After their last mission to recover the 084 and the quinnjet, the SHIELD agents have to find a way to retrieve the object and find out why Creel took it. They also have to deal with the repercussions of Hartley’s death.
The episode picks up right where the last one left off. May arrives at the flipped SUV just as Creel left. She pursued on a motorcycle but Coulson calls her off because he wants to get more information on who Creel is working for. She reluctantly obeys and heads back to the base. Trip and Skye get back to the Playground first with the Quinjet. Skye also reports to him that she saw the same strange markings that they’ve been researching appeared on the Obelisk (the 084). Coulson doesn’t tell them that Hartley has been killed but he does tell them that Hunter has been captured and that they have to get him back, which is why he doesn’t have time to worry about that right now. It turns out that Hunter hasn’t really been captured, but is being recruited by Talbot. Talbot wants Hunter to help him get Coulson. Hunter’s terms are $2 million and a “proper burial” for Hartley.
At the Playground, Trip and Skye take the Quinjet parts to Mac so that he can analyze them. While they’re looking over the information, Fitz walks in to hear them talking about trying to fix the cloaking problem without him. Mac doesn’t want to go behind Fitz back and he can see that he’s off. Fitz wanders around the lab longer, listening to the delusion of Simmons in his head. He happens upon the printout of Creel’s information and realize that he could help them solve that problem. Mac ends up coming to Fitz and the two begin to work on the problem together.
Hunter is brought back to the Playground and meets with Coulson. Coulson’s already guessed that Talbot made him an offer and Hunter confirms it. He assures Coulson that the only thing he wants is Creel and that he believes that he’ll get to him before Talbot does. The two reach a tenuous agreement and Hunter goes to Hartley’s room to help with her things. There, he and Skye share a little heart to heart about getting connected to the people that they work with. Elsewhere, Creel is losing control of the power that he absorbed and is starting to panic. He’s killing people he comes in contact with because of the Obelisk. His HYDRA contact stands him up when he reaches out to them but he’s intercepted by Raina. Raina comes to him offering help and a rare element, carbine, to sate his urges. Creel doesn’t want help from her and is afraid of his HYDRA handlers so he steals the item and runs off.
Raina then contacts Coulson to let him know what happened and that she had a tracking device implanted in the carbine he stole. Raina also tells Coulson that she’s no longer working with HYDRA and that she suspects that he’s seeing the same visions that Agent Garrett saw after being injected. With the new information and the warning that Creel is destabalizing, the SHIELD team heads out to take him down. Unfortunately, they still haven’t gotten a solution for his powers from the lab. Fitz and Mac (let’s call them Mac-Fitz), work through Fitz’s mutterings until Mac realizes that Fitz has been trying to say that he’d already solved the problem that they’re facing. Turns out that the solution to neutralizing Creel was in one of his old designs.
Agents, May, Trip and Skye, along with Hunter, set up a trap to try to intercept Creel before he can turn over the Obelisk to HYDRA. Instead of following the plan, Hunter knocks out the other 3 agents and takes a sniper rifle to try to kill Creel for revenge. Creel is able to deflect the bullet but the shooting causes a panic. During the panic, Raina manages to sneak in and steal the case holding the Obelisk. Creel goes after Hunter but Coulson shows up with some tech that Mac and Fitz modified to neutralize him. Later, Coulson finds Hunter at Hartley’s funeral and recruits him to be a kind of shadow agent for SHIELD, someone who can step over the lines that he can’t. Hunter seems intrigued by the idea and Coulson asks him to do one more thing: sell him out.
Back at the Playground May and Skye watch Fitz and Mac communicating. Mac asks Fitz how he’s been holding up since Simmons left at which point Fitz shoots a look over to where he sees Simmons standing. He responds that he’s been handling it, even though he’s clearly realized that something is wrong. Skye also starts talking to May about how something is wrong with Coulson. More than just the stress of running SHIELD and defending the world and she wants to know from May if everything’s okay. We never hear her answer, but there’s a jump to her confronting Coulson about his condition. He remarks that he’s tired of holding fighting his “episodes” and May tells him not to fight it. Coulson then reveals a large blank surface in his office and begins to scratch symbols into it while May takes pictures. Later, Coulson confronts Talbot with the imprisoned Creel in tow. Once again, he offers Talbot the opportunity to take credit for their work in order for some semblance of peace between them. Talbot says that Coulson doesn’t have the resources to back up his claims but Coulson counters by revealing their two camouflaged planes that have been on top of them this whole time.
- We just re-tiled the bathrooms
Even while under the weight of his position, Coulson’s still able to crack the occasional joke.
- Fitz realizes Simmons isn’t there
I was afraid that Fitz would break more when he realized that Simmons wasn’t really there. I’m not sure his reaction really tells us anything because it could be that he doesn’t believe that she’s not there or that he’s already analyzed the fact that he only sees her because something’s wrong with him.
- The tip of the iceberg
I’m really enjoying Coulson and Talbot’s exchanges and this was one of the best ones. Especially because we know Coulson was just putting up a bluff by showing him pretty much the only stuff they have.
It seems like this episode was 1/2 resolution of the premiere and 1/2 setup for the rest of the season. So it felt like they really slammed the audience with a lot of stuff crammed into the last 10 minutes. Fitz finding out that he’s hallucinating, Raina touching the Obelisk and not dying, Skye being targeted, and Coulson’s “episodes” where all big deals that just got unloaded on top of each other. I’m glad that all of those things happened, but it made it kind of hard to digest the episode at the time. Actually, I take that back. I’m glad that MOST of those things happened.
I know it’s only 2 episodes into the season but I’m really not enjoying the new Fitz story arc. It’s just sad / frustrating to watch Fitz constantly stumble through his own thoughts trying to communicate what he’s thinking. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s poorly done, I just don’t really want to watch it. The MCU and SHIELD has been filled with mostly fun or adventurous stories. Fitz’s story is tragic and it’s just a big downer on the whole episode.