Alrighty, Agents. We’re getting closer and closer to both Avengers: Age of Ultron AND the final episodes of this show.
Frenemy of my Enemy – Recap
I am so glad that we got to see Fitz shaking a tail, instead of picking up at some point after he had already been rescued. Also, Agent Fitz in the field was nice to see again, even if he was just suit running through the streets. He bolts to the top of a parking structure where Hunter, Coulson, and Deathlok are waiting for him in a shielded Quinjet. Fitz notices the new upgrades and immediately gets shut down by Coulson.
Fitz tosses the toolbox to Coulson, who immediately opens it up to get some information. Coulson gets Fitz up to speed and informs him that Hydra might have clues as to Skye’s whereabouts, and that they need to make an uneasy alliance with Ward.
Cut to a body bag containing Ethan Johnston, the random kid who got three lines in the last episode, and was replayed in this weeks’ “previously on SHIELD.” Normally, that means that we’d be seeing him as a superpowered being eventually, but as it turns out, big fat nope. Hydra had apparently been experimenting on him for a day and a half before he died of a heart attack. Also, apparently, this is Dr. List, whom I had not recognized until recently as one of the doctors at the end of Captain America II: The Winter Soldier where they showed off Loki’s scepter and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Hashtag, It’s Still All Connected.
Back at Afterlife, Jiaying talks with Cal about Skye, and how they’ve all changed as people. Unfortunately, Cal isn’t really allowed to be there because he’s not really like the everyone else – he isn’t a “descendent”, he just married in. Jiaying offers to have Gordon take him home to get some of his things to make his stay more pleasant.
Lincoln is trying to get Skye to stay in the present moment, even though her brain is still swimming about family dinner. She’s shocked that Cal was so civil, and that the whole evening was pretty nice. She’s also worried about the fact that (surprise!) Jiaying is planning on sending Cal away for good.
Bobbi and Mack are sparring, and it’s one of my favorite matchups of watching brute strength versus agility. If he gets one punch in, he can knock her down to the mat. She makes sure he doesn’t get that chance – often. Bobbi is starting to have a change of heart about Coulson – that yes, he’s lied, but Hydra is still a thing that should be addressed. Mack seems to agree, but the only way to move forward is to get the truth out of Fury’s toolbox.
Simmons tells May that they’re flying in a super laser to cut through the Vibranium that makes up the toolbox. She also comes clean about the switch she pulled with Fitz. May says she’ll handle it.
Agent 33 has acquired an old picture of herself from her mother, and now is able to have her original face without the scars. Also, apparently her voicebox is fixed, because she doesn’t sound like May anymore. Coulson and Deathlok corner her in a restaurant, and call Ward on her phone. Ward answers with a “hey baby,” and Coulson responds with a “hey sweetie” and I lost it.
Deathlok watches Agent 33 to make sure she doesn’t try anything. In a great moment, Mr. Peterson asks if there’s a spare one of those nanomasks lying around – since his face is also scarred, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Ward walks in and Deathlok, the portable airport security scanner, makes sure he removes all weapons. Then he is sent back to talk to Coulson mafia style, at a booth in a restaurant.
Coulson shows this great mix of respect and disgust at Ward – you can’t deny he makes a great double agent, even if you’re the one he crossed. They discuss Strucker and List and the fact that Ward isn’t in Hydra anymore. Coulson offers Ward an opportunity to go through the Tahiti program – to erase all the bad choices Ward made so he can be the man he wants to be – and he can walk away free and clear. Ward is a little put off by the offer, but when ensured that it’s the only way he walks out of the restaurant (alive? un-imprisoned? unclear, but threatening…) he says he may know a guy.
May informs Simmons that she revealed the truth to Bobbi. Simmons agrees to tap into Mike Peterson’s eye-cam feed as a chance to exonerate Coulson and Fitz.
Jiaying talks with Gordon about Raina potentially being the first of her kind – if she does have the gift of precognition. Skye interrupts and tells her mom that abandoning Cal will be dangerous for everyone around him. Jiaying flat up says that those people aren’t her concern.
Coulson and Deathlok are discussing their distrust of Ward and Agent 33, but the need to have them around. Meanwhile, Ward and 33 are completely validating that distrust by 33 saying she wants to run and Ward assuring her that they won’t get to Coulson’s end game until long after they get to Ward’s endgame. They start to make out and Deathlok breaks it up like a parking cop on prom night. They open up the trunk to reveal a bound and gagged Bakshi, who will be happy to comply with any orders given by Coulson.
