Wed
Apr 23 2014 2:00pm

Too Much Love Will Kill You: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Only Light in the Darkness”

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

As supervillain powers go, “turning off the lights without having to get out of bed” is dubious. You can jazz it up like this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode did and claim that what Blackout is really doing is absorbing energy, but that still means your villain’s greatest weakness is A Bunch of Flashlights. Thanks for the takedown, trick-or-treating group of kids! We’ll call you next time he escapes.

If this was earlier on in the season, I feel like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have tried to hang its entire episode on this monster chase in an attempt to dazzle the viewer with the concept alone. It’s a sign of the continued growth of the show that “The Only Light in the Darkness” now pushes that to the margins in favor of spending its time with our non-super-powered—but more interesting by the week!—team of agents.

WE OPEN ON a beautiful solo cellist on stage at the Portland Philharmonic, a sensuous vrrmmm shakes the air around a stoic figure in the shadows: Coulson. A single tear rolls down his...okay, sorry, that’s not how the episode actually opens but my faith in the show is still shaky enough that I was really afraid it might. I love the cello, myself, but god that would have been the worst.

No, the episode establishes our threat first. Here’s that tall guy from last week’s episode. He makes lights go out. And he wants your truck, lobster fisherman but dammit this is America you’ve worked hard even though you didn’t catch any lobster but enh, it doesn’t matter. Blackout can kill you with a touch. From this point onwards in the narrative, the character of “Blackout” will represent the effect that the banks have had on personal economy just some dude.

I appreciate the episode establishing our villain-of-the-week before the credits, as it allows the meat of the episode to be devoted to the real villain, Ward, and his return to the roost. Now that we know his true agenda it’s fun to watch how his dynamic has, or has not, changed with our team of agents. In most ways his rapport with the team is fluid and automatic, as it would be with anyone you’ve worked with for a length of time, but the Wardness of Ward: Temple of Abs notably becomes a flat caricature of himself whenever he starts taking the initiative. It’s an interesting way to play the character, as Ward proposing ideas or strategies isn’t actually an odd thing for him to do from the perspective of Coulson and his teammates, it’s just that it is for the viewer since we know the ulterior motive behind what he proposes. Ward feels unnatural now, so to see the other characters treat him normally generates a wonderful inner scream in us. He’s going to get you! He’s going to get all of you!

The episode spends most of its time working this tension, at first between Ward and the team, then between Ward and Keonig, then finally between Ward and Skye. He circles in gradually, stripping Skye of any support she might be able to call upon.

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

In contrast, Coulson, Tripp, Fitz, and Simmons going after Blackout is a pretty straightforward affair, devoid of suspense. Considering that Blackout is targeting the now infamous “cellist in Portland,” Coulson is remarkably detached from the proceedings. He zeroes in on the threat, gets The Cellist Audrey to safety, then spends the rest of the storyline trying not let his feelings get in the way of what should be a straightforward op. His refusal to engage is mostly just frustrating. Audrey thinks Coulson died and they both certainly still have feelings for each other, and once we know that, all we want to see is how they’ll reunite.

Ward and Skye, on the other hand, won’t stop reuniting and their confessional scene is a perfect storm of uncomfortableness. The more he explains just who “Ward” is the more transparent he becomes to us, but for Skye the opposite is the case. She falls, really stupidly hard, for Ward’s wounded story. As if that was all she needed to hear, or all she wanted to hear. And we all know by now how good Ward is at providing just that.

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

As we discover in the first half of the episode during the lie detector sequence, Ward may have actual feelings for Skye. That won’t stop him from using her, though, or leading her to her death. Whether we’re considering S.H.I.E.L.D.-Ward or Hydra-Ward, “The Only Light in the Darkness” does reveal some truths about him: He doesn’t know how to care for those who want to care for him. And he probably doesn’t feel like he deserves that care in the first place. Love is not a coin he can accept, even when he feels it towards others.

