There are missions but also hidden agendas. Several of them are revealed this week. One is noble, another is tragic, and a third tries to convince us to take in a movie this weekend. It all takes place during a desperate rescue mission that involves invading a HYDRA base.
***** SPOILERS BELOW *****
Yet the episode starts with several visions experienced by Raina (Ruth Negga): Gordon’s (Jamie Harris) forehead bleeding, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) strapped to a hospital bed. Coulson with a gun, and HYDRA. Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) is about to ask about them when Gordon comes back with Skye, along with Cal (Kyle MacLachlan), who is kind of upset he’s about to be banished from Lai Shi, land of the Inhumans. Gordon takes a quick trip, then returns saying HYDRA has Lincoln. His forehead is bleeding, so Raina is indeed the Clairvoyant. It was mentioned last week that it’s a first for Lai Shi. Will this be an advantage?
Jaiying, Skye’s mom, is reluctant to let Skye find Lincoln, mainly because she suspects HYDRA is tracking Gordon. She also remembers what Whitehall did to her.
Meanwhile, Coulson and Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) meet, and it gets pretty tense. While Coulson says HYDRA has enhanced people it wants to experiment on, including Deathlok, Gonzales is not in a trusting mood. Still, Coulson says we all have our secrets. He even offers to open the real Toolbox, if Gonzales trusts him.
Lincoln and Mike get to know each other in their cell, and that Mike’s cyborg weapons have been put out of commission, including his eye. They’re soon knocked out by List (Henry Goodman), with Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) helping Ward on the inside. List also briefly talks about a set of twins who experienced some of HYDRA’s experimentation. They’ll soon be seen at a theater near you.
At the SHIELD plane, Coulson submits his plan to get into the HYDRA base to get Lincoln and Peterson out of there with his agents. Of course, that also includes Ward (Brett Dalton), who has done a lot of destructive things. He’ll make a lot of remarks about how the SHIELD agents are not happy to see him, but he will do his part. The 2 of the Real SHIELD staff vote against this, but Gonzales, Morse and May overrule them and allow the mission. Gonzales is sort of hoping it doesn’t work, but he has another reason in mind.
Simmons also wants to be in the mission, but for another reason, too. Remember when she promised Ward if she ever saw him again, she’d kill him? She decides to bring a splinter bomb to fulfill that promise. She has changed, hasn’t she?
Coulson and May argue about her decision to be part of “Team Gonzales” while he kept a lot of things from her, like meeting with her ex, Andrew Gardner. He says it was to help him through that alien graffiti period from last fall. He still won’t say what Theta Protocol is, but that will be revealed. Still, she’s upset enough to say she doesn’t consider him SHIELD director anymore.
Back at Lai Shi, Gordon won’t let Skye leave, until Raina says her visions say Skye will help Lincoln. So, Gordon gets Skye back to the SHIELD base…but she’s stunned to see Ward.
The only person who is happy to see Ward is Kara (Maya Stojan), the former Agent 33, who wants to stay with him. She even tells Morse that Ward isn’t all that bad. Others will disagree, especially when he tries to apologize to the other agents about the awful things he did at the end of last season.
Jaiying decides Cal can stay at Lai Shi for a while, which increases his hopes for a reunited family. He also tells her to watch out for Raina, because she can be dangerous and manipulative
The crew starts its mission, and it looks like they’re been spotted and shot down. A SHIELD plane does down, but not the one with the crew inside. The crew meets Bakshi, who prefers to be with Ward for the time being. He does lead them to List, but he gets away. They also find Mike with most of his hardware gone. He’s surprised Simmons is working with Ward, but she says she saw an opportunity to do the right thing.
What’s most impressive is that Skye has found a good use of her vibration powers. A wave of her hand and two HYDRA guards are knocked across the room. Her fighting skills have improved a lot too. She does find Lincoln, but he has flat-lined. A combination of his electric skills and her vibration power gives him the jump start he needs.
Simmons has a chance to use the splinter bomb, but it’s Bakshi who gets killed. Ward is stunned, but also says he’s disappointed in her. He’s about to shoot her, but he doesn’t. Some may understand her decision to avenge what Ward did to Fitz, but a scientist considering murder is a hard thing to see. It’s the loss of her innocence, and it may lead to more things for her in the future.
So, the mission is almost done…but where is Coulson? He had a side mission that May is not happy to learn about. It’s a scene familiar to those who saw Captain America’s sequel last year. When everyone gets back, Coulson gets a call from Ward, who got out of the base on his own. He tells Coulson to help out Kara, and make her the SHIELD agent she can be. Ward can’t do that because there isn’t enough good in him. This means he’ll be back next season, although some may think he should be back with his own show. Mike, though, will be sent to a SHIELD facility to get his hardware restored. Seeing him again would also be a great idea.
Gonzales tells Morse he’s glad Skye and Lincoln are back, but he wants both in his custody. He wants to know more about “enhanced people” and where to find them. He’ll get some help from the Toolbox, which Coulson says Gonzales can examine until Fury gets back. Yeah, that’s a spoiler alert.
The episode was a basic mission with hidden agendas. Ward wanted to make amends, even if his efforts won’t exactly be appreciated. Simmons wanted revenge, but may wonder what she has become for actually wanting that. Gonzales wanted Lincoln rescued, hoping he will show them where Lai Shi and other enhanced people are located. That may lead to serious problems.
What makes the episode special is that it’s linked to Age of Ultron. Coulson has a private video chat with Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). It seems Loki’s scepter is being held by Strucker of HYDRA (as shown at the end of Winter Soldier), which means they’re using it to control minds. It’s time for Theta Protocol, and that includes the Avengers. Coulson didn’t tell Gonzales because he’d put it to a vote, which Hill thinks is dumb.
Back at Lai Shi, Raina is about to ask Jiaying why she is the boss, especially regarding Cal and her visions. Then, she has a vision about the scepter. She calls it beautiful and destructive. She also sees “metal men” tearing cities apart and changing the world. In short, she just foresaw the Age of Ultron…and maybe what comes afterwards. Entertainment Weekly has more on how the movie and show will connect.
Next week: it’s SHIELD against the Inhumans, and Skye may wonder whose side she should choose.
And look out for our exclusive interview with Dichen Lachman (Jaiying) next week!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC. Watch full episodes on ABC.Go.com.