The Frenemy of My Enemy Plot:
Dedicated in his mission to rescue Skye (Chloe Bennet), Coulson (Clark Gregg) recruits an extremely unlikely ally. Skye however is busy with her own problems when she learns that her father Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) is being taken away for good. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) meanwhile is forced to come clean about her actions.
It’s never easy for a show to juggle multiple story threads. As we have seen time and time again, proper balance is very rarely struck to give equal focus. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been doing this lately with our characters spread across the globe. New S.H.I.E.L.D. is tracking down Coulson, Coulson is tracking down Skye, and Skye is entirely on her own with the Inhumans. Hydra’s somewhere too. We knew eventually that these would all come together, but it was questionable exactly when. Looks like”The Frenemy of My Enemy” was that time! Fueled by their mutual desires to get someone, every single character converged onto one location. It was appropriately chaotic.
Finding a way to bring everything together into one explosive clash that actually makes sense is an incredible feat. It all stemmed from Skye’s desire to stick with her father as his ties with the Inhumans are forcefully cut off. Yiaying’s (Dichen Lachman) overwhelming willingness to just drop Cal off in Milwaukee without a care was pretty bizarre. Out of everyone on this show, she’s the one who knows the most about what Cal can do when angry. I get that he’s ultimately not her concern since he’s not an Inhuman, but her life goal is to ease Inhumans into normal society so they’re not a threat. Releasing a threat like Cal definitely contradicts that.
Thankfully Skye was around to say, “Hey this is a bad idea,” and go along with Cal, leading to some of the night’s best scenes. Watching Cal and Skye walk around Milwaukee, talking about ice cream and how much life has changed, was awesome. It actually made you care about Cal who has been nothing more than a villain since his debut. Of course, Kyle MacLachlan gets a lot of credit for turning up Cal’s likability factor by a significant amount. It reached a point that when Skye called May (Ming-Na Wen) asking for help, I actually felt the betrayal against her father. She was perfectly justified, obviously. Cal went nuts the moment she mentioned she was leaving him behind. He might not have attacked her, however, but now we’ll never know.
Skye and Cal arriving in Milwaukee did not get unnoticed, which is where everyone else comes in. Hydra has been searching for their own powered people along with performing experiments, and that is what weaves them back into our S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. focus. Using this avenue is hardly a surprise. We saw Whitehall cutting up Jiaying before in flashbacks, and Baron Strucker, who was last seen in The Winter Soldier with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver as his guinea pigs, was name dropped. New character Dr. List (Henry Goodman) is now a part of this. He’s been monitoring Gordon’s (Jamie Harris) activities, so Skye and Cal’s sudden appearance in Wisconsin raised big flags. Hydra’s return primarily served to ramp up the action and remind us that they’re threats (and give a definite connection to Age of Ultron), which is all well and good. I’m glad Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) straight up questioned if they were making better use of their time searching for Coulson. Clearly, the answer is no.
Ward’s (Brett Dalton) return with 33/Kara (Maya Stojan) felt natural too. He’s the only one out there that is completely disconnected, so he’s a valuable asset to anyone despite his history. I like that Coulson got to him first though. Ward did a lot of damage with his betrayal and him rejoining Coulson brings up those wounds. You can tell Coulson has some residual anger when he’s laying out his terms for Ward’s alliance. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) continues being awesome as he lashes at Ward like a nerdier Incredible Hulk. Everyone knows that Ward being there is big too. Both Simmons and May are forced to take a step back when they find out, which doesn’t help their already growing distrust of Coulson’s many secrets.
Using the brainwashed Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) was a nice idea, but it ultimately played out in an extremely predictable fashion. Of course Bakshi was going to seize an opportunity and take away some valuable assets. It’s basically the absolute worst case scenario for him to have both Peterson (J. August Richards) and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell). Seriously, he now has Deathlok and an Inhuman. It’s ridiculous! How did no one see this coming? Coulson and Ward were too busying planning against each other that they had no idea Bakshi was prepared to usurp them both. I hope that the whole brainwashing aspect comes back next week. Maybe this was part of Ward’s plan all along? I don’t know. Right now we just have a team that made a very dumb and costly mistake.
Seeing as “The Frenemy of My Enemy” was so focused on everyone else in the show, I’m not surprised that the Inhumans took a back seat. Raina was mentioned but never appeared when Jiaying revealed to Gordon she may be the first precognitive Inhuman. That’s pretty neat. An Inhuman named Ethan, who briefly appeared in a forgettable scene last week, is brought up as having lost contact. The show wouldn’t have bothered to mention Ethan if he wasn’t important, though it’s not clear at all what role he plays. Right now he’s just a character that people know about. At the very least, Lincoln got some awesome scene’s with Deathlok that actually showcased his powers better. Looks like he can turn anything into a magnet through electrical charges. That can pack quite a punch in close quarters combat apparently!
That final battle in Cal’s office building was chaotically fun. It was great watching everyone go totally nuts with each other. I personally wish it happened much sooner to get more action in. What this did do though was finally put Coulson face-to-face with New S.H.I.E.L.D. again. Bobbi and Mac (Henry Simmons) show up once the smoke clears and find Coulson sitting very casually. Clearly the man wants to rescue Deathlok wherever he is, and Lincoln too if he wants to get on the Inhuman’s good side. Should lead to a pretty exciting episode next week!
“The Frenemy of my Enemy” finally brought all of the different forces together. Hydra came back for the first time in weeks, along with Ward and Agent 33. All of this felt natural based on current events. This did however lead to a reduced focus on the Inhumans, but at least Lincoln was given more to do. Coulson probably should have been smarter with how he used Bakshi. His betrayal was transparent from the start. Ward may still have this planned with Bakshi’s brainwashing though. Cal and Skye had some great scenes together, and Coulson surrendering to Bobbi and Mac can lead to some great material next week. Overall, a pretty solid outing.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.