TV Recap: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ‘One Door Closes’

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One Door Closes Plot Summary:

Secrets are finally revealed as Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) confronts Mac (Henry Simmons) about his questionable activities. It doesn’t take long before Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) performs her primary mission, and the two S.H.I.E.L.D.s collide. Meanwhile, Skye (Chloe Bennet) gets an unexpected visit.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out almost exactly one year ago. In the context of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this was a monumental moment. It completely changed the entire structure of this series and has dictated the overall narrative of the show ever since. Fans constantly view this exact moment as when the show finally found its footing. Truly, the quality has only increased. Seeing as we’re now focused pretty heavily on setting up the Inhumans and Hydra is very much established as an enemy force, it’s not unreasonable to view The Winter Soldier as a thing of the past. The movie made its impact and the show has improved because of it. On to future events and the next major connection right?

Apparently not!

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Flinging us one year into the past to when Hydra took over, “One Door Closes” showcased what happened to Bobbi and Mac at the exact time our main team was battling Hydra. It was a really important focus that let us understand exactly why they’re currently fighting against Coulson. While Fury was busy treating Coulson as his ultimate protege, the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. was occupied with Hydra on the fringes. Bobbi’s past mission to blow up the aircraft carrier should Hydra take over could easily be viewed as Fury calling them all expendable. Who cares if a lot of innocent S.H.I.E.L.D. agents die and top secret documents are lost. As long as Coulson is alive with his secrets, everything is still a success. It’s a pretty warped mentality that gives credence to what Agent Gonzalez (Edward James Olmos) is trying to do. Should the roles have been reversed, I could easily support Coulson trying to usher in a new S.H.I.E.L.D. while battling a rogue cell with questionable activities.

Obviously that’s not the case though. The apparent “rogue cell” are the heroic people we’ve been following for over a year, and the enemies are those fighting for structural democracy. This is that delicate balance where, really, both parties want the same thing (a safe world), but one is more focused on the abnormal than just fighting Hydra. Yet even though they’re both on the side of justice in the grand scheme, Gonzalez’s forces are very clearly painted as villains. Their calculated attack on Coulson bears more than a passing similarity to how Hydra took over, and it’s difficult to view Mac and Bobbi as anything but bad people right now. For a show that is frequently so black and white, it would have been nice to see them dabble in a bit of gray. At least knock around the idea of the two opposing forces coming together. They’re still both S.H.I.E.L.D. after all.

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

The past and present hostile takeovers were really awesome though. Going back to The Winter Soldier, we have Bobbi leading Mac, Hartley (Lucy Lawless), and Gonzalez in their survival from Hydra’s assault. There’s a ton of action here that really does paint these people as the heroes we know they are in the present day, especially that final flashback shot of them shooting guns in slow motion. Plus, Lawless was finally able to get the badass treatment she didn’t receive in the Season 2 premiere, which fixed a great injustice. It would have been nice to get a little more here, but I guess what we received was enough.

Present day events were much less focused on gunplay than incredible choreography and impressive fakeouts. “One Door Closes” took approximately seven minutes before everything went to hell. The very first fight we got was between May (Ming-Na Wen) and Bobbi and it was freaking incredible. A close rival to that Skye was fighting that unnamed agent at the very end. No matter what your feelings are on this show, it’s undeniable that the hand-to-hand combat is always superb. As for the fakeouts, there really was only one, and it was Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) tricking Bobbi into grabbing these little devices that paralyzed her. A generally inconsequential action in the end but one that I loved nonetheless.

As great as the main team conflict was, the stuff involving Skye was that much better. I’m really invested in the Inhumans story and “One Door Closes” moved that narrative ahead in a huge way. I’m surprised it took this long to happen, but the apparently all-seeing without actual eyes Gordon (Jamie Harris) has finally met Skye. His conversation with her about her abilities was awesome, as was his obviously unflappable charisma. It’s a far cry from the young man we saw in the mid-season premiere and unshakable proof of what can happen to Skye with proper training. Further information into what her abilities actually are was great too. Turns out she isn’t so much someone who can make earthquakes happen. She can tap into the vibrations and control her immediate surroundings, like water from a faucet.

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

This lead to one of the coolest scenes I’ve ever seen on this show. With a bullet flying right at her face, Skye throws her hands out and sends a massive shockwave against her opposers. It completely deflects the bullet while also knocking back Bobbi and Agent Calderon (Kirk Acevedo), and obliterating several trees. It was visually stunning and finally showcased how dangerous Skye is outside of glass shattering in slow motion. Now that she’s with Gordon I absolutely cannot wait to see how she will better handle her powers.

In a surprising turn of events, the structure of this show has shifted again thanks to what happened in The Winter Soldier. Our main team is now the captives of another S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson is on the run. Now that Hunter (Nick Blood) is back in the picture though, you can bet these two men won’t sit quietly. S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the precipice of a major change, and we’re all going to benefit from it. Again.

Rating: 9.5/10

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC.

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