Episode five doesn’t waste any time; the first scene feels like a reimagining of Four Weddings And A Funeral with a best man speech and about eight murdered Navy personnel. Hydra is up to something, as per usual. But this week feels more like we’re getting to the meat of the season.
The already huge ensemble of characters just got a little bit bigger. Kyle MacLachlan returns as “The Doctor”, a.k.a. Skye’s dad. He’s operating on a man in a darkened room and looking pretty shifty. Raina, the Girl in the Flower Dress, pops up and interrupts mid-surgery and demands she has the Obelisk back. Suddenly, The Doctor has Raina pinned to the wall by her neck.
“I’m a man trying to put my family back together!” he shouts.
“You’re losing control again!” says Raina. The Doctor pauses and then turns to look at his haunted reflection. This whole Skye’s Family storyline better pay off in the end. It’s far too dramatic not to. Tell us your secrets, The Doctor. Tell us what happened to you.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, tension is flying between Skye and Coulson, but not the interesting sexual kind. Sick of the secrets Coulson has been keeping from her for the last four episodes, Skye finally cracks and breaks out the rebellious teenager routine, while Coulson plays her overprotective, suit-wearing dad.
After a meeting with Raina, Skye is given the opportunity to go with her and meet her real dad, but Papa Coulson says no. As you’d imagine, she goes anyway. After all, she’s a grown up S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. She can do what she likes. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get there in time. The Doctor has already fled, but he watches Skye from a camera relayed to his iPad. Filled with regret, he smashes the screen and throws to the ground from his car window before driving off. A close-up of the broken iPad makes an unsubtle and very confusing example of product placement.
After possibly the best scene opener in history (“What kind of cow produces carmine milk?” “I don’t know. The file just says Bessie.”) Simmons, still undercover as a mole in Hydra’s research labs, is well into Hydra’s business. She’s made her name as an up-and-coming genius and is trusted by the organisation’s top bosses. But sadly, word about a mole surfaces and she comes under suspicion.
Enter Agents Of SHIELD’s newest recurring character, Bobbi Morse, played by a badass and totally awesome Adrianne Palicki. She’s portrayed as a threat at first, apparently working on Hydra’s security. She seems like a bad cookie and we all hate her. But SURPRISE! When Simmons’s cover is blown and she needs a get-out clause, Bobbi busts out some batons and single-handedly takes out three Hydra agents in five seconds. She was working for S.H.I.E.L.D. all along, hooray! Simmons loves her, we love her and everything is wonderful again in a matter of minutes. Whatever else happens, as long as Bobbi stays for the rest of the season everything will be fine. She has swagger, cool moves and killer eyebrows.
Everything else is much of the awesome same. Hunter still complains about his monster ex, Fitz still talks to Imaginary Simmons and it’s still heart-breaking (except now they both refer to Real Simmons in third person) and Skye and Ward’s basement interactions are still fascinating and posing the same questions: Do we trust Ward? Are we supposed to trust him? Is he playing Skye like a harpsichord?
Simmons finally returns to Coulson, bringing the team numbers up to a staggering nine plus Ward, which is sure to provide varied and quality stories in future episodes. If there’s one nit to pick it’s Simmons’s reunion with Fitz. Though sweet, it was a little disappointing after all the weeping we had to go through to get there. An understated and sombre welcome back is understandable, but as a Fitzsimmons sympathiser all views here are pretty petty. Could we have at least got a hug?