Wed
Mar 5 2014 5:00pm

See You at Skye Fall. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “T.A.H.I.T.I.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

That was the weirdest Dr. Manhattan reference ever.

Although ostensibly about saving Skye’s life, “T.A.H.I.T.I.” circles the show back around to the mystery behind Coulson’s resurrection, diving deeper into the tangled world of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Before we begin I should take a few moments to talk about the preceding episode “T.R.A.C.K.S.,” since I didn’t get a chance to recap it. In a word, “T.R.A.C.K.S.” was awesome. Splitting up the story into four different character viewpoints shouldn’t have worked for a show as gooey as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it excelled marvelously, giving us new ways of looking at these characters, providing some fun twists and turns, and moving the plot forward so relentlessly that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Stan Lee even showed up to tell the show that it could be doing a better job! This is why he’s The Man.

“T.A.H.I.T.I.” is not as awesome, mostly because it runs out of story to tell about ten minutes in, killing time until its big reveal with shooty-explodey infiltrations and Bill Paxton, but that reveal certainly gives us plenty to talk about.

The events of “T.R.A.C.K.S.” saw the team tracking down a shipment of Cybertek tech that, unbeknownst to them but knownst to us, was going to be used to turn super-soldier Mike Peterson into Deathlok. The chase ended with Skye tracking Peterson to a safehouse of Quinn’s, where she got to see Peterson get fitted with a bionic leg that undoubtedly will add the power of punches to his kicks before getting shot twice in the stomach by Quinn, under telephone orders from the Clairvoyant.

“T.A.H.I.T.I.” opens with the team scooping up Quinn and rushing Skye to emergency surgery. The outlook isn’t good. She was shot point blank and her intestines and stomach have been perforated. (This is extremely bad news. The shockwave force of the bullet alone causes damage to all the surrounding organs due to fluid compression. Then you have to deal with all the bleeding. Then you have to deal with the fact that your stomach is spilling acid onto everything. Then you have deal with infection. Even if she pulls through the initial trauma, Skye is probably going to die, and painfully.)

May offers a solution by busting into the interrogation room containing Quinn and punching and punching and punching him. For a quick moment, she loses control, something we’ve never seen May do before, and suddenly we see her in a new light. Is this why she never wanted to go back in the field? Because she knew something like this would eventually happen?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

Coulson is also not having this, so he has the team set sail for the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where he assumes he was fixed up by that weird brain-spider robot thing. If S.H.I.E.L.D. can bring him back from the dead, he reasons, then he can do the same for Skye. Because wow does he care about Skye!

This is one of my favorite aspects of Coulson, actually, and I would wager that it’s most everyone else’s favorite aspect of him, too, even if it’s not as obvious to others. Across the Phase 1 Avengers movies and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson has consistently demonstrated a desire to nurture and protect the people around him. Even way back in Iron Man, when he comes off as little more than a weasely middleman, he still makes it a priority to defend Pepper Potts against the Iron Monger, even though he’s hopelessly outclassed. This quality of Coulson’s comes fully into play in Avengers, and it’s the Avengers’ remembrance of this that ultimately brings them together.

This aspect of his character defines Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson is changing from the skinny little spook who was just following orders in Thor to someone who actively questions his orders and who struggles to find a way to meld his work with S.H.I.E.L.D. with his urge to care for people. It explains why he’s so loyal to his honestly-not-all-that-great-at-their-jobs team, why he keeps them away from S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol half the time, and why he’s so obsessive about saving Skye.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

It’s really that quality that makes him so endearing to me. This is a guy who actually cares about making the world a better place and who, most importantly, translates that into action. When Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. buddy Bill Paxton shows up, he makes certain to point that out. “People like us…we need people like him.”

Oh, hey, so, Bill Paxton’s in this episode. You remember Bill Paxton, right? He’s your favorite character from Big Love!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

Paxton’s character (basically, another Coulson-type, except he’s Bill Paxton) isn’t strictly necessary in this story, but the episode uses him well. He’s the bad cop to Coulson’s good cop, he’s the easygoing mentor to Ward, and he’s a hard-nosed warrior to everyone else. Paxton flips between all of these states effortlessly, and is a lot of fun to watch as a result. I’m not sure we need to see him again? But Coulson needs a friend that isn’t on his own team.

