7 March 2015

The Beginning of the End

Episode: 22

This episode comes only 6 episodes after the The End of the Beginning, suggesting the middle was pretty short.

What Happens
A new employee is shown around Cybertek, an expanding business with a mysterious "incentives programme" that no one says no to. The handlers watch as super soldiers approach the Shield team. Skye activates her trojan horse in Cybertek's systems, while Trip, Coulson and May take on the soldiers. May takes the Asgardian berserker staff from one and uses it to defeat them. Garrett's revival has left him manic, scratching odd patterns on glass and making no sense to anyone besides Raina. He and Raina discuss evolution and the future, she tells Garrett and Ward that Skye is special and will be part of what is coming. Fitz and Simmons are trapped in a container at the bottom of the ocean. Fitz realises that they can't escape and reluctantly tells Simmons when she regains consciousness. With the info from Skye's hack the team breaks into Cybertek; Trip and Coulson steal a vehicle outside and blast a hole for Skye and May to get inside. Skye finds the handlers, says she has a bomb, and all the super soldiers are sent to protect Garrett, leading Coulson straight to him. Quinn is showing military types around, trying to sell the super-soldiers, Garrett arrives, says a lot of weird stuff then brutally kills a general. Fitz and Simmons talk about death then Simmons figures out a way to escape, but Fitz reveals that there's only enough oxygen for one of them. Fitz gets Simmons to take the oxygen and she pulls him to the surface. They are unexpectedly rescued by Nick Fury. Ward confronts Skye, but May attacks him and the pair have a brutal fight. Skye forces the senior handler to take her to the "incentives programme", which is people's loved ones being held in cells to ensure their good behaviour. Coulson confronts Garrett, surprised by his weird talk and super strength, then Fury turns up and joins the confrontation. Skye rescues the incentives and finds Ace, sending a message to Deathlok, who she's been in contact with. With Ace safe Deathlok attacks Garrett. Cybertek is taken down, the soldiers are freed and the tech is seized. Garrett revives and is upgraded by the cyborg machine, but Coulson kills him with the Peruvan 0-8-4. Coulson confronts Fury about what he put him through, Fury concedes the point then charges Coulson with rebuilding Shield as the new Director. The team go to a new secret base where another Koenig welcomes them. Raina visits a shadowy former associate, who is Skye's father. Coulson wakes in the night, sees the scratched pattern Garrett made and does the same thing on the wall.
Coulson's Alive!
Plans breaking into Cybertek, briefs the team in code, which foreshadows what they actually do. He confronts Garrett, unaware that he now has super strength and a weird, pseudo-mystical view of the world. When facing Garrett Coulson and Fury are in synch, angry at his selfish betrayal and confused by his new mania. When Garrett revives and upgrades Coulson kills him without any remorse or concern. Coulson finally gets the chance to confront Fury about resurrecting him and putting him through something that Coulson himself advised against. Fury concedes Coulson's right to his anger, but explains how important Coulson is to him, and to Shield. He makes clear that he counts Coulson as an Avenger and that all the core principles of Shield are embodied within Coulson. Coulson is surprised when Fury tells him to rebuild Shield, but it's been his life so of course that's what he's doing next. Old Shield was big and unwieldy and had bad stuff hidden in its many shadows, but now it can be recreated carefully with good people at its core.

The Cavalry
During the fight in the basement May gets hold of the Asgardian staff, proving the despite being super these soldiers could be better trained. Later she fights Ward, unleashing all the rage she told Skye about last episode. It is brutal, going into a construction area with both using power tools against each other and throwing each other through plasterboard walls. May eventually nails Ward's feet to the floor and roundhouse kicks him a few times. While Coulson is trusted to rebuild Shield Fury trusts May trusted to have Coulson's back.

Grr, Ward
Ward is worried about Garrett's state of mind, he's still loyal to Garrett and is looking for orders or some indication of what's next now that they've achieved what they've been planning for so long. When Garrett suggests Ward can have/do what he wants Ward doesn't seem to understand, he's too used to being a foot soldier. Garrett's weird rambling about the universe makes Ward impatient and he gets angry with Raina for encouraging it. When Garrett rips out part of a general Ward has to lock up the other officials. Ward is sent to deal with Skye, and says some really creepy stuff to her. He tries to taunt May as they fight, it doesn't work. At the end he's captured and can't speak as May damaged his throat, Coulson tells him they're going to keep him locked up and he will have to figure out who he is without Garrett.