The story of Coulson and Audrey highlights this with its lovely, if rushed, conclusion. After using Audrey to lure Blackout into the closed space of the orchestra chamber, the team gets all Ghostbuster-y on him, overloading him with stagelights gamma radiation until he bursts. Audrey gets caught in that blast and knocked out for a few seconds. Coulson rushes in, gives her a peck on the head and tells her he’s still with her. When Audrey opens her eyes it’s not Coulson she sees, it’s Simmons. “He was here. It seemed so real this time...”

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

As opposed to Ward, who is clearly plunging into darkness, caring about others is the only thing that keeps Coulson truly motivated and increasingly heroic. He repeats this early on in the episode when underlining his reasons for hunting down Blackout. They’re safe in a bunker while the Fridge loonies roam free, but no one else has that luxury. Coulson is determined to be the shield in manner and not just in name.

In this regard, it makes sense that Coulson would not want to reveal himself to Audrey. He loves her but he also cares about her, and this time the latter trumps the former. Better that he exist in memory, in between waking moments. For now, his reappearance would only hurt them both.

Just like Ward’s reappearance hurts Skye. The episode ends with Skye having determined Ward’s true allegiance and knowing that she is unlikely to ever see her family of agents again....

Love hurts.

 

Tidbits:

  • Like I feared, the episode does eventually use cello music as a centerpiece, but as a way of ratcheting up the panic of Skye’s realization that Ward is Hydra. Nice touch, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Another trope that the episode was able to invert? The lie detector! What could have easily been the most tired sequence in the episode was instead the most fun and revealing.
  • “What’s in the box?”
    “That’s a hard one...let me think...the TARDIS.”
    BEST ANSWER. INSTANT LANYARD.
  • Aw, Triplett is the grandson of a Howling Commando.
  • Awww, May was married once.
  • Haha, “Mary Sue Poots.” I wonder why she chose “Skye” as a new moniker?
  • The loose theme of “love” in this ep also serves to give us a little more information about how Fitz considers Simmons. We knew he was carrying a torch for her still but wow is he really carrying a torch for her. From the lie detector test to the Portland mission, he repeatedly puts her on a pedestal. I’ve been very cool on this relationship in the series so far, but considering how infatuated Fitz seems to increasingly be getting I can’t wait to see how this mess bursts forth.
  • Ward fooling the lie detector by revealing romantic feelings for Skye seemed a little thin, especially after Koenig pulled out a gun. I was hoping Koenig would reveal he was on to Ward the whole time. (Ward could still have easily killed him, after all.)
  • “Nothing bad ever happens when you work with something called ‘Dark Force’...”
  • According to Fitz, “dark force” is shorthand for the concept of negative energy in physics, which is something you could probably handwave into being real when your universe includes aliens, gods, and monsters. Hooray for comic book science!
  • Overloading Blackout with gamma rays actually makes sense in-universe as well. If photon wavelengths aren’t working on him anymore, upping to gamma wavelengths is essentially using maximum force.
  • MAY’S MOM = Best post-credits scene so far. Calling her mom to pick her up 500 MILES AWAY. The disdain! May’s thanklessness! May going into the secret agent field just like her mom! It was a short scene but it communicated so much. I hope we see May’s mom again. Their interplay was fantastic.

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

  • So May is off to see Maria Hill. Is that the marriage May referred to? Hill and May have both been attracted to guys on the show, but maybe that’s not all they’re attracted to? That would be an amazing character trait to establish, though I’m not sure if they could get away with it at 8 PM on ABC.

Chris Lough is the resident Tor.com Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recapper. One time he fell in love with a cellist but didn’t die.

47 comments
Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
My guess, May's mom works for SWORD?

Eric Koenig is an LMD(because come on having Patton Oswalt as a recurring guest star is too good an opportunity to pass up, and you can still kill him EVERY TIME!)

Oh man the tension when Skye figures out Ward, I almost peed myself!

So, here's what I like. When Quinn tried to recruit Skye WAY BACK in episode 3, when she came back to the Bus, she really threw herself into her training, when she'd been noncommittal about it. My read on that, at the time, was that she was tempted by Quinn but wanted to get in closer with SHIELD first, and that was evidenced by her new dedication, as she'd realized if she planned on betraying SHIELD, she would need to know this stuff, to use it against them.

