Plot: When S.H.I.E.L.D. cadets are attacked by an unknown enemy, Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team is dispatched to investigate. Meanwhile, Coulson and Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) investigate the truth behind Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) past.
Last week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought the show back from the holiday hiatus in a big way. We finally learned the secret behind Coulson’s survival following his death in The Avengers. Sure we still don’t know why Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) did what he did but at least we know how. That’s quite a leap! “Seeds” was promoted as revealing the truth behind another huge mystery that has also been with the show since the beginning: What really happened to Skye when she was a child. Did the show deliver in giving us an appropriate answer to one of its biggest questions?
The main story of “Seeds” was easily the mystery at the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy. The episode started off with a group of cadets taking a quick swim after an exam only to get their fun ruined when the pool turned into a solid block of ice. It was almost immediately revealed that the ice was caused by some fancy technology hidden in the pool, basically squashing any theory that the perpetrator was someone with ice based superpowers. A bit disappointing, but it lead to a fairly interesting “Who did the deed?” investigation helmed by Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). This brought Ward, Skye, Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) back to where Fitz-Simmons became the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents we all know today.
In regards to the team, the two characters that benefited the most from the academy based story were naturally Fitz-Simmons. This is the place where the two resident scientists really made a name for themselves. Every cadet at the school basically treated them both like rock stars. Apparently Fitz-Simmons had the highest marks out of anyone in the academy which made them legends. They’re even the two leading minds in the investigation to find out who made the ice canisters and how they can stop them. It’s been great that Fitz-Simmons have grown beyond the two-dimensional, stereotyped nerds that they very easily could have become. People of all levels respect the work they do and they can command authority in their own right.
There were also some great twists throughout this story. The best one by far is how the real power behind the attack was Ian Quinn (David Conrad) himself. Remember that guy? He was introduced back in the third episode “The Asset” and has since never been mentioned again. You’d think the fact that a man who is clearly dangerous with unlimited money would be on the team’s mind, but nope. If I was him, I’d be more upset that my machine that could control gravity didn’t leave much an impression. But apparently now he’s back to wreck havoc. To do this, he paid big money for two students to build a device of mass destruction. Those two students were Donnie Gill (Dylan Minnette) and Seth Dormer (Daniel Zovatto), the real creators behind the ice canisters and a bigger machine that creates a massive ice superstorm. They were the two main victims of the attacks which were obviously staged to remove suspicion. They’re involvement was also a big twist that I rightfully didn’t see coming.
Now hardcore comic readers might have perked their heads up at the mention of Donnie Gill. Gill is actually a super villain from the comics named Blizzard who, as the name clearly suggests, can control ice. We see at the very end of this episode that Gill now has the power to control ice at whim due to an accidental lightning strike that destroyed his ice machine with him in the vicinity. Blizzard is now the second super villain from the Marvel backlog to be introduced, the first being Dr. Franklin Hall/Graviton from “The Asset.” Bringing in background characters from the comics can easily be one of the greatest strengths of this series and I’m always happy when the writers exercise this ability. It’s also safe to say that whenever we see Quinn, we’ll see a new super villain. He’s 2-0 now.
Coulson and May investigating Skye’s past was basically an entirely separate subplot to the overall story of “Seeds.” It literally had no bearing whatsoever to the events that transpired. It was more of a follow up to the big Coulson reveal last week. Coulson is obviously not doing too well after discovering how he miraculously came back to life. His relationship with May is tense now too as she intentionally held back the truth. That’s put on the backburner though as they head to New Mexico to meet with one of the agents that interacted with Skye when she was an infant. Turns out Skye has had a pretty horrific past, but a lot of light was shined on who she really is last night. She was once labeled an 0-8-4, S.H.I.E.L.D. code for an “object of unknown origin”? Death follows her everywhere? Count me in! The door is officially open for her to do something bigger and better in the future and that’s intriguing to say the least. I’m also happy that Coulson was straight up with Skye about her past and didn’t dance around the truth to stretch it out longer.
My biggest complaints this week were mainly centered on what we didn’t see on the screen. For starters, I was a little disappointed by how much Quinn was thrust into the background after so much absence. When Centipede made their big return, they became the show’s villains for a few episodes. Now Quinn is back and, despite his influence taking center stage, the man himself was basically non-existent until the end save for a brief scene early on. Will we get more of him when the show returns on February 4th? I really hope so. Also, it almost felt like the aftermath of Coulson’s discovery was an afterthought. I expected a bit more fallout after how much focus he got last week.
For reasons completely unknown to me, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking another two weeks off. “Seeds” and “The Magical Place” are so awkwardly set in the schedule and yet they’re arguably two of the most important episodes to date. Mysteries are now actually being solved. Plus, “Seeds” officially connected Quinn to Centipede by revealing he’s in contact with the Clairvoyant. This essentially makes the Clairvoyant the main protagonist of this series. With Graviton and now Blizzard in the show, some big super-powered brawl in the future just seems reasonably possible. Could Quinn himself be building his own super villain squad? I definitely hope so. Until then, “Seeds” was one of the stronger episodes that really opens the door for something greater.