Science Hermione and Monkey Boy
Trapped on the sea floor Simmons regains consciousness to find that Fitz has figured things out. He's set his broken arm and created a weak distress signal, though given Sheild's collapse it's likely no one is listening. They can't escape the container, and even if they did they'd be stuck in the ocean. As they discuss their ideas about death Simmons realises they can escape the container using what they have, though then they'll be in the middle of sea. Fitz can only rig enough air for one and insists Simmons take it. She doesn't want to leave her best friend, and he shyly and reluctantly admits his feelings for her. She's distraught at the idea of leaving him, shows affection while crying, but never commenting on what he's said. The situation is so dire and given all that's happening she probably can't fully process what he's said. Fitz forces her hand by igniting the explosive while she's holding the oxygen tank. She grabs hold of him and drags him to the surface with her, even though it's unlikely to do him much good. After Fury rescues them Simmons has to stay in a chamber, she probably has the bends, but she's still able to tell Fury how to track Coulson. This is more than Fitz can do, we don't see him again, but it's clear he's barely survived. As well as possibly having the bends he was likely close to drowning and the ascent won't have helped his broken arm. At the end SImons is reunited with the team at the new base, but it's sad that Fitz isn't there.

Hacker Girl
Raina again talks to Ward about Skye and the whole vague back story that Skye knows nothing about. Raina suggests that Skye could be Ward's and that in some way they're both monsters. Whatever similarity Raina sees between herself and Skye it doesn't stop her from seeing Skye as a commodity. Skye activates her hack while there's fighting all around, and uses it to trace Cybertek and get into Deathlok's feed. Skye rescues the people held by Cybertek, removing their hold over a lot of their soldiers. She talks to Deathlok at the end, he's still reluctant to see Ace wanting to make amends for all the terrible things he did while he was being controlled. Skye is supposed to take him in, but she's more of a liberator and lets him go. As he points out, she has access to his feed and can track him if she wants.

New Boy
Trip scopes out vehicles with Coulson and his grandfather's spy gadgets are used to create a diversion. After Cybertek is infiltrated Trip is kind of sent away to make himself useful and is kinda absence until the last bit.

Weirdness of the Week
Garrett and Raina look at the gravitonium, they both sense something about it and though it was promised to Quinn as payment it seems they have other plans for it. We never get told what those plans are though.
While they're wrapping up Cybertek (with more people than you'd think fallen Shield would have) it's found that the super soldiers can be returned to normal, though they'll be missing an eye. a lot of one-eyed men about.

Villains of the Week
Garrett's reaction to the recreated GH 325 makes him spout a load of weird pseudo mystical stuff, causing everyone but Raina to think he's gone insane. He also draws that writing which has appeared in the show before. He tries to claim kinship with Coulson as they both had the drug, but Coulson seems to have escape without the mania the he reported when suggesting project Tahiti closed down. Garrett was already a murderer but his new weirdness makes him more unnerving and brutal.
Raina's interest has always been people with powers, though she as willing as anyone to use them. She's convinced she had untapped potential, as does Skye, and the thing she wanted to as ask the Clairvoyant is what she will become.
Quinn just wants to make a lot of money and get his soldiers in important places. His sales pitch to the US military is very polished, until Garrett derails things by being first weird and then homocidal.

Garrett (interrupting Quinn's pitch): You hear the dying breath of an old world, general, and a new world is coming. I taste it on my tongue.
General (dubious): This is your strategy consultation?
Quinn: He's part-time

You don't have to call me sir, Coulson. I look like I live under a bridge.

Garrett: You haven't seen the big picture, the big bang, the timeless frozen ocean, but Phil here has. We share a bond. We're blood brothers.
Fury (to Coulson): You didn't tell me he'd gone this crazy.
Coulson: He's really stepped it up a notch.

