‘The Frenemy Of My Enemy’
Uneasy alliances and dysfunctional family reunions are the name of the game in this week’s Agents of SHIELD. After last week’s pointless sojourn into May’s back story, things are back to their bog standard generic best on SHIELD; double crosses, shootouts, and super powered people are all thrown into the mix this week, while Skye manages to find time to squeeze in a day trip with Dad. Oh, and a ton of Marvel Easter Eggs.
For the most part, ‘The Frenemy of my Enemy’ (stupid title) was bog standard, by the numbers Agents of SHIELD at its finest. An episode so rudimentary that it seemed to have been stripped right out of the MCU Handy Field Manual. Even Hydra are back. Is that a good thing? Probably not particularly bad or good, just very ordinary. Hydra aren’t even at their most cartoonish.
While the interplay between Coulson’s team and Ward and Kara/Agent 33 was well played at times, it never went beyond a Mexican standoff. Considering the fraught history between the two groups, one would’ve expected something a tad more menacing than what we had. Instead the show was so eager to hurry the plot along, that it missed a huge number of beats regarding the character dynamic.
I don’t actually get Ward this season. What’s his end game? At the moment it seems as if he doesn’t have one, like he merely exists simply to be an annoying wrench in Coulson’s machine. I hope he does have a proper endgame in sight because, right now, he’s not really doing much other than being a mild inconvenience.
On the flip side we have Skye and Cal, and once again, Skye’s story is by far the more captivating. If you told me midway through season one that Skye would emerge as the most interesting character in the show, I would’ve laughed right in your face.
Ever since his inception, Cal has been defined by his laughable OTT psychotic demeanor, lacking any viable credibility or depth. Finally, after his little day trip with Skye, Cal has been rewarded with some depth. Their day out together was by far one of the most exciting aspects of the season thus far, with both actors handling it well. It was a great moment for both characters, particularly Skye who’s evolved from feeling hate and contempt for her murderous father, to something resembling empathy and quite possibly a little sympathy.
If only the show had stayed on them for a bit longer rather than having to fulfill their obligations with the running and the shooting and the mistrust and all that. Yes, okay, it’s a comic book show, but maybe just take a rest for a moment and let these characters breathe.
In a way, ‘The Frenemy of my Enemy’ and next week’s ‘The Dirty Half Dozen’ serve as a pseudo-semi prequel of sorts to Avengers: Age of Ultron. With references to Baron Von Struker and his experiments of super powered individuals (a reference to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) and the inclusion of one Doctor List, the next couple of episodes are a bevy of references and Easter Eggs to salivate over.
Thankfully though (and quite unusual for the MCU), the references don’t hamper proceedings, but rather enhance them, reminding us of the wider universe. Yes, there is the occasional wink and nod to things that only die hard MCU fans will pick up on, but let’s be honest, you’re only watching this show if you’re a die hard MCU fan anyway.