Well, that had a certain cinematic feel to it, didn't it?
The latest Agents of SHIELD
episode, "Yes Men," had a little bit of everything, including two quasi-well-known superheroes from the Marvel Universe, friend-on-friend confrontations, advanced night-night guns, a guy named Rooster, fist fights, wild alien sex and a trip to Sin City. Oh yeah, and Skye's back and contributing again.
And even though it would have been completely understandable to have this one be a standalone episode that puts our continuing plot points on layaway for a week, based solely on the significance of the characters involved, it actually managed to advance things in a pretty sizable way.
Yes men, indeed.
Enter the Ice Queen
Lorelei is an Asgardian prisoner locked up for 600 years after she used her powers of male enchantment (does that also require a little blue pill?) to gain control of armies, topple kingdoms and generally wreak havoc across the Nine Realms. She was freed when the Dark Elves invaded, and she used one of Loki's dimension-hopper passages to travel to earth.
With the magic choker collar that prevents her from speaking removed, she is once again free to use her sexy voice and sultry touch to persuade men to do her bidding. She starts with a newlywed, who ditches his wife before making the mistake of stopping for gas at a station with a biker gang. Didn't he see what happened to that guy in New York City?
Finding the gruff bikers more manly and appealing, Lorelei literally punches said newlywed to the curb and motorcycles off to a bar owned by gang leader Rooster and his wife. There, she attempts to stockpile men, gold and weapons, but is disappointed when Rooster only produces pieces of paper with "President Benjamin Franklin" on them. So she has Rooster choke out his wife.
Ward Gets Some
In response to the threat facing earth, Odin dispatches Lady Sif to return Lorelei to her rightful place behind Asgardian bars, and SHIELD is the welcome wagon. With the agents carrying Fitz's new ICER (wouldn't be SHIELD without another acronym) night-night guns and Lady Sif armed with her wicked double sword, they overtake the bar. Sif deflects gunshots with the collar and destroys the bikers, but Lorelei manages to escape and entrances Ward after he kicks Rooster's ass.
He takes her Las Vegas, the city offering the spectacle worthy of a Queen, and they shack up at Caesar's Palace. He tells her he once had feelings for a member of his team that seem silly now, and she orders him to build her an army in exchange for a gift -- her sweet, sweet yet violent lovemaking skills.
Apparently, Ward isn't bad himself, and then they hatch a plan to get rid of Sif so Lorelei can finally have peace.
What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Stay in Vegas
SHIELD tracks the fugitives to the town that crime built, and Sif warns May that she must put her feelings on hold because the new Ward won't hesitate to kill her. They ransack the hotel room and find nothing, but it seems it's all part of Ward's diabolical plan.
Back on the Bus, Coulson orders the still-recovering Skye back into hack-tion while Fitz leads Sif to the newly-repaired Asgardian collar. While Coulson grills May on what she would do next if she were in Ward's shoes, the plane locks down, trapping Sif in the interrogation room and Skye and Simmons in the infirmary. The Bus takes off, with Ward and Lorelei in the cockpit.
Ward then opens the plane ceiling above the interrogation room, and Sif and collar are sucked out.
Bedfellows and Besties Make for Strange Sparring Partners
Coulson goes to free Simmons and Ward (pretending that Lorelei is totally awesome with the now-entranced Fitz), and May confronts Ward and Lorelei with her dukes up like '40s-style boxing and is quickly sent flying across the room.
"Ah, it is you, the beautiful warrior with the heart of ice," Lorelei coos before kissing Ward. "He told me of the one he desired before his heartbeat was entwined with mine. And it wasn't you."
That's all paraphrased, but you get the picture. Bombshell, right? Was it Skye all along? Anyway, back to the action.
Coulson breaks out Skye and Simmons, ordering the former to again open the roof dock and the latter to lure Fitz into an epic Coulson knockout punch. Lorelei retrieves Sif's sword from the interrogation room and finds her Asgardian nemesis waiting for her, and fisticuffs ensue. Meanwhile, May and Ward beat the crap out of each other.
In the end, Sif is victorious and puts the collar back on Lorelei, un-entrancing Ward and Fitz. But not before Ward fires what he thought was a loaded gun at May's head. Thankfully, she had removed the clip. Though freed from his spell, May punches him in the face anyway.
Philip, Son of Coul
The subtext of "Yes Men" revolves around Coulson's continuing search for the truth and Skye's re-assimilation with the team. She is not strong enough to actively contribute, but she chastises herself for going into Quinn's alone and vows to train harder so that she doesn't need a magic serum to save her life.
Coulson, on the other hand, is taking a more proactive approach. He's actively trying to find Director Fury for answers, and he grills Sif on how many alien species are blue and if any have been to earth recently. He also orders Simmons not to enter the GH325 serum into the SHIELD database, because two men died in a compound full of explosives to keep it a secret, and it's going to stay that way until they get more information.
After urging May to bury the hatchet with Ward (she hits her seemingly ex-lover with a "we're done here" and "you were more honest with [Lorelei] than you are with yourself"), Coulson comes clean with Skye about the alien substance coursing through their bodies. She's cool with it because it saved both their lives, and he responds that it's a huge concern because they are totally in the dark about it. She says, yeah, but they're both in the dark together. Aww.
While Coulson vows to Skye that they're going to break their oaths, track down Fury, get answers and make him pay, May is eavesdropping on the entire conversation. She picks up a hidden phone, swipes her fingerprint to secure the line and says, "He knows. I repeat, Coulson knows." Dun dun DUNNNNNNN.
So yet another solid episode offers even more proof that Agents of SHIELD is finally coming into its own after a rather shaky first half of the season. It has really found its footing, offering lots of action and compelling storylines as it approaches a crescendo in the finale of its inaugural run. Hopefully, it just keeps gaining steam along the way.
As for the welcome appearances of Lorelei and Lady Sif, that is something that needs to continue to happen, even sparingly. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of lesser superheroes not prominent enough to get their own movie or not portrayed by famous enough actors who would be too busy to turn down a TV role. And every single one of them could and should appear throughout the life of this franchise. There's just too much potential to waste it.
Now ... where do I find me some Samuel L. Jackson?
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.