This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D … Lady Sif arrives on Earth in pursuit of Lorelei. Coulson seeks answers from an off-the-grid Nick Fury. And May is made aware of Ward’s feelings for Skye.
This week’s mission
Phil Coulson‘s team combine forces with Lady Sif to pursue the renegade Asgardian enchantress Lorelei, who has escaped to Earth and is looking to build an army of men to forge her own personal empire.
A changed man
This was a strong one-shot episode which successfully managed to introduce another Marvel movie tie-in and integrate it into a fast-paced action-based story which also moved the broader season arc forwards.
Skye continues to recover from her injuries while a secretive and suspicious Coulson struggles to come to terms with what he saw at the ‘guest house’. He also refuses a frustrated Simmons‘ requests to send the samples of GH325 she has extracted from Skye’s blood to S.H.I.E.L.D.
This is a different Coulson to the unquestioning company man we saw at the beginning of the season. Like a middle manager who has just discovered his supposedly ethical corporation employs children in sweat-shops, his beliefs have been shaken to the core and now he wants answers, for both his and Skye’s sake.
Similarly Skye’s resolve has been redoubled rather than softened by her brush with death, and there’s a lovely reversal at the end of the episode where it’s she who gives Coulson the focus and strength to do what needs to be done next.
Under a spell
Lorelei’s threat proves to be substantial, as she seeks to quickly build an army of men that can satisfy her thirst for power. After trading up from biker gang leader Rooster to Ward – who, despite knowing the dangers of her voice and touch, allows himself to be enchanted far too easily – we’re reminded that he is resourceful and skilled in espionage as well as just being muscle, something we have not seen since the early episodes.
Likewise, Coulson and May are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to predicting Ward’s pre-emptive strike on Sif. But with Fitz also under Lorelei’s thrall, Coulson, May, Skye and Simmons fight back to allow Sif to overcome Lorelei and silence her powers just in time after Ward gets the better of May. There’s no quarter spared in the two intertwined fight sequences, which are as violent and impressive as any we have seen in what has been a largely family-friendly season thus far.
It’s a tough day at the office for Melinda May. She gets tossed about like a rag doll by Lorelei, who reveals Ward’s feelings for Skye. Ward then gets the better of her in a brutal fight and almost ends up shooting her. And then we discover that she’s been spying on Coulson behind his back, reporting to some unseen person that he is now aware of the details of his own resurrection.
On whose behalf is she working, and to what end? It’s more likely to be Nick Fury or possibly Victoria Hand than the Clairvoyant. And it would appear that May’s presence in the team is not purely at Coulson’s request but has been engineered by a third party.
The Asgardian warrior Lady Sif has appeared in both Thor films, as have Doctors Erik Selvig and Jane Foster, who are mentioned early in the episode in reference to energy readings heralding the cross-dimensional arrival of Asgardians. New Mexico and London are mentioned, both being key settings for the first and second film respectively. Selvig also appeared in Avengers Assemble.
Lorelei is an enchantress and sorceress from the Thor comic books, based on the German mythological figure of the same name. She taunts Sif with a mention of Balder, a fellow Asgardian warrior who had an unrequited love for Sif.
Agent Jasper Sitwell (as previously seen in The Hub and the first Thor movie) informs Coulson that Nick Fury is off the grid – most likely an allusion to the events of the current Marvel movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
There are a couple of mentions of the Asgardian Berserker soldiers, one of whom, Elliot Randoplh, we met in The Well.
Sif references Coulson’s death at the hands of Loki in Avengers Assemble and his friendship with Thor.
In answering Coulson’s question about blue-skinned aliens, Sif rattles off a long list of Marvel universe races including the Kree, which ties in with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Poor thing. He’s always getting knocked out, isn’t he?
Simmons gets in a joke at the enthralled Fitz’s expense after Coulson knocks him out.