Much of the focus of this episode is on the introduction of Adriane Palacki as Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird (at least in the comics). If you’ve kept yourself spoiler-free, then her arrival at the head of a HYDRA mole-hunting team will be something of a surprise, but she soon proves her worth, both to Simmons and SHIELD, and to the show – there’s some nice backstory with various members of the team (even if it stretches credulity somewhat that Hunter wouldn’t ever have given clues that gave away his connection). With a distinctive style of fighting combined with an air of glamour, it’s another shot in the arm for a series that is continuing to strengthen.
Getting Simmons out of HYDRA and back with Fitz – or at least back in his proximity – is also a good move; the psyche-Simmons has run her course, and Fitz is now in a much better state than we saw him initially. The pair have a lot to work through but they’re starting from a stronger place than might have been the case at the start of the season.
The other key focus is Kyle MacLachlan as Skye’s father. With the news of the return of Twin Peaks in 2016, it’s good to see him in another genre show, particularly one where he’s allowed to let rip. MacLachlan gets across his anger at Coulson’s father-figure position with Skye without needing to vocalise it – at least until he turns up at HYDRA, that is. No doubt those well-versed in the Marvel universe will be able to work out who he’s likely to be – but for now it’s just good to see someone who can deliver the necessarily hokey lines with real conviction.
Verdict: Things are shaping up nicely. 7/10