20 February 2015

Yes Men

Episode: 15

Yay, Lady Sif!

What Happens
Lorelei, an escaped Asgardian sorceress, uses her power to control men in an attempt to build an empire. Skye is recovering and Simmons keeps taking blood samples, trying to find traces of the drug that miraculously save her. The young scientist is frustrated that Coulson won't let her report her findings. Freaked out by his discovery of the alien fluid that healed him and Skye, Coulson tries to track down Director Fury, including contacting Agent Sitwell. Fury is off grid so no one can contact him. Lady Sif of Asgard is sent by Odin to return Lorelei to Asgard's dungeons. The Shield team help her, but in the process of getting through the men Lorelei has ensorcelled the magic collar that stops her is broken. Then she ensorcels Ward, who goes rogue and takes her to Las Vegas. Fitz is able to fix the collar, and Sif warns May that Ward is no longer the man she knew. Ward pretends to run, but actually takes the plane. Sif is blown out through the airlock in the interrogation room, but Coulson points out that she's an Asgardian and therefore tough. When Simmons opens the airlock again Sif, who has been hanging onto the side of the plane, gets back in. She and Lorelei fight, while the sorceress taunts the warrior, but Sif prevails. Ward and May fight, after Lorelei has used Ward to taunt May. Sif takes Lorelei back to Asgard because those are her orders. Ward tries to apologise to May, but their arrangement is over. Coulson tells Skye about the alien drug that's in them and vows to find answers. It turns out May has bugged the plane and is listening to Coulson and Skye, she uses a secure line to report that Coulson knows the truth.
Coulson's Alive!
After his shocking alien discovery Coulson has shut himself away and taken leave days trying to track down Fury. He meets Agent Sitwell who says Fury is off-grid and can't be found. Coulson and Sif recognise each other as allies of Thor, she had heard of Coulson's death. Coulson has to ask her to keep his being alive secret, explaining that he'd like the news to come from him. Is this Coulson following protocol? Or does he just want to avoid awkward questions from Avengers? He asks Sif about blue aliens and whether any have been to Earth, he's not comforted by her assurance that none have. Coulson never encounters Lorelei, so he's never controlled by her, which is good as not sure I'd want to see that. Conversely he doesn't actively avoid encounters with her, which would seem sensible. He is able to play along with Fitz, pretending he's been ensorcelled to get Fitz to drop his guard. At the end Coulson tells May to talk things through with Ward, and she tells him to do the same with Skye. The old-friends-distanced-by-secrets-reluctant-support-group continues. Coulson tells Skye about the alien origin of the drug that saved them, she shocks him by not freaking out. The pair agree to find answers regardless of protocol, keeping it quiet from the team to protect them. This is similar to when Coulson told Skye about her mystery origin and the pair decided to seek answers, a similar moment but with raised tension. This is a big change for Coulson, though one that's been built up across the series, he references Sif's earlier words to him about the codes that bind people, he's decided he doesn't want to be bond anymore.

The Cavalry
May and Sif are both warriors, so it's cool that they chat and May gets to tests Sif's sword (not her first Asgardian weapon). Sif can sympathise with May's situation as a man she was close to once got ensorcelled by Lorelei, she advises that May may have to kill Ward as he will no longer feel any sentiment towards her. May denies any attachment to Ward or that he would be able to kill her (I believe the latter). Lorelei tries to taunt May using Ward, which irritates her more than anything else. May lets Ward think he's about to kill her, but she's a step ahead. After Ward is himself again May still punches him, I cheered. May asks Coulson about what's going on with him, she knows he's not good and is hiding something (again). At the end she tells Coulson that he needs to tell Skye what freaked him out about the drug. She sort of takes Coulson's advice and talks to Ward, but it's clear things are over between them. The after credit scene shows May spying on Coulson and reporting his actions to an unknown source, given their mutually caring relationship so far this betrayal is pretty big.

Meh, Ward
Knowing what Lorelei's power is I'm surprised that Ward, or any of the male agents, are allowed to go about unchaperoned. Ward is impressive compared to the local cops, bikers and new groom that Lorelei has ensorcelled so far. As a spy Ward has warrior skills and resources, he shows her Vegas and could actually help her achieve her world-domination plans, so she rewards him with sex. Ward tricks the team into thinking he's running as a way of taking the plane (which is not adequately protected by female agents). Ward tries to apologise to May after it's all over, she tells him he was never in danger of hurting her feelings, but as she's colder than usual that may not be true. She points out that if, as Lorelei said, Ward is attracted to someone else then he was more honest with Lorelei than he's been with himself.

