"A Hen in the Wolf House" returns to the season wide plot that was sacrificed last episode in order to tie the 3 main story threads that have been introduced so far together, using everyone's favourite, flower-dress wearing woman and her manipulative ways to unite (and pull apart) the various factions that the show is currently focusing on.
The main story here follows Agent Simmons, still deep undercover within Hydra, as she discovers that they are preparing to utilise the Obelisk seen in previous episodes as a large scale weapon - as soon as they can get their hands on it. While passing this information back to SHIELD, her message is intercepted and Hydra's Head of Security quickly becomes very suspicious of the goody two shoes ex-SHIELD employee. Meanwhile, Raina is on a mission to retrieve the Obelisk for Hydra from Skye's father in order to save her own skin.
A lot happens in "A Hen in the Wolf House", but the episode is paced so well that the events never feel rushed. A tense scene between Simmons and the Head of Security is followed by a more relaxes (although equally as important) scene in a restaurant between Coulson and Raina, the two stories inter-spliced with one another in order to ensure that you never get bogged down in the restaurant scenes or too tied up in the Hydra scenes. We also get to learn a bit more about Skye's very mysterious father, who is seemingly much more than he appears to be.
The real highlights of the episode lie in the way that characters interact. Agent Hunter is quickly becoming my favourite character, and despite limited screen time this episode, he still manages to really leave an impression, more thanks to Nick Blood's portrayal of the character than the writing itself. The introduction of a new character (whose identity I'm staying quiet about) should really add a lot to the show and I can't wait to see how Agents of SHIELD progresses with the addition of yet another great cast member. The quality of the acting has been on the up all season, and it really shows - Kyle MacLachlan is also doing great, genuinely creepy work as Skye's apparent father.
There's some minor sub-plot development when it comes to the story line involving Coulson and his GH325, but that element of the show is still, by far and away, the least interesting aspect of it. I'm hoping this season will resolve the whole Coulson Lives plot once and for all, allowing the show to move in new directions. It's a difficult episode to talk about without giving too much away, but it's fair to say that Agents of SHIELD has proved by now that its much better than the show it once was. There is real story development here, and things don't go the way you expect them to throughout this episode. "A Hen in the Wolf House" shows
us that Agents of SHIELD is willing to do things that are risky, and more
importantly, it actually works.