Because it sure doesn’t sound like Nick Fury wants to be his friend. In his haste to get Skye to The Magical Place, Coulson tries calling Fury to get the lowdown on exactly what happened to him. Except Coulson can’t even get through. Later, we find out that...maybe Fury got the message? Because Fury has sent Coulson all the files pertaining to his procedure. We learn his kind of off-handedly and it was by far the biggest WTF moment for me in the episode. Coulson confronting Fury about his revival should be a knock-down drag-out of a scene, not something mentioned casually. If you can get Samuel L. Jackson in for a gag post-credits scene, then you can do this, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It’s made even more confusing by a later scene where Fitz and Simmons sift through S.H.I.E.L.D.’s files holographically so they can determine holographically where The Magical Place actually is...holographically. These files don’t come from Fury, they come from a friend Fitz has at the Triskelion. (Fitz has friends?) And the file they actually need is still locked by Fury himself. But didn’t Fury send Coulson his files? Wait, why would you even have a file about this “Guest House” where people can be brought back from the dead? And why won’t anyone pick up when I call S.H.I.E.L.D.? Don’t they want to know all the good ideas I have for new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes? It’s all so confusing!!!!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

The team gets to a complex in, like, the Black Hills of Dakota that may or may not belong to S.H.I.E.L.D. but probably belongs to S.H.I.E.L.D. just a more secret kind of S.H.I.E.L.D. where they ask you “How was the drive from Istanbul?” in order to check that you’re cleared to enter. Coulson and company don’t know, and don’t even try to answer “That’s nobody’s business but the turks.” but they’re not nerds. Or they’re not nerds about that, anyway.

The team ends up shooting and exploding their way in while Skye goes into cardiac arrest like ten times while Future Cast Member Trip makes googly eyes at Simmons. (I should have mentioned...Skye is also on the plane with them. S.H.I.E.L.D. has amazing Inserting-Entire-Intensive-Care-Units-Into-Airplanes technology available.)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

Once the boring part is over, Coulson eventually finds the table he was operated on, then keeps looking for the chemical they need to make Skye’s body repair itself. They find it and scamper, because the place is about to explode because reasons, but Coulson won’t go. He has to see what’s behind the door marked “T.A.H.I.T.I.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

The plot kind of forgets about the bomb while Coulson goes walkabout, and Skye gets the magical healing chemical just in time, turning a weird color at first but then settling back to normal. Still healing! Still conked out! But normal.

Quinn is shipped off to the Fridge (where we’ve previously learned that Emil “The Abomination” Blonsky is also being kept, so THERE’S a time bomb waiting to go off...) and Paxton and Coulson chuckle that the Clairvoyant totally set him up. Skye will live to testify that he shot her so he’s going to prison forever, probably, which hooray! I dislike Quinn as a villain. He’s not smarmy enough to be fun and not evil enough to waste energy on disliking. He’s just there. Drinkin’. Smirkin’. Takin’ orders. Time to make room for a more engaging villain!

Paxton and Trip leave and Coulson admits to May that Skye is reacting far differently to the cellular-regenerating chemical than he did. His own experience was traumatic and painful, whereas Skye’s seems to have been relatively smooth.

We’re not told why this is. All we know is that behind that door marked “T.A.H.I.T.I.” was half a blue guy, being drained of the very chemical that saved Skye and Coulson. A blue guy that, for some unknown reason, the Clairvoyant can’t see. Dunh dunh HUHHHH?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

Alright, let’s dig into this. Who or what is the blue guy? Kree? Frost Giant? An Atlantean? The various licensing agreements that Marvel has with assorted movie studios might rule out Kree, as supposedly Fox bought the rights to depict them along with the Fantastic Four.

