For those who think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is as little too boring, the mid-season finale should change a lot of minds. There were familiar faces, the rise of a real threat, and a twist that will drive some to ask Santa Claus to find out what will happen next.
This week’s episode, “The Bridge,” really illustrates how powerful Centipede really is. It has deep pockets, can move its labs at a moment’s notice to stay ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D, and has some of the technology that has been used in other episodes. More on that later. It’s also the first episode that starts with a “previously on..” montage to get people up to speed.
It starts with an inmate named Edison Po (Cullen Douglas) having a quiet lunch in a federal prison, before he’s broken out by three Centipede soldiers. Meanwhile, Skye is trying to figure out who her mom is. She suspects an agent who’s a fan of Truffaut movies is a possibility. Coulson tells her May is looking on it, when she’s not in training with Ward. They’re starting to banter in a slightly sexual way, but she insists they don’t do that.
The mission is to find Po, and they recruit Mike Peterson (J. August Richards), the unemployed factory worker who became a guinea pig to Extremis experiments and nearly tore Union Station apart in the pilot. He’s busy at a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, showing bulldozers around. May doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but Coulson thinks Peterson is the best weapon against Centipede. Besides, he should get a second chance.
While Coulson seems to praise business cards, Peterson is sent to be examined by Simmons (a little too closely according to Fitz), before he gets a S.H.I.E.L.D. combat suit. They also find out S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Night-Night Gun helped Peterson stabilize the Extremis within him.
Then we have Ward and Coulson talking about women, mainly Coulson remembering his old girlfriend, the cellist from Portland. It shows these S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can just be guys, but it also shows how it’s important to have connections outside of work. That’ll come in again later.
Meanwhile, Skye finds a video of Po talking to the girl in the flower dress that Peterson identifies as Raina (Ruth Negga). They also learn she works for someone called “The Clairvoyant.” Meanwhile, Raina interrupts Po’s dinner to tell him how tough Centipede has had it, thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D. It has been successful in adding more implants to the super-soldiers. Po also is very secretive about who or what the Clairvoyant is, and insists that Raina shouldn’t ask any questions.
Ward approaches the sister of Brian Hayward, one of the super-soldiers, by impersonating a lottery official. He gives her a business card, which is, of course, a tracking device. They find Brian with two other soldiers at a warehouse in Oakland. There’s a big fight, and Peterson is holding his own until he gets severely stabbed. Suddenly, two soldiers decide to leave while a third is left behind. He talks to “no one,” then dies. He has the same ocular implant Akela had in “Eye Spy.” Centipede is into everything.
This episode spends a lot of time showing how cool Melinda May can be. Aside from telling Ward to keep things professional with her, especially in battle, she tells Skye to forget her personal agendas, including finding her mom. It’s harsh, maybe too harsh, and May had better not be taking out her feelings towards Ward on Skye. Even if May has decided long ago to turn her back on personal connections, she shouldn’t take out her feelings out on Skye.
Having connections, though, is important to Peterson. Coulson tells him to visit his son Ace again. However, when he calls his son, someone else gets there first… Raina. Peterson is told to surrender, or his boy dies.
When the exchange is made, Centipede admits who it really wants… Coulson. Peterson tries to rescue Coulson, but dies in an explosion. There’s another explosion, but S.H.I.E.L.D. spots a helicopter getting away. Ward apparently is hit by a bullet. May, meanwhile, just glares with the angriest face possible. She’s going to make Centipede pay.
Why does Centipede want Coulson? It wants to know what happened to him the day after he died. Maybe it thinks Coulson’s resurrection is the key to Stage 3 of the Centipede Army. Still, if Coulson doesn’t know, how will Centipede find out?
This situation has created cracks within the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew. There’s tension between May and Ward, and that is spilling over to Skye. This might produce a different kind of triangle that may intensify, especially if Skye complains to Ward about how May’s treating her. If and when they get Coulson back, how will he deal with this, and the real reason why “Tahiti is a magical place?”
It won’t be easy for him, or any of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’ll be a long four weeks.