Garrett: You remember that speech you used to give us, Nick, about how one man can accomplish anything once he realises he can be something bigger? Well now I am
Fury: A part. A part of something bigger.
Garrett: Is that how it went?

Skye reveals that the bomb she's been threatening the chief Cybertek handler with is actually Ace's Hulk toy.

At the new base the team are surprised to meet Billy Koenig, identical to his brother Eric in looks, speech and mannerisms. "Lanyards will be handed out on a case-by-case basis."

The Last Spoiler

The patterns Garrett scratches into the glass seem to be better understood by him than Coulson, who starts scratching the onto the wall. This writing will be a major part of the first part of series 2, all part of the fall out of Project Tahiti.

Ward does kinda figure out who he is without Garrett. Not sure what his plan is (if he has one) but he seems to revert to where Garrett found him 15 years earlier.

4 March 2015


Episode: 21

I know series 2 has restarted in the States, I'm likely going to wait until the UK broadcast. (Why won't they announce a date? It's bad enough they didn't pick up Agent Carter!) I would appreciate no spoilers for the new episodes.

What Happens
With Agent May returned and Maria Hill withdrawing any official support, Coulson briefs his team on their next step using a flip chart in a motel room. Skye's hard drive is in the hands of Garrett and Ward, but if she can plug her flash drive into one of their computers she can hack their systems.  Everything they're facing is connected to Cybertek, so they go after the tech company using Trip's grandfather's old tech. On TV there are news reports of Deathlok killing a Colombia drug lord.There are flashback scenes of Garrett busting a young Ward out of juvenile detention and forcing him to be self-sufficient in the woods. Coulson and May go to Cybertek for an interview, pretending to be scientists with help from Fitz and Simmons. Skye can't hack the system as everything is in physical files, so the agents steal some. The files reveal that Garrett was the first subject in Project Deathlok and is partly cybernetic. Raina has managed to recreate GH 325 using the info on Skye's drive but only has one vial. Garrett is dying and Ward has to temporarily restart his failing tech. The Shield team figure out Garrett is in Havana and track down the barbershop hideout, but it's already been abandoned. Fitz and Simmons find the plane and see the Hydra team preparing to leave. Ward finds them and takes them prisoner on the plane. A flashback shows Garrett telling younger Ward about Hydra and recruiting him to work secretly within Shield. Garrett's systems fail, he's dying and instructs Ward to kill Fitz and Simmons. The young agents initially escape, but Ward traps them in a container and despite pleading ejects it into the ocean. Raina has to inject the GH serum into Garrett's system to save him. In the seemingly abandoned barbershop basement Skye finds a computer and hacks into Garrett's system. The team are surrounded by Centipede super soldiers, one with an Asgardian beserker staff. Ian Quinn approaches US military type in Washington, offering them sell them a small army of super soldiers, Deathlok's high profile activities were an advert.

Coulson's Alive!
Coulson is determined to track down and stop Garrett and Cybertek. Coulson geeks out over Trip's old-school spy kit, he's really into that stuff. A nice, happy moment between him and Trip. Gets into Cybertek playing pseudo-Fitz in the interview, made tricky (and hilarious) by having to ape Fitz's words. Chucks filing cabinet out of Cybertek's window to escape with intel. Realises how long Garrett's been augmented and working with Cybertek. Tells Skye that Fitz's defence of Ward is just what he needs to hold on to.

The Cavalry
May is back on the team and Coulson says he missed her. Coulson and May in the field together are great. She's pretending to be psuedo-Simmons and has a slightly more sensible audio guide. Skye suggests May doesn't feel anything, due to her calm exterior. May makes clear that she is furious about Ward, but she'll save her anger for when it's useful.

Grr, Ward
In prison as a youth for trying to burn down the family home with his elder brother inside, there's no forgiveness from the Ward family. Garrett offers a chance for Grant to escape, though it'll be hard. Ward is left in wilderness to survive, he's angry at Garrett but proves himself and becomes loyal to him. Agrees to be in Hydra. Garrett orders Ward to kill his dog to overcome his weakness, but watching again it seems like he did but I don't think it's confirmed. It's clear that Ward has been helping and maintaining Garrett for years. Even when he's angry at Garrett he's still loyal and scared when it looks like Garrett might die. Killing Fitz and Simmons pains him and (like with the dog) he can't look them while he does it, but he's determined to overcome the weakness their affection brings out in him. It's all pretty twisted.

