Okay, I'll admit it. I didn't see it coming. I even knew that Donnie Gill is real-life Marvel villain Blizzard (okay, not
life, but you know what I mean). But I figured this would be the origin story of how he turned bad. I never saw the twist coming that he
has a nice plot twist in its latest installment, entitled "Seeds," which is also supposed to reveal the sordid details of Skye's murky past. But while the episode is certainly entertaining, I have found myself left with more questions that answers.
The team splits up for this one, with Ward, Skye and FitzSimmons heading to the SHIELD academy to investigate a potentially deadly ice attack while Coulson and May take a trip south of the border to Mexico City in search of information about the agent who left Skye on SHIELD's doorstep.
It's like revisiting college for Ward and FitzSimmons, who are the rock stars of the Science and Technology Division, while Skye enjoys the friendly rivalry between them and Ward's Operations Division.
Bad Seed or Bad Influence?
FitzSimmons (the youngest academy grads to date) are asked to speak before the cadets to calm them, because they developed the technology that was used in the attack. Students Seth Dormer, Callie Hannigan and an unnamed blond who disrobes rather quickly have decided to blow off steam in the SHIELD pool when the water starts freezing instantaneously. Dormer gets his leg stuck in the ice, but loner misfit Donnie just happens to be there to chip him out.
FitzSimmons find the canister device that caused the near-disaster in the pool filter, and then another turns up during their guest lecture, nearly freezing Donnie before they step in and save him. Donnie is an 18-year-old genius with a 190 IQ (whatever, that's like 10 points higher than me), and while he hasn't made any enemies, he hasn't made any friends either.
Ward questions Seth, who doesn't suspect competitive jealousy had anything to do with the attacks, while Fitz warms up to Donnie, who reminds him of himself during his early time at the academy. He even helps Donnie correct a problem he's been having with a mega power source he's developing as part of a
n evil, diabolical brilliant extra-curricular school project.
A Villain Revealed
Simmons, Sky and Ward hit up the nerds' utility room-turned-trendy bar "The Boiler Room," where Skye flirts herself into some information about Callie Hannigan, who has apparently been replaced atop a list of candidates for a coveted SHIELD internship-type position.
Then Ward does his own flirting/blackmailing with Callie and learns that Donnie isn't actually a friendless loser, but he and Seth are besties who staged the attacks to lure Fitz to the school so he could help them fix their power problem and build an even bigger ice device. Now that, my friends, is a thought-out and well-executed plan!
Fitz doesn't believe it, so he runs back to the room and finds Donnie stroking his giant battery (oh, what goes on in a dorm room) and a Stanley Cup-sized freeze machine. Then Seth shoots Fitz in the neck (with a night-night gun, not a bullet) and they flee.
Ohh, Ohh, Mexico
While Skye is admiring the SHIELD Wall of Valor that memorializes every agent killed in the field, Coulson and May are in Mexico City staking out the long ago-vanished partner of the woman died to save her.
As they wait for Richard Lumley to show himself, May talks. A lot. More than May has ever talked before. And she's stepping up to the plate when it comes to Skye's past. Coulson, who has been spending all his time wondering if any other resurrection-related secrets are being kept from him, is like, yeah, I get it, you're trying to distract me. So she drops the bomb about her affair with Ward ... at the exact moment Lumley appears.
After a brief chase and Lumley-May fisticuffs compete with a kicked-away cyanide pill, Coulson corrals the target with a flying Lola. When Lumley finds out they're from SHIELD, he says, "Thanks, God" and "This is about the baby girl, right?" Dum da DUMMMMM.
Lumley and Agent Avery, who was the woman who dropped Skye off at SHIELD, were part of a group of six agents investigating an 084 unexplained object in a village. The senior agent was killed, but the baby survived even though she was covered in the agent's blood. Yes, that's right, Skye is the 084!
She had some kind of power, though they never saw it, and they began getting picked off one by one after the mission was over. When it was just Lumley and Avery left, she used the dead senior agent's credentials to fake Level 8 clearance and erase Skye's existence from the databases.
Then Avery died and Lumley went into hiding. Coulson decides not to take him in and instead drops him along the route for his safety, but not before Lumley issues a stern warning: "Stop digging and stay away from the girl. Where she goes, death follows." Or something extremely close to that. (I've got a deadline, here!)
Enter Ian Quinn
The entire team reunites on the Bus, and Fitz speculates that the technology Seth and Donnie are working with is far too advanced and expensive to be of their own doing. They must have a wealthy backer, and Skye traces Seth's dad to Dr. Ian Quinn.
We first met Quinn back in "The Asset," when Skye proved her worth by helping rescue abducted Dr. Franklin Hall, who went on to become supervillain Graviton.
It turns out Seth and Donnie, who are now cornered in a parking lot, did the whole thing to impress Quinn. And the non-super villain threatens to abandon them unless they give their new machine a go-around. Donnie wants more testing, but Seth tells him to grow a pair.
While Coulson is spilling the beans to a teary-eyed Skye about her past, FitzSimmons watches as a giant superstorm forms over the SHIELD academy.
"We did it," Seth exclaims.
"I did it," Donnie says solemnly.
A Quick Resolution
Boulder-sized hail is falling and winds are whipping when Donnie decides they have to shut down the machine. Instead, he ends up killing Seth, his only friend, and not even May flying the Bus down through the eye of the storm to reach them can bring him back.
SHIELD decides to move Donnie to the Sandbox to keep an eye on him, and despite Fitz's efforts to comfort him (Fitz sees too much of himself in the boy to accept that he's a baddie), he responds coldly. Frigidly, even.
May is dismayed (I think that's why she's named that, as she disapproves of everything) that Coulson chose to be honest with Skye, but he relishes the fact that she embraced the news as a beginning, not as an end. Skye took away from the story that SHIELD has always been her family, not that she didn't have one. This could have destroyed her faith in humanity, but instead it was restored. Okay, this doesn't fly with me, but more on that in a minute.
We first have to mention that Donnie is flying on an aircraft and ices the window only with the tips of his fingers, and Coulson calls Quinn with a warning to avoid flying over SHIELD-friendly skies. Quinn responds that the Clairvoyant says what's up.
Okay, so, uhhhh, what the heck happened with the giant killer hurricane that is hovering over a huge part of the map? Sure, the students were safe in The Boiler Room (woo hoo! Let's drink our way through the superstorm!), but there has to be tons of damage to nearby areas, waterways, bridges, tunnels ... people.
This isn't a drizzle, folks. Did you see that hail? The wind that kept Ward inside? It's like Sandy on steroids, and we just fly the culprits out of there and move on to the next mission? That's a lot of buildup for an abrupt ending. Quinn is the only one who seems impressed with the scope of the storm.
I also have a ton of issues with this Skye backstory. A story like that could make you lose your faith in humanity? How so? How does finding out that people died to protect you because you're some unidentified object with powers answer your burning questions?
But more important, if Coulson and May just found all this stuff out in Mexico, what did they know previously that they were determined to keep from Skye? It seems to me all they had was that Agent Avery delivered the baby to SHIELD and then died. How was that tidbit soooo dangerous that withholding it somehow protected Skye?
I get that more information has to be coming about both Skye and Coulson, but I don't understand how learning this was sufficient enough to quell Skye's quest for the truth or how the details are worse than whatever she could've imagined them to be.
Overall, I liked the episode, particularly the introduction of another known character from the Marvel Universe. This is supposed to be a sign of things to come, which should mean some highly entertaining storylines.
Still, though, I wish some of the secrets that were revealed were a bit more fleshed out. I'm not satisfied, so I can't see how Skye is either. And I ask again: what about the storm?
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.