Photo: Kelsey McNeal / ABC

How I Met My Father

Skye gets a father, revenge, and another name. And then she gets ruthlessly shuffled around according to the whims of the plot, which is where things get sketchy.

Well, it looks like somebody flipped the Agents of SHIELD Plot Development Switch back to "on." The really major developments took place in the main plots: Skye actually met her father, and the alien obelisk finally got to start doing whatever it is that alien obelisks do. And that's all great! All right-thinking people are keenly in favor of things actually happening. But when they all have to happen in the same episode...well, it requires some logical leaps.

Let's look at Skye's family drama first. After the show made a big deal out of teasing vague information about Skye's father, nothing much happened for the entire first season. Then Former Agent Ward spent most of the second season to date trying to bring up the topic, only to be shut down by Skye. Clearly, Ward's only option was to kill his brother and parents, then kidnap Skye out of a flying invisible plane, and lock her in a room with her father. And that plan actually went pretty well, although the only reason Ward gave for doing all this is that he wanted to keep his promise to Skye. And that would be kind of sweet, in a twisted stalker-y way, if we had any idea why he made that promise to begin with. It's strange, because Ward has been around since the beginning of the series, but his actions are completely mysterious.

Meanwhile, Skye's father (you can call him "Cal") is still dangerous and probably evil, but his actions and goals all make perfect sense: he worked with Whitehall to get at the obelisk and to find Skye. And he achieved both of those goals! And when Coulson shot Whitehall, that deprived Cal of his revenge so he got mad. Fine. All very straightforward, and he even got away so he could hatch further schemes. Ward also got away, and he inherited Agent 33 as his new minion, but he's out of goals at this point. If he's just a regular, run-of-the-mill Hydra agent, he's not very interesting. He didn't even seem angry at Skye for shooting at him. He looked a little surprised, but I think even he would agree he had it coming.

But aside from some quibbling over Ward's motivations, this is all plenty of story for one episode. Skye got to meet her father, learn what happened to her mother, and even explicitly refuse to do what her father wanted. "No," she said. "I will absolutely not take the obelisk into the alien city and change into something new. I reject my destiny." I'm paraphrasing, but she was pretty clear. Then her father called her "Daisy," a bunch of nerds started combing through their old copies of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and that was that.

Except that there was another story beat to get to, and this is where things just don't hold together. Because the whole time this was going on, Trip, Fitz, and Simmons were setting bombs in the alien city on the theory that it had to be destroyed to keep Hydra from taking the obelisk down there and doing vaguely defined bad things. Things started out fine, as the absence of Mack forced Fitz and Simmons to communicate directly with each other. But then Raina snuck off, grabbed the obelisk, and went down the tunnel into the alien city.

Naturally, Skye, who had vowed never to go into the alien city one scene earlier, had to run directly after Raina. At this moment, Cal was probably walking out of the building, sulking that his daughter wouldn't go to the alien city like he wanted her to.

And then Coulson discovered that May had gone into the city, so he went after her. And then, Trip, Fitz, and Simmons came out of the tunnel and found out what had happened. So Trip had to go back in to defuse the bombs he'd just set. And in the course of ten minutes, things had gone from "we must destroy the alien city so no one goes there" to having a ludicrous chain of people all running after each other. I don't mind Raina's actions, even though her motivation was essentially "the heck with all of this, I wanna see what the red, candy-like button does." Everything else, though, was just people being moved around so they could get to their big mid-season finale moment with the CGI and the "Who's dead this time?" question. And the moment was cool, I guess. But it would have been cooler if the process of setting it up had been just a bit easier to swallow.

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