Well, that didn't pan out, as Skye has instead embraced SHIELD. But, the chance to use the techniques Ward taught her against him? Well, that chance just increased, and I AM EXCITE!
decgem
2. decgem
ABC is pretty well awash in LGB characters these days--maybe not at 8 PM, but I don't think it's as unlikely as you imply. 8 isn't that much earlier than 9, the time slot that gives us Modern Family--not to mention the gay themes and subplots in Revenge, Scandal and Nashville just an hour later. I'm sure there are others on shows I don't watch.
Jenny Thrash
3. Sihaya
I seriously doubt that Hill is her ex. May probably wouldn't have started her search by asking her mom to use her spy contacts, because she'd have other leads to follow from knowing Hill's old habits and personal foibles. And May's mom's reaction would probably have been slightly different from a clinical, "Yeah, every agency is looking for her." It probably would have been, "You know, she sends me a card every Christmas. My ex-daughter in law remembers to think about me from time-to-time, but I don't even hear from you until you need a ride."
Robert Dickinson
4. ChocolateRob
No comment about Coulson realising that he needs to forgive May?
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
As far as your May/Hill conjecture, well they do share a taste in men. In Pilot, Hill's gaga over Thor's arms, and then, in The Well, so is May.

I am sure we will learn more about May's marriage, right now, this seems nothing more than May going down the chain of command. She knows who's directly under Fury.
Fake Name
6. ThePendragon
I thought the episode is the show's best so far. I see a very strong parallel between Ward and Blackouts character, I'm not sure how you didn't seem to catch on. It was intentional, with Blackouts belief that maybe the cellist was the only one who could save him. His light in the darkness. Skye is kind of like that for Ward. I think maybe he wants to be saved, deep down.

The one thing I didn't quite like was how quickly Skye determined Ward was Hydra. He passed the lie detector and he's possibly the closest and most trusted person in the world to her at that moment(although Coulson MIGHT edge him out). Add to that that May had recently betrayed them and suddenly she's "gone". I don't see how she instantly makes the jump from MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD to, HE MUST BE AN EVIL TRAITOR OF EVIL!!!

No one does that. They could have easily averted that by having her watch the door to see who replaced the penny. Then she could have had hear breakdown since that would prove Ward had killed Koenig.
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
She knew because of the tablet Koenig had. She and Ward were the only people there. She'd seen Koenig since May left. She knows she didn't kill Koenig. There was no leap, just solid evidence.

Plus, not replacing the penny would have told Ward she had found the body, which meant he wouldn't be playing nice anymore, he'd just knock her out.
Tom Smith
8. phuzz
Any ideas what was up with the picture that Skye was looking at in the bathroom? I was guessing there was something behind it, but what?!

Also, Amy Acker
decgem
9. mytjoe
Ward wasn't saying he was there because he loved Skye... He was there FOR Skye. As in his mission was Skye... It was meant to seem sweet. Except when you realize that was the ulterior motive.
Jenny Thrash
10. Sihaya
#8: I think it was just another one of the fake windows dotted through the base. We saw the one in Koenig's office change from the beach theme to the city earlier.

#9: Right. He actually told the truth throughout the exam... from a certain point of view. Koenig recognized the slippery way Ward was answering questions until, unfortunately, that last one.
decgem
11. Athreeren
The most important thing in the episode was the confirmation that there is a Doctor Who show in the Marvel Universe. I really wonder what it can be like, in a world where aliens have indeed invaded London.
decgem
12. paigecm
6 & 7: I read Skye's initial realization of Ward as evil as highly panicky...but with...a little bit of wiggle room? I mean, theoretically, it *could* have been May, from her perspective. The real proof was when she asked Ward where Koenig was, and he said that Koenig was getting the plane ready.

May and Hill might not have been married to each other, but I'm so amused by the idea that it's going to be my new headcanon. And I was pleasantly surprised by the non-soppiness of the Coulson/Audrey plot.
Brian Haughwout
13. bhaughwout
@9 Indeed. You beat me to pointing that out.