Science Hermione
Simmons tries to convince Fitz that Ward isn't worth his attempts to defend or justify his actions. When they're captured by Ward, she understands this is bad and accuses him of never caring for any of them.

Monkey Boy
Fitz is now getting on better with Trip, impressed by the old spy tech (though in a more technical and less giddy way than Coulson). He keeps trying to defend or understand Ward's betrayal. He can't accept that a friend would do that and suggests brainwashing and manipulation, though everyone else rejects his suggestions. After being captured by Ward Fitz tries to get through to him, clearly imagining Garrett as the evil manipulator and Ward as his victim. Fitz doesn't understand the extent of Ward's betrayal until right at the end when he's begging for his life.

Hacker Girl
Skye's Trojan Horse needs activating, so computer connected to Garrett's system must be found. When she can't find any digital signals she checks the building's specs and realises something is being protected on the fourth floor. Her skills are of less use when dealing with paper files. Raina asks Mike about Skye and tells Ward that she heard a story that might be about Skye's family. A whole Chinese village killed, Raina's story suggests the baby's parents were the killers.

New Boy
Trip gets his grandfather's old spy tech from his mum. The gadgets hidden in innocent looking objects are treated as an old style of tech. Trip works well with the team, following orders and finding stuff out. He's the one who figures out where Cybertek are hiding.

Weirdness of the Week
Garrett is the original Deathlok and has had cybernetic upgrades since 1990. His work with Cybertek has all been to extend his own life, GH 325 was just the most likely of the avenues he's investigated. The Centipede serum has been all that's keeping him arrive, but his system is so bad it doesn't make him strong. Raina seems disappointed that Garrett doesn't share her interest in powered people, but just wants to preserve himself.

Villains of the Week
Garrett's corrupting/recruiting of Ward is a major focus of the episode. Raina's success in creating a version of the GH 325 makse her one of the most effective of Team Evil. Both Ward and Garrett are unnerved by Raina. Quinn's the charismatic, public face of the enterprise, his ruthless business skills are put to selling their super soldiers to the US military.

Coulson: I'll be damned if I'm gonna let Garrett and Ward get away with murder... and I want my plane back.

After a Cybertek interviewer comments that Hydra scientists tend to be younger Simmons overcompensates over the comms. "May looks barely a day over... thirty. You're gorgeous."

Coulson and May cosplaying as geeks (with additional glasses that their in-house geeks do not wear)
"Does your sweater itch?" "A little."

Coulson: Skye, Trip, get ready for a large file transfer.
Skye: How large is it?
*Filing cabinet is thrown from 4th floor window*

2 March 2015

Nothing Personal

Episode: 20

They remembered they have a flying car.

What Happens
Maria Hill has been caught up in Congress hearings and is talking to Pepper Potts about it on the phone, she sees that those tailing her have been taken out. May approaches her in an alley and asks about who was running Tahiti, Hill doesn't know but says Fury buried it when he decided not to bury Coulson, which seems to be a riddle. Hill is apprehended by the FBI, but as she's workign for Stark Industries no one can do anything to her. At Providence base Coulson, Fitz, Simmons and Trip piece together what happened. Base cameras have been wiped, but hangar cameras show May left alone (Coulson confirms he sent her away), then Ward and Skye took the plane while holding hands. Fitz sees the image-change window is mismatched in a bathroom, Skye jammed it in place and left a message saying Ward is Hydra. Looking for pancake ingredients Simmons finds Koenig's body. She examines it and determines that Ward killed him. Fitz can't accept that Ward did it, so Coulson gets him to focus on finding the plane. Turns out it's in L.A., but as they trace it Agent Hill brings General Talbot and the US military to the base. She tries to talk the agents into handing themsleves over as she did, but Coulson explains that Ward is Hydra meaning Garrett's alive and Hand is dead. Coulson and Hill evade the military and go after Ward. Skye takes Ward to the diner where she met Mike Peterson in Pilot and pretends to decrypt the drive while distracting Ward. She contacts the police about him, but he notices the law enforcement attention. Skye runs out and tries to get arrested for safety, but she's intercepted by Deathlok and taken back to the plane. She lets Ward know what she thinks of him and refuses to say anything. Deathlok and Ward argue about what to do with her and Deathlok follows orders by stopping Ward's heart in front of Skye until she tells them the hard drive can only be accessed at a certain altitude. May digs up Coulson's empty grave. Hill confronts Ward on the runway, buying Coulson time to get on the plane. He didn't realise Deathlok was on the plane, and send Skye to the cargo bay, opening the door and fighting off the cyborg and Ward. Coulson and Skye get in Lola (the flying car) and fall over L.A. just managing not to crash land. The team hide in a motel, Hill tells Coulson she's staying with Stark Industries and suggests Coulson's team disband after they've got Ward and Garrett. May is in Coulson's room and shows him a video she found in his coffin. It's a video of him saying he cannot run project Tahiti any more and recommending it is shut down.

