Agents of SHIELD 2.10 “What They Become” Paul Brian McCoy March 3, 2015 Reviews, TV Mid-Season Finales are tricky propositions. They’ve got to find the right balance between closure and leaving enough up in the air to kick off the second half of the season with a bang. Lately, this has meant tying up a lot of loose ends, sacrificing a fan-favorite character who has fulfilled their thematic potential, and setting up hostilities/anxieties that will fuel the rest of the season. That’s a lot of plotting to work into an episode, and more often than not, it ends up falling flat – regardless of how successfully the show hits each beat (I’m looking at you The Walking Dead). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has spent its second season amping up the drama, the action, and building up a mystery that not only ties directly into the future of Marvel films, but allows the Marvel Cinematic Universe to utilize non-mutant mutations that Fox Studios has forced on them in lieu of having access to the entire X-Universe. Marvel has packed as much story into each episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that they could, and it has kept the energy levels up so high that if you’re a fan of the films, it would be virtually impossible not to get pulled in. All in all, since the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been unstoppable entertainment. And as we blast into the mid-season finale, the show is firing on all cylinders, hitting every plot point it needs to with full force, and provides one of the most satisfying cliffhangers in recent memory. But it is not perfect. In fact, when the plot falters, it falters drastically – almost enough to undermine the enjoyment of everything else on display. And that problem goes by the name of Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt). Let me be clear, though. The problem is not with the character or with Britt’s performance. Trip is the most reliable soldier that Coulson (Clark Gregg) has; he has direct ties to the Howling Commandoes and classic tech; Britt plays him perfectly, hitting the comedic beats with natural humor and the dramatic moments with a seriousness that elevates the material. The problem is with the writing. It wasn’t obvious watching the show week by week, but after marathoning through the first ten episodes of the season it became clear that the writers didn’t really know what to do with Trip. His burgeoning flirtation with Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was put on hold so that her character could transform into an undercover agent and then deal with her emotional fallout with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). With that storyline paused, and the introduction of a larger cast and grander plots, Trip kind of fell into the background – always there, always helping, but never in the spotlight. Literally every other character has been given some sort of special attention – either solo or in tandem with others – over the course of the season, while Trip has been left to languish. Even the Koenigs (Patton Oswalt) have a mystery that helps make their every appearance interesting and entertaining. Trip’s only real dramatic moment is when he nearly died, allowing for an initial face-off between Coulson and the Doctor (Kyle MacLachlan). Comedically, he’s played off of the Koenigs a couple of times. And that’s pretty much all he’s been given to do over nine episodes. So when Trip steps up in “What They Become” it’s a welcome change of pace and we get to see Britt’s performance shine. But this is a mid-season finale and sacrifices must be made. With every other character in the middle of one storyline or another, when it comes time for blood to be shed, Trip becomes the only viable option, and the plot jumps through hoops to put him in danger and then kill him off in a manner nearly as awkward as when The Walking Dead killed off Beth. It was a needless waste of the character and the actor, all for the sake of forced drama. Because this episode is nowhere near short on drama. From the opening excitement of the escape from the HYDRA aircraft preparing to shoot the Bus down, to the revelations that the Doctor’s name is Cal (making him Mister Hyde from the comics) and Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) real name is Daisy (making her Daisy Johnson in the comics – Hyde’s daughter and the super powered S.H.I.E.L.D. agent known as Quake), the episode is loaded to the gills with story. And that’s not even taking into account both Cal’s and Ward’s (Brett Dalton) attempted betrayals of Whitehall (Reed Diamond) – both in the name of Skye/Daisy, interestingly enough. Although that betrayal is shut down extremely quickly, it opens up the possibility for Coulson to interfere with Cal’s revenge – effectively stealing the opportunity to kill Whitehall and making Skye’s surrogate father Cal’s newest target for impending vengeance. It also provides the writers with the chance to put Ward and Skye/Daisy in a room together and put fan’s teeth on edge as it seems for a moment that Ward may redeem himself. But seriously, anyone who thought that Ward was going to be brought back into the fold after the way the team has adamantly rejected him (hell, even Simmons swore to kill him if she got the chance!!), was either deluded or just so jaded that they think Marvel would take such a drastic misstep for the sake of some forced romantic tension. There is no way they’re going to make Ward a part of the team ever again. In the absolute worst-case scenario, he may become a rogue agent not officially affiliated with S.H.I.E.L.D. – best-case scenario he becomes something entirely different, trying to do the right thing with bloody consequences on a massive scale. The fact that as soon as Skye/Daisy got her hands on a gun she put four bullets into him was glorious and should alleviate all doubt. I’m pretty sure I heard a collective cheer as she shot him, quipped, and stepped over his unconscious body. Of course, he’s not dead. But now he’s on the run with Agent 33 — still wearing a damaged Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) face — and that should provide an interesting wild card element to the rest of the season. Meanwhile, underground, big things are happening. Poor doomed Trip has provided antique explosive devices (since electronics don’t work in the hidden city), while Fitz and Simmons have determined that going down in hazmat suits should keep the city from recognizing them as threats and turning them into living defensive weapons like Mac (Henry Simmons). So with the explosives set, it looks like all they have to do is sit back and watch the city collapse in on itself and everything will be fine. But that would be too easy. Instead, when Raina (Ruth Negga) grabs the Diviner and heads down to the Temple, Skye/Daisy goes after her. Since both of them have a little Kree in them, the city allows them access. But there’s no real explanation for why Coulson can run around after them or why Trip can run around undoing the explosives in an attempt to save his friends, both of whom skip the whole protective suit conceit that was a major plot point just a few minutes earlier. So with the demolition on hold, Trip ends up at the Temple with Skye/Daisy and Raina for no reason whatsoever other than to position him to be killed. Because there’s no way he can survive the Terrigen Mist that forces both Skye/Daisy and Raina into transformative cocoons as their Inhuman natures take hold. The final moments of the episode are exceedingly well done, despite Trip’s unnecessary sacrifice, as Skye/Daisy bursts free from her cocoon with earthquake-inducing powers and Raina’s change is teased with a glimpse of what look like quills sprouting from her skin around her exposed eye. People are suggesting she may be transforming into Tigra, but that seems way off-base. She’s clearly not becoming cat-like. I have no clue if she’s going to be an already established character or someone brand new, but given the show’s history, she’s probably a character from the Marvel archives. We just have to wait to find out who. With the way they are using the Inhumans, she really could be anyone. And with both she and Skye/Daisy now under S.H.I.E.L.D. jurisdiction, with Cal swearing revenge on Coulson, and with the mysterious eyeless man – with a Diviner of his own – contacting an unknown ally confirming that they know new Inhumans have transformed, the back half of this season should have no problem continuing to pack each episode with more drama and action and mystery than any show has a right to. I just wish Agent Triplett would be around to see it. Agents of SHIELD 2.10 “What They Become”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.