Wed
Apr 30 2014 1:40pm

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Grievance. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Nothing Personal”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Nothing Personal,” or as I like to call it “Let’s See How Skye Gets Out Of This One,” is a middle of the road affair, but a necessary one all the same. With the panic of Hydra beginning to fade, the series was bound to need a pause for breath before plunging into the season finale.

In a roundabout way, “Nothing Personal” makes a point of having our agents earn that pause, both emotionally and physically. As opposed to the cliffhangers of the last few episodes, this episode peters out with the agents hanging out glumly by the pool in a crappy L.A. motel. It’s a credit to the show that, as a viewer, you just want to cuddle up with them.

Let’s recap how we got here.

Maria Hill is on the phone with Pepper Potts, having just been grilled by another interminable congressional board about the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The security agencies are just as bad, but at least they have a working knowledge of how intelligence and security organizations work. “Who or what is a Man-Thing? I swear I need a cocktail!” she says, basically echoing a phrase I use at the end of every work day.

It’s not really part of the scene, but Hill’s conversation with Stark head Potts is about privatizing security and it makes me curious as to why Tony would be into such a direction for Stark Industries. Which makes me think that maybe this is a very soft hint about the origins of Ultron in the forthcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. Tony and Pepper are forward-thinkers, and the events of Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Captain America 2 have overwhelmingly demonstrated a need for S.H.I.E.L.D. to be there to handle the emergence and countering of superpowered threats. Hydra took down S.H.I.E.L.D. by taking advantage of its human element over the course of decades. What if Tony could offer a S.H.I.E.L.D.-like force that doesn’t rely on a human element? A fleet of iron men manned by people he can trust?

That would, of course, get way out of hand, but that’s probably the point of Avengers: Age of Ultron. One of the biggest aspects of Tony’s character that we have yet to explore in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is what happens when Tony overreaches and fails, and trying to replace S.H.I.E.L.D. with Iron Men or Ultrons or Mandroids or whateverthehell sounds like a good, destructive way to demonstrate that.

Anyway, that was a sidebar!

May takes out the CIA/NSA/NRO spooks tailing Hill so she can chat about Coulson. There’s a lingering thread to his resurrection that only May seems to care about: Fury resurrected Coulson under someone else’s orders, but he only took orders from Hydra’s head Alexander Pierce, so was Coulson re-programmed to be the ultimate Hydra sleeper?

Back at Providence, Coulson seems grossed out by the very notion that he’s a Hydra sleeper. Or, actually, it’s because he’s watching surveillance footage of Skye and Agent GoingSteady holding hands. We know how you feel, Coulson. We’re good at two things: eating lunch, and puking whenever Ward demonstrates affection. And we’re alllll out of lunch.

The team can’t figure out why Ward and Skye would boogaloo, although Coulson admits to them that May’s absence is straightforward: “May walked away because I told her to. I was mad and I was mean.” No one seems all that worried about May’s absence, though, since she never really made herself a part of the group. Which depresses me to no end. May is capable, dissenting when its wise to do so, and has saved the team’s ass on multiple occasions. But because she doesn’t want to socialize, ultimately no one feels too much of a pull to go after her. We know she’ll be back, but that doesn’t make me feel better about their inaction. At some point the team should get her a great big apology ice cream cake. Except not ice cream cake because ugh, that’s like ruining two great things.

I’m talking about food a lot all of a sudden.

And so are our team of agents, as Simmons decides that Pancakes Are A Good Idea Now and ends up stumbling across Koenig’s drippy body in the pantry. Just in case there is any doubt as to who killed Koenig, Fitz stumbles across a secret message that Skye hid in the bathroom.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

Despite finding smoking gun evidence, Fitz won’t believe that Ward is Hydra and when Simmons confirms it WITH SCIENCE—forensic SCIENCE—Fitz finds himself in a glass case of emotion and starts rage-throwing-and-kicking things which... I’m so confused as to what Fitz is supposed to want. Is this misdirected anger at his bond with Simmons becoming looser? Does Fitz just see Simmons and Agent BroFriend as relationships that bring him out of his shell? Considering his actions in “Seeds,” I can sort of see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. setting Fitz up as someone who needs to be around people lest he hide entirely within himself. Is he mad because he’s making a real effort to connect with Simmons and Ward, and is now seeing those efforts undone in such a casual manner? Why do I have to create this kind of head-canon just so Fitz’s actions make sense?

