17th Nov2014

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×03: Making Friends & Influencing People’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Written by Monica Owusu-Breen | Directed by Bobby Roth

agents-of-shield-203

PLOT:

As HYDRA continues to brainwash SHIELD agents to comply with their cause, Simmons is found to be working undercover within their organisation.

VERDICT:

And so we finally get to see what Simmons has been up to for the past few episodes, which we find is working for Hydra. Her getting up and heading for work montage (which had the tune ‘God Help the Girl’ playing alongside it) was well done, with the ending focusing on the Hydra logo in the laboratory. This was meant to make us think that she had switched sides, but I didn’t believe the good hearted Simmon’s would be like that. And the show did not waste any time revealing that truth to us, as just one quarter way through the episode we get a nice dinner/debrief between her and Coulson (with the Shield Director making her dinner).

Simmons may not be the first person I would have guessed would be working under-cover (in fact Skye voices her worries to Coulson on that very matter later on), but if this season has showed us anything so far, then it is that these characters are evolving and becoming more interesting as they go on (which is one reason that Agents of Shield has improved ‘a hell of a lot’ this season…and this is just the third episode). I mean Simmons not only shows that she can keep cool under pressure (either if she is being grilled by Bakshi or forced to work in the field to prove her worth against a very unstable Donnie Gill) but successfully gets herself promoted by the episode’s end. It is really good to see her character doing more than just being stuck in the lab alongside Fritz (which happened nearly all of last season).

Now onto Fritz and I absolutely loved the scene between him and Ward in this episode, and I know I have already said that Iain De Caestecker is doing a terrific job playing the broken wiz-kid. But when he comes face to face with the man responsible for his current condition, he at first can barely speak as he stands a few feet away from Ward. But then as the traitor tries to sweet talk his way (something he is trying with everyone…though I highly doubt his truthful except for with Skye at least) with his former friend, Fritz snaps and (I’m trying not to say torture) gives Ward a taste of what he has been through because of the Hydra agent. But man, the core group of characters like to say don’t get in May’s bad-books, but they obviously haven’t been keeping an eye on Fritz. As I said previously, I was not a fan of this character in the first season (or most of them back then, because they did not really have any character growth or personalities that differed from each other), but things have certainly changed for the better (we should be ever so grateful for Captain America: The Winter Soldier for that) for this show.

Also we get to see more of Skye’s training with May and despite her saying that she can handle it all (her new status as a field-agent and dealing with Ward), we see that she does have misgivings with killing someone and that everyone’s favourite traitor is slowly getting under her skin (if her reaction to his mentioning of her Father is anything to go by).

The humour in this week’s episode was on the ball once more, especially when it came to Hunter being owed one by May and Trip from the previous episode (my one real gripe is that he should be getting more to do), though did we really expect that May would not be the one to shoot him in the end. And we got to see more of Hydra’s inner workings or more to the point their brainwashing capabilities (something that was shown strongly in The Winter Soldier).

Now I have had yet to mention this week’s ‘gifted’ adversary and even though Donnie Gill was alright in my book (known in the comics as the second Blizzard, enemy of Iron Man), he was no Creel that’s for sure (I did like his first kill of the episode, it looked very cool) and I certainly don’t think we have seen the last of him (just like the Absorbing Man).

**** 4/5

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