The episode title “One Door Closes” is a play on the old saying, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Agents of SHIELD is focused almost exclusively on Agent-now-Director Coulson and his team, even more so after the fall of SHIELD. In “One Door Closes”, the writers of Agents of SHIELD ask the audience of SHIELD a lot of important questions. Are Coulson and his team in charge because they are the best people for the job, or does the audience want Coulson in charge because it is the only possibility they have been presented with? Is he only the director of SHIELD because Fury wanted him in charge and knew that Coulson would continue Fury’s style of leadership? If that is all true, is that really for the best?
“A Hen in the Wolf House” steps back the amount of action from “Face My Enemy” but makes up for it with more Kyle MacLachlan, Simmons’ undercover work at Hydra, and the reveal of Mockingbird. The writers also squeeze in Skye discovering Coulson’s two big secrets, Fitz and Simmons reuniting, and another Skye-Ward interrogation scene. With so much going on, “A Hen in the Wolf House” should feel rushed and over-stuffed, but everything dovetails so neatly that none of the action or plot points feel forced.
Agents of SHIELD has struggled in its first season to find its voice as a stand-alone TV show and its identity within the larger Marvel universe. One possible reason is that the show hasn’t developed a formula. “Seeds” does not change this, but while it does not develop a formula unique to Agents of SHIELD, it does borrow an episodic formula familiar to fans of The X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fitz and Simmons return to SHIELD Academy after an accident involving technology that they developed while studying at the academy. A student has built a device capable of freezing water in the air, which could be weaponized to freeze enemies to death or create massive weather storms. Donnie, a highly intelligent and socially awkward freshman, is under suspicion for being behind the accident, but when he is later attacked during a lecture, Fitz turns his efforts to befriending him. Meanwhile, Coulson and May head down to Mexico City to find answers about Skye’s past.