Justin Lubin/American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
On tonight’s episode, Fitz and Ward get sent on a classified mission alone, while the rest of the team stays behind at the Hub. Simmons and Skye go on their own secret mission to find out what’s really going on.
The episode starts with Coulson being led into a back basement room with a bag over his head to face a Russian interrogation. The interrogator is Agent Shaw. He, May, Ward and Coulson escape the underground and under ice bunker.
On the bus, Simmons tells Shaw, “Whatever you do, don’t breathe. That was a joke. You should of course feel comfortable to breathe if you need to. Just not through your nose and very minimally through your mouth.”
Simmons pulls the intel Shaw was keeping safe up his nose out of his nose. Gross, dude. Coulson says they’re dropping Shaw off at the Hub. Simmons is excited by this.
Coulson advises the mission on the Hub is for agents with level 8 clearance only, meaning no Skye. At the Hub, a huge, super hi-tech facility, Coulson promises Skye again he’ll look into her parents’ heavily redacted file. Coulson, May and Ward follow through a restricted area to meet with the much talked about Agent Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows). Fitz and Simmons run off to check out the new tech like school kids. Well, kids that like school, anyway.
Hand advises the level 8s that a separatist movement has built something called the Overkill Device. That bodes well. The group plans to use the device, which sets off all weapons in range, within the next day to gain independence from Russia and Georgia.
Hand assigns Ward and Fitz to locate and dismantle the device. Fitz gets a cart stuck in between automatic glass doors in the Hub. When he manages to free the cart, he’s trapped on the other side. You’re too adorable, Fitz. I can’t handle it.
Simmons, fretting on the bus while Fitz packs: “I just can’t believe you’re going in dark, in hostile territory, without comms, lacking any real physical strength. Did I give you an antivenin pack?”
Fitz assures her he’ll be fine and not to worry about him. Fitz then says, “Don’t you do anything rash while I’m gone, like jump out of an airplane.” Simmons hands Fitz a sandwich she made him. His favorite sandwich.
Skye says to Coulson, “Does this feel okay to you? Shouldn’t we be going with them?” Exactly. This seems very ill planned, especially since Coulson didn’t assign who was going from the team.
Ward finds out Uri, his contact to get them across the border, is dead. The man saying this pulls a gun on Ward and says, “You have no friends here.”
Back on the bus, Skye suggests May might be able to tell her and Simmons what’s going on with the op since she’s level 7. May says nothing, her face a wall of do not mess with me.
Skye: “Does that mean that you do know something and you can’t tell us or that you don’t know anything? Which non-expression is this?” May: “We know what we’re supposed to know.” I tell you, whenever something happens to make May break down her wall, it’s going to be intense and awful. And good TV.
Hand tells Coulson he must be one of Nick Fury’s favorites as “not everyone gets sent to Tahiti.” Coulson automatically replies, “It’s a magical… place,” pausing like he knows something’s not right about him and his Pavlovian response.
Ward and Fitz are tied to chairs and held hostage. They discuss plans while their captors are out of the room. Well, mostly Ward discusses.
Ward: “How attached are you to your pinky?”
Fitz: “Very, very attached. And before you ask another terrifyingly vague question, let me be clear. Any plan that involves either one of those scenarios isn’t going to work for me.”
Marta, the female Russian boss, comes in and laments she’s missing the game. As Fitz and Ward are about to be shot, the power goes off.
Back with the team, Skye presses Coulson about what’s going on. Coulson tells her, “Trust the system.” Skye enlists Simmons to help her find out what’s going on as there’s a lot of artillery and manpower around for a two man mission. Simmons: “No! No! I can’t be a part of your bad girl shenanigans. I like following the rules and doing what’s expected of me. It makes me feel nice!”
Skye convinced her by presenting a bunch of what-ifs, including “What if Fitz is being tortured right now?” That does it. Simmons is on board.
Fitz is hanging upside down, working to turn the electricity back on. Marta calls him little bear in Russian, now clearly a fan of his. It’s adorable. Ward wouldn’t have been able to gain her trust. Point: Fitz.
On their way across the border, Fitz confesses to Ward he knocked out the electricity with his remote electricity turner-offer. That’s not his term for it. The caravan gets attacked by border patrol and Fitz and Ward make a run for it.
