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

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Frenemy of My Enemy,” was written by the team of Monica Owusu-Breen and Paul Zbyszewski and was directed by Karen Gaviola, whose many other credits include The Blacklist, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Criminal Minds. This episode sees Ward (Brett Dalton) back on the team, but more importantly sets some important elements in play leading up both to the season finale and Avengers: Age of Ultron – opening in the US on May 1.

First, a shout out to Kyle MacLachlan who has been consistently magnificent as the mercurial Cal Zabo/Johnson. Brett Dalton is also terrific in this episode as we see him peel back yet another layer on Ward. I also loved watching Simon Kassianides bring another dimension to Bakshi as “Stepford-Bakshi.” Why are the “crazy” characters always so much fun? There are also a couple of action sequences in the episode that are terrific, including th
at sparring scene between Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons).

The episode begins more or less where we left off with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) ditching his tail in San Francisco. I won’t lie, I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see how he got out of that bathroom using the electric hand dryer. Still, I loved his reunion with the team. I’m also really enjoying have J August Richards back as Mike rather than the automaton-like Deathlok. He’s still not the Mike we met in the Pilot, so a nice growth in the characterization there. It’s adorable when Fitz is oh, hi, and then immediately wants to check out Mike’s tech upgrades!

Coulson (Clark Gregg) can’t wait to dive into the toolbox, and it’s also adorable to see how pumped Fitz is to be out in the field. Clearly, having been successful in getting the toolbox to Coulson is just the confidence booster he needed. He tells Coulson he’s on board to help in any way he can. Coulson then breaks it to him that they’re on their way to enlist Ward’s help – Fitz is not happy.

We also learn early in the episode a very important bit of information about Hydra. Dr List (Henry Goodman) has kidnapped Ethan (Kris Lemche), who we say leaving Afterlife in the last episode, and has tortured him to death. He’s looking for evidence of a “quantum signature.” We learn later in the episode that this signature is tied to Gordon (Jamie Harris) and his teleporting. Goodman as List is in the credits on IMDB for Age of Ultron and surely teleporting – or the quantum entanglement that List is seeking – is related to Quicksilver in the movie. This has to be one of the tie-ins to the movie.

A number of the characters begin to realize that what they thought was the truth maybe isn’t. Bobbi begins to doubt the focus on catching Coulson as she realizes he’s not the enemy and the valuable resources they’re expending on him might be better used going after the real enemy – Hydra. Both Mack and May seem united in simply wanting all the secrets out in the open. Skye (Chloe Bennet) begins to realize that her father isn’t the monster she thought he was. And Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) comes to the realization that May is possibly not the ally she thought she was. I’m really hoping that May is just playing along and not considering switching sides, which would mostly destroy her character for me.

Simmons confesses to May that she masterminded getting the toolbox to Coulson only to have May tell Bobbi. Bobbi tells her, “I understand. You’re confused, who to trust, where to put you’re loyalties.” And Simmons looks pointedly at May as she agrees. When May asks her to hack into Mike’s systems so that they can get information, Simmons tells her that it’s not a problem: “An opportunity to exonerate Coulson and Fitz? No. It’s not a problem.” Simmons, at least, is still firmly on Coulson’s side – and it’s wonderful to see her and Fitz solidly back together as a team!

There are some great moments as Coulson closes in on Ward. Agent 33 (Maya Stojan) calls her mother: “Thanks for the picture. It really helped clear things up.” And of course she means her face! Coulson remarks on seeing her with her face restored, “You’re looking well.” I love that this show can give us this witty dialogue without losing its edge. For me, it just does it better than a show like The Flash.

Coulson uses 33 as bait to capture Ward. I loved Mike using his x-ray vision to frisk Ward. Coulson offers Ward a deal – help them in exchange for being able to walk away – but without his memory! Coulson will only make the deal if Ward agrees to go through the TAHITI protocol. At first, Ward resists, saying he likes who he is. But Ward and 33’s relationship hasn’t been lost on Coulson. He sees that Ward cares for her and takes it as a sign that there is still some goodness in Ward that Garrett and Ward’s family weren’t able to completely stamp out. Dalton is wonderful in this scene as we see him go from defiant and cocky to a brief moment of hopeful sadness at the thought of having all the bad memories erased. Of course, wouldn’t Coulson still need some of the Cree blood to perform the TAHITI protocol???

There’s a really nicely cut together sequence of scenes as we see Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) explaining to Skye that she has to send Cal away, and that “Sometimes as a leader, I must do things I’d rather not.” As an aside, this also makes me worry about Skye. Jiaying’s remark cuts directly to Coulson and Mike saying he doesn’t trust Ward and 33. Coulson confirms that he doesn’t either, but they need them to trust us. Meanwhile, Ward tells 33 that they have the upper hand and that Coulson is really helping them get to their endgame. This scene ends with the reveal of a cowering, simpering Bakshi in the trunk – who is happy to comply.

I loved the scene in the Quinjet with Ward, 33, and Bakshi on one side and Coulson, Fitz, and Hunter (Nick Blood) on the other while Mike was flying. Hunter is skeptical of trusting Bakshi – who he went to a lot of trouble to capture remember. Fitz is sitting there, leg jumping and his hand on his gun. Hunter silently puts his hand over Fitz’s to calm him – and keep him from drawing it. When Ward turns to Fitz and asks him how he is, however, that’s it for Fitz and he lunges for Ward. I loved that Hunter and Coulson were waiting for it and both grab him. Fitz is rightly sure that Ward will double cross them, but Coulson reveals that Bakshi isn’t going alone, he’s taking Mike as his bodyguard.