An Atlantean would be an intriguing development. The chemical seemed to react to Skye as if she was biologically compatible with it, and she’s a literal unknown at this point, so it’s possible that she’s a half-human, half-Atlantean kid, abandoned at birth. Namor and Altantis would be a pretty interesting angle for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to tackle. But again, Namor is closely tied with the Fantastic Four, so Fox might have those rights.

A Frost Giant seems a likely possibility, especially since the show has already dealt with the consequences of Asgardian shenanigans once and will obviously be doing so again.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

It also might align with the real identity of the Clairvoyant. That is, if you agree with my crazy theory that the Clairvoyant is possibly Loki working from afar. Who else would be so interested in Coulson’s resurrection? And who is, himself, a Frost Giant accustomed to a human form? It would be one hell of a reveal, and we know that Tom Hiddleston is always up for reprising his role, even if he has to do weird things to conceal his presence.

Just a theory! Piled on top of another crazy theory. What I really want to know is why it matters to Coulson that his second life comes courtesy of Dr. Manhattan’s spinal fluid (or whatever that thing was). I hope the show takes the time in future episodes to detail Coulson’s reaction to this information. Does he dig deeper? Does he accept things as they are? Coulson seems to have a lot of rage building up about his resurrection, and he hasn’t directed any of it at the organization that’s responsible for it in the first place. When are we going to see Coulson act?

 

Tidbits:

  • I love that Trip wanted a drink before interrogating Quinn. That guy is a professional!
  • So if the Clairvoyant can see everything except what was happening in that weird S.H.I.E.L.D.-not-S.H.I.E.L.D. base then what does the Clairvoyant even want? They would already know pretty much everything...
  • The shoot-out in the base was pretty boring, and it makes me curious how the show approaches these kinds of fights and the attempts they make to jazz them up. Every episodes tends to contain a physical fight or gun battle, so how do you keep that interesting? I have the same reaction to vampire fights on Buffy, too.
  • Does S.H.I.E.L.D. have a guy who’s job it is to just create acronyms? Because after writing this recap I’m going to murder him.
  • The Lorelei post-credits scene was oddly limp. Here’s hoping they do more with her abilities in next week’s episode than just have a bunch of guys fawning over her. I suppose that would be the true test of a Whedon show. Will they play Lorelei as a joke, or take her character seriously?

Chris Lough is Tor.com’s resident Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bullet-taker and the bottom half of the blue guy. He has more to say on Twitter sometimes.

40 comments
Douglas McKinney
1. Douglas McKinney
My biggest problem with this particular episode is the way nobody really cares about the deaths of the two guards at the Guest House. These maybe-SHIELD agents are treated as reverse Red Shirts. Instead of finding a way to get them out, Coulson and his team only care about saving Skye. Even Garrett casually tells one, "Nothing personal, Bob" or somesuch after reading the guy's ID. After killing him. If Coulson is being rubbed the wrong way by SHIELD's questionable ethics and treating people as means to an end, why doesn't he care more about these guards who are only doing their jobs? Is this intended as a flaw in the team's collective character, and more specifically Coulson's, or is it merely lazy TV, in which death only matters if it's a recurring cast member? Sloppy or hypocritical, it just rubs me the wrong way.
Chris Meadows
2. Robotech_Master
Was anyone else vaguely disappointed Bill Paxton was still alive by the end of the episode? I mean, he's like Sean Bean, he's supposed to die every time you see him. "Game over, man!" :)
William Frank
3. scifantasy
Douglas @1: I didn't see that at all. Coulson and co. made sure to do everything possible to not fire until fired upon, which is all you can do in that circumstance. They almost begged not to be treated as enemies, but once they were, they had to respond. They weren't about to walk away, after all.

