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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Face My Enemy - Review




Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Face My Enemy” was written by Drew Z Greenberg and directed by Kevin Tancharoen. The episode continues this season’s playful approach to titles. Tancharoen is showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen’s brother, and his other credits include Fame (2009), Dancelife, and Mortal Kombat: Legacy. He first came to prominence as a choreographer, which really makes him the perfect choice to choreograph the absolutely fantastic fight scene at the heart of this episode. May (Ming-Na Wen) vs May is perhaps one of the most epic fight scenes ever on television!


At first glance the title refers to the very clever HYDRA technology that allows Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) to disguise himself as Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) and Agent Q (Maya Stojan) – formerly Agent 33 – to disguise herself as May. They literally "face" their enemy. The special effects in this episode were great – I loved them using what looks like clear, flattened bubble wrap to disguise themselves – and to not only change their facial appearance but to also disguise their voices. I also really liked the camera that produced a 3-D eyeball to let Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May break into the vault.

The title also refers to Coulson facing both the fake Talbot and the fake May. It’s clear that he’s tipped off that May is not herself when she squeezes his hand in reassurance. I loved the sequence when he asks her if she wants to go for coffee after and then punches her in the face when she says yes: “May hates coffee.” Gregg is in fine form in this episode as he delivers hilarious line after hilarious line – “I like that dress” – deadpan in the elevator, telling Mack (Henry Simmons) he’s still not getting to work on Lola, and more. I also liked that on first watch, you don’t realize that it’s not really Talbot, but watching it a second time, you realize that he doesn’t actually understand who Coulson is or what he’s talking about. Pasdar is excellent in this episode as he has to play Bakshi pretending to be him.

The title also refers to Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) facing his own enemy – himself. When the team start bonding over bad relationship stories, Fitz retreats to the garage – which was his and Simmons’ (Elizabeth Henstridge) lab. He says he wants to be alone to “Simmons” but he really just wants to avoid having to talk. He still doesn’t feel like he’s part of the team.

        After Agent Q plants the device on the bus, however, it’s Fitz that saves the day – aided by Hunter (Nick Blood). Hunter then insists that Fitz join them for a celebratory beer. Fitz tries to beg off but Hunter makes it clear that he considers Fitz a valuable member of the team. Fitz immediately launches into his own bad relationship story, and we learn that as far as Fitz is concerned, Simmons left because she didn’t have the same feelings for him as he had for her. However, this may still just be what Fitz believes.

        The May versus May fight is, of course, another pretty obvious riff on the title. May literally faces herself as her enemy - though it's really just her enemy wearing her face...

And finally, the title also refers to Coulson facing his own enemy – and like Fitz, it’s himself. Coulson tries repeatedly to get May to discuss their “contingency plan.” Coulson’s symptoms are getting worse, and he’s worried he’s going to lose control and turn into Garrett. May insists that she’s got his back – but that she won’t kill him, she’ll take care of him. She’s chosen a cabin in the Australian outback. Another great Coulson line – “because I like kangaroos?” This isn’t good enough for Coulson, however, and he insists that May agree to kill him if it comes to it.

Wen and Coulson really shine in this episode. I loved the dance sequence – though I do wish they had given us full shots of the two and not cut to what appear to be obvious stunt-feet. May’s fight training no doubt makes her a natural dancer – and of course Gregg is married to Jennifer Grey – nice nod, right? However, the bond between the two characters is nicely played out throughout the entire episode. Coulson is nostalgic about their first mission together, and May insists, “Nostalgia is fine, but I’d rather deal with reality.” By the end of the episode, Coulson turns her words back on her: “Nostalgia’s fine but then life happens. It’s time to deal with reality. Hard choices are coming.”

One of the great things about this show is its ability to integrate humor into the story. Gregg’s deadpan delivery is one way. But I also loved the team’s reaction to May laughing and talking while under cover. Fitz can give Coulson a run for his money in the dry delivery department as he reacts to May’s laughter with “That’s very alarming.”

Everyone is after the painting because the back of it is covered with the alien writing. We learn that the painting is 500 years old, but the writing is new, which means there is someone else out there right now carving. I’m betting that that person is actually Skye’s father. The final scene of this week’s episode is Raina (Ruth Negga) receiving an ultimatum from Whitehall (Reed Diamond). She has 48 hours to deliver the obelisk to him. Will she try to make a deal with Coulson for protection?

What did you think of the episode? Do you think that Coulson is in danger of truly losing it? If not, why not? Could Skye’s father hold the key to helping Coulson learn how to control himself? It certainly doesn’t appear that Skye is having any problems because of the alien blood. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.

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