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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E5 "A Hen in the Wolf House"

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Simmons's cover in HYDRA is at risk and Raina tries to retrieve the Obelisk after being threatened by Daniel Whitehall.


Tropes:

  • Ax-Crazy: Skye's father has some ... issues, to say the least; Hulk style issues.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Skye's father is operating on a crook with a bullet wound when Raina visits him. The patient doesn't survive the surgery. Nor do his two friends.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: By the end of the episode, Skye's father and Daniel Whitehall.
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  • Big-Bad Ensemble: HYDRA (led by Daniel Whitehall) and Skye's father, until they team up at the end of the episode due to their mutual enemy.
  • Chain of Deals: Raina takes a photo linking Simmons to S.H.I.E.L.D. She bargains with Coulson not to send it to HYDRA if he hands over Skye, whom she will deliver to Skye's father to bargain for the Obelisk, which she will give to Whitehall so her life is spared. Things don't go as planned.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: When her cover is blown, Simmons is rescued by ... the evil HYDRA's chief of security, claiming to work for Coulson?
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: In the comics, Bobbi Morse is "Mockingbird", but that name is not used in this episode.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Simmons delivered messages to SHIELD by dead drops, using a sheet that could transcribe her words and disguise itself as a fast food wrapper. She previously addressed Coulson's complaints about the lack of food in her fridge by noting all her dead drops involved fast food.
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    • Ward mentions the first mission in which the alien writing appeared, that being back in "Eye Spy".
    • In the 5th episode of Season 1 "Girl in the Flower Dress", Coulson warns Skye she may not like what she finds regarding her parents. "A Hen in the Wolf House" happens to be the 5th episode of Season 2; Skye finally learns about her father ... and she doesn't like what she learns.
    • After she's saved, Simmons expresses her relief she didn't end up brainwashed, referencing the "I will comply" line that's part of the process.
    • HYDRA reverse-engineered some of the Obelisk's/Diviner's effects using tissue samples from other victims, like the waitress from "Heavy is the Head".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Bobbi Morse takes on and easily defeats a number of armed HYDRA agents while extracting Simmons and then presumably does the same when she stays behind to buy Simmons time. Really, even calling it a "battle" might be putting it generously, since she comes out of both skirmishes no worse for the wear.
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  • Deadly Doctor: Skye's father kills the man he was operating on, as well as his heavily armed friend, with a scalpel.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Simmons, obviously, and Bobbi Morse who was Head of HYDRA Security while working for Coulson.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Coulson tells Skye that she's been "monitored".
    Coulson: We didn't tell you about this because we wanted to passively observe — see if the writing would trigger something in you.
    Skye: So, what — you guys put, like, tiny hidden cameras in my bunk?
    Coulson: Not in your bunk, but I think you're focusing on the wrong details here.
    Skye: ... I didn't react the same way.
    ...
    Skye: Hold on, are you saying I'm an alien?!
    Coulson: ... It's a theory.
  • From Bad to Worse: Playing with a Trope
    • The new HYDRA is already incredibly dangerous, given their ability to simulate the effects of the Obelisk without even possessing it. By the end of the episode they do get the real deal, in addition to the knowledge of how to properly use it with the help of a powerful new ally.
    • Fortunately, Coulson's team also gets a powerful new ally, as well as the return of their resident biochemist and additional HYDRA research. Also, that HYDRA base has to pick up and move because the location has been compromised and this would certainly slow them down.
  • Gainaxing: Simmons while fleeing the HYDRA agents.
  • Hidden Purpose Test: Skye finds out the reason Coulson had her analyzing the alien script wasn't primarily to try and decode it, but to see if she began acting the same way Coulson did after he'd seen Garrett's drawings.
  • I Am a Monster: How Skye's father views himself. He wants nothing more but for her to not see him this way, but unfortunately, that's how she comes to view him after finding his handiwork.
  • Kick the Dog: Simmons' boss in HYDRA had been previously shown to be rather reasonable and was looking out for her. In this episode, that changes. His response to the idea of mass death and destruction is "Pretty cool, huh?"; probably so we don't feel too bad when she frames him for treason.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Simmons has a huge girl-crush on Bobbi after seeing her kick ass during her rescue.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Hunter complains about Bobbi's hair, saying he preferred seeing her as a blonde. In the comics her hair color is typically (though not always) blonde.note 
    • In a rather obscure case, Bobbi Morse's first appearance depicted her with dark hair and a red jacket, just like she has here. The jacket also has a pointed collar and thick buttons, reminiscent of Bobbi's present-day outfit in the comics.
    • Also on the topic of Bobbi Morse, after she reveals herself as a SHIELD agent by beating up two HYDRA goons, the pose she strikes is very similar to the cover of the first issue of Hawkeye and Mockingbird.
    • Morse and Simmons immediately hitting it off might have something to do with the fact that their back-stories (as biologists who went through S.H.I.E.L.D. science academy before becoming field agents) are very similar; one early fan theory even had it that Simmons would eventually become the MCU version of Mockingbird.
    • Bet you never thought you'd see a Hellcow reference in this franchise, did you, true believers?
