Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: A Hen in the Wolf House RecapOctober 23, 2014
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is sweeping us further and further into the chaotic mess left in the wake of Hydra’s resurgence and ‘A Hen in the Wolf House’ is the platform for where the questions start getting answered.
There is much to wade through in this episode that starts with a batched Hydra attempt to replicate the power of The Obelisk. After a particularly cheesy and humiliating best man speech at a high profile military wedding, you almost hope that someone will get the best man to shut up – and he does after drinking champagne laced with a discount version of the Obelisk poison. Sunil Bakshi is dismayed to hear the replicated Obelisk power did not have a 100% success kill rate.
The episode takes us next to our remaining field agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hastily walking down a hall and discussing the murdered military personnel. They bust into Coulson’s office and bounce their thoughts on why and what happened. Skye’s attention zeroes in on what Coulson was carving into his desk just before they entered – the glyphs. What ensues is a Skye vs. Coulson power struggle – Skye critical of Coulson for not disclosing information. It’s very reminiscent of a father vs. teenage daughter fight. Before exiting the room, Agent May tells Coulson in a foreshadowing line that keeping Skye in the dark won’t end well.
Our favorite Girl in the Flower Dress, Raina, is running scared over Dr. Whitehall’s threat made to her at the end of last episode. She goes to her current partner in crime – Skye’s father. In this scene, he begins to unravel as a psychotic ill-tempered man. For a second, when he is choking Raina against a wall for failing to bring Skye to him, you almost feel that he’s going to Hulk out. Raina’s Ruth Negga brings a powerful performance in this scene countering the crazed doctor’s disappointment of her not bringing Skye to him by saying, “I’m the only one who can and I can’t breathe.”
In the next wave of events, Dr. Whitehall brings up the failure of The Obelisk replication to a team of Hydra scientists, and as Jemma Simmons sits at the end of the table fidgeting, he calls on her. Simmons says that it probably didn’t work because alien metals react on a cellular level, and just having a tissue sample of what it does to its victims is not enough.
In what might be the last time we see Imaginary Jemma, the episode sneaks away to the other side of Fitzsimmons, where Fitz narrates Skye stealing the religious painting with the glyphs on it from his (he says ‘their’) lab. Imaginary Jemma tells him he doesn’t need her anymore, but Fitz says he misses her. Cue big fat tears.
Skye, still frustrated with Coulson keeping her in the dark is encouraged by Lance Hunter to pick the brain of her contact – slightly crazed locked up Ward in the basement. Ward, continuing his honesty streak and trying to earn his Boy Scout badges informs Skye about her father. She becomes agitated when he says he knows this information because of Raina.
Ward also talked about his superior officer Garrett and his glyph-carving obsession that prompts Skye to confront Coulson once again. Coulson comes clean to her and just as he drops a major plot bomb suggesting Skye didn’t react to the GH drug the same way Garrett and he did because Skye may have some alien DNA in her. May cuts short their breakthrough conversation with an important call from Raina who wants to meet Coulson in a last attempt to save her own life from Dr. Whitehall.
Raina is unsuccessful in bargaining to trade Skye for Jemma’s safety – Raina had sneaked a picture of Jemma sending a message to S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson rejects the counter and as the counter ticks down to zero – Jemma is exposed to Hydra as a rat and is now definitely a hen in the wolf house. Skye slips out of May’s watch to try and find her father, not understanding why Coulson would compromise Jemma’s cover.
Coulson isn’t worried about Jemma’s safety because she’s not the only undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Bobbi Morse, our Mockingbird, who we have only seen so far in this episode scaring the living hell out of Jemma, comes to her rescue. As the picture exposing Jemma’s cover is planted on every Hydra computer screen, she makes a break for it, running from Bakshi and his henchman. She rounds a corner and comes into contact with the stone cold eyed Bobbi Morse who perhaps makes one of the badass moments of the season (which is difficult to say because this season has thus far been chock full of them). Donning the iconic battle staves Mockingbird is known for in the comics, Adrianne Palicki brings the true Bobbi Morse alive. She fends off Bakshi and the Hydra cronies and gets Simmons safely up to the rooftop where they jump off the roof onto a cloaked Quinjet maneuvered by Agent Triplett. Simmons is returning back to base and we are in for a very skimp yet heart-wrenching Fitzsimmons reunion at the end.
Skye on the other hand, comes up empty in her search for her father, but finds a somewhat endearing picture of him cradling what probably is a baby Skye. Coulson catches up with her for another daddy-daughter type moment in which he proves that being her father is more than just being related. Skye’s father, who is creepily watching this all through a hidden camera in the clock, goes off on a mini-psychotic episode again. We will see him fly off the handle sometime in this season, and it definitely won’t be pretty when it happens.
Back at the Playground, Coulson and Skye continue their earlier talk about the glyphs. After explaining how the glyphs practically write themselves, Skye says she may have a development on their meaning. The glyphs may be a map.
Skye’s crazed doctor father ends out the episode making an offer to Dr. Whitehall and Hydra. He brings him The Obelisk and says its actual name is The Diviner in its native language (his native language perhaps?). And it also looks like Dr. Whitehall and Skye’s father are linking up to take down their common enemy – Coulson.
Next week in ‘A Fractured House’, it looks like Ward is finally getting out of his cage… and lo and behold, the AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON TRAILER IS PREMIERING. But in case you don’t want to wait you can watch it online right here.
This recap was written for publication on The GCE by Laura Cerrone.