Of course, once Bakshi is with List, Ward’s plan starts to become obvious when Bakshi offers List Mike – with a compliance upgrade! – as an offer of good faith. This leads to the awesome Mexican standoff with Hunter and Coulson pulling their guns on Ward and Ward with his gun on Coulson, while 33 holds a knife to Fitz’s throat. Hunter once again checks to make sure Fitz is ok – I love how everybody ends up being drawn to Fitz! Because… Fitz! It’s an equally great moment when Ward tells them they’re just trying to gain List’s trust and to “Trust me” and Coulson replies, “I ought to shoot you just for saying that!”

The standoff ends when Fitz notices that Mike is powering up to kill everyone – good to see Mike’s self-preservation instincts are good. Ward says “On the count of 3 we all put our weapons down.” And Couslon says, “three.” Fitz tells Mike to play along, and the situation is diffused, but Coulson warns Ward that is he tries something like that again, he’ll “put your ass off this quinjet at 30,000 feet.” They overhear List talking about “quantum entanglement” and Fitz realizes they’re talking about the teleporter (Gordon), which leads Ward to conclude that they’re after Skye.

Skye, meanwhile, is getting to know her father. Having dinner with him finally gave her insight into him. Jiaying is skeptical that Skye would know Cal better than she does after just one dinner, but Skye tells her they have something in common – they’ve both spent the last 25 years trying to find and put their family back together. Skye can relate to the desperation Cal felt and the lengths to which he’d go. I love that she doesn’t want him hurt – either physically or emotionally. Skye tells Jiaying that simply abandoning Cal is “irresponsible and cruel.” It says something about Jiaying that she can lie so easily and convincingly to Cal, and care so little for what he does when she just abandons him. Skye insists that she’s still a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and therefore the innocent people of the world are her responsibility.

I loved the entire sequence of Cal and Skye getting to know each other as they walk through Milwaukee. Skye learns that Cas met Jiaying when he was in China with Doctors Without Borders – doing self-less work to help people. He tells her about the Charter school where she would have gone and all the things he’d hoped to do with her. Skye is there to let him down as gently as possible, however, and tells him it’s time to let go of the past and focus on the future. Cal also learns things about Skye, like the fact that she’s funny. Skye manages to pickpocket a phone and get a message to May, thinking she was getting a message to Coulson.

Skye and Cal end up back at his office, which she calls his stash-pad. She learns that he own the whole building and while he wasn’t rich, she would have been very well off. She also learns that Cal’s real last name – and hers – is Johnson. I loved the way she tries out the sound of her own name – “Daisy Johnson” – and smiles. It seems Skye really has come to terms with her heritage. I also loved that Cal felt he needed to change his name to something that sounded more sinister. Cal sets about gathering the things that mean the most to him, including his grandfather’s field kit from WWII, which reminded me of the Howling Commando tool kit. Cal tells Skye he used it to save Jiaying, but really, he tells her it was Jiaying’s power that saved her.

And then everyone converges on Cal’s office. Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) has been following Skye and Cal all along and shows himself when Cal realizes that he’s being dumped there and starts to lose his temper. Cal begins to take out his anger on Lincoln, only to be interrupted by the arrival of soldiers. He thinks it’s S.H.I.E.L.D., but Skye assures him it’s Hydra. I love that Cal immediately switches gears to protect Skye and tells Lincoln to get her out of there, potentially sacrificing himself for her. It’s unclear what Cal’s fate is at the end of the episode.

Skye gets away as Lincoln faces off with Mike, who Skye doesn’t realize is on her side – secrets aren’t always helpful. I loved the interplay between Lincoln and Mike as Mike tries to tell him that he’s a friend of Skye’s. To which Lincoln replies, “And I’m the Hulk” – I see what you did there! Mike and Lincoln are taken by Bakshi – which is not going to bode well for either of them given Ethan’s fate earlier in the episode.

Simmons finally manages to break into Mike’s feed. Unfortunately, the thing that comes up on the screen is Ward and Coulson, side by side, obviously working together. Both May and Simmons look devastated.

Perhaps the best moment in the episode comes when Skye sees Coulson. Ward is behind him and hands him a gun so it’s obvious that they are working together. Skye stops as she takes this in, but then immediately goes towards Coulson – demonstrating her absolute and complete faith in him. Gordon picks that moment to teleport in and whisk her away.

       Gregg is fantastic as we see Coulson’s utter devastation at almost having Skye back. Meanwhile, Hunter has been shot, so it’s time to regroup.

The final scene is definitely a surprise. Bobbi and Mack finally arrive with S.H.I.E.L.D., clearly late to the party. The find Coulson sitting in Cal’s office, waiting for them. Rather than putting up a fight, he hilariously tells them, “Take me to your leader!”

I can’t wait to see Coulson reunited with May and Simmons, not to mention his face off with Gonzales (Edward James Olmos). I wonder if Skye will be able to mobilize the other gifteds to go after Lincoln and Mike. Who is keeping Ward in check with Coulson back at base? We’re promised to see lots more that will tie in to Age of Ultron! What did you think of the episode? Are you worried about Jiaying? Do you think May and Simmons will side with Coulson or go to the other side? Do you think Bobbi is ready to switch sides? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! If you’ve seen Age of Ultron in Europe, please don’t spoil those of us in NA!!!

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.