Agents of SHIELD
gave us a new supervillain in "Seeds" while also revealing some of Skye's backstory, but it did it in two separate missions that are hard to judge based on their varying levels of success.
The main mission, which led Ward, Skye and FitzSimmons to the SHIELD academy to stop a string of ice attacks, could be considered an abject failure other than the fact that they did their best to minimize the damage.
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The team was supposed to find the person or persons behind the initial incident, take those responsible into custody and convince the cadets that they were safe. Instead, one of the culprits died and the episode ended with the entire school huddled in a boiler room while a superstorm raged outside and dropped boulder sized hail.
And, oh yeah, Fitz actually helped the bad guys do it.
Leo Fitz the Bed
It's hard to figure out who the star of this mission was, but let's start at the bottom. Agent Fitz had his fair share of one-liners (I particularly liked the "wrinkly old hags" quip), but he allowed himself to be manipulated and ultimately played for a fool.
And even after it was clear Donnie Gill had chosen the dark side, after Fitz had been lured to the academy, tricked into fixing the power supply for the giant freeze machine and shot in the neck, he still wouldn't accept that Blizzard might be a bad seed.
Sure, he did some good. He and Simmons saved Donnie at the assembly, and he did his best to relate to the kid when we thought he was a brilliant friendless loner. But it's difficult to praise him when he's partially responsible for the giant storm that probably killed dozens of people, duped or not.
Simmons Goes Back to School
Jemma Simmons didn't do much in this one, outside of the above assembly rescue. Instead, she served more as the tour guide for the Science and Technology side of the academy. She got to relive her geeky glory days hanging out at The Boiler Room, and it was a fun break from really having to do stuff.
Ward Doesn't Get Physical
Agent Ward had his greatest chance for a major contribution derailed by the hail storm. Otherwise, he might have been able to get to Donnie and Seth and at the very least save Seth's life. But it was kind of gusty outside, so he stuck with the cadets in their shelter.
He led the way during the investigation, interviewing both culprits and not picking up on anything until he flirted with/blackmailed the chick who was at the pool during the first attack and realized that Donnie wasn't the isolated teen everyone thought he was. But by then, it was too late, and Fitz was on his way to getting shot. I believe this was the first episode he didn't hit anyone.
Skye Takes More Than She Gives
Skye flirted with a bartender for some information and also helped link Seth's dad to Dr. Ian Quinn, but her main purpose here was to learn about her past. And the best thing she did was react well to the news that an entire SHIELD team was wiped out to protect the baby 084 version of her.
I still contend that what we found out so far isn't nearly as bad as what she could have imagined it was, even though Coulson specifically told her it was worse. I feel like it needed to be darker. But either way, she viewed it as gaining the SHIELD family instead of losing one she never knew.
Coulson Has His Own Distractions
Likewise, Coulson didn't offer much, as he was preoccupied with his own resurrection and Skye's search for the truth. He spent most of the time questioning what else may have been kept or wiped away from him, and he mostly balked at May's attempts to refocus him on work.
On the plus side, he used flying Lola to capture ex-agent Richard Lumley, asked the right questions and made a good call in letting Lumley go. He also chose truth over procedure and let Skye in on what they had learned.
Still, the most striking Coulson moment was when he made the call to let Seth die while the team frantically worked to save him. It's such a contrast to his own death experience, in which he was forcibly brought back despite being ready to let go. It wouldn't have been nearly as poignant had anyone else spoken up at that moment.
May Survives the Eye of the Storm
With so-so performances from all the other agents, Melinda May is the only choice for the star of this mission. She spent the majority of the time talking Coulson off the ledge, trying to get him to focus on more pressing matters than his own past while advocating for Skye at the same time.
She chased and fought Lumley (thought identifying herself might have saved her some moderate bruising), and even though she kinda lost when he hit her with that piece of wood, she managed to kick away the cyanide pill that surely would've prevented them from finding out any new information.
The single most impressive thing she pulled off, however, was flying the Bus vertically down the eye of the storm in order to save Donnie and Seth. You could argue it was an unnecessary risk considering the worst thing that could've happened otherwise was the death of a future supervillain, but man, can that chick fly an imaginary television airplane.
Never miss a chance to show off your skills! And the sunglasses were a nice touch, too.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.