Fitz's character might need the kind of dramatic intervention that Ward got from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, honestly. As Ward and Skye take the Bus to where the hard drive has been geo-locked, Ward’s sociopathic nature is given free reign rein. Skye is so uncomfortable having to keep up the romantic overtones of her cover that everything Ward says and does becomes loaded with menace. “I promise that until this thing is over I’m not gonna let you out of my sight.” Ward seems to be having a little too much fun toying with Skye, and although it makes him very, very interesting to watch, the tone he sets doesn’t quite match up with the confession we’ll receive later on.

The two make their way to the diner from way back in the “Pilot” episode and Skye uses SCIENCE—computer SCIENCE—to stall them at the diner for an hour, which he is not happy about even though that means they’ll have time to order dessert. Ward would prefer to hail Hydra when others would prefer to hail pie-dra. HAIL PIE-DRA!

As part of his court-ordered mandate to be a jerk, Ward snipes at Skye as she works, pointing out in minute detail how nervous Skye must be since they’re wanted by the government and hanging out in plain sight in this diner. Skye counters that last time she was in this diner she was sitting across from Mike Peterson. “A good man. Who turned into a murderer.” Somewhere deep in his oily carb-equed brain, Ward registers a feeling of remorse. And thus begins Round 2 of this bout of Double Agent Punch Out.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

Coulson and company are still back at the ranch, having figured out where Skye and Ward ran off to, but they’re detained just a little bit by a squad of Special Forces led by Glenn Talbot: The Haircut That Thought It Was A Man. Though surrounded by his troops, Coulson is actually amusingly flirtatious in the face of the general’s tough guy attitude, or he is until Talbot reveals that Maria Hill herself led the army to Providence. We find out that her being able to join Stark in the first place is because she traded Coulson’s agents for her own freedom.

Coulson is nakedly furious that Hill can’t trust that he and his agents aren’t Hydra. The two of them have it out on how Fury and she thought Coulson was disloyal when they should have been paying attention to Hydra. “Grow up, Phil. Of course you’re a liability,” she snaps, prompting me to look at my list of Things To Do To Get Grown Up and sure enough, “Become a liability” is right there at number four, just below “Bald awkwardly in fits and starts.”

Both of them have a point. From an outside perspective, Coulson’s team is wacky and unorthodox and in possession of a surprising amount of arcane knowledge. In Hill’s mind, this is a liability that makes them prime targets for Hydra infiltration. In Coulson’s mind, this is is a virtue that... makes them prime targets for Hydra infiltration. The two of them take a little while to arrive on this same page and Coulson finally has to admit that one of his team is Hydra and is a link to a whole batch of bad stuff that’s about to pour forth from Garrett and the Fridge. Hill’s priorities finally align with Coulson’s and the two of them essentially punch and night-night their way through Talbot and his forces.

P.S.—May has been digging up Coulson’s grave this entire time. Just thought we’d like to know.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

Back at the diner, some cops are making Ward edgy. “Chill out. They don’t know you’re pretending to be someone you’re not,” Skye snarks. Then she asks about Ward’s deep-cover missions and how hard it must be to live a double life and betray his friends. Skye taunts him about “shooting” his mentor Garrett, and rolls it all into a reveal that she has tipped off the cops in the diner to their presence. “Hail Hydra.” Round 2 goes to Skye.

Round 3 is short and goes to Ward and Hydra, unfortunately. Although Skye manages to escape in a cop car, Deathlok shows up and bundles them all back to the Bus so Skye can be interrogated as to where the hard drive is actually geo-locked. Despite his day-glo shirt panels, Deathlok’s presence brings about a serious final showdown between Ward and Skye. Skye knows she’ll be killed regardless of whether she gives up the information and lets Ward have it. “You always had that Hitler Youth look!” and summing up “I will never…EVER…give you what you want.”

Ward’s facades of personality go through a weird cascade failure at this. His feelings for her are real, he insists, although it’s a confession delivered so weirdly, and so out of line with how he’s been acting in this episode, that the only reason that we know he’s telling the truth is because of the events of “Yes Men.” The whole episode has been building to this confrontation—really, the last few episodes have been building towards this—but despite Skye’s expert-level rancor Ward comes off as unengaged. He’s not willing to take a hard line against Skye and his confession of TRU WUV isn’t even believable, so suddenly the threat that Ward has been representing is utterly drained.

Even Deathlok agrees, so he stops Ward’s heart since Skye seems to be the only person on the Bus that actually cares about things. It’s a good move on the part of the episode. We want Agent JackHeart to die, but actually seeing him die is too much for us and for Skye. We relent.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

Then we find out that underneath all the Deathlok stuff, Mike Peterson still lives. When Ward yells at Deathlok for stopping his heart, Peterson responds with a smirk, “It wasn’t personal. I was just following orders.” Nothing personal? That’s kind of, like, your name now, isn’t it Ward?

