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I'm starting to think that if I view Skye as a young person in desperate need of proper guidance, I might have an easier time sympathizing with her as a character. And the information we learned about her tonight does actually suggest that she's more sympathetic than we initially thought. With that said, tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was an all-time low for the character.
Read no further if you haven't seen tonight's episode of SHIELD, "The Girl in the Flower Dress."
Last week's episode was a step up for S.H.I.E.L.D., as it had the group working together. Tonight's ep took a step down in what was perhaps a necessary move to directly address Skye's duplicity. Of course, that meant having to spend a lot of time focusing on the Rising Tide story I'm already tired of.
If not for Skye, I might spend a paragraph or so discussing the campiness of Raina, the titular "Girl in the Flower Dress," who was pulling the strings as tonight's big bad. Campiness can work sometimes, but her slow, calculated manner of speaking didn't do it for me. Raina walked away though, so there may be a chance for someone to knock her down a peg in the future. In fact, I'm counting on Coulson to take care of that. But let's talk about Skye, since her part of the story seems a lot more relevant than the ill-fated "Scorch."
The fact that Chan Ho Yin found himself lured into the clutches of Raina and her team of lab technicians looking to mine him for his fireproof blood platelets turned out to be kind-of Skye's doing, unless it wasn't her that passed along hacked information to her boyfriend/mentor Miles (played by One Tree Hill's Austin Nichols), who set the information free. And by "free" I mean, not actually free, but we'll get to that. See, Miles is the kind of guy who spouts off phrases like "It's information. It has a life of its own," and Skye's apparently the kind of girl that gets turned on by the sound of passionately expressed ideology. Rhetoric's hot and he's got lots of it. Of course, this all translates to a series of scenes ranging from awkward to borderline cheesy, especially when these two go at it. Because, why not? Never mind that an agency that specializes in espionage and has a seemingly limitless supply of resources is hot on Miles' heels. They miss each other. Am I being too critical? Maybe. The moment felt ill-timed, though Melinda May did redeem it a bit by showing up when she did.
Skye got busted and it turns out Miles is willing to sell the precious information if the price is high enough. That revelation caused Skye to realize Miles isn't nearly the man of principles she thought he was. At that point, Coulson realized he made a mistake to trust Skye as much as he did. Fool him twice? Not likely. He urged Skye to give up her secret and she revealed that her real reason for joining S.H.I.E.L.D. is to get information on her parents, but so far the only thing she's discovered is a redacted report. So Coulson offered to help her and in exchange, he gave her a shiny bracelet that'll essentially keep her on a leash going forward. Something tells me that bracelet will come in handy if/when Skye ends up in danger, but that's the least of my concerns right now.
There's a bit of redemption in the reveal that Skye's top motivation is to find out who her parents were. That makes this personal and not entirely about trying to release information to the masses willy-nilly. If the events in tonight's episode should have taught her anything, it's that information can put people in danger. Information cost Chan Ho Yin his life. She had a part in that. Ok, so did Yin, as he was pretty eager to adopt his fancy new name and go villain with his fire abilities, and if all it took was a name to do that, it was probably just a matter of time. Still, let's hope Skye learned a lesson from this situation. Information is power. And with great power… you know the drill.
So Rising Tide returned tonight, and it wasn't pretty. But I'm hopeful that "The Girl in the Flower Dress" puts that plot on ice for a little while and this Tide is finally ready to recede. MIles is out of the picture, having been exiled to Asia. And Skye fessed up a little bit, which I hope is an indication that she's rethinking her plans to expose S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside. If she was being honest with Coulson, her true motivation was getting information on her parents, and he's willing to help her on that. This would be an ideal point for the show to move forward and try to redeem Skye so we can actually start to like her.