Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Episode 5 — Skye’s Dirty Little Secret, Revealed!
We learned a few valuable lessons during tonight’s installment of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Girl in the Flower Dress." First and foremost, we (as well as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) learned that Skye, as we’ve long suspected, is hiding something major. Something sexy. Something that put a man’s life in serious jeopardy, but I guess we’re going to let that one slide for now because she's still a member of the damn team.
But perhaps more importantly, we learned that when you get in trouble with S.H.I.E.L.D. — or more accurately, with Agent Phil Coulson — you get the same punishment my teenage cousins do when they sneak video games or do crappy on their homework. That’s right, you get your Internet privileges revoked.
Tell your hacker boyfriend that a S.H.I.E.L.D. team is on to him? No Twitter for you. Sell government information to an internationally evil organization for a million greenbacks? You’re going to have to read “25 Reasons Why Being 32 is Awesome” later, because your Buzzfeed access is DENIED.
OK, so I’m sure Coulson’s technology-prohibiting bracelet thingy does a little bit more than that, but I was surprised to see Skye get off so easy when she jeopardized a freaking top-secret, life-or-death mission, for God’s sake. Which brings us to…
The third main lesson we learned tonight was that, unless your name is Bruce Banner, if you have a supernatural ability and you give yourself a cheesy name for it, you’re probably an a**hole.
Our test subject for this valuable lesson was a man named Chan Ho Yin, who was approached by the aforementioned Girl in the Flower Dress at the beginning of the episode, when he was performing tricks illusions in the middle of Town Square, Hong Kong. Well, approached is one way to look at it. Seduced and very easily manipulated by power and sex appeal is another.
“I believe you’ve been chosen,” said GITFD, whose name, as we later learned, is Raina. This was all music to Chan’s ears, as he’d been hiding his power — the power to create fire — on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s orders. Raina promised a life of Captain America levels of fame, and apparently getting drugged and dragged to a mysterious laboratory by two guys in goofy looking flameproof suits wasn’t enough to clue him in to the fact that Raina might not have the purest intentions.
You see Chan, just like the guy we met in the pilot and — according to the Internet — the Millennial Generation, felt that the universe owed him something. He existed, and therefore deserved. Adding a random superpower to that tricky mix of ego and world-weary disappointment certainly did not help, as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most hammered-in themes is that absolute power corrupts, absolutely. Well, maybe not absolute power in this case, but pretty much everyone who has been gifted with a superpower on this show has been promptly destroyed by their own ego. (Though the Extremis solution didn’t help.)
But I’m getting ahead of myself, here. Chan was the episode’s goofy, unfortunately ineffective villain, but the real story during this mission was Skye, who has quickly emerged as the show’s central character. “Every decision you have from here on out has consequences,” Ward said to his protégé over a meaning-infused game of Battleship at the beginning of the episode. “The kiddie gloves are off.” The fact that Ward was giving Skye some time off to play games to begin with was a huge sign of trust from the strictly-business agent, so that obviously meant that this crucial trust was about to be violated.
And oh, it was! The gang was quickly alerted to Chan’s kidnapping, since his was one of the names on “The Index,” a S.H.I.E.L.D. document that, well, indexes people with some supernatural ability. The Rising Tide had somehow gotten their hands on this document, which made things super awkward up on The Bus. Could Skye have something to do with this mess? Ward’s answer was a firm “no”, but Coulson, for once, wasn’t so sure.
(ASIDE: I must also mention the only real development in the “What the Hell Happened To Coulson After The Avengers?” case, which was Agent May realizing that Coulson had been waking up ridiculously early every morning. This lends itself to the theory that he might be part robot, but this story arc was largely tossed aside during this episode, so. Moving on.)
To prove her innocence to the team, Skye tracked the hack to Austin, Texas, and identified the hacker as a very pretty, very famous man named Miles. To negate that innocence, she warned him that they were coming, then slept with him. If S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s writers are trying to endear the audience to Skye, then this was a major move in the opposite direction — I don’t think anyone likes her enough at this point to excuse her sleeping with the enemy, especially since the show is “shipping” some sort of meaningful relationship with Agent Ward. However, her seriously slammin’ bod probably won over a fan or two.
The biggest payoff from the Skye-Miles sex scene — the background being that they had been in a relationship before she moved to L.A. — was Skye fumbling around for her top, then opening the bedroom door to find Melinda Freaking May waiting for her. “Get. Dressed,” the unamused May barked.
