Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Seeds (1×12)
Summary: After a student is attacked at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Sci-Ops Academy, the field team goes to investigate any potential bad seeds in the department. Meanwhile, Coulson and May find out more about Skye’s history.
This episode was all about potentiality while opening up a whole host of potential for the show. The kind with edge of your seat story lines and bad guys.
The team gets word that a student at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Sci-OPs Academy named Seth was attacked by being frozen in a pool. FitzSimmons have been asked to give the talk on potentiality of recruits while Ward and Skye have been tasked with investigating the case and looking for any bad seeds that might be trying to off the rest of the top students. It isn’t long until it appears that maybe one of the students that could have been the attacker is actually the target when a young recruit named Donnie Gill is frozen by the same device before FitzSimmons can begin their lecture.
Bigger Marvel fans than me are probably geeking at that name, but chill out, I’m getting to it.
While Skye is at the Academy lamenting about not working her way up the ranks (and casually saying the name “Bucky Barnes” like it isn’t going to be destroying the viewers at home), Coulson and May are on their way to Mexico City to investigate Richard Lumley, the agent who was partnered with Agent Linda Avery, the woman who dropped Skye off at the orphanage who was killed shortly after. Partially to distract Coulson after the Tahiti bombshell and partially because May thinks Skye has earned it after everything she did to save him in the previous episode. Or, y’know, you could have just done it from the start, May, but I guess this works too.
Coulson, as you can imagine, is a big existential mess. Wondering who he really is and what about him is real anymore. I feel like if I was in this situation, I’d be asking Nick Fury every day, “Hey, asshole, WHY DID YOU KEEP ME ALIVE INSTEAD OF LETTING ME DIE LIKE A NORMAL AGENT?” But, hey, I’m not Phil. And in a strange Flame Princess-esque decision, the ideal secret agent decides he’s not about the secret keeping life anymore and will refrain from doing so in the future. May decides to reveal that her and Ward have been having sex right then, but she’s conveniently cut off when Lumley emerges from getting his fake passport to get himself out of Mexico. The two chase him down, corner him, and reveal themselves to be from S.H.I.E.L.D. Lumley is relieved, and asks if it’s about the baby.
Yeah, I had an “Oh shit” moment too. Let it happen. It’s perfectly natural.
It turns out that Lumely and Avery were on a case together in China investigating an 0-8-4 after other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had been killed, including their commanding officer. Determined to protect the child and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Avery faked clearance level 8 and invented a protocol that would have the child shifted around every few months after being dropped off at St. Agnes Orphanage. Which is why there’s a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. file on Skye as her only background. Avery was killed shortly after that, like several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents before her. Which is why Lumley went off the grid. He doesn’t want to know anything about the baby, but warns May and Coulson that death follows her wherever she goes. Okay, that’s a frightening prospect. May tells Coulson not to tell Skye, but don’t expect that to last.
Back at the Academy, Ward and Skye begin asking around the Boiler Room (aka THE ULTIMATE SCIENCE BAR) about people who’d want to off Seth and Donnie while Fitz goes to hang out with Donnie in his time of need. Fitz sees that Donnie is a brilliant but lonely kid with lots of great ideas. Relating to the new recruit, Fitz helps him with an issue he’s been having trying to create a new type of battery.
This is right when Ward finds out from Callie Hannigan, one of the students who was at the pool the night it froze, that Donnie isn’t as lonely as he seems. In fact, him and Seth talk all the time and have been geeking out about Fitz coming for a while now. Uh oh.
Fitz is called by the team to warn him about Donnie, but Fitz isn’t really believing it until he puts two and two together about the battery. He runs back to Donnie’s room and sees him putting together a larger version of the ice machine. Before he can get out and report back to the team, he’s knocked out by Seth.
So yeah, if you haven’t figured it out by now, Seth and Donnie staged the attacks to catch Fitz’s attention and get his input on how to get the machine to work on a larger level. Why though?
Remember Ian Quinn from back in the third episode? Yep, he’s a backer on this project, but now he’s threatening to back out unless the two kids impress him. Say it with me, readers. WHAT AN ASSHOLE.
The team starts to work on figuring out how to get to Donnie and Seth before Quinn does, but not before Skye notices that Coulson hasn’t looked at her since they got back on the Bus. She asks him what’s wrong and instead of lying about it, he offers to tell her the truth about her background. Even though it’s a lot worse than what she imagined, she still powers through, tears in her eyes. Oh Skye. Baby no.
In an attempt to impress Quinn, Seth and Donnie inadvertently start a giant ice storm which makes it impossible to get to them except for lowering the Bus on them through the eye. Donnie tries to shut off the machine to keep the storm from getting worse, but it ends up shocking Seth and sending him into cardiac arrest. The team manages to lower onto them and they try to revive Seth, but it’s too late. He dies, and Donnie is to blame. Fitz tries to apologize as the young recruit is sent to the Sandbox to be observed, but Donnie refuses to hear it since he blames himself too. Damn. That’s rough.
Upstairs, Coulson and May talk it out about everything. Coulson reveals that yes, he heard the confession from May about her and Ward. In the theme of potentiality, she says that if it becomes a problem, she’ll end it. Not a lot of faith in Grant, huh? Coulson likewise reveals that he told Skye the truth about her 0-8-4 status. He then reveals that instead of breaking down, Skye took it as an opportunity to see how lucky she was to be watched over by S.H.I.E.L.D. her entire life and ended up restoring a bit of his faith in the organization. Which is great, but why didn’t we get to see Skye say this herself? This part of the episode was the moment that could have tipped it to a four star rating, but ended up leaving me a bit cold. The moment of Skye looking for Agent Avery’s name on the wall was beautiful, but I would have loved to have seen Chloe Bennett delivering these lines instead of Clark Gregg. It was HER moment of realization. Why does Coulson have to have the moment for her? Is his crisis so great it envelops hers? Ugh. Do better, Team Whedon.
In the final moments of the episode, we see that Donnie Gill has indeed developed cryokinetic powers, living up to his 616 counterpart known as Blizzard, starting on a path of potentiality with his powers. On the flip side, Coulson calls Quinn to warn him that S.H.I.E.L.D. is keeping an eye on him. Quinn counters saying that The Clairvoyant says hello. Yes indeed everyone. IT’S ALL CONNECTED. Because it looks like Quinn is the one funding the Centipede, not AIM like I previously thought. Oh, you sly handsome bastard.
I knocked this episode down a peg or two on my second watch because of Phil speaking for Skye, but it’s an intriguing episode that I feel is setting the series in the right direction for backend payoff. We have another origin for a villain (or hero!) and we know that there’s a mystery behind Skye as well. Powers? Cyborg? Alien sister to Gamorra or Nebula? Am I just speculating that last one because we’re getting the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer soon? Okay, yeah. I am.
Still, we’re halfway through the season. Let’s see where it takes us for the rest of the year!