It’s A Very Cerebral Episode In Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Heavy is the Head”

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

After last week’s shocking ending, where Lucy Lawless had her arm cut off and then was killed in a car wreck anyway, our agents are still on the hunt for Carl Creel. Also, poor Fitz is still struggling to recapture his brilliance and is still hallucinating Simmons. But he isn’t the only one suffering from brain troubles lately and as HYDRA’s shadow looms further over SHIELD, unlocking the mystery of the mind might be the agents’ best hope. It’s a very cerebral episode tonight in “Heavy is the Head.”

Where’s Carl?: Hunter’s leg is pinned in the car wreck and even though May arrives to help, he tells her to get after Creel instead. She closes in on the HYDRA pawn pretty quickly but Coulson orders her not to engage. Trip and Skye return to the Playground and she privately tells Coulson the obelisk had the same symbols on it that she’s been researching for him. Later he confesses about the deaths of Hartley and Idaho and shuts down Skye’s request to join May in the field. Meanwhile Hunter is arrested by the military and then dropped off in a field where Talbot invites him aboard his helicopter. There Talbot calls Coulson a zealot who is pushing his own agenda and tries appealing to Hunter’s military pride. After some initial hesitation, Hunter agrees to give up Coulson for $2 million and a proper burial for Hartley.

Hunter renegotiates: While waiting in a diner to meet with his HYDRA contact, Creel accidentally turns a waitress to stone when she brushes his obelisk-infected arm. May, who has been keeping tabs from outside, rushes in when she hears screaming. All she can do is watch the woman become completely encased. Hunter returns to the Playground and reams Coulson for not already having Creel in custody. He fires back that Hartley should’ve followed orders and surprises Hunter by saying he knows the merc was offered in a deal by Talbot. Hunter wants Coulson to counter Talbot’s offer by agreeing to a burial for Hartley, giving him the pay for his whole team, and letting him help bring in Creel. The Director agrees.

The Un-Absorbing Man: Back in the van, Creel tries out several substances but can’t absorb anything. He’s starting to freak out about what the obelisk is doing to him and the typical brand of non-sympathy offered by HYDRA only makes him chuck his phone. That’s when Raina appears out of the shadows. She knows he has the obelisk and offers as payment carbine, a substance made from stardust, that’s harder than diamonds and has the ability to store energy. Creel’s definitely interested but doesn’t want to face HYDRA’s wrath so he just takes the carbine and tells Raina to beat it. Shortly after, Coulson and Co. find a new message, a phone number, in HYDRA’s secret comm. line. They call it and Raina answers. She doesn’t work for HYDRA, she says, because “all they want is world domination which is so 1945.” Instead, she doesn’t want the obelisk falling into the wrong hands and, mostly, she wants Coulson to get it because she thinks he’ll be able to understand it due to his alien aided resurrection. To prove her helpfulness she even offers the info for the tracking device attached to the carbine.

Fitz’s new Simmons: With the quinjet around, Mack can copy it’s cloaking technology to use on the Bus. He tries asking for Fitz’s help but the scientist is still too far gone. Fake Simmons nudges him to try figuring out how to neutralize Creel and then encourages Fitz to accept Mack’s help. The two make an unlikely pair but when Fitz keeps repeating “I didn’t solve this today,” Mack finally cottons on that this means he figured it out before. They search his past designs and find the device they need.

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

Taking the shot: The team suits up with Icers and surveys Creel meeting with his HYDRA contact. After May and Skye “copy” Coulson’s orders, Hunter stuns them. Then he stuns Trip and takes his sniper rifle that’s loaded with armor piercing rounds. The HYDRA man has gotten Creel to “center” himself essentially so his powers are back on, which is helpful because just about then, Hunter fires at him. The Absorbing Man deflects it and he’s about to touch Hunter with his obelisk hand when Coulson attaches Fitz’s device to his back, turning him completely to stone. Sometime later after Hartley’s funeral, Coulson asks Hunter to stay on with SHIELD. He says he needs people who are willing to do the wrong thing for the right reasons, which Hunter did, but at which he failed spectacularly, I’d like to point out.

Coulson’s episodes: Skye notes that Mack and Fitz are connecting well but she’s concerned about Coulson. May tells her not to worry, then turns around and confronts the Director. She knows when something is wrong with him, holding up a paperclip he’d bent out of shape earlier. She’s mad he went into the field and reminds him it’s been 18 days since his last episode. With a sigh of resignation, he admits he’s tired of fighting it. She tells him not to. While he carves symbols into the wall, she videotapes him and keeps a gun handy, I’m assuming just in case of a homicidal breakdown.

Daddy dearest: Raina, who made off with the obelisk, is made to pick it up by a creepy Kyle MacLachlan aka the dude with the bloody hand in the season finale aka Skye’s dad. Instead of hurting her, the obelisk activates, though he claims it still didn’t “work.” When she asks him to show her, he replies, “Bring me my daughter, and I’ll show both of you.”

Christmas comes early for the General: Coulson meets with Talbot back in that same field where Hunter was picked up and tries to make a deal wherein SHIELD provides gifts and Talbot keeps the military off their backs. The first present is Creel, who is cryogenically frozen and in the van next to Coulson. Talbot mostly thinks Coulson is an idiot for arriving without backup but has to eat his words when the Bus and quinjet both materialize in the air.

Field Notes

  • Skye, suggesting a more appropriate reaction from Coulson about the symbols on the obelisk: “How about, ‘Holy crap Skye we gotta get on that?’”
  • Hunter: “SHIELD isn’t a life, just a job. A means to an end.” And this is the dude you just hired Coulson?
  • Skye, on whether Creel might be lonely: “I doubt it. That guy’s jacked AND he can turn any body part into any material.”
    Coulson: “Ok, enough of that…”
  • Coulson’s priorities: “We’re lucky we still have our George Foreman grill.”
  • May on what Creel’s been doing alone in a diner for an hour: “Either he’s waiting for a drop or he’s getting drunk off his ass.”
  • Coulson in reply to Skye’s suggesting he try yoga: “I tried it but I’m really not flexible…but thanks.”
  • May and Coulson working together to manage his “episodes” is exactly what I wanted to happen ever since we learned he wasn’t quite right and she was there to protect him. Phillinda feels forever!
  • Hunter: “I shot three of your agents.”
    Coulson: “Including agent may, not a smart move.”

Next week, has Simmons turned to HYDRA? Or did she go badass and infiltrate HYDRA as payback for them taking down SHIELD?

Stephanie Coats