Skye and Miles were brought back to The Bus and interrogated, and it quickly became clear that the members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, minus May, were pretty hurt by Skye’s betrayal. “We’ve been through so much together; she didn’t even tell us that she has a guy!” the unfortunate Fitz cried. I’m so sorry for you, Fitz. I’m sorry that you’re the one guy who just isn’t working at this point, and will likely die by the end of the season if things don’t turn around.
Anyway, so Miles told the gang that he leaked the documents as a freedom of information, Julian Assange sort of thing, though Ward quickly found evidence that Miles had given up The Index for a hefty sum of one million dollars. (So much for the pure intentions behind The Fifth Estate.) This made Skye very, very sad, though Ward seemed to take the Skye/Miles break-up in stride.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong…
Miles did his part and led the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to Chan’s Hong Kong location, but not before Raina, who is apparently a Simpsons character and therefore cannot change her clothes despite being financially well off, let her doctor buddy torture him (I consider running on the treadmill to be the cruelest form of torture) and inject him with the Extremis stuff that killed Gunn from Angel in the pilot. She also built up his ego very easily, as Chan was not the brightest crayon in the box. He was given the unfortunate nickname “Scorch,” and instantly got super-annoying with it, shouting things like “you done got scorched.” Basically, this guy went from Gob from Arrested Development to Loki in all of five minutes, and needed to be put down, stat.
Coulson took responsibility for the Hong Kong mission since his guilt over trusting Skye was killing him, and brought May and a Hong Kong agent named Kwan along for the ride. (ASIDE: May saying, “when someone breaks into my house, I usually don’t invite them to stay” was pretty priceless. We’ve witnessed a frustrating lack of character development for her so far, but she has also been given the precious Whedon gift of one-liner, so that definitely means that the guys upstairs like her. A lot.)
The agents knew that it was only a matter of minutes before Chan would go boom, but they didn’t know how damn difficult he would be in the meantime. After Raina escaped and handed over the doctor for a very graphic scorchin’, Chan injected himself with some more of the Extremis crap and killed Kwan with a vicious fire-punch. Then he ran around in circles and did a whole “nothing can stop me, I am SCORCH” spiel — to the annoyance of everyone — and was stopped, because he blew up. Coulson and May had already escaped, of course, and Miles even managed to hack into the building’s server and contain the blast, so no harm no foul.
Except, not really. Chan wasn’t the most likable guy, but this event still weighed heavy on Coulson’s conscience. First, because he hadn’t gotten to Chan in time to properly mentally adjust him like he had with some of the others, but mostly because he had trusted Skye, and her betrayal in Austin had cost them serious time and resources. If she hadn’t slept with Miles, maybe they would have arrived in time to save Chan from himself.
But she did, and they didn’t. Coulson did get his jollies in the end, when he (very awesomely) took Miles’ Internet, gave his cash to the unfortunate Kwan family, and left his ass stranded in Hong Kong. Then he grilled Skye on her true intentions, which are… well, probably a lot less nefarious than we were all imagining.
“It’s everything I have,” she said, referring to the chip she had secured in her bra. “On me. It’s how I learned to crack systems; why I joined the Rising Tide. To find any details I could about my parents.” (Oh my God, Skye is an Orphan Black!) You see, Skye has never met her parents, and her adoption details are all highly classified, which clearly means that she’s Red Skull’s daughter or Spiderman’s sister, or something. Coulson seemed to sympathize with her very understandable plight, but he still slapped on the Anti-Internet bracelet, so. Consider this one a warning, Skye.
It looks like Raina is going to be important, as her visit to a grubby middle-aged man in prison served as our epilogue this week. Raina reported the latest news — that the mission with Chan had been successful, and that they had fixed the combustion problem — and said that it was time to move on to Stage Two. Since Stage One involved injecting people with stuff that makes them blow up, we can very safely assume that Stage Two is going to suck.
But wait, there’s more: “We would like you touch base with the clairvoyant,” Raina continued. “See if any insights can be given on Stage Three.” Woah woah woah. We’re just hearing about Stage Two, and you’re moving on to Three, already? Give us some time to process this stuff, Raina.
“I like your dress,” the man said, finally, as Raina got up to leave. “I know,” she purred, which was supposed to make her sound like the perfect combination of sexy and evil, but the pure unsexiness of that freaking dress, especially compared with other iconic modern villainess dresses like, say, Caprica Six’s slinky red number on Battlestar Galactica, made the whole exchange feel forced, and almost icky. I’m not quite sold on this Raina character, folks.
What did you think of the episode, viewers? Are you rooting for Skye, or is her dubious nature getting to you? Any ideas on who this clairvoyant might be? Let us know in the comments!