The episode moves even faster once Skye reveals how to unlock the drive. The Bus is met by Maria Hill in her own plane, but Ward calls her bluff. Except it wasn’t a bluff, it was a stalling tactic to give Coulson time to climb up through the Bus’ wheel well. He springs Skye immediately, only to then discover Deathlok’s presence on the plane. They can’t possibly match his strength and weaponry head on, so Coulson does the only thing he can do: Hop in Lola and back out of the plane in mid-air in an awesome controlled crash!

Skye is saved but the day is not. Garrett, Ward, Hydra, the hard drive, the Fridge...they all remain an issue. They’re still wanted by the government and it’s starting to feel like their life is now just a series of defeats that they squeak through. The agents stop at crummy roadside motel in L.A. and eat their feelings around the pool. They know they have a day to save, but can’t it keep until tomorrow? They’re tired. Just...tired.

 

Tidbits:

  • “I told you to buckle up!” A trite line, I know, but Skye dangling in front of a greenscreen sold it for me anyway.
  • Hill: “I can’t believe he shot Lola.” Coulson: “I can’t talk about it.”
  • “Say hello to Stark for me…oh yeah, nevermind, he thinks I’m dead.” Coulson got a lot of good lines this episode.
  • Coulson giving the valet $20 was priceless. Of course, Coulson would. That guy’s just doing his job!
  • IT IS ALMOST 2015. THERE IS OUR HOVERCAR.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

  • Alright, let’s talk post-credits scene. May is back with the answers Coulson has been wanting from day one. And those answers are: Coulson basically engineered his own resurrection technology, but suggested to Fury that it be discarded just before the events of The Avengers. That resurrection tech drives people insane, making memory replacement a must. The reveal makes a lot of things kind of moot, and I wonder if that’s why they hid it in a post-credits scene. Why was the info buried in his own grave? Why couldn’t Coulson just be told He Did It? I don’t know, but at this point I don’t care enough to want to know.
  • Although it does make Kree Juice a good way to weaponize people. 1.) Heal their mortal wound as an incentive. 2.) Point them towards your threat. 3.) Watch them go berserker on it, probably taking themselves out in the process.
  • The way Coulson explains the resurrection tech makes me think they intended this for Tony’s heart condition. Good thing Tony used SCIENCE—electromagnetic SCIENCE—to fix it instead.

Chris Lough is the resident Tor.com Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recapper and is still hungry...for science! Find him on Twitter, because he’s funny there, too.

60 comments
Thom Dunn
1. ThomDunn
1. What was with the awkward contrived product placement when Lola was in freefall? Oof.

2. Oddly, I actually felt like this episode had some of the best SCIENCE! writing on the series so far.

3. Coulson indirectly ordering his own memory manipulation has shades of DOLLHOUSE — but also makes the dramatic tension of the situation moot for the reasons you mentioned.

4. Regarding privatized security through Stark Industries: Is this show going to turn into a political thriller about privatization vs public funded in a superhero world? Because that could actually be a fascinating exploration of modern politics...

5. Hail Piedra.
Chris Meadows
2. Robotech_Master
Coulson and Hill got a lot of great lines in this episode. Ward's bit about eye candy and Hill's response. You also cut off Hill's first great line: it was that she needed a cocktail and a lobotomy. Classic Hill.

Funny, we thought the team had almost nothing at the end of the last episode, now they have even less than that. Bye bye Providence base, bye bye bus, possibly even bye bye Lola due to the damage she took coming down (well, Fitz was probably able to get her into good enough shape to limp off the parking lot, at least). And it seems Hill isn't able to offer any support either, as she breezes back out of her one-shot guest appearance, though I expect she'll be back for the finale. Whatever are they going to do now?

It seems like there are a lot of balls in the air for even two more episodes to wrap it all up. I expect we can take it as read the season finale will end in a cliffhanger. It'll be annoying, but for a show like this it's pretty much de rigeur.

Loved Coulson's last word at the end of the episode. "Huh!" Yeah, that's classic Coulson. Not just the word but the delivery formed the perfect grace note for the episode.
Mark Jones
3. entrophy
Piedra. Cut off one slice and two more will grow in its place.

Don't think about the physics of that. Just enjoy the pie.
Chris Nelly
4. Aeryl
I’m so confused as to what Fitz is supposed to want.

I thought it was pretty straightforward. Fitz wants people to stop betraying them. Though that final scene with Gemma is playing on audience suspicions that he might not get what he wants.

Why was the info buried in his own grave?

