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Spoilers if you haven't seen tonight's episode of Agents of SHIELD ("Yes Men")! I remember walking out of the movie theater after seeing Thor: The Dark World thinking I wanted to know more about Lady Sif. The film seemed to hint at some undercurrent of tension between her and Thor, but it was never directly addressed. Tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't exactly fill in a whole lot of blanks there, but it did give Sif a bit more screen time and allow us to get a better understanding of who she is, thanks in part to the pre-fight dialogue between her and her fellow Asgardian Lorelei.
Beyond the characters dealing with the relief and aftermath of last week's efforts to save Skye's life, "Yes Men" seemed to serve two purposes. The first was to incorporate a great Marvelverse character into the S.H.I.E.L.D. mayhem in the form of a guest spot by Jaimie Alexander. Lady Sif's arrival happened not long after Lorelei dropped down on earth. The latter character has the ability to hypnotize men into wanting to serve her. Sif's objective was to collar the woman and bring her back to Asgard. And she did that, but not before Lorelei hypnotized a bunch of bikers and then got her hooks into Ward. Seriously, whose idea was it to send any men after a woman with the ability to win people's affection and loyalty with her voice? Come on. They pretty much handed her Ward.
Fitz too fell victim to Lorelei's charms in amusing fashion and ended up knocked out. Sif eventually faced off against Lorelei and followed orders in collaring her, rather than killing her. Given that Lorelei stole a man Sif once loved, Sif might've taken the opportunity for vengeance, but she's loyal and she follows orders. These are the things we learned about Sif tonight. And I still want to know her better.
And the other purpose of the episode seemed to be for the Asgardian seductress Lorelei to show up on Earth plotting world domination and in the process, drive a wedge between two characters. Or at the very least, expose a wedge. Because I don't think we can really blame Lorelei for the tension between Ward and Melinda. These two hadn't exactly DTR'ed, so it's hard to know where they were mentally and emotionally in terms of their relationship, but if I would have guessed one might get more attached than the other, I would've pegged Ward as being the one to develop feelings. But after Ward got hypnotized by Lorelei, the truth came out -- assuming Lorelei was being truthful with what she said, and I can't imagine why she wouldn't. Lorelei referred to May as the beautiful warrior with the heart of ice -- a cold description she presumably got from Ward -- and then she revealed to May that she wasn't the woman Ward desired. So who is, then? Is it Skye or Simmons? Subtle signs point toward the former, but I'd prefer the latter if I was going to start shipping these characters.
Considering Ward got pretty physical with Lorelei, and when he was facing off with May, he pulled the trigger just before Lorelei was collared -- fortunately the guns wasn't loaded -- not to mention the incredibly thick tension between Ward and May at the end of the episode, I'm going to guess that it's over between them. If May believes Ward doesn't really "desire" her, I can't imagine she'll resume the physical relationship.
The other arc was a more subtle one throughout the episode, which led up to the big tease at the end. Coulson's naturally rattled about the blue alien he saw, knowing it's the source of the drug used to save his own life and Skye's. He spent the episode with that on his mind. At one point he casually questioned Sif about blue aliens, and at another point he ordered Simmons to stop trying to get him to pursue knowledge about the drug. And he's having no luck getting in touch with Nick Fury. Finally, he settled on telling Skye the truth. And she didn't take it nearly as seriously as he did. Skye's take on the situation was basically, "Well, I'm alive. And let's add this to the stuff we already don't know about me." Coulson vowed to break protocol and seek information. He was all revved up about it.
And then we learned that May bugged Skye's room and was listening in. The moment she heard what Coulson said, she called some secure line and told whoever picked up that Coulson knows. So clearly May knows more than she's letting on. And is she some kind of spy planted there to monitor Coulson? Or is this just something she was tasked to do while she was part of the team? Either way, big cliffhanger!
Over all, "Yes Men" was a solid episode. I like when a standalone villain proves to be a catalyst to drama within the group. That's a bit more entertaining to me that the episodes that focus more directly on the lead characters in peril. Those are good and even necessary once in a while, but I always find the drama more interesting when it plays out through something else. Lorelei was an excuse for Sif to show up, but her interference on Earth wasn't wasted in terms of character story progression. Arrow seems to have figured out a good rhythm there and it's a format that worked well enough on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other series too. Hopefully SHIELD will take that approach more often.
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