Tuesday has clearly become the best night of TV for comic book fans with both “The Flash” rolling and “Agents of SHIELD” continuing to shine now that it has a solid direction. This week’s episode clearly set in motion the major story arc for this second half of the season while firmly establishing the sides. Or does it?
The tease for this week’s show was that one of the agents could be killed so this is probably the one week I’d prefer Trip to stay on the operation deck so of course he’s with Skye, Fitz and Coulson for a mission that first takes them to Hawaii to retrieve some items for Coulson. Everyone gets a task, but Coulson is being very tight-lipped about their purpose showing he’s getting the hang of being director quite well.
Back at HQ, May is in charge and Morse is interrogating Sunil, the Hydra second in command, to get more information on Hydra’s plans. Nice touch of having Morse twirling her Escrima sticks while she’s brainstorming and realizes Sunil implied Daniel Whitehall knew The Red Skull, not just studied him.
This leads to the team digging through old SHIELD files, which is basically an excuse to have another Peggy Carter flashback and that’s always a welcome cameo. Whitehall is with his Nazi/Hydra pals forcing people to touch the Obelisk and die when one woman is immune to its pesky turn you to dust side effect. Whitehall wonders what makes her so special, but the Howling Commandos arrive.
Carter interrogates Whitehall, who says Blue angels (the alien Coulson and Skye found) have arrived on Earth and he wants to know all about them. Carter assures him he’ll be staying buried deep below for as long as she has a say in the matter.
Back in the present, Whitehall is still failing in his efforts to utilize the Obelisk and summons The Doctor (Kyle McLaughlin). He tells Whitehall those blue angels are not coming to Earth to conquer it, but to end humanity. This definitely still plays into the Inhumans’ origin even if The Doc and Whitehall have mistaken the blue angels’ (read: Kree) true purpose.
Christian Ward has set up a rendezvous with his mistress at his summer cottage, but the booty call will have to wait as (Grant) Ward kills his armed guard and drags his big brother off to the woods. Christian tries to spin it like he allowed Ward to escape by getting him out of SHIELD’s custody. Ward doesn’t want to hear it as he’s still blaming Christian for the well incident. Depending on who is telling the story Grant pushed their brother, Thomas, in the well on his own/at Christian’s demand.
Back at SHIELD, Simmons finds an old file with Whitehall’s picture and then May discovers a picture of an old, senior-citizen aged Whitehall. So that eliminates the immortal theory…
Despite Carter’s efforts, Whitehall does get released in 1989 courtesy of Alexander Pierce ordering his release. “The Winter Soldier” was truly the gift that keeps on giving for this show, wasn’t it? The agents that release him are sleeper Hydra agents and they take Whitehall to a lab where they have imprisoned several villagers including the woman who touched the Obelisk. She hasn’t aged at all. Her chances of escaping twice are not so good.
Sunil tries to turn the tables on Morse by asking what her friends would say if they know what she had to do to maintain her cover. Morse doesn’t bite so he triggers a cyanide implant in his cheek.
While Simmons tries to resuscitate Sunil, Hunter asks Morse if she pushed him to the brink of suicide leading to yet another squabble. Hunter and Morse finally work their sexual tension off in a van. While Morse has proven a good addition to the cast providing that undercover agent Coulson’s first season squad lacked, her arrival has seriously impacted Hunter for the worse.
Earlier, he was the team’s merc with a mouth offering that cool detached element to the group, but since Morse joined up, he’s been relegated to her bickering partner who’s only relevant when she’s around. It’s doubtful Morse and Hunter hooking back up is going to do much for his character either, which is a shame as he showed a lot of promise.
Ward has Christian dig up the old well and after beating and threatening to toss him down below, Christian finally cracks. Their parents beat on both Christian and Grant, but Thomas was spared, so he wanted him dead to cause their mother pain. Ward is relieved to hear the truth, but is acting overly friendly. Christian really should consider that Ward probably wants more than peace of mind satisfaction from that confession.
Coulson’s team reaches Australia to gain more information on the hidden city. Skye stays with Geek Squad, who look like the show’s version of the Star Trek red shirts. It’s a Hydra ambush and Trip gets shot (Darth Vader style “noooooo!”) and someone says they can help. It’s The Doctor.
While patching up Trip, The Doctor slips and calls Coulson “Phil,” prompting a standoff — Trip’s life for nabbing The Doc. Coulson tells him Skye wouldn’t want Trip to die and The Doc yells “That isn’t her name!” He tells Coulson how to save Trip to cover his escape.
Whitehall narrates to someone how Hydra dissected the woman to get her secrets, which allowed him to revert to his 1940s age. Minor nitpick: why did he revert to that age and not just remain the same age he was when he took the woman’s blood/DNA?
Oh, he’s sharing that with Ward, who knows a thing about sacrifice as Whitehall watches a news report confirming that Christian Ward is dead and killed his parents in an apparent murder/suicide authorities pieced together thanks to an audio tape confession. Man, Ward is an evil bastard!
Coulson and Fitz start to tell Skye about her father, but SHIELD has found the city. Meanwhile, The Doctor arrives to the Hydra fireside chat with Whitehall and Ward. The Doc learns of Ward’s association with Coulson’s team and commends him on keeping his enemies close.
One final flashback 25 years ago. The Doctor (who is also apparently ageless) has arrived at the Hydra base dismayed to find his wife’s dissected body tossed out in the fields and he vows revenge on all those who hurt her. Oh-ho. Things are really about to get interesting.
This was another strong episode for SHIELD in consecutive weeks and as we head to the mid-season finale, there’s no sense that it won’t continue its fantastic hot streak.