“This isn’t SHIELD. Not the ‘real’ SHIELD, anyway”
‘One Door Closes’ was another above-average episode of Agents of SHIELD. A pleasant and entertaining one, but nothing special. It flitted between the past and the present. The past showed us the fall of SHIELD from the perspective of Bobbi, Mack and Gonzales (and the beginning of the ‘Real’ SHIELD). The present showed us the fall of Coulson’s SHIELD (well, the temporary fall). The mix of past and present gave us a consistency we rarely see in Agents of SHIELD, as almost every scene had a purpose and meaning behind it.
The flashbacks gave us the origin story of the ‘Real’ SHIELD (can’t they have a better name?). It began as Hydra attempted to take over the SHIELD aircraft carrier the Iliad. Gonzales, as the CO, had been ordered by Nick Fury to sink the ship, thus stopping Hydra from getting their hands on secret weapons and data. Bobbi, Mack and Isabelle Hartley (at last! More from Lucy Lawless! Her character was killed off far too soon. But at least we got to see more of her in the flashback) are also on board, and the latter two convince Gonzales to save the ship and the many SHIELD agents on board. They save the ship, leading them to lose faith in Fury and create the ‘real’ SHIELD.
As Coulson was chosen by Fury as his successor to the directorship of SHIELD, the ‘Real’ SHIELD took it upon themselves to plot against Coulson. At least we now understand the motivations behind the ‘real’ SHIELD. Their scenes in ‘Love in the time of Hydra’ really dragged the episode down. Their revelation was dull and anticlimactic; all that build-up for a boardroom discussion? I can see why they were introduced as they were, but there was no excuse for the yawn-inducing dialogue (and another ‘enemy’ hiding in the shadows in a boardroom, just like the remnants of Hydra in ‘Aftershocks). The flashbacks scenes were fruitful, and more compelling than either Bobbi, Mack or Gonzales had told the story in the present.
“You have your orders”
The flashback works in parallel to the present. At the beginning of the episode we see the fall of SHIELD, and towards the end, we see the fall of Coulson’s SHIELD. The ‘real’ SHIELD infiltrate Coulson’s helicarrier after Bobbi and Mack fail to procure Fury’s mysterious cube. After gas is released in the helicarrier, Gonzales leads a strike force (one question: why would he lead it? And not go in after the strike force was successful?). As the flashback ends with a revitalised Gonzales deciding to rebel against Fury, the present ends with Coulson determined to take on the ‘Real’ SHIELD, even though he’s on his own (until the end teaser teams him up with Hunter). The only problem with this storyline is the ‘real’ SHIELD’s hatred of Coulson. Why couldn’t they have contacted him after the fall of SHIELD and talked out their differences? Why not get him onside? Surely the ‘real’ SHIELD are struggling with resources as much as Coulson’s SHIELD, so doesn’t it make more sense to pool resources?
But at least Coulson and co have a direction. Since killing the remnants of Hydra in ‘Aftershock’, Coulson and co have been aimless, going from episode to episode moping and meandering about. All members, especially Skye, haven’t done much but (dull) soul-searching. Here, however, Skye’s character progresses. The ‘real’ SHIELD find Skye’s location and send a strike force. They fail as Skye blows them away. She is then taken by Gordon, the teleporting man with no eyes. Earlier on, he teleported in and talked with Skye and told her that Coulson and the others were trying to constrain her powers. He knows a place where her powers will be gifted. After being teleported by him, does it mean that Skye is leaning towards his point of view? This side-story was more of a set-up for future events, rather than a story in itself, but it provided questions for future episodes.
The whole episode, like ‘Love in the time of Hydra,’ set things up rather than resolved anything. But it whet our appetites for things to come. Will any of SHIELD’s group join the ‘Real’ SHIELD? Simmons is looking a likely defector. Where did Gordon take Skye? Are there more people like her? Until next time…
VERDICT: 7/10. A consistent and entertaining episode of SHIELD. Another one that put the pieces in place for things further down the line, so we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out…
(Click here for my review of Episode 15: Love in the Time of Hydra)