Is ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ going to try to pull off a so-called game-changer episode around this time every season? That ploy worked out pretty well last year, and the most recent episode likewise upends the current dynamic of the series just as we’d gotten used to it.
Via flashback, ‘One Door Closes’ takes us back a year to the day HYDRA revealed itself and S.H.I.E.L.D. crumbled. Aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier, things look pretty bad for Mack (the ship’s chief engineer) until Bobbi and Agent Hartley (I knew we’d see Lucy Lawless again, though I’m a little disappointed it’s only in a flashback) charge in to help him fight off the invaders. The three of them then rescue Commander Gonzales (Edward James Olmos), who has unfortunately broken his leg but is still quite feisty.
Bobbi has orders from Director Fury to get Gonzales to safety and then scuttle the ship before it falls into HYDRA’s hands. The latter is a suicide mission she won’t return from, but she’s willing to do her duty. However, just as Bobbi’s about to leave everyone, Hartley announces that S.H.I.E.L.D. forces have taken back the upper decks of the ship. After some debate about whether to stick to the original plan or break Fury’s orders, they all decide to fight to reclaim the ship rather than destroy it.
Thus we learn how the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” splinter group came together and what they’re about.
In the Present Day
As she told Gonzales she would, Bobbi returns to the official S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ before Lance can get there. She tells Coulson that she couldn’t find him, and then sneaks around through the base covertly sabotaging stuff.
We already know that Coulson and May suspect that Mack and Bobbi are up to something. Coulson confronts Mack and has a bunch of redshirt agents take him into custody. He demands that Mack tell him who he works for. Mack insists that, “I work for S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Bobbi steals a little cube thingie referred to as “Fury’s Toolbox” from Coulson’s office. May chases her through the base and they fight, but Bobbi triggers a blackout so that she and Mack can escape.
Bobbi runs into Simmons, who plays dumb and pretends that she doesn’t know what’s going on. She asks for Bobbi’s help to get the lights back on, but she really tricks Bobbi into touching something that knocks her out. Simmons takes the Toolbox back and returns it to Coulson.
On his own way out, Mack is blocked by Fitz, who knows that he’s no physical match for Mack but tries to stop him anyway. Mack tackles Fitz – but not to hurt him. He actually saves Fitz from getting hit by debris when a wall behind him explodes.
Gonzales and his forces storm the base and take Coulson into custody. Coulson says that he knows all about Gonzales, and had searched for him extensively when rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. because he’d heard that Gonzales was a good man. Gonzales nevertheless doesn’t trust Coulson and still believes he’s been compromised by his exposure to alien technology. Gonzales tells him that he knows Fury hid powerful, dangerous and/or extraterrestrial objects around the world. He wants to collect them up.
Agent Weaver, the former head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy who’s now one of Gonzales’ top people, sucks up to Simmons and begins the process of recruiting her to work for the other side.
May, who’d been hiding in the base, ices Gonzales, puts Coulson in a secret escape hatch, and then surrenders. At episode’s end, we find Coulson somewhere in the tropics, where he meets up with Lance, who officially accepts his earlier job offer and wants to help him take back S.H.I.E.L.D.
Into the Woods
While all of this is going on, Skye obliviously waits around in her cabin, getting kind of bored. She tries on those special inhibitor gloves Simmons gave her. She gets freaked out when the perimeter alarms go off and someone knocks at the door. It’s the Inhuman guy with no eyes. He asks if he can come in.
No Eyes Guy is named Gordon, and he’s very friendly. He explains a little of who he is, what has happened to Skye since her transformation, and what should have happened if she’d had anyone who understood and could have helped her. He seems appalled that Skye would want to inhibit her powers rather than explore them, even when she tells him that they’re hurting her. Gordon offers to take her away when she’s ready, and then vanishes.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Gonzales learns where Coulson hid Skye. He orders Agent Calderon (Kirk Acevedo) to take a team and retrieve her. Bobbi asks to go with them, so that Skye will see at least one friendly face.
Before surrendering herself, May gets on a phone and warns Skye that bad people are coming for her. Skye runs out of the cabin when she hears quinjets approaching. Calderon and his goons chase her through the woods.
Because he’d rather put her down than let her escape, Calderon pulls a gun and shoots at Skye. Bobbi screams out a warning. A panicked Skye unleashes a massive psychic shockwave that deflects the bullet, tosses Bobbi and Calderon backwards, and knocks down all the trees around them. Bobbi is OK, but Calderon gets impaled through the shoulder on a tree branch.
Skye calls out for Gordon, who immediately teleports in, asks her “Would you like to go home?” and whisks her away.
This is a very eventful episode, well-handled in all respects. The season’s storylines are all coming together and I’m actually excited to find out what happens next.