Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D S02E02: Heavy Is The Head (open spoilers)

“Heavy is The Head”
Directed by Jesse Bochco
Written by Paul Zbyszewski

I have to say this season is starting off well. Last week’s episode was as good or better than anything thrown at us last year, and this week’s episode didn’t have much of a drop off of quality. (If the second episode was better than the first they would be doing something wrong, so there is nothing wrong with that.) Going by the title, it’s clear that this episode would be Coulson as Leader heavy, but it also had a more extensive introduction to Hunter, and to a lesser extent, hardware whiz, Mac. Guess who else is back? The girl with the flower dress, and she introduces us to Skye’s father.

The episode opens where last week’s left off. Hunter is stuck in the SUV with two dead bodies. May finds him and gives him a tool to cut himself off while she badassedly hops on the motorcycle and shares lanes to catch up with Creel. Coulson orders her to follow Creel, and not take him down… Immediately after she leaves Hunter the army arrives to take him in.

Ah, Hunter. Seeing Lucy Lawless cast in the show we were all left to think that she would be the important one from that team. Her character’s death might not affect us much, since we barely got to meet her, but the aftereffects are clearly shown to deeply affect Hunter, and Coulson. (I guess Idaho’s family gave up on him long ago. No need for a special funeral.) And, Hunter is the character from the new team that is going to stick around.

After Skye and Triplett bring the jet back to the base Coulson has Mac go through it to find out how the cloaking hardware works. While Mac shows the hardware to Triplett and Skye a sad Fitz walks in and sees what they are looking at. Triplett and Skye talk to him as if he is a small child. (Oh also. They think Simmons abandoned them. A bit of a different version than Coulson and May have of the situation.) Fitz can’t get his words together to describe it, but Mac is able to translate what he meant to say. Mac asks him for help, but he isn’t able to say anything useful.

Hunter is taken in by Talbot and offered to name his price to give up Coulson. He asks for a military funeral for Hartley, and 2 million dollars. He returns to SHIELD in a fancy car after losing his tails from Talbot. He demands a chance to go after Creel from Coulson. (Keeping in mercenary character he also asks for 2 million dollars.)

Fitz and Fake Simmons (I realize now that FitzSimmons works better this season than it ever did last season.) hatch a secret plan to find a way to defeat Creel. Mac walks over as they are talking it over. He gets to both Mac (and fake Simmons) by talking to him as a real person, and not a delicate doll. He’s able to get him out of his shell. When discussing the secret to taking down Creel he is able to decipher what Fitz is trying to say, and get the answer he is looking for. It’s an old design he had used before. Mac puts the weapon together, even if he doesn’t know exactly what it does.

Creel is not dealing well with aftereffects of the obelisk. I mean. He’s dealing better than the waitress who touched him, or Hartley, or any number of other people who died after turning to stone. But, he’s dealing much worse than he is used to. Even his collection of different things to absorb isn’t helping him feel better. Rayna, the girl with the flower dress, ambushes him and offers him a carbonite ring. Which is some sort of harder than anything material that comes from stars and absorbs energy. She then, suspiciously, lets him steal the ring from her. He’s known for absorbing things, not figuring our transparent plans.

Rayna calls the team and tells them about how Creel has stolen a ring with a tracker on it. Coulson puts together a team including Hunter to follow Creel to his minders… Unfortunately, Hunter is less interested in following and more interested in revenge. He ices the entire SHIELD team, and tries, unsuccessfully, to kill Creel. In the confusion Rayna arrives and steals the obelisk. Coulson saves the day with the device made by Fitz and Mac turning Creel into a statue.

At Hartley’s military funeral Coulson invites Hunter to be a part of SHIELD in spite of his betrayal. He needs people who are willing to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. His first mission is to get Coulson a meeting with Talbot. That meeting happens and after Coulson gives Talbot Creel in a stasis field, he shows off his power with two cloaking jets.

Skye has worries about Coulson. He’s not sharing information, he doesn’t seem to care about the weird schematic stuff he has her looking into and he’s just acting weird. May says he is just fine to her, but talking to Coulson it is clear that there is something wrong. She insists that he stop fighting the episodes, and let it happen. They lock up the room, and he draws more schematics, and May takes pictures of everything.