And while Garrett said "nothing personal," Coulson wanted to give the guard he found medical attention! He just wasn't in time. (Painting Garrett as more ruthless and less compassionate than Coulson is not a problem for me.)
Alan Brown
4. AlanBrown
Yeah, I didn't like them blowing away the guards at the med facility either. That wasn't just morally ambiguous, it was just wrong. And thrown on top of the scene where May beats the heck out of a prisoner, only to be pulled away so Bill Paxton can torture some information out of him (since torturing prisoners seems OK, I guess her crime was being too sentimental in her inflicting of pain). Our Agents of SHIELD may be the protagonists, but they are pretty cold-hearted to be thought of as good guys. Which does not make me happy, because I want to root for people who are at least trying to be good guys, not a bunch of fascist thugs.
It is pretty obvious that SHIELD is about to get blasted wide open, since the Winter Soldier trailers are suggesting that if all of SHIELD is not trying to take over the world, then a significant fraction of the organization has gone rogue. Which will have a huge impact on the show.
I don't think the blue guy was Atlantean, since I read somewhere that the rights to Namor had been signed away to yet another studio, separate from the "Big Three" Marvel movie franchises (Spiderman/FF/Avengers). He did look like Dr. Manhattan, or at least the Upper East Side of Manhattan (sorry, I couldn't resist).
But my big complaint is what you described in your last comment, Chris. I had high hopes after the cliffhanger episode, which was really effective with its multiple viewpoint structure. But those hopes were somewhat dashed by the flatness of this episode. Agents of SHIELD so often seems to be "oddly limp." A lot of interesting stuff is happening, but the directing of the episodes just doesn't seem to be making that stuff exciting. The show is getting better, but still needs to get to another level before it is firing on all cylinders.
John C. Bunnell
5. JohnCBunnell
The real puzzle about the Guest House is that there doesn't seem to be anyone there except for the security guys -- no one, at least, that we ever see, and no visible evidence of any clever secret evacuation mechanism. Which is odd, because you couldn't very well run what appears to be a superheroic emergency room without a medical team actually on site. Also, the degree to which the place is pre-configured to self-destruct is similarly odd, because that too runs counter to the idea of a facility whose whole purpose in life is bringing people back to life.

Off the top of my head, my guess would be that the facility was decommissioned after Coulson's resurrection, perhaps because that project didn't go quite the way the operators expected it to.

On a different note, I had a totally different theory about the half-body in the secret chamber. I think it's a synthetic body. I'm open to discussion about the T.A., but I will bet a nickel that H.I.T.I. stands for "Human Intelligence Transfer Interface".
Chris Nelly
6. Aeryl
Because Fury has sent Coulson all the files pertaining to his procedure.

This was done after "A Magical Place", but I can appreciate the hiatuses have made that detail hard to remember.

So he hasn't actually talked to Fury about this, it's just that after he learned the truth, Fury saw the futility in trying to keep it from him any longer.

From my understanding, the Kree are a part of the GOTG movie, so I'm not certain you are right on the licensing. But I think you are right on the money with your supposition that Skye is related to that creature, and that's why she was so receptive to the chemical.

I too am having a problem with the callous treatment of the deaths at the SHIELD(SWORD?) facility. I imagine Coulson has a metric fuckton of shit barrelling down at him in time for the finale.
Jenny Thrash
7. Sihaya
#1: I think the point was simply to play with tropes. When we meet Bob and his partner, they think they're the heroes of their own show, as they casually zip out the old, "Do you want the left or the right?" line. It was nothing personal with them, either. They thought that the S.H.I.E.L.D. guys were Red Shirts. And frankly, in any other Marvel setting, they are. Also, the scene was meant to differentiate between Coulson and Garrett. Garrett finished off his guard and zipped off a one liner. Coulson offered medical help before his opponent died.

As for the stuff about the file: It's pretty obvious that either Fury or someone who thought they knew Fury's interests sent Coulson a file with faked information on purpose. We've seen that, though he's hardly a Luddite, Coulson tends to work with the hard copy that he's handed. *That's* why the digital files became important. And even the digital files didn't give them any direct access to information - Fitz had to figure out the exact shape of the hole in the information, and then get back with Simmons to figure out which parts made sense with the altered printout. And even then, they didn't have everything - like T.A.H.I.T.I. So the whole thing with multiple files and formats made perfect sense to me.

