Agents of SHIELDAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 20: Nothing PersonalAgents of SHIELD - RSS 2.0
Back at the base, The Agents try to figure out who absconded with Ward, Skye and their plane. Fitz notices that the false window decoration Skye eyeballed last episode is stuck on its "night" setting and fixes it, revealing that Skye has left a message on the "day" slide: "WARD IS HYDRA." Speaking of which, the fanship formerly known as "SkyWard" is en route to the Los Angeles diner where Skye first met Mike/Deathlok, which she has convinced Ward is s GPS-locked location needed to open the drive. Unfortunately, just as The Agents discover this, they're discovered themselves by Special Forces troops commanded by Talbot... and Maria Hill.
Elsewhere, Skye attempts to stall Ward in the diner with hacker gibberish while May visits a cemetery to dig up Coulson's (empty) grave. She discovers a flash drive containing a video report from T.A.H.I.T.I.'s project supervisor, whose identity seems fairly alarming to her.
At the base, Talbot tries to intimidate The Agents. This is a fun and very Marvel-appropriate dynamic - of course the "normal" non-superhero/alien/magic affiliated branches of the military/government would've resented the S.H.I.E.L.D. oddballs and relish the chance to get their digs in now. Hill tries to talk sense to Coulson: The Agency is finished, he needs to get over it, etc. But once he explains about Ward and Garrett (wait - he didn't lead with that??) she joins up and helps them flee Talbot.
At the diner, Skye tries to hand herself and Ward over to the cops; only to be thwarted by Deathlok. Back on The Bus, she and Ward have a brief semantic argument over the elephant in the fandom - despite all the fun we've been having with the #HailHydra hashtag... didn't they technically start out as NAZIS??? Oh, and Ward claims that at least one part of his persona wasn't fake - he really does love Skye. Aw, hell - that means they're gonna try and redeem the bastard before they kill him.
Garrett orders Deathlok to torture the password trick out of Skye by threatening to kill Ward, intuiting (correctly) that she's not ruthless enough to let him die. Turns out the GPS lock wasn't keyed to location but plane-altitude (I can't decide if that's clever or idiotic), which is a problem because Maria Hill and Agent Triplett just showed up on the runway in their own plane.
The bad guys win the stare down, but only because it was a ruse. Coulson sneaks onto The Bus and uses Lola the flying Corvette (which Ward knew about and probably should've disabled, no?) to liberate Skye. This is just about cool enough for me to overlook that ABC is still not giving the producers enough money for decent green-screen effects. Ward wants to follow them, but since they now have the drive data Deathlok and Garrett overrule him.
The Agents opt to cool off at a cheap motel for banter and melancholy foreshadowing about what will happen to them "after," CENTIPEDE/HYDRA or not. As a final stinger, Agent May turns up in Coulson's room to show him what was on the drive from his grave. A top secret video plays, and three final(?) puzzle pieces are revealed. First: T.A.H.I.T.I.'s original purpose was a fail-safe for reviving dead Avengers. Second: His memory was wiped because that's apparently the only way to (maybe?) prevent dementia and deterioration that the serum apparently causes in humans. Third: The classified S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent in charge of the project...
...was Coulson himself.