We're three episodes into the new season of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," and it's safe to say that the momentum created by the HYDRA reveals of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" are alive and well in season two.
The latest episode, called "Making Friends and Influencing People," focused on Agent Jemma Simmons and her newfound loyalty to HYDRA — or lack thereof. It put Simmons in a deadly new situation alongside her former S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriots, even if she was unaware of their presence. And it added some interesting new wrinkles to the Skye-Ward dynamic as well.
All in all, a fantastic hour of a show that's just gotten better and better with each passing episode since "Turn, Turn, Turn." Here's some of what we're thinking after the latest round of "S.H.I.E.L.D.":
1. Is Simmons The Best?
She's totally the best. Jemma Simmons went from sidekick scientist to Sydney Bristow-in-the-making in one single episode, as a deep-cover agent embedded in HYDRA, reporting back to Coulson on all of their devious activities. It's a great new storyline for a character that never had a very clear definition, beyond her shared role with Fitz as tech support. One of the strongest creative decisions of the revamped "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to date.
2. Is Hunter The Worst?
He's totally the worst, so much so that multiple members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. squad want to shoot him. (Best Agent Triplett moment of the season, for sure.) But maybe there's merit in being the worst. With every other main character firing on full cylinders, there's something to be said about having one member of the team who is just a loathsome punching bag. On one end, it gives him room for redemption. On the other, it gives us a character we love to see punched on an endless loop. Win-win for everyone.
3. Is Skye The Best?
She's right up there right now, at least tied with Simmons. Creating a super-spy out of Skye is another example of "S.H.I.E.L.D." finding itself in season two, giving an otherwise one-note character some much needed layering. In putting Skye on the field with May, and squaring her off against imprisoned Ward, the writers have strengthened their female lead astronomically. Great work from Chloe Bennet all season long thus far; expect even more, as her character's mysterious origin is set to deepen in the weeks ahead.
4. Is Ward The Worst?
He's pretty bad, but at least he's honest. He's so emphatic about telling Skye the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — but why on Earth should we trust this guy? Do we trust this guy? Thus far, everything Ward has revealed this season has been honest (as far as we know), but his revelation at the episode's end — that he knows Skye's father is alive, and he wants to take her to him — should raise everybody's eyebrows.
5. Who Else Has HYDRA Brainwashed?
Ward admits that he was never exposed to HYDRA's brainwashing methods; he was loyal to Garrett, through and through. But that doesn't mean someone else we know and love hasn't been brainwashed by HYDRA, does it? Could one of our agents be a secret sleeper working for HYDRA without knowing it? Could that play a role in Coulson's resurrection, and his uncanny knack for carving alien symbols into walls? Could it explain why Fitz's brain is so out of whack? Could it explain why Hunter sucks so, so, so much?
6. Is Blizzard Dead?
The body was never recovered. He froze on his way to the bottom of the ocean. Could he still be alive? Have we seen the last of him? Or has Skye actually, legitimately, claimed her first kill?
7. Is There Such Thing as Too Much Sriracha?
Nope, there is not. Yet another reason why Agent Simmons rules.