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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×08 “The Things We Bury”

Tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was all over the place. It felt like they were attempting to cram a lot into just an hour. The problem with this is that there were three different plots, each of which could have deserved episodes of their own. Despite this, it was a fun ride and a worthy episode for Season 2. (spoilers ahead!)

The first plot is a direct continuation of last week’s episode regarding the mysterious city. Coulson and the agents are trying to find out more about the city, where it’s located, and how they can access it. While half of the agents are on this mission, Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird is busy interrogating a HYDRA agent to find out more about Doctor Whitehall’s plans.

Normally, I like watching any scene with Mockingbird, but my enjoyment for her performance is sucked away whenever I see Lance Hunter enter the scene. I’ve tried to give Nick Blood a chance, and I really liked his role at the beginning of the season, but now he’s just a nuisance. This may be due in part to the fact that I sense no chemistry between him and Adrianne Palicki. You may think, “Well, they shouldn’t have chemistry; their characters are divorced.” But at the end of the episode, well, it looks like they settled their issues.

Now onto the second plot. Here is where the episode got a little confusing and hard to follow, mainly due to the use of flashbacks. This plot followed Doctor Whitehall during his time in World War 2 when his team first discovered the obelisk. Then the timeline jumps around to the present, then back to the past, but in a different period where Whitehall is now imprisoned by S.H.I.E.L.D. Once again, the timeline skips to the present, and then back to what I call the “recent-past”, which actually takes place during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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I don’t mind flashbacks most of the time. Tonight’s episode was an exception just because it got confusing to follow the sporadic timeline. I liked seeing another cameo by Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, but the disarray of the flashbacks made it difficult to fully enjoy.

I will say this: this Whitehall subplot further proves my ongoing theory that the obelisk is an item involving the Inhumans, and is most likely a containment cell for the Terrigen Mist.

Another benefit to this episode was the further reveal of Skye’s backstory. We’ve met Skye’s father already but this is the first time we glimpse her mother. It turns out that Whitehall used Skye’s mother back in World War 2 to learn more about the obelisk’s power. Decades later, Whitehall, now an elderly man, finds out that Skye’s mom has not aged a day, so he orders her dissection and uses her ambiguous power to revert to his younger physical self. Skye’s father discovers her mutilated body and swears vengeance on Whitehall, thus establishing their relationship. It was refreshing to see it all come together, and for once, I’m pretty excited to learn more about Skye’s backstory!

The last plot, which was possibly my favorite and the most disturbing of the episode, involved Grant Ward. He’s escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and has gone on to hunt down his brother, Senator Christian Ward. After confronting him and threatening to kill him, Grant finally gets Christian to admit that he indeed was responsible for killing their youngest brother in a well. Christian explains how he did it as a form of punishment against their brother and their parents.

A few weeks ago, I said I was frustrated about the situation between Grant and Christian and how they kept pointing fingers at each other over who did what with the well. Finally, we get some closure and learn that Grant was telling the truth. After Christian admits it was his fault, he and Grant walk off arm-in-arm and live happily ever after.

Nope.

In a shocking twist, the episode ends with Grant presenting his talents to Whitehall and saying he wants to join him. Whitehall pulls up a news report about how Christian and his parents were found murdered in a house fire. Grant merely gives a half-heartened grin.

We knew Grant was evil, but he is a straight-up psychopath! This makes him one of the most dangerous villains that S.H.I.E.L.D. has faced. He doesn’t have any super powers, but he also has no inhibitions. Clearly, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get his way, and let’s not forget that he knows S.H.I.E.L.D. inside and out. He’s a formidable opponent for Coulson and his agents.

The Grant/Christian subplot was great, though I didn’t feel a connection between Brett Dalton and Tim DeKay. I didn’t buy that they were brothers. DeKay knows how to play a sleazy senator, but he doesn’t seem to know how to work with Dalton to get a family-like bond between their characters. I’m willing to overlook this mainly because it was such a great sub-story to the episode.

“The Things We Bury” may not have been the best episode, but it was crucial to the progression of the season. If you need to play catch-up on Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then you don’t want to miss this episode.

Final Grade: B –

+ The Grant/Christian story was great.

+ Skye’s backstory finally seems relevant/interesting.

 

– The jumping around to different time periods got a little confusing.

– There is no chemistry between Blood and Palicki.

 

What did you think of “The Things We Bury”? Any theories as to what the obelisk could be? Let us know 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!