I don’t normally watch “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I saw the pilot episode; it didn’t grab me like most, and once it became good, I was already too far behind to care. I’ve been promising many people as of late that I’d eventually watch. But I haven’t. Last night I finally did that which I thought I’d never do – I watched “The Things We Bury” and got the buzz of what makes “S.H.I.E.L.D.” such a fun series to watch.
I love Tim Dekay. He’s great on “White Collar” and since that show is in its lasts season, it’s great to see him back on t.v. so fast. Even if he’s a weasly U.S. Senator. I LOVE Hayley Atwell. As in I want to marry Hayley Atwell. After reading an EMPIRE magazine interview with her back when Captain America: The First Avenger came out, I knew it was true love. I think it could work out. So after seeing her and Tim Dekay make an appearance on last night’s episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” I knew I was missing out.
The episode begins in Austria. Its 1945 and HYDRA is continuing their research of the paranormal and unexplained. They are in possession of an obelisk, revealed to be The Deviner, that is a key to something far beyond their comprehension. After one poor schmuck is turned to stone after touching it, they bring in a woman as their next subject. Reinhart, a Nazi scientist and Hydra leader, forces “Being Human” and “Dollhouse” actress, Dichen Lachman to touch the obelisk. She survives contact with it and he immediately grows enamored by his discovery. Understanding that the obelisk does not discriminate against sex or race, he proudly states “discovery requires experimentation.” As a first time viewer with this series, it’s clear that MARVEL has brought their trademark good and evil characters to the small screen. The scene plays out fantastically and seems a natural fit in the MCU.
As the years pass, we learn that Reinhart was taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. and interrogated by Hayley Atwell! Okay, not necessarily by Hayley, but by her character Agent Peggy Carter. The S.H.I.E.L.D. founder has learned of his Nazi stories of experimentation and interest in aliens and artifacts. Instead of releasing him by making a deal, she decides to let him rot in prison. That’s Agent Carter for you! So more years pass and it’s revealed that through Hydra’s covert infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. they are able to free Reinhart. This is a great moment for die-hard fans of the MCU as we receive our first Easter Egg of the episode. It’s revealed that Alexander Pierce (played by Robert Redford in “The Winter Soldier”) enabled this to happen. Reinhart, as an old man, meets the young woman who survived contact with the obelisk and is stunned to see that she has not aged a day. Tearing her open through medical procedure and experimentation, he is rejuvenated by her powers and becomes a young man again. This was a surprisingly explicit scene that I did not expect. It worked in showcasing how unethical and evil those pesky Hydra people are. Don’t you just hate Nazis?
In the present day, while Coulson and his team are continuing their own investigation into the obelisk, we get caught up with Kyle MacLachlan’s character “The Doctor”, revealed as Skye’s father and husband to Dichen Lachman’s doomed character. After finding her body years ago, he vowed revenge on Reinhart. Now as an older man, he has formed an alliance with Reinhart (now going by Whitehall) and is obviously biding his time before he makes his move. MacLachlan is an interesting actor and is wildly magnetic in every scene. It’s fun to learn every bit of knowledge he has on the obelisk, which he refers to as The Deviner. He knows that it’s not a weapon in the sense of what Hydra believes it to be. And he understands that he is living on borrowed time as he is doing business with Hydra. An organization not known for their generous retirement plan. All he wants is to reunite with his wife in “the afterlife.”
Apparently Coulson had a bit of a thing going on in the last few episodes. Maybe staff writers, Julie, Rosemary, or even Chuck could fill me in on that. But he’s back to being the team leader, and as always is an effective and capable leader. Clark Gregg is funny, likable, and charming as Phil Coulson (“First name, Agent” as Stark said). His search into the mysterious alien city that The Deviner has led to gives way into S.H.I.E.L.D.S. next mission. Coulson tasks everyone with strange objectives that ultimately lead to them heading to Oahu, Hawaii. They have to use an EMP to turn a less secure backup station in Australia on so that Fitz can find the hidden city. All this has to be done at a heck of a rush speed so that they could beat Reinhart/Whitehall in the race to reach the city. MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is now a full blown, globe trotting adventure in the tradition of Indiana Jones and National Treasure (with more of a nod to the latter as it is Disney.)
The episode, “The Things We Bury” was quite enjoyable. Apparently U.S. Senator Christian (Tim Dekay) is Ward’s brother. Ward is apparently an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (who may be ultimately trying to prove himself to Coulson by infiltrating Hydra.) There is a whole scene of exposition that leads to us understanding their broken family and troubled childhood. Their mother tortured Christian and Ward, while favoring their other brother, Thomas. As children, they forced Thomas into a well and killed their brother. Tim Dekay is excellent as the two-timing, cheating husband, slimy senator. He’s a great fit for the cast and is just the kind of character actor that fits perfectly into the well assembled cast Marvel has for their universe.
I enjoyed “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and am happy I watched the episode. There were enough surprises to keep me engaged in the story and not once did I feel as if it was a cheaper version of what Marvel has accomplished on film. “A.o.S.” is its own thing. However, it benefits greatly from having someone like Hayley Atwell in the episode. I mean Agent Carter.
* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights on ABC. 9 PM ET. Check your local listings.
Psst… Hayley Atwell’s “Agent Carter” premiers Tuesday, January 6th. It’s an eight-episode miniseries so be sure to watch as I will certainly be doing. She’ll also be appearing in the Paul Rudd & Michael Douglas film, “Marvel’s Ant-Man” due out July 2015.