Skye’s father (Kyle MacLachlan) forces Rayna to touch the obelisk. Despite her fear, it doesn’t kill her. In fact, it shows some of those same schematics. He promises to show her what it can really do if she brings his daughter to him.

This episode offered a wonderful introduction to both Hunter, and Mac. While there was never any doubt during the episode that Hunter would betray SHIELD, it was interesting to see his character defy the original expectations of his character being money grubbing to being extremely loyal to Hartley, and Coulson seeing him as someone who would do the right thing. Mac’s scenes were less extensive, but far more engaging. Having Mac connect with Fitz, a character we know so well, and feel for, was a perfect way to introduce him to the audience. The more he brings Fitz out of his shell, the more we will know of him and the better we will think of him.
[li]“That doesn’t sound covert!”[/li][li]Coulson Minority Reporting[/li][li]“Try Yoga. Or soemthing. “ “I tried it. But, I’m… Realy not flexible…. But thanks.”[/li][li]“The guy is jacked AND he can turn any body part in to annnny material.”[/li][li]“You’re pissing htem off”[/li][li]“Watching Cake Boss, I believe.”[/li][li]“Can I call you Glenn?” “No.”[/li][li]“I know. And we just retiled the bathrooms.”[/li][li]How funny was Simmons when Mac was talking to Fitz?[/li][li]Yay Kyle MacLachlan![/li][li]Invisible planes showing Talbot up![/li][li]Triplett has been consistently awesome since he appeared. And, that hasn’t lessened.[/li][li]Fake Simmons is neat. But, I look forward to seeing what the real one is doing.[/li][/ul]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D S02E01: Shadows

Good summary, as always. I continue to enjoy it.

I have some questions:

  • When did Mac show up? I can’t recall. He’s another “former” SHIELD operative, like Trip, correct?
  • Do we know how Rayna connected with Sky’s dad? I thought she worked with the Clairvoyant, aka Garrett? Other than Dad saying “bring me my daughter and I’ll show you?” has anything happened to show who he is?

Two observations:

  • The twist of leaving the 084/obelisk-y thing at the bench, while the exchange was monitored, seemed thin. The importance of it is understood, its power is not known but believed to be huge - so the twist that a third party could walk in when the exchange is disrupted seems a bit contrived. Not a big deal.
  • Am I the only one who is glad that this type of discussion is happening in writing so I don’t have to say the name of the actress who plays Rayna? It should be no big deal to say Ruth Negga, but I find I hesitate and check myself to make sure there is no tone or inflection in my voice that can be misinterpreted. Good to see her back in the arc - I like the character.

I liked the bucket of joint compound and trowel nearby as Coulson worked - neatly explained how he keeps doing this every few weeks.

There was a short scene at the very end of the season finale where Rayna walked into a room with a shadowy figure with blood dripping from his hands, and said “I found your daughter.” That’s the only previous exposure to this character. I did like how they had him rubbing blood off his hands as he walked into the room this episode.

Remember too, that Rayna has no interest in Hydra per se. She’s interested in superpowers and the future of humanity. When she found out that the Clairvoyant was just a level 8 SHIELD agent, she was completely disappointed. Plus, last episode Ward said to Skye just as she turned on the laser wall “I have so much to tell you about your father”, implying that Ward and Garrett were aware of him already, so it’s probable that Rayna was brought into contact with him through Garrett, or vice versa.

Helpful - thanks. I noticed Dad wiping his hands, but hadn’t connected it to that scene from the end of last season. And I recall that Rayna is all about the power - I assume she is an 084 as well - so would only see Hydra as a means to an end - but hadn’t seen a connection to Dad. Given her willingness to follow his orders with potentially life-threatening consequences, there is more backstory to that relationship it would seem.
Hadn’t seen the joint compound - funny.

Good episode, although if I were Coulson I wouldn’t allow Hammer anywhere near my group. The man’s an idiot. What’s the point of using a ranged weapon when you are going to be firing from 30 feet away? Not to mention giving your target warning so he can transform? A simple sniper shot could have taken out Creel and the contact from a safe distance.

Defeating the bad guy halfway through an episode makes for a weird plot structure imbalance.

