My mind has been blown, Agents. There is betrayal within our beloved team. An old foe reappears out of the shadows. Team Phillinda is in serious jeopardy, and SkyeWard finally gains some real traction. And above all, another maddening cliffhanger after an edge-of-your-seat episode that left me wide-eyed and forgetting to type my notes. This is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as we’ve all expected it to be from the start and the payoff is glorious. Before we get started, a small word of caution. Tonight’s episode ties in strongly with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not to worry Agents, this recap is as spoiler-free from the movie as possible. But seriously go watch the movie and then re-watch this episode for maximum enjoyment. For now, let’s “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
What you need to know:
Booya!: We pick up on the Bus right where we left off. Coulson is unhinged by May’s apparent betrayal, though she continues to swear she has nothing to do with the plane changing course. She was only ordered to report to Fury on Coulson’s condition. Fitz lets it drop that Simmons is at the Hub trying to figure out the miracle drug that saved Skye. Knowing she’s likely in danger, Coulson orders Skye to grab her laptop and find out what is happening at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Agent Garrett makes contact to say he’s got two S.H.I.E.L.D. jets chasing him down so he’s flying Coulson’s way for help. After shooting May with an icer and leaving her with Ward in the interrogation cell, Coulson gets access to the Bus’ gun thanks to Fitz and shoots down the two jets like a boss. “Booya!” he exclaims.
Out of the shadows: At the Hub, Agent Hand has assembled a small group of turncoats around her, ordering them to round up all of the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. In a lab, Simmons initially hides her research from Agent Triplett but then fesses up and accepts his offer to help her. She makes contact with the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy only to be warned not to trust anyone as S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated. Thankfully, Triplett is actually a good guy and sticks around to protect Simmons. She’s definitely going to need it because on the Bus, Coulson has just revealed his theory that Hand is the Clairvoyant. Skye is finishing decoding a secret transmission that went out to all of S.H.I.E.L.D. Words appear on the screen: Out of the Shadows and Into the Light. HYDRA.
I did it for you: The team is stunned by this revelation yet they know they have to be let themselves be taken to the Hub since Triplett and Simmons are there. In the cell, Ward and May argue about her new status as a traitor and him killing the non-Clairvoyant just to protect Skye. Coulson takes May to make contact with Fury via her repaired secure line but the voice that answers says Fury is dead. Then the whole Bus is shot up and Coulson shields her from harm. He takes her to fix her wounds once more and is clearly heartbroken by her secrecy. She about Tahiti and even covertly manipulated him into choosing the team he did. Each member was selected to take care of Coulson, either by helping to repair his body or by taking him down if he went off the deep end. Then May truly loses it and says, “But I didn’t do it for Fury I did it for you, to protect you!” In a cracked voice she continues, “You mean a lot to me. A lot.” My Phillinda feels sing with joy and heartache! With a gunshot wound in her arm and tears ready to fall from her eyes, she’s again swears she knows nothing about HYDRA or the Clairvoyant. He can’t bring himself to believe her.
The real Clairvoyant: Skye backs up all their collected data on an external hard drive and wipes the Bus’ memory. Simmons and Trip are taken into custody, whereupon Hand reveals she’s not actually HYDRA. She’s loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D.; it’s Coulson who’s HYDRA. Elsewhere, Ward offers to sacrifice himself to get Skye to the control room, which is being guarded by a hallway full of agents. Before he leaves though, he asks her to have a drink with him if he survives, to which she agrees, and then she kisses for good measure. “You said you might die so what the hell?” she shrugs. To his credit, Ward takes down the soldiers like a machine, using his icers, glass, and his fists to get the job done. In a security room, Garrett suggests to Coulson, May, and Fitz they kill Hand for her treachery and reminds us of all she’s done, including brainwashing Raina. Coulson looks horrified as he realizes, he never mentioned this to anyone. It’s Garrett who is the traitor! A troop of foot soldiers storm in but a few of them are on Garrett’s team. They kill the others and reply in unison to Garrett’s “Hail HYDRA!”
The real traitor: With his secret out, Garrett reveals top S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are in on HYDRA’s deception. His men line up to shoot the other three when the lights suddenly go out as Skye’s bomb explodes. A now un-cuffed and completely pissed off Cavalry beats the crap out of everyone, though Fitz does saves her with a few well-timed shots. He also helps Coulson knock out Garrett with a sonic bomb. Hand storms in and, thanks to a listening device, knows that it’s Garrett and not Coulson who is HYDRA. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated to the deepest levels, with HYDRA taking over factions across the globe. She and Coulson shake hands as the two highest-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are still loyal and still alive. He reassembles his team to repair the Bus and work toward just surviving. Only Ward is missing, as he’s volunteered to help escort his former S.O. to the icebox prison. Hand offers Ward the chance to shoot Garrett aka the real Clairvoyant and he fires five shots: one for each of Garrett’s guards and three into Hand herself. He and Garrett nod knowingly at each other.
Up until tonight I thought Clark Gregg was at his most badass pointing a gun at Loki. Then he swaggered around his in shirtsleeves, shot down jets like Luke Skywalker, and got into a brawl with Bill Paxton. New badass level achieved!
Agent Hand explains HYDRA. “They hide in plain sight. They earn our trust, our sympathy. They make us like them. And when you hesitate, they strike.”
Let’s just talk for a moment about how Ming Na acted the hell out of one-on-one with Clark Gregg tonight. To see The Cavalry ready to break down in tears because the man who means “a lot” to her doesn’t trust or believe her, broke my heart.
Skye: “You haven’t taught me how to hold up under torture yet.”
Ward: “We’ll get to that. It’s real fun.”
Garrett, after his true colors are revealed: “Phil this is me being honest.”
Coulson: “No, John, this is you being a psychopath.”
Since she thought he’d take better care of it, Skye gave Ward the hard drive with all of their data on it. Unless she took it back when I wasn’t looking, it seems HYDRA has the data now after all.
Just when I’m finally starting to gel with the SkyeWard scenario, S.H.I.E.L.D. slaps me in the face. I’ll just stick with Phillinda.
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