This installment in my S.H.I.E.L.D.appreciation series is all about Agent Daisy Johnson, portrayed by the infinitely talented Chloe Bennet.
Daisy Johnson was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s technical super-heroine since chronologically Daisy was gifted with her powers long before Elizabeth Olsen hit the screens as Wanda Maximoff (and the first Asian superhero in the MCU). Daisy started as street hacker named Skye, who joined a hacking group known as the Rising Tide in an effort to find out who her parents were. Over the course of the series, Daisy has developed from hacker, to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, to superhero.
#1 Episode 3×15, “Spacetime” by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
Spacetime is easily one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s strongest episodes – and in a show full of ’em, that’s saying something.
It also feels very much like the story where Daisy truly steps into the role as a superhero – over the course of the third season, Daisy’s powers are mainly used during spy missions, or to help save Jemma from the evil that was Maveth, but in Spacetime, we get to see Daisy do some superheroics, but using her powers to save a man from death, confronting Hydra – and potentially her own death – head on.
It’s also one of the most creative episodes: most of the plot revolves around the team trying to prevent what Daisy saw through a vision, gifted to her by Charles Hinton – another Inhuman – from happening. In a lot of ways, it’s a small scale version of season five, which makes a lot of sense considering it strongly connected to it with it, as season five hinged on Charles’ daughter, Polly, and her visions of the coming apocalypse.
If season one and two were Daisy’s origin story, I feel like this episode was Quake’s – and what a tale it was.
#2 Episode 4×15, “Self Control” by Jed Whedon
Traumatizing would the best way to describe this episode, which is filled with psychological horror from start to finish, and I honestly haven’t watched it since it aired because everytime I try, my heart will not stop racing because it’s just that stressful.
Despite this, it’s one of my favorite episodes because of the envelopes it pushes, and because of the focus it gives on Daisy and Jemma.
Both women are put through the wringer – Jemma has to kill a robot version of the man she loves (who contains his personality and memories), Daisy is hunted down by robot versions of her own team – and by the time they reunite, the tears are flowing. Daisy comforts a traumatized Jemma, giving a heartfelt speech about how they will survive this, that Jemma and Fitz will be reunited, and coming up with a game plan to get the hell out of Dodge.
Honestly, that scene alone makes the episode great for me – add on to it with Daisy’s badass fight with the LMDs in the lab? Oh, yeah.
(Although I do want to know what is with Jed Whedon’s fascination with filming scenes where Fitz dies. First the LMD, then Fitz from the alternate timeline?)
#3 Episode 1×13, “T.R.A.C.K.S” by Lauren LeFranc and Rafe Judkins
T.R.A.C.KS. is definitely one of the most creative episodes of the series – breaking down the traditional formula of an episode, by pairing together two characters with each other, and dividing time to each set to explain what happened to them during the team’s undercover mission on a train, as they attempt to apprehend Ian Quinn.
While it may seem odd to include this episode considering the cliffhanger it ends on – Daisy, half dead from two gunshot wounds – it’s probably one of my favorite episodes for Daisy. It has a strong focus on my favorite friendship of the series, aka Daisy and Fitz, and the episode’s climax hinges on Daisy’s determination to succeed where she failed before: stopping Ian Quinn.
Unfortunately, things don’t end too well in that regard, but once she finally recovers, we see a Daisy willing to train twice as hard so she won’t have to go through something like that again.
#4 Episode 2×11, “Aftershocks” by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
Again, another episode I love because of my favorite friendship on the show – but honestly, this episode is so integral to Daisy’s story, and her journey to becoming Quake.
Reeling from the loss of her best friend and partner (and possibly something), Antoine Triplett, while adjusting to the fact that she has terrifyingly catastrophic powers, which she’s determined to keep a secret, Aftershocks is no easy ride for our favorite hacker turned superhero: an emotional breakdown to Coulson about the guilt she feels for Trip’s death, her and Simmons’ heartbreaking scene where Jemma (stricken by loss and a re-emergence of her former trauma of nearly dying by an alien virus) reveals she’s willing to eradicate the alien virus that turned Raina into a spike-y murderer, and a huge argument between team about her and about Trip’s death.
Can someone just give her a vacation already?
Despite all the heartbreak in the episode, there’s a silver lining. My favorite thing about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is its use of the found family trope (a group of unrelated people who come together and find a family in each other), and specifically the friendship between Daisy, Fitz, and Jemma – or, the Bus Kids as they’re affectionately called by the fandom, and this episode has one of my favorite Daisy and Fitz scenes ever.
After realizing the earthquake in Peru was caused by Daisy, Fitz at first panics and runs after Daisy accidentally blows up a lamp in the quarantine chamber – but returns to reveal to her he’s falsified her DNA results so they can keep her new powers a secret until the team is less panicked from Raina’s new powers, Hydra, and Trip’s death.
Daisy hugs Fitz and tearfully tells him there is something very wrong with her, which he assures her isn’t true, and that “[she’s] just different now, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
#5 Episode 4×04, “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire” by Matt Owens
Again, I love this episode because of the focus on friendship – this time Daisy and Jemma’s friendship, as they reunite for the first time since Daisy left S.H.I.E.L.D, and Jemma grimly informs Daisy they’re in this together – and she’s going to help Daisy in her latest endeavor to stop the Watchdogs.
However, the episode takes the cake because it sets the groundwork for Daisy’s development over the course of the season – from a guilt-ridden vigilante on self sentenced exile from her only family, to a woman who is willing to stay to protect them, from outside threats as well as from themselves.
Next Time: I take a look back at FitzSimmons’ greatest hits!
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays on ABC.