TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 20
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EPISODE 20: "Nothing Personal"
SYNOPSIS: Just when there's no one left to trust, Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) returns to team up with Coulson as S.H.I.E.L.D. is being destroyed around them.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
With Skye deducing Ward's trye HYDRA allegiance and the rest of the team returning to an abaondoned Providence base, it seems like the final round of episodes this season is headed towards another "Rescue Skye" plot thread. But, with the teased reintroduction of Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. may still have some tricks waiting for us.
The episode opens with Hill on a phone call discussing a Senate hearing she is attending when she encounters Melinda May. May divulges that Coulson knows about T.A.H.I.T.I. and wants Hill's help to convince Coulson he needs help. Back at Providence, the team finds all security footage is erased except for May leaving and Ward and Skye boarding the Bus, mysteriously. As Fitz and Simmons gather food, they discover the body of Agent Koenig (Patton Oswalt) and a note left by Skye revealing that Ward is HYDRA.
Ward and Skye head towards the Los Angeles diner where she first met Mike Petersen/Deathlok to unlock the hard drive. The least convincing element of Skye and Ward at this juncture of the season is how a rookie agent like Skye could fool a seasoned pro like Ward without him having a clue she knows his secret allegiance. As the team analyzes and deduces that Ward killed Koenig, Fitz breaks down with anger while Coulson says they need to pull together to save Skye. Okay, so maybe that is our mission after all.
Ward presses Skye to quickly decrypt the hard drive but she stalls for time so Coulson and crew can get there. Coulson and Triplett discuss options but are soon met by armed special forces led by Colonel Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) there to take them into custody. As Coulson asks how Talbot found the Providence base, Maria Hill steps forward to say she guided the way. She tries to convince Coulson to cooperate but he doesn't trust her for lying to him about his resurrection. Coulson tells Hill that Ward is HYDRA which is enough to get her to side with the team and they take out Talbot and his men.
May travels to Coulson's grave and finds a Level 10 encrypted flash drive in his empty casket. Back at the cafe, Skye talks to Ward about being undercover while cops began to gather, making them nervous. Skye reveals she knows who Ward truly is and the cops try to take them into custody. Skye gives up willingly but Ward fights back. As Skye escapes in a cop car, Deathlok descends and takes her down. Back on the plane, Ward and Skye argue and he still tries to convince her HYDRA was just a job and that his feelings for her are true.
Skye tries to plead with Deathlok to not hurt her but he refuses to help her and demands to know how to unlock the drive. She refuses saying there is still good in him. Deathlok stops Ward's heart to force Skye's hand and she tells how to unlock the drive. Before they can take off, Hill and her plane demand Ward stand down. Their two aircraft face each other as Coulson gets enough time to sneak aboard. Coulson rescues Skye and they climb into Coulson's car, Lola, and they reverse out of the Bus, falling 30,000 feet and using the thrusters in the convertible to safely land.
In a motel room as they review their weapons, Hill tells Coulson once and for all that S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone and they will not be "getting the band back together". Coulson looks like he finally understands the reality of the situation but still refuses to fully accept it. Fitz and Simmons both tell each other they are not HYDRA while Skye and Triplett talk to Coulson about relaxing until they get back to work. Coulson promises Skye that they will get Ward and she reveals she left a little surprise within the hard drive for them. Coulson then returns to his motel room to find Melinda May waiting. She shows Coulson the drive she found at his grave which shows Coulson himself issuing his resignation from Project T.A.H.I.T.I. which he himself headed. The episode ends with Coulson just saying "huh".
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
May and Hill discuss Alexander Pierce, Nick Fury, and how they relate to Coulson. The Red Skull is name checked as founder of HYDRA. Natasha Romanoff is mentioned as better eye candy than Maria Hill. Tony Stark is mentioned as Hill's employer.
"If I come out, will you shoot me? Because then I won't come out." - Coulson to Colonel Talbot
While kind of goofy, seeing Coulson and Skye survive a skydive in Lola was pretty cinematic with a funny punchline to the scene.
DO WE (REALLY) KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET? OR WHAT SKYE'S POWER IS?
OR WHO THE CLAIRVOYANT IS?
T.A.H.I.T.I. is revealed to have been a project that Coulson himself worked on in order to find a cure to save a "mortally injured Avenger" but was cancelled due to the alien DNA used on the patients leading to mental deterioration and eventual psychosis. The only delay to the deterioration was the full replacement of memories within the subject. Coulson urged Fury to cancel the project.
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 9/10
Another solid episode wraps up a lot of the loose plot threads from the last few weeks and gives us some much needed insight into Coulson's resurrection. We now can see a chink in Ward's allegiance to Garrett as the rest of the team pulls together even more. With only two episodes to go, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is wrapping up in a very strong way.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 21 "Ragtag" - Ward 's betrayal and HYDRA's shocking secrets are revealed as Coulson's team goes undercover on a mission that leaves no one unscathed.
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