Agents of SHIELD
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 16: End of the Beginning

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 2 Apr 2014 16:15
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Oh, yeah - about that: Fitz and Simmons are both getting antsy about Coulson's refusal to let them send Skye's mysterious (to them) rapid-healing blood to S.H.I.E.L.D.-proper for testing until he speaks with the (currently absent) Nick Fury about the big blue (maybe?) alien that thus far only he and Skye are aware of. They mention their reservations to Agent May, which is of course probably not the best idea.

Meanwhile, the tracking bullet leads The Agents (backed up by a full heavily-armed team this time) to confront Deathlok in an abandoned race-track/video-arcade (...okay?), where Fitz's squad of mini seeker-drones afford us a look at what Cyborg Mike looks like under X-Ray. Surprise! He actually does look just-like the Deathlok of the comics, most of the bionics are just concealed (for now) under his skin. Ew. Deathlok gets away once again, but it turns out there's someone else on-site: A paralyzed man (Brad Dourif!) hooked up to life-support equipment and a few dozen video monitors.

Speaking via Stephen Hawking-style text-to-speech, Nash rants Bond-villain style about how arresting him won't stop CENTIPEDE, about a force coming to destroy them all and almost-casually mentions that the organization has shifted its Agent-kidnapping focus from Coulson (they wanted to know how he beat death, for awhile)... to Skye.

As if on cue, Agent Ward (who has been heavily-implied to have a serious super-protective "thing" about Skye) shoots him point-blank in the chest.

Well. Guess that solves that. Clairvoyant dead, Deathlok left as a last remaining loose-thread, maybe say bye-bye to Ward (it's widely suspected that, if/when the series goes to a second season, Garrett, Triplett or both will become regulars and maybe displace one or more of the original cast). But things just aren't sitting right with Coulson. It's awfully convenient (even for this series) that Deathlok would lead them right to The Clairvoyant in the first place, plus since he couldn't move or speak on his own "Nash" could've easily been just a grotesque prop - the Big Bad could still be out there, still watching them.

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Coulson confides his suspicions in Skye... who cracks the case: The Clairvoyant always seemed to know everything about everything except the circumstances of Coulson's death/rebirth. Who else has that same level of knowledge save for that same specific missing piece? S.H.I.E.L.D. does. The Agency monitors the whole damn world and keeps tabs on everything, but Fury purposefully kept Coulson's resurrection off the books. There's no psychic here - just someone who has access to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s databases: The Clairvoyant is a traitor within The Agency itself.

As we head for our ending, things go straight to hell: Fitz discovers May's secret secure tattletale phone and informs Skye, who tells him to cut it. Coulson rages at Ward, demanding to know if someone ordered him to kill Nash. Fitz kills May's line, leading her to chase him around The Bus with a freeze-gun - only a pane of bullet-proof glass saves him. Coulson and Skye draw guns on May, who refuses even amid a Mexican standoff to reveal whom she was spying on them for. Suddenly, The Bus makes an abrupt mid-air change in course seemingly under it's own power...

...but actually on the orders of Victoria Hand, who orders that once the plane lands everyone onboard is to be killed - except Coulson: "He's mine." As a final stinger, we're shown a (possibly) simultaneously-occurring and (likely) related clip from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Nick Fury is brazenly attacked in broad daylight by Winter Soldier himself.

Parting thoughts

Like I said, I can't do a lot of speculating here without mentioning events of Winter Soldier that would appear to explain (or at least relate to) a lot of what's set to unfold here.

Here's one bit of business I think is safe to note, for now: Just before hitting the field, Agent Sitwell is called away to deal with a situation on a boat called The Lemurian Star. Said boat (and Sitwell's presence on it) is a plot-point at the very beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so this is our timestamp as to when the events of this episode (and maybe the entire Uprising arc) take place in relation to the film, which is kind of logistically important. Maybe of more long-term note? "Lemurian Star" is a strange name for a ship, but it might be a veiled reference: Lemurians are the Pacific Ocean branch of Atlanteans, one of the multiple blue-skinned Marvel races that Coulson and Skye's mystery blood-donor might hail from.

Next week

Looks like we're heading into full-scale war mode, with (possibly) rival good/evil factions within S.H.I.E.L.D. clashing amid the search for a traitor among The Agents in Turn, Turn, Turn.

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