Any episode that gives the phenomenal Diechen Lachman (a Dollhouse alum) some employment is going to be in my good graces from the start, but this was another entirely engaging episode. Thankfully, we were given enough food for thought to chew for the two weeks before 2×09 airs. Enough that we should get right down to it! Spoilers, as always, start right now!
GAHHHH THEY HAD SIERRA PLAYING SKYE’S MOM AND WHEN THEY REVEALED ENOUGH INFORMATION TO CONFIRM WHO SHE WAS I PAUSED THE VIDEO SO THAT I COULD DO A HAPPY DANCE BECAUSE THAT CASTING JUST MADE ME REALLY EXCITED OKAY?!
But before we get to that…the mission of the week entails the search for the city unveiled last week by the final piece in the GH325 puzzle, which Skye’s father has also been searching for. Skye spends most of the episode doing the hacker thing while Trip acts as the mission’s specialist, but the truly exciting team member is Fitz, who not only succeeds on his first mission back in the field, but shows emotional engagement with something other than his own struggles. While on site, the three encounter Skye’s father who gives them tidbits of information about the city he’s searching for and, once again, expresses that his only wish is to be reunited with his daughter.
Back at the base, Mack, May, and Simmons piece together the history of Daniel Whitehall while digging through old SSR files. As they research, we see the history of Whitehall through flashbacks, including circa-1945 interviews with Peggy Carter. Through these, we learn that Whitehall is, in fact, human, and lived to be an old man imprisoned until 1989. In that year (cough also the year of Skye’s birth and the disappearance of her parents COUGH), Mr. Hydra #2 helped him escape from prison and brought him an alien woman he had captured in the 1940’s who had not aged a day. He then orders a team of medics to drain the woman’s blood and remove all of her vital organs, and then cures his own body of its age so that he might become young and immortal himself. The scumbag. How dare you, sir. How DARE you. But hey, they never actually incinerated Skye’s mother’s body, so she could still be revived!
Oh my God I cannot overstate how LITTLE I care about the Ward family storyline. Anyway, Ward catches up to his brother, Christian, near their old family home and kidnaps him, leading him to the spot where the old well (previously seen in 1×08) has been buried. Ward forces Christian to dig until the well is uncovered, all the while arguing as to who was really to blame for their youngest brother’s suffering. When faced with the threat of being drowned, Christian finally admits to forcing Ward to hurt their youngest brother, Thomas. However, he also confesses that his feelings of hatred were a result of being abused and tortured by their mother, who adored Thomas. Ward then smiles, happy with the confession, and after the two embrace LEADS HIS BROTHER TO THE FAMILY HOME WHERE HE BURNS CHRISTIAN AND THEIR PARENTS ALIVE.(seriously, I rolled my eyes no fewer than three times while writing this paragraph) Redemption arc? HOW does this qualify as one of those nifty things Joss gave Spike and Faith?
Also, early on in their investigations Simmons fangirls over holding a piece of paper once touched by Peggy Carter and it’s ridiculously adorable. Meanwhile Bobbi interrogates Mr. Hydra #2 (aka Bakshi, but I prefer my original name for him), and more importantly, falls into bed with Hunter not long after. And the shippers sing hallelujah because we FINALLY get some sexual tension relieved on this show!
Final verdict: Another great episode. Not quite up to the caliber of previous episodes (since emotional arcs once again took a backseat to plot advancement), but a step up from last week. I was finally emotionally engaged with one of the over-arching plots, and the episode also did an excellent job of balancing action-driven plot with the emotional subplots (including the progression of Huntingbird). For the most part, May, Skye, and Simmons have taken the backseat both this week and last, but I have faith that it’s because the show is setting up some major development for Skye and Simmons, at least, in the next couple of episodes. Final grade: B+/A-