Serial-killer Ward is just plain fun to watch. Like you say, watching him interact with everyone all normal-like while knowing what his real motives are is fun. It's both painful and a little gleeful watching him scratch off likeable guest stars one by one (sorry @1, Tony's joke in The Avengers aside, no LMDs here!). Between Brett Dalton going Full-Terminator each week in between emotionally-manipulating everyone and Bill Paxton being Bill Paxton, I'm this close to yelling "HAIL HYDRA!" at any given moment!

It was a clever use of the "Villain of the Week" bit to draw characters away from the main threat of Ward, as well as to further define members of the team (along with the whole Lie Detector scenes, the Blackout/Cellist subplot served to actually draw out a lot from Coulson & Fitz, two characters who haven't had much time alone together so far but have good chemistry in their shared dedicated-to/hurt-by-the-cause way). I was also pleasantly surprised that, with "love" allegedly so much in the air, no relationship made progress*, between all the secrets and turmoil.

(*I'm a bitter, bitter man, just to note -- more sturm und drang, less hugs and kisses in my television, please!)

With even Triplett now tied into continuity via a Howling Commando legacy (and continuing to be the most generalist specialist ever), the characters continue to really flesh out and grow as the season comes to a close (I'm curious to see how May plays as another outside party). With no announcement yet on a renewal or cancellation, Marvel & ABC are playing it close to the chest on what happens to the Team over the next few weeks, but the show has gotten really tight really quickly since The Winter Soldier...
Christopher Bennett
14. ChristopherLBennett
@7: Right. If you're one of only three people in the entire base and you find one dead, then you don't have to be Miss Marple to figure out who the killer is.

My problem with the super-lie detector is that it had no way to detect that Ward had stuck a nail in his finger to cause pain and throw off the baseline. That's one of the classic tricks for beating polygraphs, so one would think the designers of the ultimate lie detector would've installed some kind of instrument to register if it was being done.
Brian Haughwout
15. bhaughwout
One separate note by itself:

I still get the sense that folks are reading conventional romantic thoughts into FitzSimmons where they don't entirely exist, just due to those that exist throughout other relationships. Look at where Fitz is coming from as shown over the season: he has basically no family, he was shown to be a friendless wunderkind at school, and his one depicted attempt at flirting fell apart horribly. He's been loyal to SHIELD through all this because he has nowhere else to go (hence why he's tried to get involved with fieldwork more and more) and tried & failed to become Ward's sidekick of sort in the process (INVISIBLE TACO BAG!).

His friendship -- and honestly, his sort of proxy-relationship emotionally-speaking (where many of us nerds have been at some point or another) -- with Jemma is Fitz's only solid social tie, especially as his professional world falls apart. Triplett isn't so much a romantic threat as much as a threat for Simmons's attention, someone for her to actually be able to confide in. Fitz is being honest in the threat that he's feeling about change -- and how surprised he is at the idea of Ward thinking that it's about romance. Think of the idea of losing your closest or only friend (and the sandwiches that come with it) to a new relationship at your darkest hour. It might not be a *mature* complaint for Fitz to be having, but he's always been effectively that kid pushed through the ranks too quickly and not allowed to LIVE while being forced to create superscience for the government.

It's not to say that Fitz couldn't fall for Simmons, but he really seems to not be at the level of social development for more than a crush -- he could indeed have a sort of crush on Jemma, but his emotional reliance on her, and her on him (as seen when she was dying with the Chitauri virus) is deeper than that but distinct than infatuation, hence the brother/sister references often made in early discussions of their characterizations online. Fitz might live in a world of life and death, but that doesn't mean that he's necessary prepared internally for all the feelings of life.

Speaking of which, remember: a few weeks ago, he had to KILL A MAN -- SHOOT HIM IN THE BACK -- TO SAVE MAY during the fight at the Hub and no one has stopped to help him deal with this because of the larger conflicts going on. With everything else he's lost, the idea of (to his childlike eyes, having not 'lived' a normal teenage or young adult life), watching his only emotional confidant walk away amidst all this might be the last straw.