The drive from Istanbul was magical - duh.
Chris Meadows
8. Robotech_Master
Frankly, every time I see a new character, I wonder if they have some kind of hidden agenda. What did Garrett really mean when he said Coulson might see him "sooner than you think"? (Yeah, he said something about Trip falling for Simmons, but what, he's going to show up just to chaperone?)

For that matter, why was Director Fury or whoever so ominously silent about the invasion of a facility so top-secret it wasn't even part of S.H.I.E.L.D.? He had to know what was going on; there were two Level 8 cleared agents along. Was Garrett really there just to collect/interrogate Quinn?

I just keep thinking back to the beginning of Quantum of Solace, wherein it turned out practically anyone and everyone worked for the bad guys...
Sean Vivier
9. SeanVivier
What makes the death of the anonymous guards so monstrous is that they had both a night night pistol and a night night rifle on the Bus.
Douglas McKinney
10. DresdenRose
Spot on analysis of Coulson's character. His humanity is why we love him. I find myself bemused by the comments about the guards at the facility. Coulson gave them several chances to stand down and help them. They chose to fire on them instead. I never thought Coulson took lives lightly or without regret.

Love the show, particularly the last three episodes. But ABC needs to stop sending it on hiatus if they want to build an audience.
Douglas McKinney
11. Paigecm
Yes, what Sean @ #9 said: if SHIELD has such great technology available to save its agents and such, why can't they use it for the guards. Along the same lines, I found the whole plot involving Quinn to be, well, bizarre and similarly problematic. They're hanging onto him so that they can take revenge if Skye dies? That's....super problematic from people whom we're supposed to see as good. Nor does it really make sense, based on what we know about Skye. Maybe there's some big reveal that will explain it, but we've been given so few clues that it's hard to be engaged at this point. And I have the same issues with the G.H. guy. I mean, he's a dramatic visual, but for all we know about him, it might as well have been a less exciting locked box. And yes, he might be Kree, or whatever -- but unless we actually get something that allows us to speculate, then he's just a random dude.

In short: epic reveals work best when you have some decent clues, and we aren't getting any. Random visuals aren't good clues unless there's some way to connect them into the story.
Melissa Shumake
12. cherie_2137
good recap, and thanks for the "they might be giants" reference. i love that song.
Chris Nelly
13. Aeryl
@10, But why should the guys step down? WE know Coulson's telling the truth, but I'm sure the AIM/MODOK/HYDRA goons who show up have the same story. They tried to protect the facility from unauthorized incursion.

I suppose, at the end of the day, the true blame lies with Fury, or other SHIELD brass, who had the opportunity to tell Coulson about HG, and get him access, failed to do that, costing those men their lives.

@7, Though the point about tropes is a good one.

One of the things I like about the show, though I understand it may be a turnoff to some, is that they don't answer questions without setting up more questions.

I feel a lot of people question their ability to do this, long term. Showrunners, Jed & Mo cut their teeth on Dollhouse, which whipsawed from twist to twist, and constantly recontextualized previously established "facts". But AoSHIELD will have as many episodes in it's first season than Dollhouse got it's whole run.
Liz J
14. Ellisande
T.A.H.I.T.I = "Totally Alien Head, Including Torso, Ick" project :)

I'm guessing the body's a Kree. Afaik there's no restriction on them in the MCU. It might also be some sort of Inhuman, since we're supposed to get those at some point. Some of the theories about Skye relate to her being half-Kree or an Inhuman, so it would make some kind of sense that the serum works in her.

(Namor, however, I heard belongs to Universal. I'm not sure that's true, though, since people could be mixing up Namor being part of Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, which relates solely to the theme park. But if he's not with Universal he's almost certainly bundled with Fantastic Four at Fox, so... anyway, I doubt the body's an Atlantean).