Coulson's Alive!
Trying to piece together what happened when they were away from the base Coulson is guilty about May leaving, and defensive when Trip dismisses her. Coulson analyses what they know trying to figure it out, best scenario is that Koenig has extra info, but Coulson starts to suspect he's got a traitor just before Fitz and Simmons make their discoveries. After Simmons makes her report Coulson tries to keep Fitz together by getting him to focus on tracking the plane and reassuring everyone (himself included) that Skye is playing Ward. He's really worried about her, but is reassured as he and Trip suss out Ward's motives and realise he needs Skye alive to decrypt the hard disk. When the base is breached Coulson is ready to defend it, but when Hill turns up he's angry that she's sold them out to improve the deal she's made with the US government. He's also angry that she's still trying to protect secrets while working for the private sector. When Hill hears about Ward she helps Coulson escape from the General's custody. Coulson sneaks onto the bus alone, assuming he's only dealing with Ward, so he's alarmed to hear Deathlok is there too. Coulson thinks Hill will keep supporting them in something like their old role, but she refuses, suggesting Coulson should work with Stark as she does. She describes the crusade against Garrett and Ward as a vendetta, since there aren't any official missions any more. At the end when May shows Coulson the video of himself describing Tahiti and it's flaws all Coulson can do is make a small shocked noise. Seems he's missing more memories than he realised.

The Cavalry
As stated at the end of the previous episode May is tracking down Agent Hill. She takes out the operatives following Hill and questions her about Tahiti. May points out that as Fury was taking orders from higher up, and the only one higher was Alexander Pearce, who was Hydra. Hill doesn't have answers either, but gives May the riddle that Fury gave her. Fury decided to bury "that intel when he decided not to bury Coulson." Hill maintains that Fury is dead, but May doesn't believe her. Later May is digging up a grave, scaring a lone mourner. It turns out it's Coulson's grave (though until we saw that I'd assumed it would be Fury's). At the end May does her thing of silently lurking in people's rooms and Coulson's glad she's back. Though the intel she's found is a huge shock to both of them.

Grr, Ward
He's impatient with Skye's delays but still pretending to be good. He notices her tension, brushes off her suggestions and talks to her about going undercover. When Skye reveals that she's reported him he takes out law enforcement and tries to chase her. He's angry that Deathlok got so publicly involved, and that Garrett felt he needed watching. Though Deathlok has a point about Garrett's fears that Ward's soft spot for Skye will affect his judgement. Ward tells Skye about his feelings and claims all the betrayal isn't personal, Skye is disgusted. Ward is furious at Deathlok for the nearly killing him, but the cyborg says it's nothing personal, it's almost funny except things are pretty grim. Ward makes  a sexist crack at Hill, suggesting people (probably a lot of them Hydra) lost respect for Fury when he promoted her to his lieutenant and saying that Black Widow is better eye candy. This doesn't phase Hill in the slightest and she says she'll tell Romanov that. It occurs to me that so far perhaps all the Hydra agents I've seen are men, figures. Ward wants to go back for Skye after Coulson rescues her, Deathlok won't let him as they have the hard drive now.

