This opens with a scene set in 1945 as a Hydra agent (Reed Diamond) and his goons are confronted by Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and some Howling Commandos (among them is Neal McDonough). In the ‘present’, Skye is now a full on SHIELD agent but General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) is still hunting SHIELD in this desperate to be darker and edgier season. Skye is utterly vile, Coulson is ponderous and not morally complex whilst Fitz is all mediocrity and nugatory and has visions of the absent banal Simmons.
The Absorbing Man Creel runs around following the orders of a Hydra guy (Simon Kassianides). Ward is held in a cell under SHIELD HQ, a horrible new low for SHIELD. Skye and her artfully styled ego are portentous. Ward mutters sinister truths and is he on a redemption track? I hope not. I want Ward to kill all the smug SHIELD bastards. Skye and her gang are entirely empty and yawn forcingly repulsive. Nobody has any real emotional reactions to anything.
This episode lacked any effervescence. Hydra is everywhere. Talbot and his ugly haircut yells. Coulson smirks and is chronically ills-suited to leadership. Lucy Lawless shows up to die via TPTB and their auteurist pretensions. This episode was somnolent as SHIELD saunter around smugly. 1945 Hydra guy (Diamond) shows up in the present day looking exactly the same.
“They’re bringing it out now.”
“Carefully I hope?”
“What the hell is all this stuff?”
“Secure that bastard!”
“Your honeycombed kill room!”
Judy the hooker learns Joe has been murdering again. Ryan has a dream about grappling with Joe. It is not explained how Carlos hooked up with the murder twins. Lily mumbles about the durable cultural cornerstone of violence. Judy and her daughter Mandy have issues. Judy reconfirms her stupidity. Mike finds Ryan’s room of crazy. Ryan’s sponsor is nowhere to be seen. It is explained Joe faked his death via a long lost half brother. Ryan fails to assert himself. Emma is ineluctably thick. Mandy doesn’t know her dad and wants Joe to be her daddy. Joe turns on Judy. There is death, sneering, murder and revelations. This was mediocre.
“Why don’t you like Emma?”
“Because she’s unlikeable. No one liked her.”
“It’s crazy. So am I.”
“Your utopian slut palace.”
“You look angry.”
“No one likes you.”
“She’s in on it.”
Lily was behind the subway murders and is a billionaire and the adoptive mother of the murder twins. Like who saw that coming? Everyone. Joe visits Jana (Leslie Bibb of ‘Popular’ and ‘Ironman’) and her two children. Jana is yet another Joe groupie. Emma tantrums. Giselle the irritating French chick bores. Lily is an aspirational cult leader to her international house of psychos. A snotty lawyer wears a wrinkled suit. Lily’s friend David does some ill-considered things. Jana and Joe discuss something called Korban. Max encounters Giselle. Joe encounters Lily. Ryan’s teaching job seems to no longer exist and there is a revelation about Jana and her relationship to FBI agent Gina (Valerie Cruz). This was okay.
“Her skirt’s too short. It’s not proper at all.”
“Sneakers today, cool.”
“They will kill you.”
Max follows Giselle. Lily woos Joe; they have the chemistry of a soggy cheese sandwich. Lily is a little too eager to show off how not dissimilar she and Joe are. Emma’s hair is no longer pink, but she is still industriously annoying as she gets on her high horse. Lily hurls herself, her stringy hair and bad skin at Joe. Ryan is immutably Joe obsessed. Where has all the Poe stuff gone? Joe shaves off his beard. There are no people of integrity here. This was not good and also intangibly dull. There is a gunfight. Murder twin Mark hates being touched. Lily shows Joe the murder cellar she built him. Ryan acts like a crazy man and the irritant Giselle is killed off.
“Have fun with your new boy toy.”
“You and her and the psycho twins.”
“I want to drive an ice pick through his brain.”
“Uh Ryan, you still alive?”
“Have you been writing?”
“I was in Arkansas.”
Joe and Emma aren’t down with Lily’s grand plans to escape to her South American estate. The actor playing the murder twins can’t act to save his life. Is there a mole in the FBI? Why yes. Max doesn’t seem to have a job anymore. Mike beats a murder twin with a plank. There is profitless sacrasm and the FBI makes more significant oversights. Emma has a haughty smugness and vehemence. Joe won’t pander to obligation or be subordinated. Luke the other murder twin acts like a homicidal psychopath and utters portentous banality. Lily is all malevolent whimsy without adequate explanation.
Catching Joe and or Lily seems beyond the FBI’s collective competence. Mandy is all sugariness. Finding sense in this show is like prodding smoke with a stick. Mike is a dumb bastard. Lily isn’t flinty and empty just odious and interminably effortful. Ryan stabs someone else to death. He isn’t honourable and virtuous; he’s cold, heartless and kind of characterless. This was okay. Luke gets shot and battered. Lily goes wan and blanches as her grand plan falls apart due to Joe ditching and dismissing her. The FBI mole is revealed as Jana.