My favorite theory about the Clairvoyant is that he's the Leader. They've namechecked Norton!Hulk stuff a few times in the show, just to remind people that movie happened and is still in MCU continuity. Marvel doesn't seem like they're doing another Hulk movie anytime soon, so it seems more possible they'd take a main villain from there, rather than a villain that's important to one of the ongoing movie franchises (which is why we're getting Lorelei in the show and not Enchantress). The show desperately needs to have its own villain, not ride the coat-tails of the movies, esp not a villain who can only appear once a season for stunt-casting purposes. I love Loki as much as the next fangirl, but that would be kind of sad for the show.

@11 yes, I agree with you on the random visuals. This (and the brain operating robot thingy) are cool visuals, but they're treated as DUN! reveals, when they're not, they're clues. The blue dude would be much more exciting if we also knew what he was.

I also felt the writers' hand really strongly, as if Ep 14 had the card "non-human origin of resurrection" pinned to it on the big board in the writers room. Maybe because the rest of the episode consisted of running around, it felt really obvious that this was our Designated Crumb. I think I wish that the blue dude had been the midpoint of the episode, they save Skye, and then whatever is gonna happen to her, would happen at the end. Because we all know it's gonna happen. But instead of doing it as the big reveal, they can't because that card is pinned to a different episode.. It just feels very inorganic and, I don't know, like they don't have conviction in having enough story to tell that they have to do it in dribs and drabs.
Brian Haughwout
15. bhaughwout
Part of me wonders, given the obvious change in behavior that we're all noticing since Quinn was brought aboard (he never DID finish answering those questions about Cybertek, Deathlok, and the Clairvoyant) — as well as ABC marketing this storyline & Paxton's appearance as being multi-week — if there's something affecting the team that they aren't noticing as part of a larger plot. Having an inserted guest spot about Asgardian mind control next week could be more than just a nifty Sif appearance, it could be a chance for them to realize that someone hit them BEFORE Lorelei…

That said, count me among those who liked this week's episode (and the last few). Looking forward to getting back a weekly run and the tie-in storyline to WINTER SOLDIER with “Uprising”!
Douglas McKinney
16. mirana
Agreed on the guards deaths. That was totally unecessary and really hypocritical for Coulson's character. They have the night-night guns, AND they're in the wrong! The guards are only doing their jobs, for an organization that is at least affiliated with SHIELD. They have no idea who Coulson and Co. are. OF COURSE they're going to use deadly force against a group barging their way in fully armed.

And why does Coulson do this? To save Skye. Because HER life is more important than two guys he doesn't know, who aren't doing anything wrong.

Just wrong, wrong, wrong. It bothers me a lot that the writers would be that out-of-character and lazy.

I did enjoy the humanizing dialouge the guards had. And the cereal.
Tom Smith
17. phuzz
I don't think it's out of character that Coulson put Skye's life above the guards (As we know one of them was called Rob, I'll call the other one Vic). That's entirely normal to value the people you're close above people you've never met.
That said, they really should have at least tried to use a 'Night-night' gun, but do those work through body armour?

@5. JohnCBunnell
Coulson asked the dying guard (Vic) where everyone else was and he said that the medical staff don't stay on site. Presumably they're only brought in when the facility is expecting a new guest.
Douglas McKinney
18. Ricardo Penteado
"...where she got to see Peterson get fitted with a bionic leg that undoubtedly will add the power of punches to his kicks..."

I bow before your Community references.
Michael Ikeda
19. mikeda
Lorelai post-credits scene

Personally I'm kind of hoping that Lorelai has two henchmen named Luke and Christopher and a protege named Rory...
Douglas McKinney
20. Colin R
I don't know, I'm pretty pacifistic, but if someone is shooting at you, you do have a right to defend yourself. And if you take gun mook as your job, well, live by the sword...

Anyway if those guys were actually SHIELD agents I'd say it's Fury's responsibility, not Coulsen's--Fury is the one who gave him the trail of bread crumbs to get him there.