I thought the “18 days since your last episode” conversation was going to be a joke about binge-watching Real Housewives or something.

Revenge driven people want the target to know the bullet is coming. Even if it gives them time to take cover, or transform into an ultra-hard susbstance. BTW, according to the ABC website, the ring was “carbyne”.

Rayne seems to be a very skilled operative with no obvious support network. It still pushes my suspension of disbelief that she’s able to get away with so much, but hey, the show has Norse gods so who am to quibble? Either way she’s a great character.

I liked how Fitz and Mac bonded. Treating him like a real person as Simmons observed :slight_smile: goes a long way. The people who know him see him as damaged goods. Mac manages to look past that.

No idea about the carving session with Coulson - still don’t know where that is going.

Another question we need an answer for: why does the schematic need to be etched?

The previews of coming episodes looked very interesting.

That was something I wondered and I missed the trowel and the joint compound. It would seem easier to do this on a whiteboard or something so there’s some kind of significance to etching it with a knife. It does have a visual impact, of course.

I wasn’t sure if that was Kyle MacLachlan or not. It looked like him to me but it also kind of looked like the mayor of Portland. :wink: Anyway, he’s a decent actor so I like seeing him in the mix. There was some good interaction with him and Rayna though I wonder why he can’t just go get his daughter. I assume we’ll see why in due time.

Next week we see the return of Simmons. Is this also where we see Mockingbird come in?

Why the fuck did great hire Lucy Lawless, only to kill her within one episode!

I wonder just what the hell Kyle McLachlan is supposed to be?
Inhuman? Part-Kree? Or what?

Fin Fang Foom!

I do believe that he is Kree or Inhuman. I think Chloe Bennet said at some point that she was Kree or part Kree.

I’m going with Inhuman, which would give a good intro before they get working on the movie. As for Lucy Lawless…I’m not going to believe she’s dead until I see her dead. For all we know she was only partly dead in the SUV, and Talbott has her stashed somewhere. Then she’ll make a re-appearance later on this season as an enemy with cyborg powers, and Hunter will be forced to kill her with a maximum of angst. It is a Whedon show after all, even if it’s his brother and sister-in-law doing all the heavy lifting.

Not flexible? I remember an episode in season one where Coulson bent over backwards Matrix-style to avoid a flying piece of debris. Might have been the pilot, it was pretty early. He had some moves.

My thoughts exactly. I kept disbelieving that she was dead. I was sure she was only “mostly dead.” But then, this being comic-book land, maybe she won’t stay dead forever.

Enjoying the show. The lighthearted “whedon-ish” banter (Yoga, “annny material,” “retiled the bathrooms”, etc.) seemed a little forced and disjointed from the heaviness of the rest of the episode, though.

Seeing Fitz tears me up. Kudos to the writers for not insta-healing him, and huge kudos to Iain De Caestecker (and Elizabeth Henstridge) for acting the heck out of it. Who knew? (I take back all my bitching about them from last season. Well played, Jed & Maurissa. Well played indeed…)

I like this Mack guy, I suppose, but where did he come from? Last week we got thrown into the action with 4 new SHIELD characters, and now half of those are dead. I feel like I missed an episode that introduced them, but apparently not.

Kicking myself for not recognizing Reed Diamond. I knew I knew “Whitehall” from somewhere and couldn’t place him. Yay for another Whedonverse alum!

One thing I noticed was Patton Oswalt’s absence in this episode. When they make a point of how much SHIELD has been reduced in manpower and have all these headquarters scenes, it’s noticeable when Coulson’s de facto Chief of Staff isn’t seen. I understand they didn’t want to pay Oswalt the actor to just stand around in the background but Koening the character would have been there during all of this activity.

You know what’s confusing? Fitz needs Simmons to work with. She’s gone for now. So Mac steps in to be someone that Fitz can trust. In fact, Imaginary Friend Simmons (IFS) approves of Mac.

But Mac is played by an actor named Henry Simmons!


Coulson said he was off trying to secure a source of fuel and supplies for the base and its expanded roster of SHIELDites.

I think whenever Billy Koenig isn’t on screen all the other characters should stand around and say “Where’s Billy Koenig?”