Heavy is the Head: Agents of SHIELD

Last night’s episode title, “Heavy is the Head”, comes from a rather famous line from Shakespeare. It’s also a famously misquoted line. In Henry IV, Part II, King Henry, during a soliloquy, says, “Uneasy lies a head that wears a crown.” Either way, the meaning is more or less the same: leadership is a heavy burden. Therefore, we would expect last night’s episode to focus mainly on Coulson. And it did…kinda.

Actually, Coulson shared time with Hunter (the merc that survived last week’s car crash) and Fitz. Certain aspects of the story line begun last week had to be resolved while the writers were trying to develop characters and getting us to care about the newbie.

Coulson’s Heavy Head

Heavy is the Head

Though during his meeting with Hunter, Coulson said that Hartley should have followed his orders (I’m not sure which orders he meant since I don’t recall him saying not to pick the damn Obelisk up with her bare hands), he revealed to May how he has completely shouldered the responsibility for the botched mission. She chided him for it but is he going to actually listen? Loki would join group therapy first.

This is totally in line with how we’ve come to know this character. Though Coulson is a quiet guy who plays his cards tightly to his chest, he is a man who feels very deeply. He strikes me as a very sensitive man with a code of honor that could put Captain America to shame. Speaking of Captain America, the fact that Coulson’s personal hero is Steve Rogers tells us a lot about how he views the world and his relationship to it. If you ever want to know a person, look at who he admires.

I really liked how Coulson stepped in to personally handle things. He’s the one who used Fitz’s device to take down Absorbing Man and he faced down Talbot (albeit with two SHIELD aircrafts cloaked nearby). I get the feeling that Coulson tried to run things Fury’s way, from the shadows. But that’s not Coulson’s style. Though May got on his case (she is weirdly becoming the Den Mother of this series, which I definitely did not see coming), it’s obvious that Coulson is going to continually go out into the field because that’s how he does things.

Finally, in the last scenes of the episode, we learn something rather shocking: May knows about Coulson’s wall-scratching. Not only does she know but she encourages it. I was really taken aback because I had thought Coulson was keeping everyone at a distance and his wall art was his dirty little secret. Yet, it makes sense that May would be the one he would turn to because she understands better than anyone the possibilities of what that serum could have done to him. It’s going to be really fascinating seeing this develop.

Hunter, or, Why the Hell Should I Care?

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal

I’m still trying to understand why Hunter got so much screen time. He’s not that interesting of a character. If anything, he’s just a rehash of that “all I care about is money”, stereotypical mercenary. He won major points with me when he revealed Talbot’s offer but I think that was for three reasons that have nothing to do with altruism.

One, Hunter isn’t stupid enough to trust Talbot. Any idiot with two brain cells to rub together can see that Talbot is a hair away from becoming unhealthily obsessed with capturing Coulson. And you can never trust someone who agrees so quickly to shelling out two million dollars. Even if his senator with the “deep pockets” really does exist (so betting that senator has ties to HYDRA), Talbot should have tried to bargain a little, if only for pretense.

Secondly, Hunter isn’t stupid enough to miss out on the fact that Coulson was expecting him to be approached with an offer. I mean, seriously. Hunter is a mercenary. Men become mercenaries because they really like money (as the stereotype would like to teach us). Ergo, such men can be bought. If Talbot hadn’t approached him, I would have been confused.

Thirdly, by revealing the offer, he won Coulson’s trust just enough to get out in the field so he could try to get his revenge on Creel. He played Coulson just as he played Talbot.

Hunter has a lot of potential but, so far, I don’t have a reason to care about him. If he should get hit by a truck in the next episode, I would shed no tears. I have a far more interesting character to worry about and that would be…

Fitz

Mac and Fitz with Delusion!Simmons

I love the fact that the mechanic, Mac, was the one who connected with Fitz. And it makes sense. The rest of the team remembers what Fitz was like before the brain trauma. Now, whenever they look at him, it’s with pity. Mac is approaching him as he is now and not as he should be. I really love that, instead of just brushing off Fitz’s odd mannerisms, Mac embraced them as a part of Fitz. Which means, those mannerisms have a meaning.

Did anyone else cheer when Mac realized what Fitz meant by saying he “didn’t solve this today”? It wasn’t self-pity, Fitz was trying to say he already had a solution! And because Mac was bothering to actually listen to him, he was able to figure it out in time to save the team. Fitz to the rescue once again!

I also don’t think Mac believed him when Fitz said he was handling Simmons’ absence well. We’ll probably see Mac approach that subject at another time.

Fitz could really use a friend who treats him like a contributing member of the team and not someone who is useless until pushed into getting better. Mac is going to be that friend. I’m really hoping we get to learn more of Mac’s story later on in the season.

Simmons

Simmons...what the actual hell
I made this screencap all by myself.

Going back to Simmons…it looks like the rest of the team is feeling abandoned and confused by Simmons’ leaving. We still haven’t been given an adequate reason yet and it’s reassuring to see that no one else knows a reason, either.

From the promo at the end of the episode, it would appear that Simmons left SHIELD…to join HYDRA.

WHY???

I can’t wrap my brain around it. HYDRA is why Fitz is the way he is. HYDRA destroyed the organization Simmons had given her life to. Why would she join them? My only guess is that she’s hoping to obtain a piece of tech that will fix Fitz. If it’s going to be any other reason, I’m going to be more pissed than Coulson finding fingerprints on Lola.

Raina

Dammit Raina

Having her show up was nice because it helps to connect events from this season to last season. Her bargaining with Creel was nice but I was immediately suspicious when she called Coulson over that rare metal Creel took from her. I couldn’t fathom how she expected to go into that meeting without having that taken from her.

And then she stole the Obelisk and took it to Skye’s father. Oh, okay. The metal was a decoy to get Coulson to act as another decoy so she could steal the Obelisk before Creel handed it over to his HYDRA handler. I like the convoluted weave of that because it certainly fits our Flowers.

When she picked up the Obelisk, that blew my mind. Why did it decide to let Raina live? Does this mean that Raina is from another world, like Skye? And what kind of alien is Skye’s father supposed to be? We still don’t have any hints as to what kind of creature he’s supposed to be, which makes me nervous that they’re going to have Skye suddenly take on new abilities out of left field. Also, where is Skye’s mother? The good thing about this mystery is that it’s keeping me intrigued enough to keep watching.

What are your thoughts on last night’s episode? Do you think the season is off to a good start or could it do more to hold your attention? Comment below!

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Also, my blog tour is about to begin! Check out the page over at Lola’s Blog Tours for more information. And you can still pre-order a copy of Willows of Fate, set to be released October 3rd.

 

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