All the torture stuff is getting old though yeah. If we're lucky maybe this all ties into what is clearly going on in The Winter Soldier, with Captain America questioning SHIELD's 'war on terror' style overreaching. Kinda doubt it though.
Douglas McKinney
21. Gardner Dozois
Two questions they still have not really answered: What makes Skye an Alien Incursion Object or whatever their code for that is and why did a whole village worth of people die when she showed up? And WHY is Coulson so valuable to Fury that he went to these unprecedented lengths to save him, when SHIELD agents obviously die all the time and no one goes to such lengths to save THEM? He was even referred to as "essential" or "absolutely vital" or somesuch once. Why? Considering that they have him flying around in a plane with the B team, it doesn't seem like SHIELD would be damaged in any fundamental way if they'd let him die.
Now, I suppose, we have the question of who and what the alien they were draining blood out of was. And does an infusion of alien blood make the resurrected Coulson now an alien in some way? Do he AND Skye have Powers of some kind that haven't yet manifested? I was surprised that they went in using real guns to kill people last night rather than trying to stun them with their "nightlight" guns. Up until this point, Coulson has been very reluctant to kill people, even recognized Bad Guys. I also thought it odd that the thought that these guys they were shooting were very probably high-level secret SHIELD agents like themselves didn't give anyone pause. I wonder if this new willingness to kill represents a change in showrunners, or perhaps an attempt to boost the ratings?
Douglas McKinney
22. Gardner Dozois
I wondered how Fury was going to react to the fact that they killed two agents and blew up a multi-billion dollar research facility that obviously has some ultra top-secret connection to SHIELD in spite of denials, since that's where they took Coulson to be resurrected. Can't imagine this is going to endear them to anybody.
Bill Capossere
23. Billcap
My problem with the whole ending began even before they killed the two guards (which I also had issues with). None of it made any sense. An ultra-secret base with ultra-secret information/capabilties/material guarded by a pair of guys marginally more effective than mall security? With a “security” system that can be foiled by a smart guy and a screwdriver (not even a sonic one)? This is S.H.I.E.L.D. we’re talking here, not the local 7-11. No outside guns, lasers, etc? No interior gas if someone breaches? The self-detonation is clumps of C-4 just hanging out (so bad guys can tear them off and use)? Unless they explain that the base was purposely stood down and left open to breach as a sneaky way to let Coulson get the information someone wants him to have (which I really hope is the case), it was about as poor a façade of heroic-obstacle-to-oversome as I’ve seen. Not to mention the silliness of finding the drug and taking a single vial. A single vial? Really? Magic drug that can bring back the dead or near-dead and you don’t know the dosage or how many times you need to administer it but you take only one?

My reading of Quinn staying on the plane was less for revenge than as a bargaining chip with S.H.I.E.L.D. in case they tried to put up resistance when the plane arrived at the alleged base where Coulson was healed. (which might also have been an alternative to killing the guards—show his face to the camera and tell them to get on the horn to Fury and open up the place of Quinn and all he knows goes bye-bye).

Speaking of which, the guards never try to contact superiors? They’ve got to be able to identify two top SHIELD agents—at the least, why not see if they should let them in and if the answer is no, then shoot them? It's not like they had no time.

Felt like a lazy episode to me, though I liked the undercurrent of Coulson’s characterization (save for the guards)
John C. Bunnell
24. JohnCBunnell
@17: Ah, I didn't quite get that bit of dialogue. OTOH, as I note above, this makes no sense whatsoever. A patient that needs Guest-House-level medical tech is going to need it the instant they arrive -- but has to wait for the doctors to arrive from Somewhere Else which clearly has to be some distance out of combat range? Dumb, dumb, dumb. You would at least need a paramedic/EMT to hook the patient up to the GH's stasis chamber or whatever holding technology they use. This may be what the guard was told, but it can't possibly be actual practice for a working facility.