Coulson tells a very zen May that he doesn’t like keeping things from her or the team. She stops him from telling her anything with just a look. I’m pretty sure she could stop a train with that look.
Simmons gets caught breaking into a secret panel by Agent Sitwell. Via comm, Skye tells her to play it cool which results in adorable Simmons awkwardly trying to convince Sitwell she’s allowed to access the panel. It gets so bad when Simmons mentions his “gorgeous” bald head that Skye mouths in horror, “Oh my God!” Sitwell calls for backup and Simmons shoots him with a fancy knock out gun called the Night-Night gun.
Skye sends Simmons to get May and she runs off, sure she’s going to be court marshaled.
Fitz and Ward hide in a drainage pipe, where Ward tosses Fitz’s sandwich in the water so dogs can’t track them. Ward tells him Coulson said to take care of him.
Skye breaks into the Hub mainframe to find out where Ward and Fitz are but gets distracted by the Redacted Documents folder. She finds her parents’ file but doesn’t have time to find the non-blacked out version. She discovers there is no extraction time for Ward and Fitz. Coulson catches her.
Fitz and Ward share an oversized sleeping bag in the road. Fitz laments his tossed sandwich. Suddenly, a truck drives over them and the sleeping bag, a mag pouch, sticks to the bottom of the truck.
Skye rips into Coulson. He scolds her for breaking in and not trusting the system. He says he might have to trust her one day but her actions show it would be inadvisable. She asks if he knew there wasn’t an extraction plan. Coulson replies, “That’s classified.”
Meanwhile, Ward and Fitz find the device and Fitz sets about disabling it. Inside, the device looks like something straight out of the TARDIS. Fitz: “This is gonna take awhile.” Ward: “You have ten minutes.” Fitz: “I thought you’d say five.”
Coulson confronts Hand on the lack of an extraction plan. Hand says telling them and especially Fitz would have compromised the mission. Coulson says he knows the importance of saving thousands of people but says, very intense, “I also know my men and what they’re worth. The decision to go in should’ve been theirs to make.” You’re such a badass, Coulson. Hand replies that he needs to trust the system.
Ward tells Fitz there is no extraction plan and advises him to leave. Fitz refuses, saying, “I am every bit the SHIELD agent you are.” Fitz reveals Coulson told him to take care of Ward as well.
Skye, May, Simmons and Coulson go off system and plan to extract Fitz and Ward. Fitz disables the device, which immediately sounds the alarm. Fitz constructs a device that makes weapons to hot to touch. One assailant punches Ward repeatedly until Fitz kicks him in the face. “I just did that,” Fitz says, stunned.
The bus flies overhead. Fitz: “It’s the extraction team!” Ward: “Better. It’s the cavalry.”
Back at the Hub, Sitwell mentions they didn’t have an extraction plan. Hand says, “It’s Agent Coulson’s team. They didn’t need one.” Yeah, okay, lady. That’s banking on a lot of renegade Skye work there. Put Hand in the Do Not Trust file, fancy red highlights or not.
On the bus, Simmons asks Fitz how the sandwich was. “Delicious,” he replies.
Coulson tells Skye he found her redacted file. A female SHIELD agent dropped Skye off at the orphanage. He apologizes he doesn’t have more information, promises to continue to look into it and she hugs him, thanking him.
May: “What’d you tell her?”
Coulson: “The truth. I told her a SHIELD agent dropped her off at the orphanage.”
May: “But you didn’t tell her why.”
Coulson: “I can’t. Some secrets are meant to stay secret. Will you help me find out what really happened?”
May: “Dangerous waters. But I can try.”
The photo on the table appears to be that of a dead woman. Uh oh. An ominous mystery. Now we’re talking!
In the final scene, Coulson calls the Company to get more information about what happened to him. Turns out he doesn’t have clearance. See, now we’re starting to get to a really interesting place.
Every week, these characters get better and better. While nothing beats last week’s episode for me, this fits (no pun intended) really well with that. The mystery about Coulson’s death and Skye’s parents is exactly what this show needs.
So, what do you think is the real story with Coulson’s death and Tahiti recovery? Is it actually a magical place? What do you think happened to Skye’s parents?
Next week is a tie-in to Thor: The Dark World, so if you didn’t brave the crowds this weekend, you might want to get on that.