Skye visits Cal and feels so guilty for him being abandoned, and so swept up in how he talks about home that she decides to go with him. Which just makes him ridiculously happy. Skye tells her mom that she plans to go with dad, not because she’s trying to protect anyone, but because she empathizes with him (this has been her superpower since the first episode of the first season). Also, because she spent her whole life looking for her parents, and it was only Cal who was also looking for her.
Coulson’s team is in flight to a meeting with Dr. List, arranged by Bakshi, who has been instructed to act as he would have before the brainwashing. With several hours to go, Ward makes the mistake of asking Fitz how he’s been, and Fitz dang near explodes. He warns that Bakshi is going to double cross them, but Coulson says the Deathlok will be his “bodyguard” and they can monitor the meet through Deathlok’s eyes. The instructions were for Bakshi to come alone, but luckily he’s good at talking his way out of things.
Simmons is still hard at work hacking into that same eyeball. May is solely interested in finding out the truth and understanding why Coulson left them with a mountain of lies.
Cal and Skye are on their first father/daughter “date” in Milwaukee – which is very different than how he remembers it. He reminisces on how he would have raised Daisy – charter schools, science fairs, father daughter dances. Then he gets excited thinking about ice cream and they go track some down.
The new name to know is Echidna – a front for Hydra, being run by Dr. List. Bakshi and Deathlok go in to a meeting with armed agents. List scrutinizes Bakshi as to how he escaped unscathed even though most of Hydra’s leadership was wiped out in a bloodbath. Bakshi throws some shade at List for gaining quite a bit of wealth and power after that bloodbath, so maybe it was him that killed everyone. He then starts reminding List about all the funds Hydra invested into Deathlok, and offers him to List and Strucker to examine, and to use.
This was not part of the plan, and a standoff ensues on the plane. Coulson and Hunter pull guns on Ward, Ward pulls a gun on Coulson, 33 puts a knife to Fitz’ neck.
(And if you’re not watching this on ABC, you missed an Apple Watch commercial here.)
And Fitz has the trump card. Deathlok has rockets in his arm, and he’s not happy about the change of plans, either. Fitz points out that he’s targeting and getting ready to fire, and he’s the only one that can make him stand down. Everyone calms down and Fitz sends an Eye-Message to Deathlok telling him to “play along.”
Meanwhile, there’s another “incident” and List takes Hydra into the sky to investigate. Coulson’s Quinjet tails them.
Skye sends Cal into a local liquor shop to maybe get ice cream, but not before she “bumps” into a guy and discreetly steals his phone. Classic pickpocket. With Cal distracted by ice cream, she calls May and asks to speak to Coulson because there’s little time. She needs Skye to pick up Cal before he gets pissed and hurts people. She leaves the line open in a trash can so they can trace her. Mack and Bobbi take a team to go find them, while May and Simmons stay behind to track Deathlok. Also, we learn that Lincoln is following them at a distance, making sure everything is okay.
Meanwhile, Gordon pops back to Afterlife with some bad news about Ethan’s disappearance. Gordon can’t find him anywhere. Jiaying is more concerned with who found him than what they did to him.
List tells Bakshi about quantum entaglement, which is a science thing where stuff can be in two places at the same time – like a bridge. Listening in, Fitz and Coulson realize that’s probably the teleporter who took Cal and Raina – and Skye. Ward overhears Skye, and Coulson tells him and 33 that he has “no idea” why Hydra might be interested in her. Remember – they probably know nothing about her transformation. Interesting.
Cal shows Skye his old office, where she learns from the sign on the door that their last names are actually Johnson. She tries saying the name “Daisy Johnson” out loud and we get superhero music in the background. (SHE SAID THE THING.) Apparently, Cal owns the building – so he has some amount of money. He shows her his grandfather’s WWII field kit, which he used to put his wife back together again.
Skye hears enough of the nostalgia and informs Cal that there’s no going back to childhood. But that doesn’t mean they can’t see each other and that she can’t visit. They hear a noise, which turns out to be Lincoln, and they inform Cal that he’s not going back to Afterlife with them. He gets really upset (shocker), and throws Lincoln across the room. Hydra shows up with a Deathlok that is playing along, and they also go to investigate that noise.
