Greetings Agents! Last time we saw our beloved Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we had learned some shocking and heartbreaking details about Coulson’s death/resurrection. Also, Skye found out she was an 0-8-4 when she was a baby, and Mike Peterson is alive but has been forced into the Clairvoyant’s service via an eye implant. Oh and Ian Quinn is a big baddie funding evil technology. Got all that? Wheels up!
Quinn is moving a VIP (very important package) by train so naturally the team is going undercover to intercept it. This is mostly important because everyone is paired up including Simmons and Coulson. She immediately calls him her dad and it’s adorable. Elsewhere, Ward changes into a conductor’s uniform and May gets in position atop the moving train. Because she’s a badass.
Skye and Fitz sneak into the luggage compartment. Getting ready to be a distraction to Quinn’s Cybertek security team, Simmons launches into her character’s backstory. She goes into hysterics about daddy Coulson being too busy with his work and prostitutes to be there for her and her mum. Stan Lee pops up for a great cameo to chastise Coulson, and following straight behind him are the Cybertek men. Simmons spills her “mom’s” ashes to slow them down, and Coulson takes moment to say, “Prostitutes? Plural?”
With the coms on the fritz, Coulson goes to find Ward and is soon forced to jump from the train with Ward in tow when they’re chased by several Cybertek agents. For good measure, the Cybertek dude throws a grenade after them. When it detonates, the train disappears. Commercial.
We rewind several minutes to Ward, taking down a two baddies. Realizing they’ve been made, he tells Simmons to go to hole up with Skye and Fitz while he looks for Coulson. As we already know, that ends with a daring leap off the train. Uninjured from the grenade (which Coulson privately hopes isn’t Asgardian), Ward finds evidence May also jumped. They find a hotwired truck in a nearby field and get back to the Bus. They connect with local-agent-in-charge Russo, who looks worse for wear but is on his way to them.
This leaves time for Ward and Coulson to show off their comedy chops trying to figure out the Holotable. Russo pulls up to report that they found the train. He’s cut short when a beaten up May kills him from behind. “Wheels up in five,” she says. And you better believe everyone hops to!
Back from commercial, we flashback to see May parachuting off the top of the train when Cybertek started shooting at her. She finds Coulson and Ward frozen in place, likely due to the grenade. She hotwires the truck in the field but before she can return for the guys she’s captured by Russo and his men. Clearly not realizing that this is the Cavalry they’re dealing with, they take a break from torturing her, allowing her to pull a knife out of her shoulder and kill them call. She hunts Russo down at the Bus, who was concealing a gun before and kills him too. Because she’s Melinda May.
On the Bus, May accepts Coulson’s help, but not Ward’s, in stitching her up. They discuss the grenade, which released a toxin that makes you think time hasn’t passed. “You looked ridiculous,” she quips, while letting Coulson tenderly care for her.. This wonderful CoulMay moment is ruined when a clearly grumpy Ward stiffly reports that they found the train.
On board, they discover only Simmons, who is shooting her night-night gun at anything that moves. Once she calms down, she says, “Where’s Fitz and Skye?” Commercial.
In our final rewind, we see Skye and Fitz encounter their own Cyberteker. Simmons saves the day and tries to smother the explosion of the grenade the agent detonates. The thankfully non-lethal night-night grenade knocks them both out. Disposing of the agent and leaving Simmons with a gun, Fitz and Skye track the package to Quinn’s house. They decide to go after it themselves but wisely activate their S.H.I.E.L.D. tracker first.
Within moments, Skye finds the package downstairs as well as Mike Peterson. Too busy staring at Mike in his hyperbaric chamber, she’s captured by Quinn and his guard. They open the chamber and fit Mike with a fancy robotic leg to replace his missing one, the technology being what was in the package.. He confirms that his orders from the Clairvoyant would allow Quinn to hurt him but that Mike isn’t supposed to kill Skye.
Mike clunks out of the room to carry out his orders and we soon hear a gunshot. Skye jumps at the noise and a beat passes before she realizes the shot came from Quinn. Blood starts to spread from her stomach.. Quinn embraces and viciously shoots her again in the gut, saying he has orders too. She crumples with blood gurgling up in her mouth and he leaves. Commercial.
A rapidly fading Skye struggles towards the door but cannot cry out loud enough to force open the door to find help. Mike kills the Cybertek team while Ward, Coulson and May storm the house. Coulson finds Skye just barely clinging to life. To slow down the inevitable, Simmons puts Skye in the hyperbaric chamber and lowers the temperature. For now, Skye is saved but they’ll need proper medical attention for her to have a chance at actually surviving.
On the Bus, Fitz comforts a distraught Simmons and May consoles an angry Ward. He clarifies that his anger isn’t because he feels guilty; it’s because he blames Coulson for putting Skye in a position to get shot.
Tonight’s credit scene shows Mike looking sadly at a playground full of children. He holds up a note to his eye asking if he can see his son but is denied. The camera zooms in on his high-tech leg and we see its name: Deathlok.
Ward: “We both know that personal urges can affect tactical decisions.”
May: “That’s why I don’t have any.”
Fitz to Skye, after posing as a couple while undercover: “You’re the least supportive pretend girlfriend I’ve ever had.”
Coulson threat to Ward, if that latter’s relationship with May becomes a problem, is being reassigned to guarding “Blonsky’s cryocell” in Alaska. Nice callback to Marvel’s rarely mention The Incredible Hulk film starring Edward Norton.
Is Ward more pissed that May told Coulson about their sexcapades or that she accepts Coulson’s comfort/help rather than his?
Big shout out to Chloe Bennet for her fantastic performance tonight, especially during Skye’s dying scenes. She honestly made me feel worried for a character I have never truly cared about.
Cute Clark Gregg moments: His adorable undercover glasses. His complete dismay at the prostitutes accusation. His gentleness when caring for May’s injuries.
Tonight’s episode was chronologically jumbled but very cleverly so. It made an otherwise standard plot (train heist gone wrong) fun and much more interesting. The build up to Skye’s shooting was expertly crafted and perfectly executed. S.H.I.E.L.D. is just getting better all the time.