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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×03 “Making Friends and Influencing People”

While this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t spectacular, I know that it had been highly anticipated by fans ever since the start of Season 2, mainly because it answered the pressing question: where is Agent Simmons? (spoilers ahead!)

Right away, we find out that Agent Simmons is working at HYDRA. This was revealed in the trailer after last week’s episode, which left me and thousands of fans wondering what was going on. Don’t worry – there’s a moment when Simmons and Coulson have a little chat and we discover that Simmons is a double-agent trying to get intel on HYDRA.

Simmons’s story coincides with the secondary plot, which involves Donnie Gill, who first made an appearance in the Season 1 episode, “Seeds”. Simmons is working on a project with HYDRA to track down Gill aka Blizzard, but at the same time, she’s trying to get the information to S.H.I.E.L.D. so they can track him down too. But why do people want him so bad?

Enter good old Ward, ready to be interrogated by Skye once again. Ward reveals that HYDRA wants to eliminate “gifted” (people with powers) while S.H.I.E.L.D. desires to help them. I don’t mind the scenes with Ward and Skye because Brett Dalton and Chloe Bennett actually have pretty decent chemistry on screen. My main issue is that I knew EXACTLY where this would lead (and I was correct by the end of the episode – I’ll explain in a bit).

Around the second half of the episode, there was a curveball that really caught me off guard. The core agents go off to track down Gill, and Agent Fitz is ordered to stay behind. He doesn’t take that too well and ends up discovering Ward in his prison, leading him to be understandably shocked. Iain De Caestecker does a great job during the confrontation between Fitz and Ward, truly demonstrating the composure and expression of a man who is at a loss for words.

The most shocking part to the audience is when Fitz starts to torture Ward by depriving him of oxygen, reflecting on how Ward nearly killed him and Simmons in the last season in a similar manner. It was a little haunting to watch, but after what we’ve seen from Fitz so far in Season 2, it’s pretty understandable. He’s a changed man. Who knows what he’ll be capable of in the coming weeks?

The episode really picks up during the climax. Simmons, desperate to prove her loyalty to HYDRA, agrees to confront Gill and try to get him to join their organization. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents show up and interfere with the meeting, but HYDRA successfully entices Gill to align with them. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s pretty abrupt and a bit anticlimactic. If you watched it, you may have had a sense of deja-vu back to the very first episode of the show.

Now, let’s talk about Donnie Gill.

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Donnie Gill is played by Dylan Minnette. I’ve seen Minnette in a few shows and movies here and there, yet he was never big enough for me to notice. He was pretty vanilla; just another face in the crowd. I know Gill/Blizzard wasn’t supposed to be a huge character, but Minnette just didn’t cut it for me. Absorbing Man was outstanding in the first two episodes of the season, and I was looking forward to seeing other “gifted” making an appearance. Unfortunately, Minnette’s performance falls flat, though I do appreciate the effort.

 

All in all, it was a “meh” episode. Not great, but not bad. I knew the great quality of the first two episodes of this season couldn’t possibly carry on forever. The previews for next week’s episode didn’t really get me excited either. By now, I’m just waiting to see Mockingbird make an appearance, but I won’t complain if this is the worst episode we have until then.

Final Grade: C +

+ It was cool seeing Blizzard in action.

+ We finally got the answer as to where Simmons has been this season.

+ I liked Fitz’s reaction when he discovered Ward.

 

– Sub-par acting by Dylan Minnette.

– The episode dragged on and didn’t pick up until the second half.

– Anti-climactic ending.

 

Extra Thoughts:

– Is Ward really that bad of a guy, or is he just a misunderstood loner who fell in with a bad crowd? This season has been really pressing on this.

 

What did you think of the episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Do you agree that it was a drop in quality from the previous two episodes, or are you still optimistic? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!