Continuing the strong and consistent tone, “Heavy Is The Head” picked up right where we left off from the season 2 premiere episode, with the Obelisk in Creel’s possession and some agents down, while fleshing out some new characters and bringing back an old one for another solid episode of Agents of SHIELD.
As it became apparent in the opener, this SHIELD team has to play it secret agent style even to friendlies, so it was interesting watching Coulson reign in May (especially since she’s supposed to be looking over him) while they left Lance Hunter, one of Hartley’s mercenaries, to the military.
I suspected in my review of “Shadows” that the Obelisk’s images resembled the writings of both Coulson and Garrett and right away Skye confirmed the same suspicion. Coulson’s apparent lack of interest in that tidbit was surprising, so it was nice to see Skye feel the same way. But his new job means he has bigger fish to fry and his demeanor definitely shows it, though later it would be revealed he’s even been trying to stop doing the drawings by overworking, so he was definitely interested in obtaining the Obelisk to maybe get some answers regarding his issues.
Lance Hunter wasn’t developed much in the previous episode, but he finally gets his chance to shine here. This episode was partly his, providing the much needed development in a pretty serviceable way. He has some great scenes with Skye, between talking about his time with Hartley and a debate they have about being part of a cause like SHIELD. His allegiance comes into question early, as General Talbot picks Hunter up and offers him a deal, which he takes after Talbot plays the sympathy card with Hartley’s possibly avoidable death. In a way, Hunter’s underdevelopment worked in this subplot’s favor, as his scene returning to SHIELD’s base and confessing everything to Coulson was surprising and a great little twist to the character.
May hangs back, per Coulson’s orders, watching after Creel. We quickly find out that even though he turned himself to rubber to pick up the Obelisk, it’s affecting him detrimentally and giving him the weird power to turn people into stone. He flees the scene of his meetup when he accidentally turns the waitress to stone, retreating to his little mobile van. His Hydra handlers only promise him help when he gives them the Obelisk and this is when an old friend sneaks in: Raina.
Raina was one of my favorite characters from the first season, so it was great to see her return. We last left her reporting to a bleeding man that she had found his daughter (talking about Skye) and now she’s out to acquire the Obelisk for her own purposes. Creel believes too much in his fear of Hydra and doesn’t take Raina’s offer. Instead, he attempts to meet again with his Hydra handler to make the exchange.
Back at the base, Fitz is struggling with his importance to the team after he finds out they went ahead and stole a Quinjet and its cloaking technology to reverse engineer it for the Bus instead of waiting for Fitz to figure it out. He chooses, with not-there-Simmon’s help, to work on the problem of stopping the Absorbing Man’s powers. Another new member of the team, Mack (underdeveloped in the previous episode) steps in to help Fitz get out of his funk and assist in stopping the Absorbing Man. They work pretty well together and it helps Fitz get back a little to his old self, providing a few amusing moments.
Coulson sends May, Triplet, Skye, and reluctantly Hunter after Creel to get the Obelisk. Things go sideways when Hunter chooses revenge and knocks out the other members of the team, and nearly dies in the process of facing Creel. Luckily, Fitz and Mac solved the problem (even though Fitzs can accurately think what not-Simmons would notice about Mac) and Coulson makes a rare field appearance to save the day, eventually recruiting Hunter as an official member of the team.
The ending had a few great tidbits: May knows about Coulson’s drawings and records him when he does them; Coulson gives Talbot a reason to trust, but also fear SHIELD. But the biggest moment comes when Raina delivers the Obelisk to whom seems to be Skye’s dad (Kyle MacLachlan) and he asks her to touch it. Even though she knows what happens, she proceeds to touch it, but instead of turning to stone like everyone else the thing lights up. Skye’s dad says she was spared, so it’s freaky and interesting that this Obelisk might have the ability to make a choice like that.
Here are a few other things:
- While the show is a tad darker, there’s tons of good humor peppered throughout the episode, with the stand-out moment being Coulson and Skye’s discussion regarding yoga.
- Fitz’s line, “I didn’t solve this today,” should have been way more obvious to everyone I felt.
- A little disappointing Absorbing Man didn’t make it past two episodes. I kind of thought he’d be a good season-long villain but it looks like the writers have different plans.
- There’s already a few fan ideas for what the Obelisk, Cree, and other new aspects mean for the MCU going forward. A friend pointed out this reddit thread (with a few spoilers in it) to me and I thought I’d share as it’s worth a look for those curious or never really read the comics as it discusses mists and Inhumans.
- Also, Skye goes where everyone was really wondering regarding the Absorbing Man’s powers: what it means for his bedroom performance.
From slightly developing the new members, bringing back an old friend, and uncovering more secrets, Agents of SHIELD continues it’s strong start to the second season with the fun and intriguing “Heavy is the Head.”
+ Developing the underdeveloped
+ Raina’s return
+ Offering more mysteries to be unraveled for the season
– Absorbing Man already taken out…for now
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD REVIEWS:
Season Two: 2.1 Shadows | 2.3 Making Friends and Influencing People | 2.4 Face My Enemy | 2.5 A Hen in the Wolf House | 2.6 A Fractured House | 2.7 The Writing on the Wall | 2.8 The Things We Bury | 2.9 …Ye Who Enter Here | 2.10 What They Become | 2.11 Aftershocks | 2.12 Who You Really Are | 2.13 One of Us | 2.14 Love in the Time of Hydra | 2.15 One Door Closes | 2.16 Afterlife | 2.17 Melinda | 2.18 The Frenemy of My Enemy | 2.19 The Dirty Half Dozen | 2.20 Scars | 2.21,22: S.O.S.
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER REVIEWS:
Season One: 1.1 This is Not the End/1.2 Bridge and Tunnel | 1.3 Time and Tide | 1.4 The Blitzkrieg Button | 1.5 The Iron Ceiling | 1.6 A Sin to Err | 1.7 SNAFU | 1.8 Valediction