That was the Fury riddle Hill gave May. She told May "He buried that information when he decided not to bury Coulson"

Skye owned this episode, I'm so proud of her. She even fended off Ward pretty well when they got back on the Bus. Interesting that Skye has not yet been effected by the mental instability the other GH patients demonstrated. Was that because she never died? Or something else?

Also, the jet that Hill had was the same jump jet that Coulson's splinter team took last episode. It originally belonged to Garrett, who used it to dock with the Bus midflight.

The way Coulson explains the resurrection tech makes me think they intended this for Tony’s heart condition.

I think he meant a general "mortally wounded (in combat) Avenger" not a specific reference to Tony.
Chris Lough
5. TorChris
Aeryl: I think he meant a general "mortally wounded (in combat) Avenger" not a specific reference to Tony.

Which maybe means Fury or Hydra was intending to build some significantly more mindless Avengers than what he got? Now I REALLY want to see if there's a "first generation" discarded Avengers that Fury tried to build as part of the "Avengers Initiative." Make it happen, season two! Dark Avengers, go!

Interesting that Skye has not yet been effected by the mental
instability the other GH patients demonstrated. Was that because she
never died? Or something else?

Coulson openly wondered the same thing in "T.A.H.I.T.I." (or the ep after that?) Although that begs the question of how he knew the serum drives you insane if that had to be revealed to him in THIS episode.

Anyway, I think we're supposed to think that Skye is half-Kree since she's an unknown, making the serum something she can absorb naturally.

ThomDunn: What was with the awkward contrived product placement when Lola was in freefall? Oof.

I don't know but suddenly I'm thirsty for a J.W. MARRIOTT.



Hail Pie-dra.
Sky Thibedeau
6. SkylarkThibedeau
Is anyone else getting a bit of a Delenn-Lennier/Sheridan vibe from Fitz-Simmons/Trip? Will Fitz betray the team as he is jilted by Simmons?

Also what is Sky's present to Hydra in the Decrypted files? GPS tracker program? And is her real name Mar-Vel?
Brian Haughwout
7. bhaughwout
I for one loved every minute of Deathok as straight man to Ward gone full-psycho serial killer...

It's fascinating to think of just where the Team is right now going up against Garrett and his forces and how little they have. Fitz's breakdown was a great moment not just of his own personal last straw snapping after weeks' worth of lead-up, but symbolic of the entire group coming to terms with where they are and the way they've been betrayed by a whole series of their allies as their organization has crashed down around them, until they have no backup left around them and not even their Bus.

As we get into the final two episodes, I'm trying to figure out which shoes are left to drop and which strings still have to be tied off. Part of me wonders, with the return of focus to Skye as Hacker in the last two weeks (and the literal return to her roots this week) if we might see an actual return of the Rising Tide (who were name-checked in the Lie-Detector chair) as the last hope this newly-fugitive Team can swallow their pride to try and get to help them (depending on the sort of 'present' that Skye left Hydra) now that the other S.H.I.E.L.D. remnants have written them off.

(P.S. What IS Skye's 0-8-4 nature? Is it tied to what she does with tech? I imagine that it will be revealed somehow -- because I can only imagine that something about it was on the Bus's data about 0-8-4 material that Garrett now has his hands on...)

With next week exploring Ward in more detail, we can expect that he'll do SOMETHING before the end -- redemption is likely out of the question, but some sort of sacrifice play may be involved depending on the full story of his background (as he's mentioned many times, he keeps lying to everyone about his full cover, so we won't know everything until we actually see it in flashback). Of course, it depends on whether Skye or Fitz get to him first.

I'm almost certain -- especially after last night -- that we'll see a proper face turn by Mike Peterson, given both the character and the comics history of Deathlok. Although I wonder if we'll discover that that metal sheath we saw on Garrett's chest -- surely a result of the gutshot he referred to previously -- might mean that, underneath the omnipresent turtleneck, the Clairvoyant is a Deathlok too, and ready for a nasty battle if his new toy turns against him.

(the one thing I'm convinced of, however, if that any emergence of Graviton is likely to come in an end-of-episode bit in the finale, to be dealt with in either next season or elsewhere in the MCU depending on how the series survives, since that sort of threat is just SO different in nature and power from everything else going on in the next two episodes)

As for the Coulson-T.A.H.I.T.I. reveal? It doesn't answer everything, but it does bring things strangely full circle for Phil. Remember that he's been careful not to reveal himself to those he knows -- he stayed away from Audrey and has kept word away from Thor and Tony now. With everything taken apart, he & his Team fugitives, and the knowledge that he designed the very thing that he's been hunting, is that enough for him to go full-bore against Garrett and Hydra, content even if he doesn't make it back to go end up in some civilian job that he decries?
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
Also, everyone caught that Raina's the one sending messages to Deathlok now, right? Because on another board I read, they just seem to think Garrett started to talk about himself in the third person.
Chris Nelly
10. Aeryl
@1, How do you think they paid for that cool descent?