Lincoln incapacitates a Hydra soldier with a shock, and Cal takes out three with charm and rage. Coulson’s team finds Skye in Deathlok’s scope, and enters the building. Lincoln tries to take down Deathlok, but only succeeds in shorting the feed. Fitz tries to reconnect, and notices someone else trying to hack in.
Ward and Coulson split off to find Skye, and Hunter takes a bullet to the leg. Simmons gets into the Deathlok signal in just enough time to see Coulson standing next to Ward, working together. Bakshi shows up with two Hydra soldiers and tells them to take in Deathlok and Lincoln, who are already weakened by fighting each other. They throw a combination poké ball and a ghostbuster trap, which stuns the two heroes.
Skye makes it to the top floor and finds Coulson and Ward, and is happy to see Coulson. Before she can make, it though, Gordon pops in and grabs her. Right before they disappear again, Cal comes running out of nowhere and dives into the teleportation. So now he’s back at his wife’s place. That’ll play out well.
The team regroups and analyzes the situation. Powered people on site, Hydra stormed the building, the British guy has a flesh wound (and if you don’t appreciate that, you should). And the only back up is Fitz, which isn’t the worst situation, really.
Bobbi and Mack show up to find the aftermath and an empty building. The only person they can find is Coulson in Cal’s office, who “surrenders” and tells them to take him to their leader.
Okay, so how did the rest of that battle play out? I’m fairly certain that the Quinjet was on the roof, and the team seemed to be on the top floor, fairly near the roof, since Skye almost went out there herself. For Coulson to still be in the building, and for everyone else to leave, some big stuff had to go down, right? Or, did Hydra leave after they found a new powered person and an old friend?
We know they’re playing the experimentation game with powered people, so chances are that Lincoln’s heading for a slab. And they’ve hinted that Deathlok could use a “compliance” upgrade. Unfortunately, with his wiring, it’s very possible for him to switch sides by no fault of his own. There are 4 more episodes left, and two allies are in Hydra custody – and that’s bad.
A word about Echidna – the name on the corporate jet where Bakshi meets Dr. List. Echidna is (in addition to being a spiny anteater) a reference to a Greek mythology monster – specifically the “mother of all monsters”, who was a half-woman, half-snake who lived in a cave. Interestingly, in the mythology, she is the mother of the Hydra. I don’t know if this means that the Echidna organization created Hydra, or if it’s just another name that was adopted, but it’s interesting to note, and it will almost certainly show up in Age of Ultron. So if an organization called Chimera, Cerberus, or Orthrus come up, those are possible Hydra fronts as well. And dear lord if you see something called Typhon, be ready for a BIG problem. (Leviathan, by the way, is Biblical in origin, not Greek).
Man, somehow we are back into that whole “who do you really work for” bit. Bakshi’s been brainwashed to comply with Coulson’s orders, but the final instructions were given by Ward who has some end game that will not mesh with Coulson’s plans.
May and Simmons and Bobbi and Mack are all on Coulson’s side, but none of them are really on each other’s sides. And, of course, the “descendents” in Afterlife aren’t on a side at all. Or maybe all of them are on different sides. And Cal is the random element. He hated Coulson for killing Whitehall, who killed his wife (she got better), but maybe he’d side with them against Jiaying because she tried to shut him out.
But here’s my big question. And my mom hated me for asking this, so be warned. Is that really Coulson at the end?
Think about it – if they got 33’s mask working again, and she’s been a man before (when they stole Bakshi from Talbot), so that could feasibly be her now. I don’t think that’s necessarily likely, but it’s not completely impossible, either.
Speaking of which, where’s Talbot? He’s been quiet for a while, and now that Ward is working with Coulson again, wouldn’t he be a little interested? Since the last time Talbot came into contact with Ward, he said “let’s just get the guy who did this”? Seems like a shoe waiting to drop.
There are a lot of loose ends lying around, and they’re all tangled up. Ethan’s dead, Lincoln’s captured, Cal is crashing Afterlife when he’s no welcome, and everyone now has two big reasons to look twice at Jiaying. Is this leading to a breaking point with the Inhumans? Very few are actually around, and there are a lot of missing obelisks somewhere (maybe Hydra?), and there’s a movie to set up by the end of 2018 (so there’s time).
Age of Ultron is happening NEXT WEEK guys, and only one episode before that happens, and three afterward. What giant wrench will that throw?
Until we get answers, agents, I just leave you with the questions.