Which is what makes me suspicious that this whole operation was a setup of some kind. It's pretty clear that Our Heroes were aimed at the Guest House by somebody -- whether Fury, the Clairvoyant, or some other faction of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains to be seen. What they were supposed to do is also fuzzy. The script is heavy-handed about how much easier the op would've been "if Skye were here"; it may be that whoever aimed them at the GH didn't anticipate that she'd be the patient when he/she was designing the clues. My own suspicion remains that whoever fed them said clues intended to provoke exactly what happened: the GH and its miracle tech are now entirely out of play.
Matthew Glover
25. themightysven
If you're getting annoyed by Acronyms, and they are annoying to type out, so it's understandable, pick a word that's unlikely to come up like "taffeta" and use it instead, then at the end of the article, do a search and replace command
Douglas McKinney
26. Porphyrogenitus
I was shocked that they didn't use night-night tech to deal with the guards, an ommision made even worse since I believe Fitz actually had a nn pistol with him in the facility.

I think the best clue to the identity of the mysterious blue guy is that the facility and the serum both have the initials GH. Guest House hardly seems like more than a thin cover.

I suspect that the Clairvoyant did not sacrifice Quinn, rather he's moving him like a piece on a board. He wants him in the Fridge for some reason, maybe as part of a ploy to break someone else out.
Alan Brown
27. AlanBrown
@25 Great idea. I am going to remember that one!
Scott Wallace
28. wallyrocket
Just stop using the periods in the acronyms. That is just the way Hollywood tells people "Hey! This is an acronym. Now figure out what it means." In the DoD (Department of Defense) we have to learn a whole new language of acronyms just to know what people are talking about. If it's in all caps then it's an acronym. Some overly used acronyms no longer follow this, i.e. RADAR. We have tons of rules for writing acronyms, all different between the services and agencies. None of them include using periods between the letters.
Mahesh Banavar
29. maheshkb
A couple of things:
- Skye is the Clairvoyant. That is why nothing is going Quinn's way after he shot her.
- The GH is Warehouse 13. Just a different entrance.
Jenny Thrash
30. Sihaya
#29 - I do think that the GH is more of a medical experimentation lab for "artifacts" than a mystical trauma hospital. That's why the docs don't hang around on call.

(edited for typo)
Douglas McKinney
31. Capac Amaru
Was it GH, or HG? I can't remember... I thought it was HG.

If it was, that makes Hoggoth of the Vishanti an option, setting up for Dr Strange.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishanti

Hoggoth usually appears as an old, bald man (or sometimes with silver hair) with blue or purple skin, pointed ears and whose multifaceted eyes have no pupils and burn with blue energy.
Jenny Thrash
32. Sihaya
#31 - GH, as in Guesthouse, which is how Fitz guessed the location.
David Goldfarb
33. David_Goldfarb
My thought on GH was "Gray Hulk" -- i.e., someone who's been exposed to gamma rays and reacted to them. We've seen the Hulk exhibit a healing factor before, and Bruce Banner's blood cured Jennifer Walters. (Albeit with some side effects.)
Bruce Arthurs
34. bruce-arthurs
JohnCBunnell, #5: I had a totally different theory about the half-body in the secret chamber. I think it's a synthetic body. I'm open to discussion about the T.A., but I will bet a nickel that H.I.T.I. stands for "Human Intelligence Transfer Interface".

Blue synthetic body? Human intelligence transfer?

Holy crap, it's Noman!

(Dammit, now I'm faunching for a S.H.I.E.L.D./T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents crossover. "When Acronyms Collide!")
Douglas McKinney
35. Manuefrc
Could that bald "blue"-ish guy be silver surfer?
Chris Nelly
36. Aeryl
Silver Surfer belongs to Fox, so no.
Douglas McKinney
37. spuddylou
TAHITI=The alien hidden in the ice
Douglas McKinney
38. GH
The Alien Housed In The Incubator
Douglas McKinney
39. Bytowner
I wonder how long Quinn and Raina have to live.

Quinn told Skye as he shot her that he too was acting under orders, as I recall. Has he been similarly implanted with "Eye-Spy" tech akin to Mike and Akela? Has Raina?

Tic-tic-tic...
Chris Nelly
40. Aeryl
Just rewatched this episode!

OMG it's amazing how well Garrett's turn is marked from the moment he shows up. Everything he does in this episode indicates that he is the Clairvoyant, especially Quinn's rundown of how exactly he knew where to find all Garrett's partners.

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