Synopsis of 2×08: Coulson, Skye, Trip, and Fitz go on the hunt to find the city. Ward catches up with his brother while Bobbi interrogates Bakshi. The mystery of how Dr. Reinhart became Dr. Whitehall is revealed.
I’ll admit, this was easily a four-star episode plot-wise, but I’m downgrading it to three out of personal spite. One, because they did nearly kill off Trip. Two, because it was the first time I’ve seen Dichen Lachman on TV in YEARS and she gets cut up and fridged. Three, because Bobbi slept with Hunter. Four, because THEY NEARLY KILLED OFF TRIP. WHAT THE HELL, YOU GUYS?!
At least Kyle MacLachan is amazing as usual and the show has confirmed that they’re not whitewashing Chloe Bennett, who is of Chinese-American and Caucasian descent.
Also, Peggy Carter is a badass, but that doesn’t need stating.
There are three major plot lines that play out over the course of the episode that converge at the end in a rather large “Oh dammit!” moment. The first of which is the interrogation of Bakshi and the team figuring out Whitehall’s past. Mmmm… Sweet, sweet resolution of dramatic irony. I love it so much.
Bobbi is put in charge of interrogating Bakshi, which is going about as well as you’d expect. Bobbi is trying to determine if he was brainwashed by Whitehall and why he would be so afraid of them. Bakshi isn’t giving her much, but he does have a detail that gives away the game: he says that Whitehall was a disciple of Red Skull. This throws them off because the use of past tense implies that Whitehall knew Red Skull, but Whitehall looks young and Red Skull died 70 some odd years ago, right before Steve Rogers crash landed in the ocean. Since the Playground is a former SSR base, the team decides to check out Peggy Carter’s files to find out more about what she dug up about HYDRA at the end of the war. They find several files about Rinehart and Simmons is shocked when she sees his picture, since it’s clearly Whitehall staring her in the face.
Through flashbacks, we learn that Rinehart was experimenting on Chinese workers in Austria with the Obelisk. Most of them were killed when they touched it, but he then encounters a young woman (played by Dichen Lachman). When her face is placed on the Obelisk, it doesn’t kill her, but instead lights up the way Raina managed to make it light up a few episodes ago. Rinehart is determined to experiment on her to see what makes her so special, but right then he receives the news that Red Skull is dead and that the US is coming for the rest of HYDRA. Rinehart decides to lock her up and get back to her later. Of course, later doesn’t come because it isn’t too much longer until the SSR is knocking down their doors.
Rinehart is taken to a prison called “The Rat,” where Peggy begins to question him. Rinehart wants a deal, but Peggy refuses to give it to him. The line about strapping him to a rocket built by Nazi scientists warmed the cockles of my history of space travel loving heart. After some time, she decides to just let him rot in prison for the rest of his life. It manages to stay that way for 44 years, where Rinehart grows old. Eventually, two SHIELD agents come to take Rinehart to what I presume is a home due to “budget cuts” from Alexander Pierce, but a quick “Hail HYDRA” proves otherwise. DAMMIT PIERCE.
Rinehart is taken back to his original base, where the new HYDRA followers come to him with several Chinese workers they’ve recovered. Among them is the woman Rinehart locked up 44 years prior, but looking the same as she did then. Rinehart decides that he now has his chance to cut her open and figure her out and it’s gross and I don’t want to talk about it anymore besides the fact he’s now young because of it.
When the team finds this out, Hunter gives the file to Bobbi to give her the leg up she needs on the interrogation. Bobbi drops that Bakshi gave away everything and that they want to know what the hell is going on, Bakshi slams his head on the table, revealing a cyanide pill in his cheek. He manages to be put in the medical unit before he dies, which then causes Hunter and Bobbi to have a huge fight about how she went too far and how he can’t trust her. Uh… what did Hunter expect when he gave her the file? Either way, they end up having divorcee hate sex and I am so mad about it. CAN’T HE JUST GO AWAY ALREADY? STOP TRYING TO MAKE LANCE HUNTER HAPPEN, SHOW. HE ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. Worst Hawkeye stand-in ever.
Meanwhile, Coulson has Skye and Trip on some wild goose chase in Hawaii while he gives Fitz a chance to figure out how to put a transponder together in seven minutes with one hand. Fitz worries that it’s busy work from Coulson, but Skye and Trip assure him that Coulson still has faith in him. The team then flies off to Laura Creek in Australia, where Coulson reveals that the weird button and watch he had Skye and Trip deliver were pieces that would cause an EMP at Kaena Point in Hawaii and would knock out the Air Force’s satellite feed. The backup in Australia would go online and Fitz would have seven minutes to get the transponder online to map the world and find the city. Seems easy, right?
Yeah, there’s a HYDRA ambush, because of course there is, and Trip gets shot and nearly dies because OF COURSE HE DOES. I know it’s a show in the Whedon family line and no one is really safe, but I’ve been worried about Trip since some British rando and Marvel Sociopath Fangirls Love #2 have main cast status and BJ Britt has been a guest star along with Henry Simmons each week. The only thing that comforts me about the fact the show might not kill him off is that Britt was potentially spotted on the set of Age of Ultron.
Anyway, who else is there to save Trip’s life but Skye’s father aka Mr. Mayor aka Agent Dale Cooper aka ARE YOU MAXIMUS THE MAD JUST TELL US ALREADY? Up until that point, he’s spent most of the episode low-key telling Whitehall that he’s a dumbass, but now he’s up in Coulson’s face talking about the Diviner, the city, and that Skye has some ultimate destiny with it. Oh, and that the Temple inside the city is going to destroy anyone that doesn’t belong in there. He escapes with that warning and a scream about how Skye’s “real” name isn’t Skye, but hey, at least Trip’s not dead.
Before the team can tell Skye what happened, the satellite finds the city. Oh snap. It’s go time now!
In the third plot, we see the Ward Brothers having a pissing contest of who can be the worst when Grant drags Christian out to the woods to get him to confess to what happened at the well. Christian admits to his own terribleness, but Grant plays the trump card by killing him, his parents, and setting the family home on fire. Oh, and then dragging his ass back to HYDRA. Ugh.
If there’s one upside to this mess, we at least learn that Skye’s dad isn’t fond of HYDRA either. Because that woman that Whitehall butchered was totally Skye’s mom and Mr. Mayor has sworn his revenge. God bless Kyle MacLachlan for saving this…