Now we’re off to the races! After the filled to the rim with chaos, death, and suspense in the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Making Friends and Influencing People” starts off refreshingly light, as we catch up on Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) getting up, getting ready, and getting off to work at her new job. Too bad that job’s with HYDRA. What the what? Anyway, it’s a lovely little sing-song rom-com style opening that, if nothing else, both sets up a nice bait-and-switch when we see where she’s working, and should head up Elizabeth Henstridge’s sizzle reel when she’s looking for jobs in different genres. Wanna make something reminiscent of The Mary Tyler-Moore Show? Here’s your girl. Hopefully that show wouldn’t cut then to creepy ageless Nazi/HYDRA leader Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) brainwashing an ex-SHIELD agent known only as Agent 33 (Maya Stojan), using “The Faustus Method” (which gives me comic nerd chills!). This episode is a little lighter on plot, but never really seems to slow down too much. The tease of Simmons working for HYDRA isn’t strung out very long before Coulson (Clark Gregg) shows up at her apartment for a debriefing — yup, the horrible liar is now undercover in a central HYDRA lab, risking her life and gathering intel. Only he and May know what she’s up to, which is a source of constant torment for Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) who thinks she just up and abandoned him. Which isn’t entirely untrue, but more on that in later episodes. Fitz is actually being kept in the dark about a couple of things: Simmons’ assignment and the fact that they’ve got Ward (Brett Dalton) — THE MAN WHO TRIED TO KILL THEM AND CAUSED HIS BRAIN DAMAGE!! — locked up in their basement, bleeding him for HYDRA secrets. This episode also sees the return of Blizzard! Yes, Donnie Gill (Dylan Minnette) did get powers after being struck by lightning back in Season One and after some SHIELD/HYDRA training, is pretty good at controlling those freeze powers, but is still on the run, hiding out in Marrakesh and not too happy when HYDRA comes calling. The script by Monica Breen is solid and deftly manages to not only follow Simmons into danger as she’s recruited to try and bring Donnie in for HYDRA, but also touches on Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) training, HYDRA’s methods of controlling the followers who need a little nudge, and then we get a fantastic moment when Fritz confronts Ward. De Caestecker shines as he tries to process all of the emotions — especially the anger — that explode through him when he first sees Ward. And he’s having none of the bastard’s smooth talk, either, immediately making up his mind to show Ward what it’s like when your oxygen is cut off. He’s a joy to watch as he struggles to deal with what’s happened to him and every time I see him I miss The Fades (No, I can’t just let it go!). As in last week’s episode, our baddie Blizzard doesn’t end up so well, being shot and dropped into a frozen bay, sinking to the bottom in a block of ice. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that since his powers involve freezing things, he froze himself and we’ll see him again someday. But that makes Blizzard, The Absorbing Man, and remember Graviton from back at the start of last season? The Marvel TV branch is utilizing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. nicely, filling out the Marvel Cinematic Universe with potential villains and subplots that could pop up anywhere. Oh, and as the episode ends, Skye learns that her father is alive and looking for her. And Ward promises to take her to him someday. Creep much, Ward? Agents of SHIELD 2.03 "Making Friends and Influencing People"Paul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.