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Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode #03 – Making Friends and Influencing People Review

6 min read
Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Episode 3
Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Episode 3

Time for some fun and games with Hydra.

What They Say:
Making Friends and Influencing People – Coulson and his team race against Hydra to find a man with the ability to freeze objects; Simmons finds herself caught in the crossfire.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The tone of the second season has largely follow through with what were getting towards the end of the first season and that continues to be a welcome development. While I would have liked to have had more serious stories and explorations of what SHIELD in all its sprawling glory was all about, giving us a built from the wreckage storyline allows us to feel more invested in what’s going on, especially since there are enough mysteries to work with here and some real hints popping up about what the obelisk that Hartley was killed by may really be about. A lot of what the second episode focused on was getting Coulson cementing his position with Talbot and the military in order to move on to the missions they need to take care of. And that worked well, for the moment at least, since we got to see a dumbfounded Talbot.

With the cold open here, we get Dr. Whitehall talking with Bakshi about some of the things he did in a mundane way back in the day when he first enlisted in the military, which makes clear the kind of patience he has in a rather blunt and overt way. But it’s a small thing to make clear what he’s doing as he’s working his brainwashing magic on Agent 33 to try and convert this SHIELD agent to Hydra. With plenty of Hydra offshoots out in the world, many of them targeting any number of SHIELD agents on the run or in hiding, there’s plenty to pick and choose from. And this again ties in well to what we saw at the end of the Winter Soldier where the Hydra members there intend to use all these offshoots as cover for their own large scale mysterious plans that we’ll get answers to next year.

This episode gives us a taste of what Simmons is up to in a rather cute and upbeat kind of British way that’s almost adorable as she’s doing research work, though the twist of course is that with the black lab coats, it’s a Hydra facility she’s taken to working at. That gives us a little something fun to chew on with her post-collapse of SHIELD storyline, though you can easily imagine what he real plans are since it’s hard to imagine her shifting sides without an end goal. End goals are the name of the game for some folks in general though, such as how we see May training Skye a bit more to get her up to speed in handling her weapons. And to think right when she’s shooting since she’ still thinking about Ward when she shoots rather than making it more clinical and thinking of them as targets.

Thankfully, the show doesn’t spend a lot of time on what’s going on with Simmons as Coulson, having had a lot of asset losses to Hydra so far, spends a little time visiting her for a debriefing about what’s going on. This gives us a chance to learn a bit about what’s going on with what Hydra is up to and the research she’s doing, but also helping her to handle being a double agent and the things she needs to do to really fit in. It’s a difficult conversation since it brings up Ward in a roundabout way, but there’s also the problems she’s got in thinking about Fitz and what he’s going through. What the debrief offers though is a look at one of the assets that Hydra is after with Donne Gill, who we saw back at the academy storyline before as he’s the kid that has the freezing powers. We see him off in Morocco a bit when Hydra tried to get him, but that didn’t exactly go so well.

While Simmons does the debrief thing well enough, events at the Hydra research facility take a dangerous turn for her as they discover that she knew Gill before. That has her being questioned by those upstairs, under guard of course, and it’s interesting to see how she walks the thin line about loyalties that keeps her truthful since she’s all about the science. Her connection to Gill potentially makes her more valuable, but it puts her at greater risk as well. Bakshi’s questioning of her is certainly pointed and curious, especially since we know what else he’s involved with when it comes to Whitehall and Agent 33 with how he’s trying to get her to be reborn. The Hydra threat is a little muted in a way here since we’ve largely been exposed to the science division side, which is to be expected in some ways, but it also has a really fun feeling when you put Simmons up with a number of heavily armed men that makes her look even tinier than usual. Hydra as an organization is a little rough to get a handle on here in some ways since there are so many branches and types, but it’s definitely fun to see how this one is working.

Fitz and Simmons make up a good chunk of this episode in a pretty good way. Simmons gets drawn into the actual mission to get Gill while Fitz is struggling with the knowledge that secrets are being kept from him and he ends up discovering that Ward is being kept in the facility they’re working out. Considering the way the two of them parted before and what it did to Fitz, it’s no surprise that he’s pretty much having trouble coping with it. Fitz is taking a pretty dark turn here in trying to show Ward what he was put through by cutting oxygen to the cell that he’s in as Fitz struggles with pretty much everything. It does work to everyone’s advantage that he makes his way down there though when it comes to what’s going on with Gill, though it has its own dangers as well.

The mission in Morocco, which is two-fold as we get Simmons trying to find Donnie and Coulson and his team trying to get in there first as well, definitely has its own kind of special fun that runs in parallel. Simmons is the smart one to send in to get Gill since she helped him before and can play the personal card and that’s a nice balance to the action we get from Coulson’s team as Hunter and May do the infil while Skye protects the exit route. There’s a lot to like as it gets a little twisty in a light and fun way, especially as more of Coulson’s team realizes that Simmons is acting as a double agent and they try to keep her cover in place. With Gill being a sleeper agent himself that’s been brainwashed into their larger plan, it’s just a matter of time for things to fall into place.

In Summary:
Agents of SHIELD deals with Simmon’s story pretty well here and while there are no real surprises, it’s decently executed and fun to see the fallout from it in regards to the rest of the old team in understanding it. The real draw here is seeing how Ward is trying to soften things a bit as we get to know more of his motivations and approach to why he was in Hydra, working more specifically for Garrett. Simmon’s material is once again something that I rather liked since it shows someone really struggling with something and doing what he can to cope with it while believing everyone is lying to him. Skye’s story gets some nior prods as well as we see how she’s growing as a field agent and doing what needs doing, but also some of the little tidbits she gets towards the end that teases more about her father once again. Though not quite as intense as the previous two episodes of the season, getting to see more of the overall group dynamic (poor Hunter!) and what some of them are up to is definitely welcome.

Grade: B+

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