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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E15: "Yes Men"


It's wrong to make assumptions, but I really have to assume that someone at Marvel is keeping track—preferably with something that looks similar to Carrie Mathison's wall of crazy on Homeland—of all the ways in which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel films feed into one another. In "Yes Men," Lady Sif told Coulson (Phillip, Son of Coul) that she was sent to Earth with orders from Odin to capture Lorelei and return her to Asgard. As of the end of Thor: The Dark World, Loki—believed to be dead—is masquerading as Odin. This brings up the question of continuity, and the argument here is that Loki, as Odin, would probably make this order to keep up appearances, but at the same time, it's still just an assumption, just as it's still just an assumption that someone somewhere is keeping track of these references in order to have the stories remain in sync. 

Similarly, we have to wonder if Director Fury—whom Coulson has been looking for since the discovery of the Guest House and its blue humanoid inhabitant—is off-grid because it plays in to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the next Marvel film and one in which S.H.I.E.L.D. will play a large role. The film hits theaters in the United States on April 4, meaning there are several episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still to air after its release. These are important things to keep in mind, but they also have nothing—at least not directly—to do with the actual events of "Yes Men," so let's discuss!


As we saw in "T.A.H.I.T.I.," Lorelei (Elena Satine), a Marvel villain with the ability to seduce and persuade any man to do her bidding either through the use of her voice, or her voice in conjunction with her touch, had arrived on Earth. As we learned this week, Lorelei desired an army of men to conquer the world, which prompted Lady Sif's (Jaimie Alexander) arrival on Earth. One would think that if Lorelei's powers only worked on men, then S.H.I.E.L.D. would send a team of women to fight her, but heyyyy look there goes reality right out the window! Because there was no time to clone May, Handsome and Coulson were also sent on the mission and Handsome ended up under her spell because he was too slow to pull the trigger on his ICER (formerly known as the night-night gun).

I could argue that the subsequent trip to Las Vegas and Caesar's Palace (because Lorelei requested a palace, obviously) was unnecessary, but dammit if this little bit of nonsense didn't actually lead to some insight into who Handsome is and what goes on behind that pretty face. I'm not saying that I wanted to watch a mini-episode about May's feelings regarding her sexual escapes with Handsome during what was essentially a crossover with Thor, but I also can't ignore that Handsome and May are both being fleshed out a bit by this detour. A blind man could see that May was not okay with how everything went down, with the fact that Handsome had feelings for a member of the team that wasn't her. She may be a beautiful warrior with a heart made of ice, and she may have told Handsome that there was never a risk with her, but that didn't mean she didn't feel something for him. It just means she represses those feelings—no doubt because of her past—and puts her job first. 

As unfortunate as this is for May, it's also what makes her so good at said job. Emotions are often said to cloud a person's judgement, and in a series in which the characters are constantly put in life-or-death situations (even if the stakes don't always feel real), emotions are believed to be a weakness. Which is why it actually surprises me that Handsome is exhibiting some. Despite my previous misgivings about the May and Handsome relationship, their sexual escapades made sense given how similar the two characters are. Handsome, for all intents and purposes, is a stiff robot of a soldier who always followed orders and never questioned the code. His time spent in the presence of the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has changed that and it's also helped him to learn how to play with others.

Handsome felt the need to apologize to May for Lorelei dropping this bomb on her, (but he never apologized for pulling the trigger on her during their fight), but if May was not the person Handsome had feelings for, it's pretty obvious that the person Lorelei was referring to was Skye. You don't even need to do a process of elimination here; It obviously wasn't Fitz or Coulson, and Handsome hasn't spent enough time with Simmons to warrant even a crush. I'd still prefer to keep shipping of all kind off the Bus because it risks putting the actual stories—like the secrets of Coulson and Skye's magical healing potion, and their secret mission to discover the truth about where it came from—on the back burner. But I cannot also ignore the fact that emotional relationships between characters can lead to more development of said characters. 

