As Agents of Shield takes a break while Hydra takes over the US political system, it’s worth pausing to consider where the series is after these first eight episodes of season 2. Everything has been moving at pretty fast pace, with lots of developments and plenty of questions, so lets dive in:
What is the Diviner?
Brandon: Originally discovered by the Daniel Whitehall in WWII and recovered by Peggy Carter and Co, this little thing is what everyone wanted. Just don’t touch it, as Agent Xena, Warrior Princess discovered. It was the first 0-8-4, i.e. an object of unknown origin. Sort of like Carrot Top.
The diviner sat in storage, Raiders of the Lost Ark style, until the present time, when Whitehall got a lead on where it was and sent Crusher Creel, AKA the Absorbing Man, to get it. SHIELD tried to intervene, but Creel got it anyway. Then Raina stole it from him and delivered to Skye’s dad (another 0-8-4). He then gave it to Daniel Whitehall, saying he’d teach him how to survive and use it. Why? ‘Cause he’s crazy and and still holding a grudge about Whitehall killing his wife. Which, as grudges go, that’s a pretty good one.
So it seems to be a tool, usable only by a few, to do something “really cool” according to Skye’s dad. Sounds like it can only be used within a temple in the mysterious city everyone wants to visit. Maybe it opens a portal? There’s been hints that Skye is an alien or part alien, so a portal to that home world would make sense.
Sheala: Ohhhh. A portal is a good idea. Also that Diviner sure gets around. It reminds me of a magic ring, that wants to get to someone useful. And it’s gotten very interesting since Skye’s Dad explained how it’s not a weapon of mass destruction, but instead a weapon of total annihilation of say, humans. Except for the ones it divines worthy to keep. This sounds an awful lot like an Infinity Stone. Let’s all delight in the idea that Whitehall figures out how to use the Diviner right as some powerful guy in the universe comes to claim it for his jewelry.
Who is Daniel Whitehall?
Sheala: Ah, that guy! He’s a former NAZI who’s managed to stay young (beauty companies want to know his secret!) all these years. Of course, he somehow scienced it out of the SkyeMom. He’s a major player in HYDRA and generally not a guy you want to cross. Ask Raina, whom he threatened with torture while proudly reminiscing about his previous victims. But he does have a nice suit!
He appears to be high up on the HYDRA hierarchy, but it’s not clear how high that goes. Is Whitehall the new leader of organization or the Vice President in Charge of Acquiring Mysterious Objects and Torturing or what? Perhaps he’s in charge of HYDRA’s North American operations? He is certainly not nice and so far his motives seem to be the HYDRA standard of ‘cleanse the world’. Why don’t villains just ever want to open an oversized kitten ranch?
Brandon: Because the kittens would overpower them with their superpowers.
How Coulson is affected by all that’s happened to him?
Brandon: Ok, Coulson was killed and then brought back to life, courtesy of robots, a mysterious fluid and who knows what? These days he’s taken up heading large spy agencies and carving symbols similar to those that appear on the Diviner. The same symbols that former buddy, actual secret HYDRA agent, Garrett was drawing before he went insane. Is insaner a word? If so, that would describe what Garrett did.
Coulson seemed to be heading in that direction, but once the team figured out that the symbols were a three dimensional map, the compulsion to draw it has gone away and Coulson seems more relaxed. But will it stick? We look forward to seeing his reaction (and Skye’s) in the mysterious city.
What are Skye and her father?
Brandon: Admittedly, I hoped this plot (and Skye) would go away. But they’ve grown on me, like a delicious mushroom and now I’m curious.
Because Skye also got a dose of the GH.325 serum that Coulson received (to bring him back from the dead). But she didn’t start carving the symbols, nor did she start going crazy like Garrett did. Does being an 0-8-4 give her some sort of immunity to the negative effects? If so, what does that mean her dad is? Well, other than mysterious dude prone to violent rages? He does seems wicked smart though.
Sheala: Now that we’ve met who we think is Skye’s mom, we want to know more about her genetics! Also let’s have a glance at her skills: she’s a decent hacker, she’s learned SHIELD Agent skills pretty quickly considering she’s only been on the bus for a year and she seems a smart and out of the box thinker. She does seem like a gifted person waiting to be unwrapped.
Brandon: But unwrapped like a hidden bomb or a gift?
What is Raina’s purpose?
Brandon: Originally, she worked with Garrett, on the belief that she has some greater destiny/power. Garrett mocked her for that, but he’s dead (right?), so who cares about his opinion. Especially since Raina can touch the Diviner without dying, which is a pretty useful skill. Perhaps Raina is now a free agent after her leaving all the other parties, which brings up the question of what the heck is she up too? She believes she will become something else, perhaps gain superpowers? Does the Diviner operate some alien technology to give superpowers? If so, I want a turn!
Sheala: I love that the person/villain that held our interest early on in Season one has become her own agent and perhaps a villain in her own right. But what she needs to do is improve her poker skills, we can’t forget that she’s tried to bluff SkyeDad, Whitehall and Coulson without much success. She has gotten very lucky, which is sometimes its own skill.
Brandon: True, she’s alive, so definitely points to her for that. But she doesn’t have the Obelisk and she’s not with any group that’s headed to the city. Where is she?!
Who is running all of HYDRA?
Sheala: Whitehall? Someone else? Or are they just splinter cells? Ward mentioned that “Baron Strucker is out of the country, so Whitehall must be in charge”. Since we are speculating, let’s take a moment and wonder how big HYDRA was to start with. Of course, we do have myopic view of our little SHIELD team, but they do so often seem terribly outnumbered. Was there just more HYDRA to start or did they fair better then it seemed at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Of course, let’s not forget the recruiting schemes and incentive programs. Not to mention the brainwashing of fully trained agents from other groups.