Now, this is just my thoughts watching (and, to be fully honest, identifying in large part with) Fitz over the course of the season. The writers may take this in a much different direction, believing that "love conquers all" and such -- but that would be quite unfair to the characterization that they've crafted. Even the fact that the first real scenes all season between Coulson & Fitz were this past episode dealing with how Coulson could not go back to Audrey struck me as important: any other character would likely pull for Love, but Fitz ironically couldn't do that and could only be the sounding board for duty.
Brian Haughwout
16. bhaughwout
@14 I think that initial dialogue about his baselines being fluctuating and Ward explaining it away with his the pain from his broken ribs etc was meant to cover such -- the writers likely put that part in both to give him more leeway in looking pained AND for any physical trauma over the course of the examination (such as the nail).
decgem
17. KAsiki
@14, One has to think that it was picked up in some way, but that Koenig as operator didn't pick it up.

I would hope that next episode has Coulson watching the recorded interigaion. Even if it is only implied.

Anyone hoping that the pre Winter Soldier episodes were specifically done as a set up for the audience. By that i mean a base line this is what Sheild does when it is at the hight of its power and the team litereally has an army of backup, unlimited funding, etc and that leads to a certain attitude the audience has wanted more out of. Not sure exactly how to finish this point, so i hope you understand were I was trying to go with this.

If there is a next season, having the break out should give a nice go to episode like this. Wouldn't be surprised if this episode becomes the model formula for 25+ percent of the shows run. Skye finds the perps, they fly to get the back into custody.
decgem
18. Tehanu
I like watching Ward be bad, but I agree with ThePendragon: I think he really does want to be saved, deep down, but he just doesn't realize it since he's totally out of touch with his own feelings. One thing that struck me was that Garrett told him to get rid of everybody else and bring Skye back ... but when May turned her back on him and walked out the door, he could have shot her dead right then, but he didn't. So I have hope for him although I'm fairly sure he's going to stay bad for a while. And besides, he's way too hot to spend the rest of the show being a bad guy!
Paul Keelan
19. noblehunter
Well, I'm not getting cognitive dissonance from Ward's ability to play the team anymore. The apparent decay of his outer kevlar shell feels very reminiscent of how Romanov played Loki and that Russian guy in the Avengers. Stoic combined with emotional vulnerability seems like a convincing mask.

Skye and Ward turning into Spy vs Spy is going to be interesting. I wonder where she'll take them?

Solid character work from the show, I am pleased.
Luis Milan
20. LuisMilan
@18 "he could have shot dead right then"

Well, he could have tried. She's the freaking Cavalry after all.
Alan Brown
21. AlanBrown
@15 I think that is a good analysis of Fitz's character.

This was a good episode. It had a fairly normal TV episode A story/B story structure (with those two storylines being either intertwined or sharing some common theme), with the Blackout story as the A story, and the Ward/Skye being the B story. Before Winter Soldier, that A story would have been pretty much the focal point of the episode. But here, it was almost perfunctory (almost too perfunctory to be honest), with the B story stealing the show, and being the most exciting plotline by far. And the perfunctory nature of the A plot was mitigated by the emotional content of seeing how conflicted Coulson was about the situation, and how deeply he felt. And the different answers to the lie detector test was well played, and revealed some nice details of the characters. And I loved the Mary Sue Putz line (I once knew someone named Putz, and they pronounced it Poots to differentiate their name from the derisive term--and the line was a nice response to all the criticisms up front that Skye was a Mary Sue character). So it made for a good exciting episode.
And seeing May express emotions is great. The character is a lot more interesting now that she is not required to contain her feelings. Her leaving the base is entirely believable and in character, and puts another ball in the air in a story already filled with exciting developments. And her interactions with her tightly-wound all-business mom were a hoot!
Especially given what I saw in the previews, I am really looking forward to next week.
(One quibble on the Ward lie detector scene. Koenig waving his sidearm around was totally unprofessional. You don't point guns at coworkers unless you have a compelling reason to do so. Brandishing guns is a movie cliche that grates on my nerves. Showing Koenig with his hand on the butt of the gun would have signalled his uneasiness in a lot more realistic manner.)
Christopher Bennett
22. ChristopherLBennett
@15: I really, really hope you're right about Fitz. That's a very thoughtful analysis and I hope the writers are on the same level.

