Skye (Chloe Bennet) were at an impasse, regarding Cal (Kyle MacLachlan). Cal had been on cloud 9, since his long-dreamt of family reunion took place; so Skye was less than thrilled with Jaiying’s plans for him. Jaiying’s role (as both administrator of Afterlife, and protector of the Inhumans) made Cal’s presence (as being a threat to the peace, while compounding her potentially compromising connection to Skye) undermining to her credibility. Bleeding heart Skye, however, found herself relating to Cal’s (occasionally rampaging) quest, and wanted to ensure that he at least didn’t go away mad (but still went away). Jaiying was not about to leave Skye’s visitation unsupervised, though, and put Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) on shadow detail.
It was reassuring to see Ward being all warm & fuzzy with Kara; just as it was reassuring to see Cal re-discovering his happy place, through some free-range bonding with Skye. This was all, of course, so much window dressing.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) had convinced Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) that she was interim leader material, and was taking the role seriously. Too seriously for Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), however, as May’s stated goal, to exonerate Coulson, forced Simmons to come clean about her bait-and-switch, with Fitz. Proving herself most improved deceiver, this season, Simmons’ mislead mojo went to waste, as May was working hard on restoring her character’s introductory by-the-book, stand-apart role, within the organization. Simmons had no choice but to follow suite; but in the war of deadly glances, it was a case of cold surf breaking on well-weathered rock.
Compared to Fitz & Ward, however, Simmons & May were still on good terms. It sort of said something, about Ward’s mind-set, that he both thought nothing of reaching out to Fitz, and was actually surprised by the reaction. Reactions were much more heated once Bakshi went into improve mode, seemingly at the expense of Coulson’s own improvised addition to his mission: Deathlok. Nobody puts Bakshi in the corner. What followed brought the episode’s promotional art to life. Coulson name dropping Skye pricked up Ward’s ear pretty quick; so we were granted some confidence in his level of commitment (sorry, Kara), leaving Bakshi & Deathlok as the wildcards, when things came to a head.
To that end, Inhuman extra (given face-time, in the previous episode), Ethan (Kris Lemche), served as the catalyst. He had fallen into HYDRA hands, during their ongoing effort to track Gordon (Jamie Harris). With his loss, Jaiying was forced to recall Skye; but Lincoln breaking cover tipped off Cal to the easy brush-off plan. Cal went Hyde, Bakshi threw Deathlok into the mix, and by the time Coulson & Ward realized that Skye was on the scene, Simmons & May were able to get some compromising eyes on their working together.
I admit, in addition to the perfect storm execution, to the climax set-up, it was kind of nice to see Ward’s skill set put to good use – however short-term/ self-serving that may be. The so-close-so-far ending, along with some significant set-backs, would have been one downer of an exhale, had it not been for Coulson’s ultimate decision.
The man always has a plan; and so bold a move, on his part, only inspires confidence.
‘The Frenemy of my Enemy’ could have served as a set-up for something big – and still likely does; but with some time still out, before the season finale, the notion that it was merely a stepping stone, towards a grander stage setting, bodes very well for the season ender roll out.
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