Talk about an episode jam-packed with story! We’ve literally got decades of story spanning the globe, and it all starts back in Austria 1945 with Reinhardt/Whitehall (Reed Diamond) trying to figure out how the Obelisk works and why it kills. In true Nazi/HYDRA fashion, his experimentation mainly consists of marching captive Chinese people into a room, making them touch the device, and watching them die. Rinse, wash, repeat. That is, until a young woman (Dichen Lachman) touches the Obelisk and instead of dying horribly, a strange alien-looking writing lights up all over the damned thing. Reinhardt/Whitehall is intrigued and is about to order her to be experimented on, and ultimately dissected, to find out why she survived. Unfortunately for the psychopathic bastard, at that moment they receive word that the Red Skull has died and the Howling Commandos are nearly at their door. Which leads to the glorious return of Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. One of the things I love about this character, and Atwell’s performance, is that she’s just so damned no-nonsense and badass. After finding the mysterious woman who survived the Obelisk’s touch locked in a cage, Carter decides that Reinhardt doesn’t deserve any kind of leniency and instead of offering him the deal he wants — freedom to pursue his scientific experiments under the “guidance” of the US Military, a la Wernher von Braun — she decides to lock him away forever, which leads to a very effective and stylish montage of the decades passing while Reinhardt putters around a very small cell, until 1989 when the HYDRA infiltration of SHIELD finally pays off and he is sprung in secret. And in this passage we get to really witness the strength of the Marvel Studios approach. In a manner almost exactly like what the comics originally did over those first couple of years in the early Sixties, Marvel Studios is layering in a detailed history with a texture and flavor that can’t be found in any other live-action shared universe. As far as narrative landscapes go, we’ve got 70 years of history that can be explored and exploited, filling in gaps and adding various dimensions (including unlimited genre and stylistic approaches) to tell stories for years to come. If the Agent Carter series (as well as the upcoming Netflix set of interconnected series) demonstrates anything, it’s that Marvel can lay claim to just about any sort of story they want and make it work in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, Reinhardt gives up intel on the Obelisk and reveals its origins by name-checking the Kree at last! I mean, we’ve pretty much known all along they were going to be behind this thing, but it’s nice to get a concrete confirmation that the big blue corpse that gave Coulson his visions was actually Kree — which again, works another thread in the Marvel tapestry, tying Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in with Guardians of the Galaxy. With the world — no, the universe — Marvel Studios is constructing, we don’t have to have direct connections in story between properties. We can riff on concepts, allowing the references to resonate and create cohesion between the disparate narratives they’ve got going on. As all of this is going on, Ward (Brett Dalton) finally catches up to his brother (Tim DeKay) — and when I say “finally” that’s kind of facetious. He’s been on the loose all of two episodes and is now wrapping up this storyline with the kind of clean efficiency that really has become the strength of the show. And again, if you think Ward’s going to be redeemed, think again. This storyline does a great job of demonstrating that while he is charismatic and talks a good game, in the end he is a psychopathic murder machine. It’s really an intriguing approach to the character. You really want to like the guy. Dalton is walking a tightrope of “heroic” and “evil” with a delicate grace that really makes Ward a wild card. So when he murders his brother and burns down his house in a staged suicide, and then runs over to Whitehall and joins up with HYDRA, we really have to question his motives. Is he really trying to bring HYDRA down and win over Skye? In other news, we finally get to mention Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt) this week as his survival becomes a plot point; the only plot point that’s really involved him all season. And it’s not a plot point to be all that proud of either. He gets shot and allows the Doctor (Kyle MacLachlan) to escape while Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) try to save his life. I’m really starting to wonder what’s up with Triplett. It’s like the writers don’t really have a plan for him. He’s the only character that isn’t involved in any sort of ongoing storyline. Mac (Henry Simmons) is playing the role of big brother to Fitz, Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood) have a thing, Simmons is dealing with her feelings (or lack thereof) for Fitz, and Coulson (Clark Gregg), May (Ming-Na Wen), and Skye (Chloe Bennet) always have something going on. But there’s nothing but a hinted at and never really explored flirtation with Simmons. And he supplies the occasional link to the Howling Commandos through his unidentified grandfather. I thought that was going to be some sort of plot element that would get explored at some point, but there’s been nothing so far. It’s making me a little worried about his longevity. If they don’t find something for him to do soon, he may find himself listed amongst the expendables. If all that other stuff wasn’t enough, we also find out this week just what the Doctor’s beef is with Whitehall, and it’s a doozy. Once he was released by HYDRA double-agents in 1989 (by order of Alexander Pierce for you Captain America: The Winter Soldier fans), Reinhardt returns to Austria and discovers that the young woman who survived the touch of the Obelisk is still alive and hasn’t aged a day. So he finally gets down to that experimentation he was so excited about, only this time it’s to see why she hasn’t aged, rather than why she survived the Obelisk. This leads to one of the most gruesome scenes in the history of the show, as the woman is operated on, cut up, skinned, dissected, and ultimately her ruined corpse is dumped in a ditch while her immortality is harnessed to de-age Reinhardt, who adopts the identity of Daniel Whitehall. What he doesn’t know, however, is that the woman he’s just butchered was the Doctor’s wife — and Skye’s mother!!! When the Doctor finds the body he vows to destroy the man who did this, which leads to a lovely final scene as the Doctor, Whitehall, and Ward all sit together, sizing each other up and claiming, however falsely, their allegiance to one another. That’s good stuff right there. Three separate threads of hostility and revenge all circling around each other, weaving another thread or two into the tapestry that is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents of SHIELD 2.08 "The Things We Bury"Paul's Rating4.5Overall 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.