In my review of ‘The Bridge’ I speculated that in this episode we would see A) the bad guys torturing Coulson for information B) the S.H.I.E.L.D. higher ups being less than willing to save him C) the entire team telling them where to stick it and going rogue to rescue him and D) not face any serious consequences or losing their jobs as a result. So how much did I get right?
The Hand That Rocks the Bus
With Coulson missing, S.H.I.E.L.D. threw everything they had in to the search with Agent Victoria Highlights Hand leading the charge. This meant more agents on the bus, more red tape (to match her highlights) and no bullshit. Being the big picture seer that she is, Hand didn’t understand why so much effort was being made for just one agent. Which is why she was probably more focused on bringing down Centipede, with rescuing Coulson as a secondary priority.
You Can’t Keep the Skye From Doing What She Wants To Do
Lacking Coulson’s “I’m not a regular agent, I’m a cool agent” approach to leadership, Hand quickly banished Skye from and the Bus with May’s “support” (come on, how obvious was it what she was doing?). Luckily, with the help of her other teammates, Skye was able to escape from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground, where, still wanted by the government, she survives as a soldier of – no, wait, that’s the A- Team. Skye slipped on some ray bans so she could intimidate a guy so stupid he accepted a screen on a phone as a badge ("You wanna see my badge? No problem, I've got an app for that").
To be honest, I found this scene really tiresome. Although she doesn’t annoy me as much as she used to, Skye is still proving to be a character I struggle to like or become invested in. And surely an organisation like S.H.I.E.L.D., with all its vast resources, could’ve got hold of these records themselves with ease?
Take Your Job And Stuff It
Teidious as it was, Skye's misadventure in the world of freelance espionage did prove fruitful. She was able to locate Coulson thanks to the bad guys uncharacteristically leaving a paper trail (when did they get so careless?). Not only that but it turns out that they set up shop in a creepy, unused nuclear test site that was conveniently within driving distance of both where Skye was and where Hand was leading her raid. With this new intel, the team told Hand to go swivel. She didn’t seem to bothered about them going rogue. She already had a team of agents at her command, so it was no lose. She didn’t even seem bothered that May had manipulated her. So to recap, the team disobeyed orders and went off on their own, but Hand was okay with it so it’s unlikely that anyone will be facing any disciplinary action.
Information. We want information.
While everyone was running around trying to find him, Coulson was being tortured by Po to find out how he died so they could use that to make their super-soldiers extra invincible. This wasn’t working so the mysterious Clairvoyant had Po liquidated (life of a minion) and charge of Coulson’s interrogation was handed to Raina. Po tried to get the information they wanted by breaking Coulson. Raina, however, sees that Coulson is already broken and offers to help fix him.
Raina prefers manipulation to brute force. She gets people to do what she wants by appealing to their wants and desires. Mike wanted to be a hero. Magic guy wanted to be famous. Coulson? He wants to understand what was really done to him after he died. Coulson is a true believer, a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He has literally given his life for the organisation. He can’t believe they would do something to him without his knowledge. But he’s been questioning the official story of his survival for some time now. He has to know what happened to him. He has to know why he keeps calling Tahiti “a magical place”. If his superiors won’t give him those answers, he will have to get them from his enemies.
So how was Coulson brought back from the dead? I have no idea. We’re given some vague talk about a series of operations and nothing more. I can’t help but feel a little cheated about that. Is this all we are going to get?While what was done to fix Coulson’s mind post-resurrection was horrific, we’re still none the wiser about how exactly he was revived. What were these operations? Did they involve alien tech? Did they call in Doctor Strange? More importantly, why did they go through all this trouble in the first place? Is Coulson really such an invaluable asset that S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't bear to be without him? Why did Fury allow this to be done to one of his best agents? How could he? How could he listen to that poor man's screams, a man who gave his life for the team, and just stand back and do nothing?
Intel and Assets
--Gold acting star for Clark Gregg, who gave his best performance to date in this episode.
--I’m no expert on American road laws, but I'm almost certain you can’t have an accident like that without the police wanting to have a word with you and administer some sort of breath based test.
--Super Gunn Lives! But he’s missing one leg and is not the Clairvoyant’s latest pet. Poor guy just can’t catch a break.
Skye: "Remember our safeword?"
Simmons: "Manscaping? Oh, I shouldn't have said that."
--I'm sure that gave Skye/Simmons shippers plenty to chew on.
Simmons: “Those soldiers are just men…”
Fitz: “… who could crack open your skull with a single punch.”
Skye: "Don't touch Lola."
Two and a half out of four apps for that.
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