From the look of the previews, Garret goes way back with Ward, like teen years. Maybe Garret's the bully older brother we learned of in The Well?

I have a feeling the only way Deathlok gets resolved is with his son, so expect him to come into play.
KVFinn
11. KVFinn
>Why couldn’t Coulson just be told He Did It?

Because the point of that message was that the only chance of the patient not going insane is if they have no knowledge or memory of the procedure. He was so mad at people for hiding it from him the whole season.
KVFinn
12. Gardner Dozois
I'll be disappointed if Skye doesn't manifest super-powers of some sort. After all, something about her arrival from Whereever caused an entire village of people to die when she was a baby.
Cain Latrani
13. CainS.Latrani
Fitz losing it was the end result of having literally everything he holds dear, his entire world, and pretty much everyone he trusted, stripped away from him little by little. The organization he dedicated his life too, Ward, all of it, even Simmons starting to drift away, is making him feel like he's lost his grip on reality and his place in it.

Basically, Fitz has lost his world, and doesn't know who he is, where he belongs, or what he's suppose to do anymore. That tends to make a person angry. I found his outrage completely believable.
Kalvin Kingsley
14. KalvinKingsley
I love how matter-of-fact Coulson is throughout every appearance of his character, and it continues here:
C: Don't worry, I can handle Ward.
S: Did you take care of Deathlok?
C: New plan. Run.

Also, Hail Piedra.

Chris Meadows
15. Robotech_Master
@11: I just want you to know, I now have this image of Coulson asking himself, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" and it's all your fault.
M B
16. selidor
@7:

What IS Skye's 0-8-4 nature? Is it tied to what she does with tech?

If we have a woman hacker character turn out to only be good with tech because She's An Alien, I might have to throw something at the TV.
Brian Haughwout
17. bhaughwout
Apparently, if Marvel One Shot: The Consultant is any evidence, the forces of Piedra (HAIL PIEDRA! ORDER ONE SLICE AND TWO MORE SHALL APPEAR IN THE DINER DESSERT CAROUSEL IN ITS PLACE!) have been frequenting diners for some time. As a New Jersey native, next time I stand up from my daily breakfast-all-day to stretch, I'm going to have to keep an eye out that everyone else doesn't suddenly get up and suspisciously get up and stretch their arms outward too! ("HailHydraSaysWhat?")

KVFinn
18. KAsiki
Current Running theory is that she turns into Mockingbird, although her story lines more up with Mrs Marvel, that character seems more destined for the big screen. Currently she is a quick study, and is possible that some of her skills we learned/perfected in an insainly quick manner due to her talents.

I have a feeling they are holding off deciding what Skye is until Marvel knows what they want to do with characters in the MCU. HAs the show been renewed? They might make her Mrs Marvel if the show continues, but if the show doesn't continue they still can use the character.
KVFinn
19. AgentSquatThrust
You thought that Lola descent was cool? I thought it looked like the final shot from Grease. And the slapstick facial expressions/hairstyles at the end were out of place in this otherwise gloomy episode.

And the big deal about Coulson finding out he directed the T.A.H.I.T.I. project is that, as #11 says, he now has to deal with the psychological fallout of knowing what happened to him, and that fallout might include anything from aphasia to all-out psychopathy. And he can't very well brainwash himself to forget it a second time because, being the dogged agent he is, he'd just start the quest all over again. It's like Memento. I found it quite chilling, actually.
KVFinn
20. Bytowner
Wondering if the graduated manner in which Coulson has since learned the various pieces of the truth of TAHITI might yet be part of what makes him the first successful test-patient of the process.

