TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2, Episode 20: Scars [ABC]

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Scars TV Show ReviewAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 2, episode 20, ‘Scars,’ was the drop every aspiring roller-coaster ride needs, to keep things interesting. Of course, once you acknowledge a show as an aspiring roller-coaster ride, you often see the drop coming. It’s still fun to have, though.

You know what else is fun, after a binge of shoot-‘em-ups, fisticuffs, and good SFX? Agent Koenig (Patton Oswalt) fix. From his choice of bed sheets, to the accompanying song, to the family Easter eggs, the whole sequence was a nod to pretty much everything Koenig has brought to the series (in a little-goes-a-long-way sort of way). I suppose it also counted as nostalgia, since nothing says flashback like a loving reference to Sky Mall.

It also served a current purpose, as it illustrated Coulson (Clark Gregg) revealing the nature of Theta Protocol to Gonzales (Edward James Olmos), and the rest of Agents‘ current power players. Now, it may have been me being distracted by Olmos, again, but something about that particular Fury legacy smacked of BSG. Not that I’m complaining.

It might’ve also explained why a voice in my head went “jump,” every time Gordon (Jamie Harris) ‘ported on Gonzales’ carrier – but let’s not get too far ahead….

With that final offering, Teams C & G officially consolidated; suggesting Agency fortunes could only maintain its upward trajectory for so much longer. For one thing, not everyone was on board with the reconciliation. Tensions remained, between Coulson & May (Ming-Na Wen), but Mack (Henry Simmons) kept the mini-civil war fires burning. He couldn’t get over himself, but at least he got out of the way.

Despite some disparaging remarks to Maria Hill (last ep.), about Gonzales’ democratic approach to running things, a restored Director Coulson proceeded to open operations to a vote – resulting in Gonzales taking the most pivotal role, in the Agency’s half of ‘Scars’ major moment.

The other half came out of Afterlife, as an unintended consequence of Raina (Ruth Negga) still wearing a flower dress, under all those needles. A lie built on truth is the most nefarious of lies; but Raina’s problem wasn’t that she capitalized on her new oracle status (or that none but one appreciated that control of information is control of the informed), it was that she was expected to.

Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) had been receiving less than encouraging insights, into Raina’s nature, from Cal (Kyle MacLachlan); and after a season of Jaiying being the den mother of Shangri-La, I suppose we were meant to feel protective of her operation – particularly with Skye (Chloe Bennet) now in the mix.

Jaiying’s titular experience was not to be overlooked, here – no matter how centered she has been, this whole time. What lent the episode its climatic punch, was that this same centeredness kept her beyond the ongoing Hawk v Dove narrative of season 2.1. With her family back together, however, she has since raised the stakes, for all Inhumans – her recent priority pivot to Skye, and her wearing of her scars (physical, and otherwise) being the subject of the latest ‘Art of Evolution’ poster, courtesy of Marguerite Sauvage.

Marguerite Sauvage Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Scars

Notice how she has been positioned between Skye & the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem – with what could be interpreted as scar tissue, creeping up & over said emblem (or dying vegetation – I just see creeping things, at times, OK?).

Fresh from the pivotal role of rescuing Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), Skye was in the awkward – but potentially crucial – position of playing to the angels of both sides, in what was shaping up to be an Agency-Inhuman face-off. Raina wasn’t the only one playing to expectations, as Gonzales had brought his own secrets to the merge. Between the threat that his artifact posed to Jaiying’s people, and his stated views on Skye (and Inhumans, in general), Raina taking matters into her own hands – starting with a game changing infiltration, with Gordon – marked a clear escalation point, for both sides.

This was where expectations naturally led, anyway. The real twist, coming from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s end, was surprising; but only because one would expect a certain someone’s gift for deception to have factored into said person being taken into full custody (was the plan to put them to “good use,” after a probationary period?). There was also some logistical redundancy, resulting in one character being in two places at once, but bottom line: the hunny bunny homicidal ride resumes.

Part of Afterlife’s contribution involved the goodwill turning over of Cal, to S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Given the new understanding, between Skye’s parents, and his overall upbeat take, on being taken in, and I’d say to expect a ‘Greek bearing vials’ problem, for his handlers.

My inner optimist had hoped for a counterbalancing, to the Cal-Skye dynamic, where Jaiying was concerned; but Cal’s description of the S.H.I.E.L.D. indexing program sounded like a Magneto dog-whistle, to my inner cynic. Between Gonzales taking the Dove route, in the name of Inhuman indexing, and Raina insisting on actual truth, behind her true colors, I got to hate on my inner cynic being right, again.

The drop came with the across board Hawk v Dove rift converging at Afterlife, and the older, more ruffled Hawk won. It’s going to be war; and unless a major kumbayah moment rolls into place, we’re going to need a lot more Agent Koenig to wash this outcome down.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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