“Face My Enemy” and Prepare for Pheels on Agents of SHIELD

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

Last Tuesday, at about 7 p.m. PST, I got a text from my benevolent overlord, Emmy Rivera, that said the following: “Your Philinda loving heart is going to soar tonight.” I know many of you would have cried “SPOILER!” but all I could say was, “Squeeee!” (and grumble about being on the last coast in the continental U.S. to get Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD each week). Well it wasn’t until the end of last week’s episode when I saw the preview for “Face My Enemy” that I finally understood. And as is often the case, Emmy was right.

Philinda was in fine form tonight, Agents. They were undercover as a couple and there was dancing and all around so much goodness that I think we should just get right to it. So prepare yourselves…


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Dance electives and swooning: Florida. Skye uses a stolen flash drive to get Coulson and May access to an exclusive party at a house where a 500-year old painting with alien writing on the back is being stored. May is clearly pissed about being in a glittery dress and heels and having to make small talk. Coulson is maybe just a bit giddy. He goes radio silent while he and May hit the dance floor to “go over some things.” This partly means checking security but really means reminiscing about the dance elective at the SHIELD academy and their first mission, which involved a coffee shop and May spending five hours in the bay. “We used to have fun like this in our youth,” he says. “You know you enjoyed it.” Swoon! She puts a damper on the flirting by asking about his condition, which is getting worse. He wants to make a plan in case he goes nuts like Garrett but that important conversation is interrupted by an even bigger downer: Talbot’s at the party too.

General Buzzkill: Trying to maintain his cover, Coulson has a private chat with Talbot. He explains that the mission will benefit them both and the General promises not to interfere unless he needs to. The Director goes back on comms. to say they need to move quick. Too the surprise and horror of the team, May puts the moves on Mr. Soto, who is storing the painting. Coulson grabs a scan of Soto’s eyes, which they need when they get downstairs to the vault. First, Coulson takes care of the guard (“Yo.” punch) and once inside, they see the vault is being guarded by a laser grid. Coulson readies himself to stealthily make his way through it, which we sadly don’t get to see because May simply walks through, reminding him that they’ve already been made. Too bad the painting has already been acquired by Talbot…who is working for Dr. Whitehall.

Agent May does her thing: The couple (because shut up that’s totally what they are guys!) sneak out, but Talbot intercepts them and asks Coulson to help translate the writing on the back of the painting. He agrees, saying to May – after the General leaves – that he knows Talbot is playing them. She heads out to do what she does best, saying this will make up for the dancing. “You liked it,” he says, smiling. “No, I didn’t,” she deadpans. “A little bit?” “A little bit,” she confesses with a smirk. Alone now, she breaks into a room and sees Agent 33 with HYDRA files on her (May) and Coulson. The Cavalry easily beats the brainwashed agent and that’s when Talbot arrives. May punches him and notices his face shimmer. Turns out Bakshi has pulled a Mission Impossible and is mask-querading as Talbot. He knocks May out and uses a sample of her blood so Agent 33 can become May. Fake May calls Coulson so Bakshi can pinpoint his location.

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

Bakshi makes a big mistake: Fake May arrives at the Bus and lies that Talbot was being honest and wants to meet with Coulson. They head out and she’s places a bug on the Bus and sabotages its system. A few minutes after she and Coulson leave, the plane starts shutting down and preparing to explode with most of the team trapped on board. Back in the room, Bakshi interrogates May about who is in charge of SHIELD. “Where are you based?” he demands. “Currently?” she replies. “About 5 feet from kicking your ass.” He threatens her with Dr. Whitehall’s brainwashing and decides to electrocute her in the meantime. You’re really going to regret that.

Tea maybe?: During their car ride to “meet Talbot,” Coulson asks Fake May if she can “do what has to be done” if he goes crazy. He tells her he trusts her to take over SHIELD as director if he’s put down. Awwww! So sweet and also so sad! She squeezes his hand to reassure him. Walking toward the room where the real May is being kept, Coulson tells Fake May he’s feeling nostalgic and asks her out to coffee. She smiles and answers yes. He immediately punches her in the face. “May hates coffee.” Inside the room, Real May demolishes the chairs she’s tied to while Bakshi is distracted by the fight outside and rushes at him. She makes quick work of the lackey, then goes into the hall to confront her doppelganger.

Best. Fight. Ever.: “I can’t believe I’m the only one seeing this right now,” Coulson says excitedly as the two Mays start to fight it out. He takes off after Bakshi and the painting and ices him. Meanwhile, Agent 33 stupidly taunts May (“I know all your moves”) making The Cavalry even more ferocious and badass. Even as the Fake May keeps grabbing weapons to help her, the Real May keeps beating her down. She awesomely slams her head into the table with some kind of flying move and eventually electrocutes her in her fake face. That’s when Coulson scurries back in. “We gotta go!” They hightail it out the window right before HYDRA storms in. On the Bus, Fitz uses his brain and Hunter’s hands to prevent the impending explosion and save everyone.

Right in the Pheels: In his office, Coulson video messages Talbot to update him on the latest mission and lies about the painting, saying it was destroyed. In reality, they’ve run tests and discovered the alien writing is brand new, meaning someone is out there having the same episodes as Coulson. Transitioning to happier subjects, May asks him how he knew Agent 33 wasn’t really her and he tells she wanted to get coffee. “You punch her in the face?” May asks. “I did.” “Good.” Then he again tries to make a plan for his potential demise. She presents him with a bag full of money, passports and everything they need to disappear to the Australian outback should he go off his rocker. “Point is,” she tell him, “no matter what happens, I’ll take care of you.” I barely contain my massive fangirl squee to hear Coulson’s response. “That is without question the sweetest, most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me.” Ok now I’m fangirling! But then! Coulson rejects this adorable offer. He tells her to kill him as ordered. “Hard choices are coming. I need you to make this one for me.” And now I’m crying.

Nazi is as Nazi does: Raina, wearing not a floral dress for the first time(?), is surprised in her car by Dr. Whitehall. He wants the obelisk. She starts to sweet talk him but he places a device on her hand that prevents her from moving. Then he creepily tells her about how he operated on a woman for a week, managing to keep her awake the whole time. The implication here is pretty clear: don’t mess with this dude or you’ll seriously regret it. He gives Raina 48 hours to bring him the obelisk.

Field Notes

  • Coulson, trying to get his partner excited about their undercover op: “This is fun right. Isn’t this fun? Look, cuff links.”
  • Melinda May speaking for all women who hate heels: “I will pay 500 for a pair of flats.”
  • The team gets worried when a high-pitched sound fills the comms during the mission. Coulson explains: “It’s May…Yes, she’s laughing. I think the worst of it’s over.”
  • May, after Coulson punches out the guard: “I could’ve handled him.”
    Coulson, maybe slightly taken aback: “I did.”
  • Line that will never get old: “I really like that dress.”
  • Earlier, the guys and Skye were telling war stories about their exes but Fitz didn’t chime in. So at the end of the day, when Hunter brings Fitz a beer to celebrate them saving the day, Fitz takes it and then blurts out that he liked a girl and he told her but she didn’t feel the same way, so she left. FitzSimmons is really bumming me out lately.
  • Do yourself a favor and check out Clark Gregg and Ming Na’s tweets about tonight’s episode. They’re golden. For example:

Gifs credit: Tumblr

Stephanie Coats