Not sure I want to see Phil go to a Tragic Reward...
KVFinn
21. AgentSquatThrust
Oh, also, Deathlok's "Nothing personal" line is amazing because 1) it calls Ward out on his bullshit (since Ward said it to Skye just a few minutes before), and 2) Deathok actually IS "just following orders." He's got an implant that will murder him or, worse, his son the absolute second he disobeys an order. It reveals just how much choice Ward actually has about his decision to betray Coulson and murder a bajillion S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. It echoes Skye's assessment that Ward is a Nazi, i.e. someone who uses "orders" as an excuse to be his worst self.
Alan Brown
22. AlanBrown
Well, let me get one thing out of the way right up front:
Hail Pie-dra!
Now that I have that off my chest, here are some thoughts:
- The comments from others above are all, 'oooh what happens next,' 'wasn't that a great line,' 'did you see it when'--the show is finally hitting its stride.
- Coulson is finally being Coulson, with some great sardonically witty lines (like that final 'woah').
- Skye was great the way she threw Ward's crap back in his face, and played him when he thought he was playing her. Can't wait to see the "surprise" she left them with on the computer drive.
- The Lola scene was perfect. Like elevator chairs in barbershops, the flying cars are near and dear to us who shelled out our hard earned pennies to buy that first SHIELD comic. And I loved the mussed hair upon landing and the parking attendant.
- I thought Providence base was the new status quo--the new secret base for the team--but just that quick it was gone, reinforcing the feeling that anything could happen next. (But, one quibble, I thought Providence was in Canada, so what in the heck are US troops doing on Canadian soil? And one more quibble, why doesn't Hill just talk to Talbot instead of starting a fistfight? How many times are these guys going to fight, threaten, or even shoot folks that should be their allies?)
- I loved that, instead of being cryptic, Fury was being literal, and the straightforward thinking May was the only one who saw it (buried the secret instead of Coulson means dig up his grave).
All in all, an exciting and engaging episode--I can't wait to see what happens next!
KVFinn
23. Bytowner
Ward would really be picking the wrong target in taking his anger out on Mike. Mike's on the shortest leash - or chain, really - of any of Garrett's HYDRA faction. And Ward should have remembered that. Because just before Mike did the heart-stopper stunt on Ward, he made the details of just how enslaved he now is perfectly clear to Skye.

And further proved Skye's point about HYDRA's ancestry while he was at it, come to think of it. The modern incarnation may have ditched that obscene "master race" nonsense, but they still believe in enslaving other people and calling it "order" and "peace".
KVFinn
24. Bytowner
What was Talbot doing bringing US troops onto Canadian soil?

Once Hill told him where Providence was, he had probable cause to call up someone at NATO, NORAD and/or USNORTHCOM and wrangle himself an invite. There are procedures under mutual defence agreements that he can invoke here.
Brian Haughwout
25. bhaughwout
In terms of the question folks are asking about Talbot's team on Canadian soil? Given the status of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the run (especially high-level ones like Coulson), it's perfectly believable for Canada to okay a small US team to go in like that to take them, especially if there's some sharing of materials (it's hardly likely that the US military is going to occupy a secret base in Ottawa -- they'll just grab the agents, take Fury's data, then let the Canadians have the swept base or something). We just don't SEE such negotiations because this isn't Glenn Talbot's show and that sort of scene wouldn't really be that exciting.

Also, at this point, I think all the "Skye is Jessica Drew. No, she's Ms. Marvel. No, she's Mockingbird..." comments really boil down to one thing: Skye is Skye. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has done a really good job of pulling out obscure characters sometimes (Hi, Donnie Gill and Marcus Daniels!) and changing some details for the medium, but they haven't fallen into the trap that other studios have of going around reassigning who characters are. You get things like the new Deathlok in the show, but that's for a character concept that there's always been numerous of. Especially given all the focus on bringing female superheroes into their own movies, Marvel isn't going to piss off a fanbase that they've worked hard at catering especially hard to (with their canon-consistent work) by just saying "we're renaming this woman in the show as this other woman for spurious reasons so as to cover two IPs instead of one!"

Marvel deliberately chose not to use previous IPs for their team in this show. I know that I expected to see a familar name or two, but they know what they're doing (given the literal dozens of characters from the comics who have appeared in consistent or modified-for-modern-timeline form this season).
Chris Nelly
26. Aeryl
I think the US incursion into Canada is the only thing protecting Hill in her FaceTurn on Talbot.

I still believe there are more bases staffed by LMDs played by Patton Oswalt, so I imagine we will get a new status quo. I imagine something a bit more formal is worked out with Talbot, because the handwaving of the problems flying wanted airplanea around the nation are starting to get to me these past few eps.

I don't know how I feel that Ward's getting a flashback ep next week. Makes me scared they won't stick the landing on the fabulous work they've done with him since The End of the Beginning.

So what's really going on with Simmons. They've been dropping too many hints that she's playing things close to the vest since HYDRA emerged.

I don't necessarily think she's HYDRA, but I am beginning to feel she's not quite who she says she is. Maybe she works for another agency, sent to infiltrate SHIELD to see how deep HYDRA goes? Maybe the KGB sent her to get Romanoff back.

