Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: “The Frenemy Of My Enemy” (Season 2, Episode 18)

CLARK GREGG, BRETT DALTON

Back at stately S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Bobbi makes a fairly obvious observation: maybe we’re spending too much time questioning Coulson and his motivations and not spending enough time tracking down the remnants of HYDRA. Like Ward, HYDRA has also been more or less put in the rear-view since the midseason break as the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Civil War (heh) took center stage. Still, despite whatever you think of Coulson’s secret keeping, you have to think that he’s done more for bringing down HYDRA than Gonzales’ group.

It turns out that Coulson and List are chasing the same thing, quantum entanglement. Or to put that another way, they’re chasing Gordon. Poor Ethan, who we were introduced to in Inhuman village last week, turned up dead in a body bag this week, a victim of List who’s trying to find powered people with genocidal vigor, especially the teleporter we know as Gordon. Somehow List and HYDRA can track where Gordon appears, and they pick up Skye’s location with Cal. Skye, showing true presence of mind, alerts May that Cal is going to be fit to be tied in the not too distant future, and that S.H.I.E.L.D. should bring some rope.

This week’s episode seems built to test the old adage about “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Teaming up with Ward makes sense for Coulson, but Ward immediately notices that something’s amiss with his former boss. Where was May? Where was the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. to back up its director? Working with your enemy’s enemy may be tactically a good idea on the surface, but having team members you can’t entirely trust is going to bite you, and it did indeed bite Coulson by the end of the hour. His final move, it seems, is to plead his case to S.H.I.E.L.D., and although it’s understandable this move comes from the desperation of losing Skye again, by this point you kind of wonder why he didn’t just reach out to Gonzales in the first place.

It seems clear that next week we’re going to get some answers about Coulson’s plans, his secret work with Deathlok and some of the other things that Coulson’s been doing with the tool box that now even have May concerned. Next week will also be the last Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode before Age of Ultron, so will there be some kind of tie-in like with what they did last season before the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier? There’s also the now perilous predicament of Lincoln and Deathlok, now captives of HYDRA. Cal too will likely be over the top angry with Jiaying, Skye and “Gordo,” and we all know that his rage is really tough to contain. Anyway you look at it, I think some casualties are coming in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, there’s been some rumors this week that Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood will be soon spun-off into their own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, which sounds good on paper since these characters have worked so well together and as part of the team. While S.H.I.E.L.D.’s been much improved this year, I don’t think it’s spinoff ready improved. The show’s throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, and while a lot of it’s been sticking, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s still trying to find a consistent voice that isn’t trying to answer to all the demands placed upon it. Now’s not the time for a multi-pronged CSI or NCIS spinoff strategy. It’s not HYDRA after all, sometimes two more heads isn’t such a good thing.