“The doors around here are thick and I still heard it.”
“It’s fabricated myth.”
“Still horribly written though.”
“He’s in my backseat, bleeding.”
“Give me my brother!”
“Hey, come and get him. I dare ya!”
“Where you go?”
“All right, turning around. Russian’s got a gun.”
Joe, Emma and Mandy join Robert and his friends in another cult named Korban. Joe is winging it. Despite being shot and beaten, Luke isn’t dead. The Korban cult is run by Micah (Jake Weber of ‘Dawn of the Dead’, ‘Medium’ and ‘American Gothic’) and his wife Julia. Emma is a disruptive element full of resentment. Max is reckless and is abducted via a staged event. There is Windows 8 product placement. Gina is inscrutable. We get father and son serial killers, pa is The Huntsman and the bratty son is eight years old. Classy. The Korban cult are disquieting nutters. Lily strikes back at Mike who burbles. This was okay.
“By your own logic, how can I trust you?”
“Don’t be that wife.”
“My dad hates whores.”
I’m sick of the belittling, hostile, hurtful, horrible Lily who thankfully isn’t in this ep. Reporter Carrie Cooke (Sprague Grayden of ‘Jericho’) shags Ryan in flashbacks and gets him sober. Emma whines and is incredulous and unreasonable. The Korban cult continue being unfathomably weird. Carrie is promoting her book on the Havenport incident; she’s the Gale Weathers of this show. Micah’s wife Julia condescends to Joe. Micah wants to be a murderer. Joe casts a deep shadow. Ryan gets a new job and tracks down Joe’s boarding school/serial killing mentor Dr Strauss. The Korban cult act like a pastiche of scientology. Micah is even crazier than Joe. The black comedy level is upped and Carrie Cooke is in peril. Ryan’s obsessive lengths lead to peril. Snooty Dr Strauss boasts about all the killers he mentored. Mike and Ryan turn the tables on Dr Strauss. Mandy may be finally realising the emptiness inside Joe. Julia loses her power. Good.
“I want to go.”
“Why, exactly, do you want to kill people?”
“To save souls.”
“I want a book written about me, and I want you to write it.”
“Well that ‘Dark Sea’ novel was hard to get through.”
“She’ll do as I choose.”
Joe reaches out to Jana who has gone blonde. Carrie helps Ryan. Jana is rumpled by Gina. Micah is a halfwit. Gina has a major under-reaction to a reveal. Joe makes blood curdling plans. Ryan, Mike and Max have misconstrued things. The uneven season 2 improves temporarily. Jana had a psychotic break and hasn’t improved. Now she stabs Gina. Joe kills Julia to spur on Micah’s propinquities. Jana kills herself. Emma crashes Carrie’s book signing to cause a mass stabbing and a fight. Joe gets rid of Micah and takes over the Korban cult. Things get crazier. This was good with a not so shocking denouncement.
“How crazy is he?”
“Hail the prophet Joe!”
The not so deep revelation is that Claire didn’t die a year ago. Mike hid her and lied. Claire is an impeccable punitive curdling shrew. Mike is a corpulent liar. Ryan and Carrie have hooked up. Joe and Robert plot. Dr Strauss sits in a blacksite and calls Ryan a psychopath and he may be right. There are flashbacks to 1982 and a teenage Joe. And in the present Joe becomes an animal abuser too. This was terrible.
“Post traumatic sex?”
“When you fail this big, ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t cover it.”
“What’s Joe done now?”
Joe and his mindless sheep kill. Joe Carroll has a fan club. Why do people trust Joe emotionally? Claire is an ungrateful whiny bitch. Emma is punitive, will TPTB kill her already? This was not intense. The unsuccessful Lily Gray plotline is re-introduced. Joe won’t accept disagreements. Mandy is aghast. The script is far from a brilliant bit of composition. Emma plays Robert. Disreputable mercenaries infiltrate Luke’s hospital to do a forcible extraction. How did Lily learn Luke was alive? Bloody Lily Gray and her unstudied melodrama are wretchedly inadequate. All interest in season 2 has been hollowed out by the inherent absurdity. This episode was a wretched abject failure. A megachurch evangelical preacher (it's Harrison Wells from 'The Flash'!) denounces Joe. Mandy deflects. Claire bursts in on Ryan. Joe pulls another ‘cunning plan’ out of his ass.
“We’re covering a fraternity cult beer bust tonight.”
“I don’t talk, ever.”
“You repent now!”
“Clever little viper, oh we’ll show her.”