Also, what's up with the name dropping? Have they snuck on a stunt guest spot for her, because they sure as hell don't want the audience to forget her. God I'd love it if she showed up and beat the piss out of Ward.
Chris Nelly
27. Aeryl
@25, I think you're right, Skye will be a created for the MCU character, who may make the transition to comics. Did it with Buffy.
Don Barkauskas
28. bad_platypus
...even though that means they’ll have time to order desert.
Would that be Sahara or Gobi? :-)

Hail Piedra!
KVFinn
29. AgentSquatThrust
@Aeryl, YES on the Romanov name-dropping. There has to be a guest spot or major Romanov-related plot twist coming, because they will not shut up about her. Also I think you're spot-on about Simmons. Very cagey these days (but I hope she's not a bad guy--she loves the TARDIS!)

I am not opposed to flying cars in general, just to badly green-screened ones.
Chris Meadows
30. Robotech_Master
I highly doubt Romanov will show up, because Marvel has been really really lousy at keeping guest appearances on this show a secret. I personally would rather have liked to have been surprised at Sif showing up, but no, they shouted it from the heavens and it was everywhere on Facebook. (Oh, and here on Tor. With no spoiler protection at all, I might add.) Bleah.
KVFinn
31. Howard Decker
Ahem.

Free. REIN. Free reign doesn't even make sense.
Paul Keelan
32. noblehunter
I love that Romanov is the touchstone for badass.

Rather than Ward's characterizing/action going off the rails with his confession to Skye, I think it shows that Ward's double agent trick does not leave him in a good place. I like the phrase "facades of personality go through a weird cascade failure." I suspect that sort of issue is one reason why Romanov prefers to work for SHIELD.

I want to read Fitz's tantrum as him having a crush on Ward rather than Simmons. So the tension he showed early at him of Ward/Simmons was because she was 'rival' for Ward's attention.

After the HYDRA reveal, I commented on Facebook that the show was at least succeeding on plot where it wasn't on character. Now it's getting the character stuff right, too.
KVFinn
33. Puff the Magic Commenter
@31: But at least that can be handwaved as a spelling/spellcheck error. What I can't forgive is his using "begs the question" wrong (in comment 5).

Embarrassing.
Bridget McGovern
34. BMcGovern
As a moderator, I usually don't respond to comments about typos and grammatical errors, but honestly, there's really no reason to be rude or uncivil in pointing out errors. We ask you to keep things polite in your discussions of posts and responses to other commenters—I don't think it's too much to ask that you not be rude or aggressive when it comes to pointing out others' mistakes. Thank you.
KVFinn
35. Puff the Magic Commenter
Here --> ;-P
KVFinn
36. Howard Decker
Sorry, I was going for exasperation, not rudeness. In the spellcheck and google age free reign has become an absurdly common mistake, routinely showing up in books from major publishers and all over the internet. Free rein is a valid metaphor that isn't hard to figure out. Giving someone free reign, on the other hand... the word reign just isn't used that way in any other context. You don't hand over the reigns or give expensive reign.

Aside from that, a helpful review and good discussion.
Chris Nelly
37. Aeryl
@36, Or it could be interpretted as "freedom to reign".
Bridget McGovern
38. BMcGovern
@36: Sure--and thanks for your input! For the record, I just thought a general note on tone might be helpful, rather than singling anyone out specifically. I certainly understand pet peeves (for me, it's "wrecking havoc" in place of "wreaking havoc"--why? I'm really not sure, but it drives me bonkers...) But everyone makes mistakes, especially when juggling various deadlines (I used "it's" instead of "its" in a rather frantic email yesterday; I may have cursed my traitorous brain for a second, but what can you do?)--and we moderators just want to keep things as polite as possible, for everybody's sake :)
Chris Meadows
39. Robotech_Master
AHEM, back to the episode.

Something no one else has brought up yet is how note-perfect the portrayal of Talbot was. Granted, I haven't read the comics, but he reminded me so much of the jerky jerk of an antagonist I vaguely remember from the Hulk cartoon from the '80s. It takes special talent to be that annoying; well done, that man. I hope he shows up again, especially if they make another Hulk movie.
Robert Dickinson
40. ChocolateRob
What is Skye's 084 power?

Well it certainly aint rapid healing.
Robert Dickinson
41. ChocolateRob
Gah! Double post.
Chris Nelly
42. Aeryl
@40, My guess is some type of psychic empathy. She feels other people's emotions, and can perhaps read them in the things they've done, which is why she's an "expert in pattern recognition" as Coulson said in The End in the Beginning, why she's such a good hacker(this wouldn't take away from her coding abilities, just explain why she's better) and why she's so empathetic she cries over murderers and hugs complete strangers.
KVFinn
43. c bowen
Re: Skye and the blue guy juice -- remember there is an unknown about her parentage and when they gave her the juice cure it equalled an instant recovery. This makes me think that she might be related to Loki or his kind.
Paul Keelan
44. noblehunter
Aeryl, that would be a nice pay-off for the "there's no such thing as psychics" talk, since the Clairvoyant was a red herring.

