ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Heavy is the Head TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 2, episode 2, ‘Heavy is the Head,’ wrapped up the series reintroduction, setting the stage for future arcs – if not the body – of the second season.
After a brief stop, to assess the damage done at the end of last episode, it was a cut to the chase, with Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) in hot pursuit of Creel (Brian Patrick Wade). The damage included not just the loss of a particularly nasty 0-8-4 object, to Creel, but the deaths of two private contractors (attached to the mission), and impending capture of a third. Making matters worse, May’s motorcycle charge was sternly ordered down – within a shot of Creel – by Director Coulson (Clark Gregg), who needed to cut their losses, and go dark.
Maintaining the momentum, that went into closing the previous episode, was a good way to keep up the energy of the second season flow, overall; and having the resident badass weaving through freeway traffic, serving as a coil to a strike that is forcefully restrained, did the job. There was a necessary break in the action, however, in order to prep for both the climax, and follow-on teaser. Creel’s escape, the capture of Lance Hunter (Nick Blood), and the death of his cherished team leader, Isabelle Hartly, served as the means to that end, along with the ongoing challenge facing Agent Fitz (Iain De Caestecker).
Brigadier General Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) seemed quite chipper, given that it couldn’t have been more than an hour since he awoke from a stint as Coulson’s captive, but I suppose having Hunter left an opening he could happily exploit. Between Hunter’s mercenary status, and his devotion to Hartley, Talbot planned on turning him into a double agent. Hunter had different ideas on what those two factors amounted to; but his role was meant to string the audience along, as much as either party.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Skye (Chloe Bennet) was still coming to grips with the level of detachment that came with Coulson’s new position, and everyone was having trouble interacting with Fitz. One in particular, Alphonso ‘Mack’ Mackenzie (Henry Simmons), a member of Team Hartley left stranded by the outcome of her mission, went the extra mile to get through to him. Being unfamiliar with either Fitz’s condition, or his interaction with a personal projection of the absent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Mack took a more direct approach to picking Fitz’s brain.
Apparently, Mack had never seen Momento, as his constant referencing, to Simmon’s departure/ absence, clearly clashed with the reality Fitz had built around his inner Simmons. Never wake up a sleepwalker in mid-gallop.
With the Simmons reveal out of the way, Simulant Simmons was now free to be more assertive, in influencing Fitz’s mood & actions – a more coercive voice on his shoulder, as it were. For the time being, her input has been positive; steering Fitz in useful directions, and resulting in a productive pairing with Mack. Whether Sim-Simmons sits upon his left, or right shoulder, however, remains to be seen. That, and how well she takes to the inevitable return of Simmons, actual.
Speaking of cooing coercive voices, Reina’s (Ruth Negga) back (“can I have a Hells yeah”), only she has traded in her familiar role, as HYDRA’s ‘good cop,’ for the role of a representative of a lesser-of-two-evils third party. Her attempt to flip Creel, and her dealings with her new employer, suggested a character still somewhat vulnerable, in her reliance on faith & a grander design. Her play at getting Coulson to do some of the heavy listing, on the other hand, reaffirmed that there is still plenty of guile behind that softness. It is to Ruth Negga’s credit that she has always been able to convincingly balance these two aspects of Reina, creating a character that is both sympathetic & dangerous, in her nuances. Coulson may have a reason to keep track of her; but ‘Heavy is the Head’ proved that she remains the series key player most likely to slip under the radar – flower dress and all – by the time the smoke clears.
Despite having matured a great deal, I suppose it would be unreasonable to expect Skye to completely divest herself of her paternal relationship with Coulson, established half-way through season one. Leave it to trouble shooter May, then, to set her straight with crooked answers. May has gone from handling Coulson, on Nick Fury’s behalf, to handling the team – Skye, in particular – on Coulson’s behalf.
With the resurrection formula as something in common, between Coulson & Garrett, and Reina’s prompting of its enlightening properties, the mysterious code may present something of a ‘Music of the Spheres’ element; one that could prove essential to the second season, as a whole, if not the larger series mythology.
Capitalizing on both Talbot & Coulson’s need of his services, Hunter’s actions, while not completely detrimental to the Creel sting, did compromise the primary mission. He very nearly payed the ultimate price (as well he should have – a personal score doesn’t excuse the stupidity of going solo, and bringing a conventional gun to a superhuman fight), but Coulson wouldn’t be Coulson without knowing how to make an omelet out of a broken egg. Tying his foresight & understanding, regarding Hunter’s intentions, the product of the Mack-Fitz pairing, and Talbot’s fixation on hauling him in, all together, Coulson managed to bring the two-part re-introductory story to a satisfying end.
Of course, that required faith, on my part, that the cloaking system, essential to Coulson’s closing gambit, manipulates sound & exhaust discharge, in addition to light; that Talbot was so cocksure about his own gambit, that he never bothered to secure their meet site – nor the surrounding airspace – ahead of time; and that Hunter can single handedly fill the Garrett wild-card role, initially filled by Hartley’s entire crew. While Creel was under utilized, compared to last episode, and the fate of collateral damage (like one very unfortunate waitress) was left unaddressed, I reserve judgement – particularly since the parting exchange, between Coulson & Talbot, was really kinda fun.
A more useful act of faith, on Reina’s part, presented a shiny enough object to distract from nagging details. For now, anyway.
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