Science Hermione
Simmons monitors Skye, not allowing her to get up while she's stil recovering. Simmons takes a lot of Skye's blood, trying to figure out what the GH 325 was, she's thinking of the huge medical benefits of reverse engineering it. She is frustrated by Coulson's furtiveness and his insistence that she not send her samples of limoted findings to anyone.

Monkey Boy
Fitz offers to help Sif fix the magic collar that stops Lorelei from speaking when she's captive. Although it's Asgardian metal (and, y'know magic) Fitz is able to fix it before he's ensorcelled. Coulson had to punch Fitz out while taking the plane back.

Hacker Girl
Frustrated by Simmon's monitoring Skye is determined to start training as soon as she can so that she's never caught unprepared in the field again. When Coulson tells Skye about the alien drug they both have inside of them she's not as freaked out as he expects (and certainly not as freaked out as him). She's spent her whole life with her past being a mystery, and when she found out more it all just got more mysterious, in this case she's just glad that someone else is in the same position as her. She agrees to Coulson's hunt for answers, but she would have included the team, she's used to looking for stuff, but also to sharing information.

Weirdness of the Week
As well as their fancy alien tech Asgardians do have magic, but apparently only some of them have abilities. Lorelei (like Loki and his mum) is one of these people. In her case she can control men using her voice or tough due to the "inherent weakness" of men (I'm gonna assume it's something to do with the Y-chromosome).
Villain of the Week
Lorelei's whole power is a bit gender essentialist/heteronormative for my liking if I am honest. Plus the magical femme fatale who wickedly controls all men is a bit of a hoary old trope. I don't know if the character is likely to reoccur in the MCU. I did think it was cool that an all-female team was sent to raid the hotel room. They should have used female agents a bit more on this mission, they left their males too exposed. Lorelei is given some characterisation, mostly reflecting upon her long captivity and trying to plead with Sif. When that won't work she goes back to taunting Sif, suggesting Thor sees her as a pet.

"Who is this ugly old woman?" Lorelei doesn't understand paper money and misidentifies Benjamin Franklin, though the biker's knowledge of his country's history isn't great if he thinks Franklin was ever president.

Sif refers to the holotable as antiquated technology other realms, which slightly shames Coulson as he couldn't use it last episode.

Coulson asks Sif to give them some cover during a firefight, so she casually kicks a big, metal caravan into the path of the bullets. "Very literal interpretation" Coulson comments.

ETA -TW for sexual abuse-
A friend has pointed out that I entirely failed to address that Lorelei effectively rapes Ward when they have sex in the hotel. I have to admit I didn't think of it that way, it's definitely not framed that way, but Ward is being controlled so it's doubtful he could consent. I tend to ignore sex scenes in TV cos a lot of the time they feel like set dressing to me (which is probably due to my own issues), so I didn't think about it. This was my error.

Lady Spoiler of Asgard (for this series, next series, Thor 2 and Cap 2)

Agent Sitwell! Hail Hydra!

Sif says Odin ordered her to bring Lorelei back alive, much though Sif would prefer to kill her. I am fascinated by what "Odin" is ordering people to do. Especially as Lorelei used one of Loki's secret pathways to get to Midgard.

Lorelei is a comic book character (which may explain why her abilities are hokey). The only thing I've read with her in is Loki: Agent of Asgard, where she's pretty different. That comic is good fun, and a sign that Marvel have realised that having a pretty version of Loki is a good idea.

Sitwell comments that when a high-level agent goes off-grid they're hard to find, then says Coulson did a similar thing a while ago. We're probably supposed to think it's a reference to Coulson's recovery (especially as Sitwell then asks about Tahiti), but I think it sounds like something earlier. My guess is that's when Coulson was running the Guest House, yet more hidden memories from that particular facility.

Sif's lists a load of blue aliens, including Cree. She claims none have gone to Earth, but that's only as far Asgard/Sif knows. Internet rumour and the comics suggest that the Cree are the 'blue angels' that Raina talks about that created her people. Meaning the drug won't adversely affect Skye, as it does others, because of her origin and what she will become.

Yeah, it totally looks like May has betrayed Coulson. In a way she has, but her's is probably the most benevolent kind of betrayal as she's looking out for her friend, which would be her instinct. Thge betrayal is that she's reporting to Fury behind his back and doesn't use her exclusive - if indirect- line to try and get hold of Fury when Coulson's looking for him.

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