Talbot? A.K.A., Unfortunate Mustache Guy?
Jack Flynn
46. JackofMidworld
I'm sort of at work so have to skim (okay, skip) the comments (will revisit later, promise), so apologies if this overlaps or sounds repetitive, but I thought Fitz's reaction made sense. Even if Ward was technically only Skye's SO, he went out in the field with Fitz and they backed each other up 100%, he's bonded with Ward quite a bit as he branched out of the lab and to find out that he's been betrayed...well, I'd probably be throwing stuff too (especially when he's already on pins and needles about potentially losing Simmons and the whole stress of, you know, finding out he technically worked for the bad guys for the last, oh, I dunno, forever?)
KVFinn
47. AgentSquatThrust
@42: So Skye is Counselor Troi? If so, I will be throwing things with selidor up there.

On the other hand, I do like noblehunter's Clairvoyant theory. I, personally, don't get why clairvoyance is the one superpower that everyone on the show scoffs at. How is that any more preposterous than gods from outer space? But I suppose it would make sense if all the skepticism is meant to set up a double-reveal: There's no real clairvoyant, it's just Garrett using his security clearance! But wait, there IS a real Clairvoyant, and it's Skye!

(It would also solve that argument in the comments thread a few weeks ago about how she was so sure Ward was Hydra: because she just knows.)
Chris Nelly
48. Aeryl
I don't think noblehunter is saying Skye is the Clairvoyant, just that Skye having psychic powers redeems them from having the Clairvoyant, not have psychic powers, at least that's how I read it.

It's not just clairvoyance they scoff at, but any psychic powers.

And not Counselor Troi, necessarily. Remember the whole village dying thing? What if she can project emotions too? And what killed the village was just a scared baby, who infected the entire village with terror so great they dropped dead from it. I can't recall if the guy in Seeds recalled how everyone in the village died, or how the SHIELD agent who had Skye at the time did.
Chris Nelly
49. Aeryl
Also, there have been comic book covers released for each episode, and the one for next week is up.

http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/05/01/shield-art-ward/#

Spoilers of course.
KVFinn
50. Sophist
I very much like the idea of Skye as an empath. That fits very well.

Anyone else not trust Trip?
Alan Brown
51. AlanBrown
I trust Trip. He is a legacy, after all.
And Skye's superpower is being annoying.
KVFinn
52. EC Spurlock
@43, I am personally waiting for Skye to be revealed as Loki's daughter. That should muck up the father-daughter relationship she has with Coulson nicely.
Jack Flynn
53. JackofMidworld
Hmmm...Skye as half frost-giant eh? Now I want to go back an episode and see how she reacted to the cold on the trek up to Providence...
Chris Nelly
54. Aeryl
If the blue dude's a frost giant, could very well be Loki, or another frost giant, maybe one in the Himalayas? Skye's dad is the Abominable Snowman! But it makes sense as well, the drug would have kickstarted her latent regenerative abilities, and not caused any negative side effects.

I'm going with empathy, because that is completely consistent with her portrayal. She gets attached to people easily, except for people like May, and I think pre-Avengers Coulson as well, who disassociate themselves from empathy. Which then raises the possibility, that she responsible for the change in Coulson? Could her alleged mental powers also be reason he's so far not suffered the mental deterioration of other GH-325 patients, even though he is now aware of the procedure. Maybe she's been mellowing him unconsciously this entire time?

She's also pretty good at sensing deception, except for Ward who prides himself on it. She's smart, she learns quickly, she wants to help everyone, she gets weepy over other's pain, and scared when others gets scared, but when she focuses, she brings a bit of peace to interpersonal conflicts.

I can see it.
Chris Nelly
55. Aeryl
There's a case to be made here I think that this is how Loki's powers work, IMO. That he can see into people, what drives them and learn to manipulate them to his own ends. The staff only expanded what he could do.

I heard a good suggestion that Noh-Varr might be in The Cube(which was name dropped). Or Mar-Vell.
KVFinn
56. David Hutchison
You know, it's possible that when Ward lashes out at Deathlok, he's actually treatening the person on the other end of Deathlok's eyecamera. Should Garrett be worried?
Anthony Pero
57. anthonypero
The person on the other side of Deathloks eyecamera is the flower lady (whose name escapes me) who was testing on Mike Peterson in the first place.
KVFinn
60. carrieon
Chris, just wanted to thank you because even now, almost six months later, I am still cracking up about Glenn Talbot: The Haircut That Thought It Was A Man. YES!

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