@16: Yes, clearly the intent of the scene was that he was using the pain to make his baselines fluctuate and throw off the results. That's the entire basis of that polygraph-fooling strategy. But my point is that it's a well-known strategy for beating a polygraph, so an "ultimate" polygraph should have special sensors in place to deal with it. I mean, we saw him clenching his fist to increase his pain level -- the camera gave us a close-up of it and it was a very large, clear movement. So the system should've been designed to look for exactly that. It should've had cameras or metal detectors pointed at his hands to make sure he wasn't driving pins into his fingers (ditto for the feet to make sure he wasn't stepping on a tack). Heck, if Koenig had just bothered to look at Ward's hands, he could've seen what Ward was doing. A really skilled polygraph operator should be trained to recognize those kinds of tricks. Which is probably why the pain trick didn't work for the Mythbusters when they tried it. It's such a simple and basic technique that it makes no sense that it could fool the most advanced lie detector ever made.

@21: It actually is spelled Poots in this case. That's how the MCU Wiki and the AoS Wiki both spell it, so I'd assume that's what was on the closed captions.
Fake Name
23. ThePendragon
@7Aeryl and @14Chris

It's obvious to us, but there's no reaosn it should be so cut and dry for her. For serveral reasons.

1. The tablet doesn't tell her anything beyond the location of Koenig's body.
2. She is deeply involved with Ward emotionally. She trusts him more than anyone except maybe Coulson and she clearly has feelings for him.
3. She is not as jaded or cynical or experienced as some of the team, like May, Coulson or Ward.
4. May has proven to be unreliable in her alliances and suddenly has "left" without telling anyone where she is going.

This is all the evidence she has to go with:

1. Koenig is dead.
2. May is untrustworthy.
3. No one knows where May is.
4. Ward is extremely trustworthy.
5. Hydra has infiltrated every Shield base so far.

Conclusion: Ward must be evil.

It doesn't add up.
Chris Nelly
24. Aeryl
The tablet tells her May is no longer there, which is all she needs to know. No one but she and Koenig know what the lanyards do.

They do know where May is. She's not at the base, and hasn't been since before Koenig died. The first time they look at the tablet, May's there. The next, right before Ward walks in and Koenig hides it, May's not.

She also found fresh blood on Ward not five minutes earlier, that he quickly went to clean up.

She couldn't ignore the penny. She had to put it back, or reveal to Ward that she'd found the body. And there's no where to hide to see if Ward knows about the penny.
decgem
25. Tumas
@ 23. ThePendragon

Actually, Skye did have some additional evidence:

1. Koenig is dead;
2. May's lanyard didn't appear on Koenig's tablet, while his still did. One could thus easily assume that the assailant didn't know what they were really for, otherwise they would have taken off Koenig's. It's not logical for May to make the effort of hiding Koenig's body unless she is still on site ready to stealthily strike again, and her not appearing on Koenig's tablet confirms that she isn't there. Ward therefore becomes the remaining suspect;
3. Skye sees Ward put the penny back into his pocket without finding it strange and mentioning it afterwards;
4. She tells Ward "We should tell Koenig." and he replies "Just did.", when she knows that Koenig is, in fact, dead.

I admit No. 2 would not necessarily add up to 'Ward being evil' on its own, but I'd imagine the shock of finding Koenig's body - and a creeping feeling of isolation - could lead to Skye's rushed conclusion. Points 3. and 4. would then, however, be reason enough to confirm her initial suspicion.
Christopher Bennett
26. ChristopherLBennett
@25: Good catch. Ward's actions after the murder are what really proved his guilt. Surely the fact that he was the only other person on the base at the time of the murder was enough to tip Skye off, but she needed the additional proof (Ward expecting to find the penny, Ward claiming he'd talked to Koenig) to overcome her remaining doubts.
decgem
27. AgentSquatThrust
@15 I think you're spot-on about Fitz. I've been annoyed by the clumsiness of his "love story" with Simmons, but maybe that's because it's not a love story at all: it's a Whedon villain's origin story. Fitz is like Dr. Horrible: isolated, brilliant, emotionally immature, and trying to win a girl by showing off in front of her rather than spending time with her. He's also like Faith from Buffy: without a mentor, possibly suffering from some serious guilt (as you point out), and watching his best friend get increasingly occupied with other things/people.