    • The location Coulson meets with Raina is La Comtesse Furieuse — which translates to The Furious Countess. In the comics, Nick Fury is often connected to the Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine — ergo, Fury and Contessa for Furious Countess.
  • Offhand Backhand: The sheer casual-ness with which Skye's dad kills the HYDRA goons in Whitehall's office is chilling. He acts as if he was involved in a coffee mishap after the bodies hit the floor, including wiping some of the mess off Whitehall's desk.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the extraction, Bobbi stays back to hold off HYDRA's forces by herself, with a smirk as she gets ready to kick ass. We don't see it, but she gets out fine, save for one last guy chasing her, which leads to one obvious answer as to what happened to the other agents.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The expression Simmons has when she realizes why everyone in the room is staring at her and she sees all the monitors have an image of her at the dead drop.
    • Skye has this expression when Ward tells her how Garrett went nuts and started drawing the alien pattern everywhere after being injected by the alien material and she suddenly realizes where Coulson acquired the samples he'd had her analyze.
    • Raina, after Coulson allows the photo of Simmons to leak to HYDRA. It's clear she didn't really want him to do that.
  • Parental Substitute: When Skye freaks out about the people her biological father has butchered, Coulson is the one who comforts her. Her father sees this through a hidden camera, which might be the reason why he meets up with Whitehall and offers to help kill Coulson.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Simmons has to plant her message pad in her HYDRA partner's desk to avoid being outed as a spy, even though they were friendly with each other. However, he was rather excited at the prospect of creating a weapon of mass destruction that could kill billions of people, which probably softened the blow.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Of the ex-wife variety. We finally meet the ex-wife Hunter won't shut up about. She's Bobbi Morse.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: When he's choking Raina, Skye's father sees himself in a mirror as she tries to talk him down. He settles for punching out the mirror.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: HYDRA heads of security wear red and black uniforms, if Bobbi's initial costume is to be believed. In Bobbi's case, she only fits this when she's in character, in which case she plays it up enough to intimidate fellow infiltrator Simmons.
  • Remember the New Guy?: We meet Bobbi Morse for the first time; however, save for Simmons and Trip, and presumably Skye and Fitz, everyone already knows her, in fact, and she seems to be pretty good friends with Mack, as well as highly respected and trusted by Coulson.
  • The Reveal: A few. Simmons wasn't alone in infiltrating HYDRA, Skye's father (The Doctor) is a man with a thinner Hair-Trigger Temper than the Hulk and the writing is a map to something or somewhere, and Skye instantly knew after seeing the full carving.
  • Reverse Mole: Bobbi Morse turns out to be one, having either faked her "compliance" with HYDRA, or thrown it off afterwards. She comes to the rescue after Simmons' cover is blown.
  • Sadistic Choice: Raina offers one to Coulson: Let her take Skye to see her father, or she'll blow Simmons' cover at HYDRA with an automated e-mail. Coulson lets the clock run out, as he has a trump card: Simmons isn't the only mole he has at HYDRA.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Whitehall gives Raina 48 hours to get him the Obelisk or else she dies, and she has to go through hell to try and bargain for it from Skye's father so she won't get killed. At the end of the episode, Skye's father just gives the Obelisk to Whitehall anyway of his own free will.
  • Shout-Out: Skye makes a snarky comment about Hunter going undercover as Ron Burgundy.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: When Fitz's hallucination of Simmons catches sight of Mack and starts commenting on his impressive physique, adding "Don't you agree?", Fitz resignedly tells her that of course he must agree, since she's technically his subconscious.
  • Surprise Vehicle: Bobbi's "extraction plan" involves jumping off the roof of the HYDRA building with Simmons, and landing on top of a stealthed Quinjet that Simmons had no idea was there.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: HYDRA is running a covert, heavily guarded, research facility ... and yet not only does Raina somehow get everyone's email address to send the photo, Skye's father is able to stroll into Whitehall's office before an alarm is raised or someone tries to stop him when they know their location has been compromised.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: HYDRA's head of security being Bobbi Morse, and thus a Deep Cover Agent rather than a villain, was a plot twist in the episode, but it was spoiled already by months of hype concerning the character combined with the fact that the character is an Avenger and therefore very unlikely to become a villain.
  • Take a Third Option: Coulson beats Raina's Sadistic Choice by having Bobbi Morse evacuate Simmons. Then he tags Raina with a tracking device so she'll lead them back to Whitehall. If she wants to survive that meeting, she'll play ball.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Coulson tells Skye his theory that she's actually an alien. It doesn't thrill her. She starts thinking it over afterwards, and seems to be okay with that theory given all the information she has available, implying that she has come to terms with her potential origins, at least for now.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Hunter has spent the last few episodes repeatedly talking about his ex-wife being the worst person imaginable and how he couldn't stand her keeping secrets from him. Turns out she's SHIELD Agent Bobbi Morse.
  • The Un-Reveal: Skye's father insists that Skye is "not her real name" when Raina calls her by it, but doesn't elaborate further.
  • Villain Team-Up: In The Stinger, Skye's father does this with Daniel Whitehall.

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