I thought that last week was one of the best episodes ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has had so far. This week is, unsurprisingly, not able to top that. However, judged on its own, the episode is fairly strong.
The Old S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the hilariously-titled ‘Frenemy of my Enemy’, Fitz gives the slip to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tailing him and joins up with Coulson, Lance and Deathlok. Coulson is very relieved to get his Toolbox back.
The team jets off to Tijuana, where they find and capture Agent 33, whose face now looks normal again. (She was able to scan an old photo of herself obtained from her mother – but I thought 33’s memories had been wiped, so how does she even know who her mother is?) Coulson uses her phone to call Ward and get him to come running.
Ward indeed shows up and turns himself in without a fight. Coulson, pretending to still be Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., offers him a deal: If Ward will help them capture a pair of HYDRA big-wigs named Strucker and List, Coulson will put him through the TAHITI protocol, wipe his memories and cut him loose, “Free and clear.” This doesn’t entirely appeal to Ward, but he agrees provisionally.
If Ward were really such a clever and resourceful guy, you’d think he would have heard by now that Coulson was ousted from S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ward turns over the brainwashed Bakshi, who is very eager to comply with anything they want of him. Ward and Coulson devise a plan to send him undercover to meet with List. Deathlok will go along, pretending to be under Bakshi’s control, while Fitz will monitor the meeting via the camera in Deathlok’s eye.
On a corporate jet registered to “Echidna Capital Management,” Bakshi reunites with List and offers to turn over Deathlok for experimentation. Coulson assumes that Ward and Bakshi have sold him out, but Ward insists that this is just part of the plan and needs to play out.
Suddenly, the meeting is interrupted when List receives an alert that a “quantum entanglement” he’s been tracking has been detected. List puts other discussions on hold and orders the plane to fly to Milwaukee. Coulson and his team follow behind.
The New S.H.I.E.L.D.
Having just about stalled for as long as she can, Simmons comes clean and admits to May that the Toolbox she’s been trying to open is a fake and that she gave the real one to Fitz. May in turn tells Bobbi, who has shown signs of growing uncomfortable with Commander Gonzales’ leadership. They ask Simmons to hack into the camera feed from Deathlok’s eye so they can find out what Coulson is up to. Simmons agrees, because she believes that Coulson is innocent and will be vindicated.
By the time Simmons is able to crack the encryption, the three of them discover an image of Coulson working side-by-side with Ward. That doesn’t look good.
The Cheese State
After the family dinner with his wife and daughter, Skye’s father Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) is happy for a change. He agrees to stay in his locked room and not make waves. Unbeknownst to him, Skye’s mother Jiaying still plans to send him away. When Skye learns about this, she argues that it’s a bad idea because he’ll lose his temper again and harm innocent people. Jiaying says that she can’t be concerned with that. Protecting her own people is paramount. Skye asks to go with him, so as to deliver the news and soften the blow.
Under the pretense of allowing him out for a day to return home and collect some of his possessions, Gordon teleports Cal and Skye to Milwaukee and drops them off. He says that he’ll come back later, but of course only plans to take Skye when he does.
Cal takes Skye on a walking tour of his old neighborhood and finds himself growing frustrated that so many of the things he used to like have changed. Skye struggles to keep him in a positive mood. When Cal steps into a store for a moment, Skye steals a cell phone and calls May. She says that S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to pick up Cal, put him on the Index, and contain him before he blows his lid. May sends Bobbi and Mack to go get Skye.
Cal brings Skye to his old office. (He owns the building, which explains why it’s abandoned and untouched.) Skye learns that their real last name is Johnson. When Cal discovers that Lincoln has been keeping tabs on them, he quickly figures out what’s really going on. Naturally, he starts to lose his temper. Just at that moment, HYDRA agents (along with Bakshi and Deathlok) storm the building. The “quantum entanglement” they monitored was Gordon’s teleportation. List wants to capture Gordon and any other powered individuals in his company.
Deathlok runs into Lincoln, who zaps him with electricity and fries his camera feed. Coulson, Lance, Ward and 33 enter the building as well. Coulson searches for Skye. Lance gets shot, but insists that it’s justs a flesh wound.
Bakshi captures both Deathlok and Lincoln. Gordon teleports in to grab Skye. Cal hops on top of them as they all teleport away back to the mountains. Both HYDRA and Coulson’s crew retreat – except for Coulson himself. He stays behind to wait for Mack and Bobbi, who arrive late. Coulson genially greets them and asks them to, “Take me to your leader.”
As mentioned, this episode isn’t quite as good as last week’s. It’s all about moving the plot along and doesn’t have any of the emotional core we saw in May’s storyline. That said, it does a good job of setting all the pieces in place for the upcoming season finale.