Fitz has been following Ward around like a puppy (to the point where I've sometimes wondered if Ward, rather than Simmons, is his real crush); if Ward starts returning some of that attention and drawing Fitz's loyalties over to him, he could probably bring Fitz over to Hydra pretty easily, just as Garrett brought Ward.
Christopher Bennett
28. ChristopherLBennett
@27: Now, that could work. I see people on the Internet trying to play "Who's the next Cylon" with the team, except with HYDRA sleepers instead of Cylons, but I think it would be repetitive just to do that over again after it's already been done with Ward. (It certainly got tiresome when it became the only thing Galactica was about.) But having Fitz actually become a traitor under Ward's influence, as opposed to having someone else turn out to have been one all along, would be a different enough dynamic to feel fresh, and it would be a logical outgrowth of the characterizations.
Chris Nelly
29. Aeryl
Fitz has always been my guess as "cast member most likely to get offed for emotional resonance" so we'll see.
Bruce Arthurs
30. Bruce-Arthurs
Koenig's tablet doesn't show where people are, it only shows where lanyards are. So when Skye finds Koenig's body, her first assumption could have been that someone without a lanyard had infiltrated the base.
decgem
31. Bytowner
Except that Koenig's corpse was still in possession of his lanyard.
Alan Brown
32. AlanBrown
Anyone else think that Blackout's disintegration looked kind of like Doctor Who's regeneration cycle at one point? Wonder if we will see those little clouds of dark energy come back together into human form at some point to threaten our cellist again. There is no dead in comic books, only 'mostly dead...'
And how come Blackout's first victim was the last one he killed? And why that person fell without any sort of throwing around and recoil, while the SHIELD folks were tossed about like bowling pins? Were our heroes wearing some sort of tinfoil undergarments that kept them from sharing the fate of that fisherman? It kind of reminded me of Star Wars, where Obi Wan comments that the blaster bolts that killed the Jawas had to be the work of Storm Troopers because of their accuracy, and that was pretty much the last time in the movie that a Storm Trooper hit something he was aiming at. In good sci fi, physics drives the plot. Here it seems like the reverse was happening.
Christopher Bennett
33. ChristopherLBennett
@32: Blackout killed the truck driver by touching his shoulder and draining his electrical energy. What he did to the team was entirely different, firing bolts of Darkforce energy at them from a distance. One was a close-in attack, the other a ranged attack, so it's reasonable that they worked differently and had different effects.
Luis Milan
34. LuisMilan
@32: Maybe Blackout wasn't fully charged and therefore couldn't Dark-zap the fisherman (I'm guessing), while he was throwing his Darkforce at the agents immediately after being Gamma-charged.
decgem
35. pedant alpha
Gamma rays: also made of photons.
decgem
36. Porphyrogenitus
I just wanted to throw my 0.02 USD in with regard to Skye pegging Ward as Hydra.

The key moment of panic for her was when she saw Ward's signal moving quickly through the base, straight toward the closet where the corpse was hidden. That suggested that he knew about it and was checking to see if finding it was what was keeping her so long. Her suggestion that they find Koenig was a test that Ward failed, confirming her suspicions.

As for the lie detector, I think Koenig's inexperience with people betrayed him (he'd been locked away, alone, in that base for years, yes?). He knew Ward was lying and hiding something (the machine clearly flagged him), but he fell for Ward's cover, where Ward used Skye to conceal a deeper lie (Hydra membership). Koenig's lack of practical skill led him to accept the Skye reveal as the only needed answer, rather than having it instead lead him to a new line of questioning (which might well have tripped Ward up).

Koenig pulling a gun on Ward seemed fine to me, too, since SHIELD has always been a little light on due-process and the Hydra threat is pretty existential. If Ward hadn't pulled the Skye trick then Koenig would probably have just shot him then and there, without preamble. After all, in a world where anyone could be Hydra, better to be safe than sorry.
Christopher Bennett
37. ChristopherLBennett
@36: Good point about the polygraph. They're really only as good as their operators. It's been shown that polygraph operators who've been given reason in advance to expect a subject to be lying (just in tests, not real criminal investigations) will often conclude that a completely honest subject is lying.