Science Hermione
Simmons just wanted to cheer everyone up with pancakes, but finds Koenig's body in the store cupboard. She does a quick post mortem and is distracted by Fitz's freak out. Keonig was garrotted in a hurry, after May left and by someone taller than him with the strength to lift his body into the ceiling. Only Ward could have done it. Simmons is defiant to General Talbot, ignoring his insistence that they're taken in and make themselves useful by explaining they need to rescue a friend from an actual Hydra agent. Simmons gives reassurance to Fitz at end that she'll never be Hydra.

Monkey Boy
Fitz sees the message Skye left about Ward, smart of her to do so. He freaks out completely, refusing to believe it, wanting to find another explanation. When Simmons makes her report he smashes up things in the kitchen until Coulson gets him to focus on fixing the communications. At the end Futz tries to rationalise what Ward did, figuring he's been brainwashed or something. Unlike Simmons he refuses to believe someone could be just evil.

Hacker Girl
Skye manages admirably in a difficult situation, able to convince Ward she's fine, while delaying him and trying to react to his lies and control. She makes conversation to distract Ward and try to find out his motives. When escaping she tries to get some cops to arrest her so she's away from Ward, she has to shove them before they'll do anything. Ward takes them pout immediately, so Skye tries to take the cop car, but Deathlok stops her. She's disgusted by Ward and his justifications about following orders. She's also disgusted that he's still interested in her and seems to think there could ever be anything between them, what with him being a murdering traitor. She beats him up as best she can, which doesn't do much to stop him but is nice to see. She accuses him of being a Nazi, which throws him, but this isn't a Godwin's Law thing since his evil organisation was founded by a Nazi. Though I can see that Hydra is a different thing to Nazis, but that kind of nuance doesn't seem necessary here. She almost falls out of Lola in mid air because she didn't buckle up, or even keep the parachute she was trying to put on.

New Boy
Trip comments to Coulson that Fitz is like a ninja with the comms, respecting his skills even though Fitz has been dismissive of him. Trip supports Coulson, talking things through with him and quietly checking in on how he is. With Ward and May gone Trip is definitely Coulson's new specialist, as he's the more experienced agent than Fitz and Simmons. At the end Trip declares his loyalty to Coulson. Of course he wants revenge on his betraying mentor Garrett, but he's already proved he's willing to die for Shield and Coulson seems to be the only person still committed to the fragmented and disgraced organisation. Only 2 episodes ago Coulson didn't want Trip on the plane because he didn't know him, but now Trip is part of the team.

Weirdness of the Week
The video about the Tahiti project tells us Coulson was running things and reporting to Fury, he remembers none of this. The project was designed to possibly heal a mortally wounded Avenger, but seems to have had multiple subjects (presumably from Shield) who were given the alien biology. In all cases it has led to terrible side effects on mental health though whether it's the cure itself or the knowledge of what they've been through isn't clear. Video-Coulson says memory wipes are the only thing that's helped, but not always successfully. Coulson didn't feel he could continue doing this and recommended for the whole project to be discontinued. This is why May was ordered to observe him and as he'd come to object to the whole thing it's very clear the Coulson would never have consented to what was done to him.

Villain of the Week
Ward and Deathlok. Skye tries to reason with Mike, telling him he's not a murderer, pointing out he refused to kill her in Italy and insisting they can help him. Mike refuses, he seems to have given up hope, though that's probably the only way he can cope. He also accuses Skye when the subject of his son comes up, he left Ace with her and told her to keep him safe. None of us ever saw Ace again, so Skye did kinda fail there a bit.


Maria Hill (to FBI agents tracking her): 3 minutes and 20 seconds! Really? If you were my agents you wouldn't be for long.

Coulson: Finally, some good knows
Base Security: Perimeter defences activated
Coulson: I should have knocked on wood just then

Coulson: If I come out, will you shoot me? Cos then I won't come out.

Spoilers From The Skies (for the remains of this series and series 2)

Coulson's leadership of Tahiti is shown in more detail and has consequences in series 2. The hypographia he mentions on the video is particularly significant as we'll see more of the writing very soon.

Coulson and General Talbot never have positive encounters, here Coulson beats him up. Later there will be kidnappings.

My thanks to @AlasdairStuart and @runalongwomble for the spoiler pun suggestions.