On the D/L – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Oct 10, 2014 | Posted by in TV
agents of s.h.i.e.l.d

Season 2 Episode 3 – “Making Friends and Influencing People”

Now it’s time to see what happened to the real Simmons. The opening of the episode leads us to believe that Simmons has defected to HYDRA and is working as a scientist in one of their facilities. HYDRA’s big plan this week is to track down Donnie Gill (Dylan Minnette) aka Blizzard and bring him round to their way of thinking. Coulson has tasked S.H.I.E.L.D to do the very same thing.

Agents of SHIELD

Donnie uses his powers

Minnette reprises his role as Gill from the first season episode Seeds. That episode hinted at him getting his powers but in this episode he has them and isn’t shy about using them. This is where the contrast between season 1 and 2 lies, the first season was more about referencing and teasing these things existing while rarely showing them to us but in the second season S.H.I.E.L.D taking down supervillains seems to so far be the norm and it is definitely good to see. Using comic book villain characters really helps place this show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an effective way. Gill was well used here as a young man who is scared and just wants to be left alone. This is a nice contrast to The Absorbing Man in the prior two episodes who enjoyed using his powers to further his objectives and was very open about announcing his presences. Gill only seems to use his powers when backed into a corner and feels that he has no other option. His powers look great with some really convincing ice effects other than the cartoonish smashing of frozen corpses.

Agents of SHIELD

Donnie freezes a boat

Simmons at HYDRA unsurprisingly turns out to be an infiltration mission for Coulson, I do wonder if she’s also using the resources to find a cure for Fitz, it would certainly make sense given her character. The reveal that she’s actually a double agent working for Coulson wasn’t all that effective for me because I never thought for a second that Simmons would be the type to work for HYDRA. It was also a bit mismatched tonally when the HYDRA infiltration was played for laughs with Simmons doing her standard awkward banter. In general the scenes involving HYDRA were a strange contrast with Whitehall trying to brainwash the woman referred to only as Agent 33 upstairs and Simmons with her boss downstairs. The Simmons scenes felt something like an office comedy with jokes that didn’t work where the scenes involving Whitehall and Agent 33 felt like the spy thriller that the show is supposed to be.

I really enjoyed the brainwashing scenes and generally any scene involving Whitehall as Reed Diamond plays this character very well with a really pronounced villainous presence as well as a great air of mystery to him given his long lifespan and his calculating methodology. The brainwashing subplot is an interesting one as well as the episode tells us that it’s not easy or even that effective but it’s something that HYDRA will try anyway. We see an instance of it working problematically as well as Agent 33’s resistance to the process being really strong. It’s clearly an unreliable method but it’s also interesting that people will be unaware that they are brainwashed until they are activated. I dare say Agent 33 will return in a brainwashed capacity sometime soon.

There were some really good moments in this episode particularly in regard to Skye and her training as a field agent. There’s a nice subplot involving her heart rate and her level of calm associated with it. When she’s in controlled conditions like the firing range she is able to maintain calm but there are things that set her off. One of those is a conversation she has with Ward about her father which causes her emotional control to break down slightly and manifests through her heart rate. She is getting better at becoming cold and detached like May is so good at but she has a long way to go. One surprise was that she was able to perform her first kill calmly which ties into conversations she has with Ward where he is clearly manipulating her. Having Ward be in her head like this is something that is really sinisterly done as Ward acts calm and regretful but it seems he has a wider agenda. I liked their scenes together as they were dripping with subtext, something that is somewhat unusual for this show.

Fitz was used really well this episode with his condition proving to be quite a good asset for the show. I love how frustrated he felt at being left out and the recognition that the only person he really feels like he can trust is Mack. Despite his limitations Fitz is able to get to the bottom of the Donnie Gill situation and is even able to get some kind of revenge on Ward in a genuinely shocking scene that seems so out of character for the usually sedate Fitz. He has become somewhat unpredictable this season which is definitely what his character needed.

So far Coulson and May aren’t really being given much to do but hopefully will soon. It seems that much of the screen time is going to Skye, Fitz and Hunter; the latter of which is in dire need of some development beyond snarky Britishness. One thing he has going for him is he and Skye have good chemistry and are fun to watch


  • 7/10
    Making Friends and Influencing People - 7/10


Another enjoyable outing for this show. There are still a few flaws and some awkward unneeded holdovers from season 1 that they need to get rid of but there’s a definite sense that they are trying. Using villains with actual super powers and racing against HYDRA to acquire them is a plot line that is working for the show for now. Donnie Gill is used quite well as a reluctant villain to contrast with the enthusiastic one in the previous 2 episodes. Skye and Fitz are coming across as the two most interesting characters on the show at the moment but the cast in general are all really strong. Some awkward tonal problems in the Simmons story bring this episode down a little but all told it was an enjoyable episode and marks another promising story for this series that is slowly finding its feet.