As for the gun thing, though, AlanBrown's objection wasn't to the fact that Koenig was willing to shoot Ward -- it was to the manner in which he handled the gun. An experienced gun user wouldn't just draw the weapon and wave it around (because guns sometimes go off accidentally), but would keep his hand on the holstered weapon and only draw it at the moment a clear threat emerged. I'm not sure if this can be explained away through Koenig's inexperience, though, since surely any SHIELD agent, even a mostly deskbound one as Koenig seemed to be, would presumably get thorough firearms training. And just putting his hand on the holstered weapon would be enough to show Ward he was under threat without openly drawing it.

In fact, even placing his hand on the gun at all would've still been a bad idea. If someone is lying to you, the last thing you should do is let them know you can tell they're lying, because that'll just make them try harder to control their tells and fool the machine. What he should've done was let Ward think he was getting away with fooling the machine, caught him in a clear lie, and then confronted him, ideally after calling in reinforcements.
decgem
38. shellywb
Ward's lie told Skye that it was Ward. The tablet told her nothing. She has no idea when May left, and did not see Koenig after Ward told her about May. Ward told her about May *after* he killed Koenig. So as far as she knew, May could have killed Koenig then left. But because Ward told her he'd seen Koenig, she knew it was him.
decgem
39. shawn brooks
It's hard to tell what people think is bad action/acting/corniness on a Joss Whedon type of show, because this show seems to have all three and people still make excuses for it.
Chris Nelly
40. Aeryl
She knew it was Ward before Ward lied, she says in the bathroom "Ward's Hydra". And Ward did tell her May left, prior to the make out session.

She saw all four of them on the tablet when she discovered it in Koemig's office, and saw May was no longer on it when she went looking for Koenig.

With Koenig's line about playing Call of Duty with his "brother" I think he almost HAS to be an LMD, because there's NO WAY you can get on Xbox Live from a secure facility, ok? But the LMDs could play each other.

So here's my further theory on Koenig's possible LMD status.

Eric Koenig- Echo

So what if all the LMDs have military designations hidden in their names, like say....

Alan Farrell-Alpha

Brandon Voelker-Bravo

And on and on.
Christopher Bennett
41. ChristopherLBennett
"Eric Koenig- Echo"

But... he doesn't look a thing like Eliza Dushku!
Chris Nelly
42. Aeryl
Well he don't look like Alan Tudyk either!
Chris Meadows
43. Robotech_Master
Interesting thing: Agent May's mother is played by Tsai Chin, who was a Bond Girl in You Only Live Twice and one of the poker players in the recent Casino Royale.

Well, I thought it was interesting, anyway.
decgem
44. Tumas
@ 43. Robotech_Master

That's actually pretty interesting.

I wonder if we'll have any further comeos from actors involved in spy films in the future. Chuck managed it quite well and even included Timothy Dalton as the villain for a while. I don't see why Agents of SHIELD wouldn't be able to do the same in future.
Christopher Bennett
45. ChristopherLBennett
Spy-actor cameos in spy shows are a long tradition, aren't they? George Lazenby was in The Return of the Man from UNCLE as a suave, Aston Martin-driving agent known as "JB." And there was a short-lived Sam Raimi show called Spy Game that managed to get Patrick Macnee, Robert Culp, and Peter Lupus in its pilot alone, and later brought Macnee back in a recurring role.
decgem
46. mirana
(I know it's supremely late, but...)

@43 I can't believe no one else had a squee as I did when Tsai Chin (May's Mom) pulled up. Ming-Na Wen (Agent May) was the star of the movie Joy Luck Club (1993) where she played one of the 4 daughter characters. Tsai played one of the 4 mothers! Though not the mother of Ming-Na's daughter character, but STILL. I wonder if they're still friends or someone asked if she knew anyone who'd like to play her mom because COME ON that can not be a coincidence!
Christopher Bennett
47. ChristopherLBennett
@46: Actually, given how relatively few Asian-American actors are part of the Hollywood talent pool, it's probably not that great a coincidence if some of them end up working together multiple times. It's getting better these days, but there's still a finite number to choose from.

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