Brandon: They don’t seem stressed for cash or other resources, so I’m guessing they’re nicely financed. Whitehall is the highest administrator we’ve seen so far. Craziest too!
How many HYDRA solo factions are left? And how secret are they?
Brandon: We’ve seen offices and labs with the HYDRA logo on the wall, along with soldiers also sporting the logo. What’s next, a marketing department for the secret organization? A webmaster that operates on the Dark Net, running a BitCoin operated recruitment center?
Which Ward brother is telling the truth?
Brandon: Is it Grant, the SHIELD agent who was was actually a HYDRA agent and wound up betraying the SHIELD team? Or is Senator Christian Ward, the well respected politician who desperately wants his brother Grant put in his custody? Does it even matter, now that Christian is dead? Or supposedly, ’cause we didn’t see the body. You always need a body!
Sheala: Will we meet the 3rd Ward brother or is he an unknown innocent? Of course, after hearing of his childhood torture, we have our doubts that he is well adjusted. And he wasn’t found at the cabin in the woods, with his dead folks and brother.
Brandon: Yes Thomas, come out and play!
Will FitzSimmons get together?
Brandon: Things look bleak, with Fitz having brain issues and Simmons’ presence not helping his recovery. Plus Mac seems to be taking Simmons place, which is great for Fitz, but leaves Simmons without her good friend. At this point they’re barely talking to each other! And Fitz still feels pretty betrayed and a little suspicious. Dude, chill out!
Sheala: Hmmm, I’m not sure I ever wanted them to be together, cause they have such a fun Han and Solo vibe at the beginning of the show. Now that there’s been heartbreak, I just want everyone to move out of the kicked puppy phase!
Who was May married to?
Sheala: We want to meet this brave person. And find out if they’re still alive! Did they dance as well as Coulson and May? Come to think of it, we want to know more about may and the Calvary.
What do May and Natasha (the Black Widow) talk about?
Brandon: May’s phone had a listing for someone named ‘Nat’, soo…yeah. Do they gab about the latest fighting techniques? New weapons on the market? Inquiring minds what to know!
Sheala: We like to imagine coffee outings with Nat, May, Maria Hill, Pepper and Bobbi. Maria was on the phone with Pepper in one episode, so it’s possible! We also assume there’s an academy somewhere called the Widow May School of Martial Arts and Interrogation.
Do we have a mind washed traitor in SHIELD?
Brandon: We know Hydra’s a big fan of brainwashing. They managed to turn a SHIELD agent (Agent 33), and with Simmons, Bobbi and Coulson having been members of HYDRA agents, it’s possible one of our plucky team is a ticking time bomb.
Sheala: HA! This is a hotly debated point here at BS. I say it’s Simmons, because she has less interrogation training. And she’s a terrible liar. Brandon says Bobbi, because that would be the least expected and most exciting story wise. We have come to an agreement that Coulson seems unlikely, as his time in Raina’s brain machine, may have unwound that HYDRA programming.
Brandon: Remember how Hunter started questioning Bobbi about what she did to get into Hydra? Then she flips it and makes it about him and their relationship. Suddenly they’re climbing into the backseat of an SUV in the garage and going at it! I bet Hunter forgot all about his questions.
Sheala: Well sure, but there’s no accounting for tempers and chemistry with these two who have been teasing each other since the happy reunion on the Bus!
Where does HYDRA get its toys and science?
Sheala: Theft! Adaptation! They do have teams of scientists, but they don’t seem to be coming up with a whole lot of original ideas.
As a side note, I have long suspected that we will soon learn Tony Stark and Stark Industries is financing a lot of SHIELD. Certainly, Stark tech seems, at the very least, to influence SHIELD tech, if it’s not fully adapted.
How will the season play into Avengers: Age of Ultron in May?
Brandon: In the next to last episode of Season 1, there’s an interesting quote from Skye: “Garrett wants the GH serum so he can become a real live boy again and create an army of super soldiers”. The real live boy saying is from Pinocchio and as everyone say in the Avengers Ultron teaser trailer, that story figures prominently into Ultron’s personality. Is Garrett somehow related to Ultron’s creation. Don’t see how, but that’s quite a quote from Skye!
Sheala: I still contend that HYDRA is using Pinocchio quotes as code. Or maybe it’s a favorite movie at HYDRA holiday office parties.
Will AntMan play into Avengers?
Sheala: We know Howard Stark will play a role in the Original AntMan Formula. And of course, Howard Stark has been in Captain America, Iron Man and soon Peggy Carter. But we are pretty excited of the idea of a generational hero coming in AntMan. Father and son ruling the streets? Hell yes!
Also, is it too soon to go gaga over Black Panther or Captain Marvel? No, No it’s not.
What if Peggy Carter was given the same youth treatments of Whitehall?
Brandon: What would Steve say? What would Peggy do given a second chance to play the game all over?
What’s in the city that everyone is looking for? And what’s so special about the temple inside?
Brandon: There’s a lot of speculation online about what it is, which I’m not going to mention because the series has given very little hint .
Sheala: But it’s so damn cool! I mean that train model was awesome! Plus Alien (?) city on Earth? That is not the Pyramids, Atlantis or Machu Picchu? Bring that awesome, new idea on! There are so many possible directions and we have a lot of Alien races to chose from, if it turns out to be alien and not human in origin.
Brandon: Right?! Can’t wait to find out! Tune in Tuesday, Dec 2nd at 9pm EST for the SHIELD mid-season finale! In the mean time, don’t mention the phrase “mid-season finale” to an English teacher, they’ll go nuts!