Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Reaches the “End of the Beginning”

Photo courtesy of ABC
Photo courtesy of ABC

Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye was resurrected thanks to some alien cure and Mike Petersen fell further into villainy thanks to The Clairvoyant fitting him with all kinds of enhanced robotics. Deathlok is now on the hunt and he might be getting some help on the inside from Melinda May, who we discovered has been making secret reports on Coulson and the team. With the fate of Team Phillinda on the line and a supervillain adding more weapons of mass destruction to his mechanical body everyday, the agents have their work cut out for them. Grab your guns and turn on the comms; we’ve come to the “End of the Beginning.”

A true Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In Sydney, Deathlok attacks Agents Garrett and Triplett in their hotel. They subdue him enough that he gives up and blasts through the ceiling. In response to the new villain’s growing threat as well as the ever-present issue of The Clairvoyant, Coulson assembles a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on The Bus, including Hand, Sitwell, and Blake from HQ. Garrett had created a list of individuals with relevant powers who were once on the S.H.I.E.L.D. index but were removed for one reason or another. Skye takes that list and assigns random pairings of agents to investigate different suspects. For this and her outstanding work (read: getting shot on the job) she’s granted the status of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for real.

Tag teams: The random pairings, which make no strategic sense whatsoever, are thus: Ward and Triplett, Coulson and Garrett, and May and Blake. (Agent Hand went back to HQ to command additional forces and Sitwell was called to another assignment.) Only May and Blake find something noteworthy, but it’s not The Clairvoyant. It’s Deathlok, who smashes Blake to the ground and fires off a missile at May. Oh please, it takes more than that to stop The Cavalry.

Photo courtesy of ABC
Photo courtesy of ABC

Blake survives, just barely, and the encounter gives the team two things: a suspect in Thomas Nash, who was MIA from his nursing home, and a location for Deathlok. Blake used Fitz’s tagged bullets on the bad guy so the team tracks him to a building near a racetrack. Fitz and Skye use tracking drones to locate him and we get an awesome x-ray shot of Petersen. He looks incredibly like his comic book counterpart with a metal exoskeleton and glowing eye. He fires a few more missiles at the incoming S.H.I.E.L.D. team then takes off. While in hot pursuit, Coulson and Garrett find Nash hooked up to a bunch of computers and using a tube attached to his mouth to communicate electronically.


Mind games
: Nash says he had Deathlok lead them all here to get a first hand look at Coulson. The Clairvoyant toys with the agent by telling him something powerful is coming for him and Skye. Just as Nash is going for a second round of taunting, Ward shoots him dead. Ward later explains to Skye that he did it because of all the evil The Clairvoyant’s done and mostly because killing the guy meant protecting Skye (oh yeah, and the rest of the team, he tags on) in the long run. Back on The Bus, Coulson confesses his belief that someone else was controlling Nash’s speech. With Skye’s help, Coulson comes to the conclusion that The Clairvoyant’s “powers” are just his ability to access S.H.I.E.L.D.’s files, including the psych evaluations for every agent. It would give him all he needs to unnerve anyone and track the agents, making him appear psychic when in fact he’s just an agent himself!

Betrayal most foul: Coulson’s first instinct is to question Ward, who is utterly confused. In the meantime, Fitz finds May’s secret comm line and tells Skye, who in turn makes him cut the line. The Cavalry is pissed when her encrypted call is cut short so she grabs a gun and pursues Fitz. My Team Phillinda feels are hurting as Coulson, Skye and May engage in a tense standoff. She says she can explain everything and denies being a pawn of The Clairvoyant. In a moment of desperation, she even calls Coulson “Phil” but he remains unconvinced. The Bus suddenly changes course and we see that it’s Agent Hand at HQ who’s controlling it. She wants Coulson.

Credits: In a sneak peek at Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury is speeding away from the cops. He is making a good getaway until The Winter Soldier himself gets in his path, blowing up his car.

Field Notes:

Initial reactions to pictures of Deathlok’s costume were mixed, although I actually thought it looked good, but the finished product was superb. He had his metal skeleton and red eye after all! We should know to trust Marvel by this point.

FitzSimmons is still hung up on the alien cure that saved Coulson and Skye. This leads to a telling exchange wherein May offers, and with a smile no less, to help them if Skye or Coulson exhibits strange behavior.

Fitz’s puppy dog sad face when Agent Triplett accompanies Simmons to The Hub is so sweet!

Garrett: “All we know is that The Clairvoyant’s been a step ahead of us, stealing plays out of our playbook.”
Coulson: “And it’s pissing me off.”

Does anyone else love the grumpy sass Bill Paxton is bringing to this show as Agent Garrett? I loved this line he said to Skye: “Hell you took two in the gut. More than Sitwell here’s ever done.”

Fanning the flames of SkyeWard shippers, Ward says this doozy to Skye: “I’m no Clairvoyant but I do believe some things are meant to be.”

In more SkyeWard news, Garrett bonds with the girl in question over shared battle scars and opens up to her about Ward. Seems our favorite Agent Jock has grown into someone who cares about more than the mission. What could that something be?

A playfully snarky Coulson to Skye: “You wear your heart on your sleeve. And your face.”

Next week, things get complicated as Hand reels in the team. Also, Team Phillinda faces its biggest challenge yet when Coulson refuses to accept whatever May’s reasons are for reporting on him. We can get through this Phillinda shippers, if we stick together!

Stephanie Coats