This "revelation" (we can't really call it that because let's be honest, we all saw this coming since the pilot) also paints Handsome's anger from the previous two episodes in a new light. It makes sense why he was so upset about Skye's shooting. He blamed himself, he blamed Coulson, he blamed Mike Peterson/Deathlok for standing by and doing nothing to stop it. So although this random crossover involving Sif and Lorelei stands alone and subsequently put a momentary stop to Coulson's search for what really happened to him and what could now also be happening to Skye, it also helped paint Handsome and May and their relationship in a new light. It also dropped the bomb that May is spying on Coulson, knows what happened to him, and she's just a big fat lying liar who lies! 

The tag that revealed May's espionage honestly made my jaw drop. Although we don't know who May was talking to, if we assume (there I go again) that it was Fury, it would make sense. He went through great lengths to cover up the Guest House and what took place there—remember, it wasn't a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility—so naturally he wouldn't let Coulson go off on his own without a monitor. He'd plant someone with intimiate knowledge of Coulson and of what happened to him in order to keep an eye on him, to make sure he doesn't go off-grid himself. This is one of those times where you bang your head on your desk and ask God if you even deserve to have eyeballs because it's so obvious in hindsight. It remains to be seen how this will affect the remainder of the season and the rest of the team. Will May remain dedicated to the job or will she eventually also stop abiding by the code? Will Fitz? Will Simmons? She grew a backbone this week in her confrontation regarding sending the magical miracle cure to S.H.I.E.L.D. for further testing, and it's tough to tell if she feels so adamantly about this because she's a scientist, or because she's a scientist for S.H.I.E.L.D. and wants to follow protocol. 

For a stand-alone episode involving two beautiful Asgardian women fighting each other, "Yes Men" is actually a very important episode. Lorelei's powers are useless when she no longer has the power to speak, and this episode spoke volumes about the wonders and dangers of communication. Handsome was more honest with Lorelei than he ever has been with himself or his teammates. Coulson and Skye are keeping the knowledge of the alien-origin of their cure a secret while they do their own research, choosing to not communicate any of this to the rest of the team. Simmons might very well go against Coulson's orders and secretly send Skye's blood off for analysis anyway. Silent and strong May has been been communicating with someone (Was it Fury? Was it someone else?) about Coulson. And Fitz, well, okay, we just learned that Fitz has a weakness for pretty ladies, though we knew that already. I doubt Lorelei even had to try very hard. 

"Yes Men" also set the stage for what we all knew was coming: Coulson completely breaking away from S.H.I.E.L.D. and its code. I will once again make assumptions and say this will probably be the main storyline for the rest of the season. And I hope it plays into where S.H.I.E.L.D. is at in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As an episode, "Yes Men" had action, it had drama, and it had a bit of introspection on the parts of several characters. I really liked "Yes Men" and everything it had to offer. I'm actually a little peeved ABC is airing a Marvel's special next week instead of a new episode, because I want to know what happens next.


DECLASSIFIED CASE FILES



– "Fitz, you have a couple of hours to fix this Asgardian piece of jewelry with whatever we have on this plane. You are essentially MacGyver. Good luck!" That's basically how that went down, right? I half-expected Fitz to come back with paperclips and gum as a solution. Fitz is brilliant, but come on, show. That's just silly.

– Skye's reaction to being injected with an alien substance was completely in character, and I actually like that she was basically like, "Yo, I'm alive, right? I'd call this a win."

– Lorelei mentioned the rage of a Berserker inside Handsome. Look, continuity! (I still wish this was explored more.)

– Sif was going to tell Thor that Coulson was alive, but Coulson asked her to keep it quiet because he wants to tell Thor himself. I see what you're doing S.H.I.E.L.D. and it makes sense; The Avengers can't know Coulson is alive, because then it might be harder to explain why Robert Downey Jr. won't stop by the show as Tony Stark. But it's still a little frustrating for fans at this point.

– Ben Franklin was called a woman in this episode. That's rude. Also, Ben Franklin was never president. I guess it makes sense a guy named Rooster would not know this, but it's a personal pet peeve of mine. Go back to fourth grade social studies, bro!

– "I'm not saying you were weak..." Poor Fitz, he really is weak when it comes to beautiful women. The discussion about men having a weakness has a point though.

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