Even though Coulson and his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been working well, they have secrets. May and Ward have kept their passions secret, Simmons wants to analyze Skye and Coulson’s blood to find out more about GH325, although Coulson doesn’t want her to do that. Then there’s Agent May talking to someone on her own private line. If they all came to light, it could be bad news for them, and maybe for the wrong reasons. Once you lose trust, you lose everything. Even if you try to get it back, it doesn’t bring things back to normal.
That’s the real issue behind “End of the Beginning,” which would describe where the show is now. After starting off with non-classified missions, and brief mentions of what happened in the Marvel movies, the show finally heads to its main mission: battling the mysterious Clairvoyant and Deathlok, a super-soldier who used to be a regular dad. However, it gives way to another plot twist that could threaten S.H.I.E.L.D.’s existence. It may be no coincidence that the story will be nearly similiar to the new Captain America movie. Why else do we see Cap’s shield over the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo these days?
The search starts with Triplett (B.J. Britt) and Garrett (Bill Paxton) at a safe house in Sydney. They’re not there long before Deathlok (J. August Richards) surprises them. He’s not fazed by bullets or the Icers, and then leaves through the ceiling. That leads to a special meeting with fellow agents Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows), Felix Blake (Titus Welliver) and Jasper Sitwell (Maximilian0 Hernandez). They think the Clairvoyant could have been a “gifted one” rejected by S.H.I.E.L.D., and they need special help to find this person…and that’s how Skye officially became a Level 1 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Her plan: have three pairs of agents separately look for candidates who may likely be the Clairvoyant .
Meanwhile, Deathlok, who may be the modern version of the Winter Soldier, gets some new hardware and a message in his eye: the Clairvoyant thinks it’s time to meet. Meanwhile, Sitwell is being told to go to the Lumerian Star for a S.H.I.E.L.D. mission. Guess he has a boat to catch. What happens next will be in the Captain America movie. Hand will head back to the Hub to observe the search for the Clairvoyant. Garrett and Skye seem to be getting along, exchanging war stories. He even notes that Ward has changed because he has a team behind him. He says it’s the difference between fighting against something and fighting for something.
The pairings are Triplett with Ward, Blake with May and Coulson with Garrett. Triplett and Ward have an interesting conversation. Triplett wants to avenge his partner, but Ward says “We’re him to take him in, not out.” Triplett says if Skye had died, what would he be feeling. We may soon find out.
May and Blake are at an assisted living facility in Georgia, looking for Thomas Nash, who supposedly had the power to predict but not influence people. Who they find instead is Deathlok. Blake tries to remind him he has a son. “Mike Peterson’s dead,” Deathlok says, and that’s a devastating remark. By cutting him off from everything, Mike Peterson is more machine than man by just enough. Blake is severely injured in the battle, and May ducks a missle. They do find out Blake fired a round into Deathlok that they could use to track him.
They find Deathlok at an abandoned race track, but lose his trail. Who they find instead is a man with several TV’s, who can only communicate by computer. It’s Nash, the Clairvoyant (Brad Dourif). Although he gives up, he taunts Coulson, claiming they were destined to meet and that he’s clouded with lies given to him. He then says a force will come for him and Skye, and that Skye will die after “they” take all she has. That’s enough for someone to shoot the Clairvoyant dead…and it’s Ward. Triplett was right, or as Agent Hand says, “Bet the Clairvoyant didn’t see that coming.”
That would normally be the end, with Ward being under review. Coulson is told Nick Fury is back at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Triskelion, but also wonders if they got the wrong guy. Skye then reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. files have the most intimate information possible of every agent, including him. Anyone with that information would be better than any psychic. This means the Clairvoyant is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
This is big because after years of loyal service, Phil Coulson has to question the company that he has put his faith in, body and soul. Even if they did bring him back, he now questions who he’s working for. He won’t be the only one after this weekend.
He starts to question his own agents. He asks Ward if someone told him to kill Nash, then Fitz discovers May’s secret phone line. This leads to May gunning for Fitz, with an Icer, but then Skye and Coulson point real guns at her. Despite this, she won’t reveal why she has a secret phone. It must be some secret, because he’s now convinced she’s working for the real Clairvoyant.
Then the Bus gets “hijacked” and sent to the Hub, where Agent Hand is waiting. She orders that Coulson be brought to her, and the rest be “taken out”. What has happened that made her lose her faith in Coulson and her crew…or is there something she’d like to hide?
Whatever it is, Nick Fury won’t have a chance to straighten things out. He’s being attacked…
To be continued at a theater near you.
This week’s episode may be a parallel story to Captain America: The Winter Solider. Since Coulson is a fan of Captain America, it would make sense that he would find himself in a similar situation: apparent betrayal by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the agents he thought he could trust. He not only has to fight Agent Hand, but May and maybe Ward. The only ones on his side are Skye, Fitz, Simmons and (hopefully) Garrett. It’s safe to say that Fury’s fate in the movie will affect everyone’s decisions for the next six episodes, and whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. will survive. Coulson and his allies will wind up fighting against something AND for something.
Again, it’s all connected. Maybe at some point, someone will say the words: “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”…because that is what Coulson is saying to May, Hand will say to Coulson, and everyone will say to the real threat inside S.H.I.E.L.D.