There be spoilers here.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on UK screens. Each week, we’re hoping to bring you the episode analysis that matters, the key insights and critiques that can be derived from those tense forty-three minutes of television…

Ha, just kidding. No what I really want to do instead is talk about the five things I loved and hated this week. So what did I make of season two episode “Making Friends and Influencing People”?

LOVED: Hypnotic suggestion

It was a nice reference to Winter Soldier – having the same method of brainwashing that Bucky went through. I’m hoping it won’t come up too often, but it’s a nice touch to see that it wasn’t just used as a one-off tactic in the Winter Soldier film.

Ward-and-SkyeHATED: The Ward/Skye dynamic

We get it already. Skye feels betrayed and we’re left wondering if Ward’s really still in love with Skye or whether it’s part of a game-plan. Most people disliked Ward already, and we’ve had this going on for way too long. Let Skye move on, for the love of Hydra…    …whoops. That just slipped out.

LOVED: The New Team

I like that they’ve already established a new team – comprised of the remnants of the old and a couple of the new. There’s still stuff to explore between the team characters, but it doesn’t feel like we’re constantly wondering why everyone is there.

HATED: Unstable Superpowers

It seems a recurrent theme in Agent’s of SHIELD. Anyone with actual superpowers is either mentally unstable or their powers are unstable. In this case, I can kind of understand why he’d be so under the radar, but by the same token it seems almost business as usual – killing or neutralising them for everyone’s protection. I think they need to introduce a super-powered character that is neither unstable in their power, nor unstable in the head.

LOVED: “Talent Grab”

The whole idea that SHIELD and Hydra are competing for resources and as they put it, “talent” is quite interesting. It’s basically two powerful organisations competing in a race to destroy the other. Though I think team Coulson needs to catch a break sometime soon.

Simmons in HydraHATED: Simmons undercover

She doesn’t do it well. I suppose that’s part of her charm. But when asked to “make new friends”, she really is cringe-inducing. I realise it’s meant to be played out that way, and I’m sure remaining undercover at Hydra HQ will kick that out of her, but in the mean time…

LOVED: Simmons, the double agent!

I have got to admit, I was worried that they were going to say she’s working for Hydra without any explanation of why. I’m really glad they explained that she’s a double agent. She’s definitely one that nobody suspects, although I’m not sure I would buy the story of “for the resources, ‘cos, you know, I’m a scientist”.

HATED: The Pacing

For a story about a mission to recruit or kill a guy, this sure seemed to take the long way around. I realise they needed to establish where Simmons was, what she’s doing and such, but there seemed to be a massive gap between “we need to seize this asset” and “right, let’s go get the asset”.

LOVED: Fitz/Mac

While not outright replacing Simmons, it’s nice that a character has befriended someone in Fitz’s state. While everyone else seems to have given Fitz a wide birth, Mac seems to have got closer to him. The team itself seems to be stacked with action heroes at the moment, so it’s a breath of fresh air that there’s other different characters involved too. Oh, and they play video games together.

Danny-GillHATED: Not talking about Donnie Gill as a person

Once again, I get why they do it. I just don’t like the dehumanization of Donnie Gill. It’s always “talent” or “asset”. It makes me think of SHIELD as an organisation more concerned about winning battles than about actually saving human lives. Maybe it’s just me, but an organisation to protect people should really refer to their names rather than the military-esque notion of referring to them almost as part of a gameplan.