Warning: Spoiler Alert
Last week Agent Hartley and Idaho were lost trying to flee from Creole with the 0-8-4 in their possession. Which is exactly where we start tonight. Lance Hunter (the other mercenary under Hartley’s charge) is alive but pinned in a flipped SUV. Melinda May shows up to get him out. He insists she pursue Creole. As soon as he is able to free himself, Talbot’s men swoop in to detain Hunter. May pursues and puts herself in a position to take a shot. Coulson orders her to stand down. Repeatedly.
The crew that captured Hunter drop him off, literally, in the middle of nowhere. Which was really just a rendezvous point for Talbot to make his entrance. In the chopper, Talbot tries to feel Hunter out. Laying out a plan that would include turning on Coulson and SHIELD. Hunter resists, but it looks like he begins to consider it. Then he has an asking price and wants Agent Hartley’s record clean so she isn’t presented as a terrorist for working with SHIELD.
Skye and Tripp return with the hover jet (one of these days I’ll look up what it’s actually called) for the purposes of retrofitting the bus with its cloaking tech. The problem with that is Fitz has been trying to do just that since before last season’s finale. Fitz still is not firing on all cylinders and is misplacing words. It’s almost as if his process is still fast but he keeps forgetting bricks in the foundation. Then the whole thing falls apart. The bigger problem (if we ignore the Simmons problem) is that like a stutterer, it’s not good to attempt to finish his thoughts. Everything is frustrating which is stunting his progression.
Coulson in his office is channeling his inner Tony Stark with his new toy courtesy of Nick Fury. Coulson is going through a series of virtual files. And if you pay attention you can see him pull Agent Carter’s file. The second time in this young season they reference her. Which is logical as Marvel’s Agent Carter will air this winter.
I’m not happy that they keep showing the Fitz hallucinating Simmons bit. I know it’s essential for the story at this point, but it pains me.
In a diner Creole sits waiting for a friend. He is massaging his right forearm. There is what looks like metal or large rocks trying to protrude through his skin. It seems to have the same power as the 0-8-4. A waitress accidentally makes contact with it and she turns to stone.
Back at headquarters, Hunter returns. He’s in a nice new sports car with low pro tires on big rims, stock of course. Said tires puncture when Coulson activated the road spikes. Tripp and Hunter engage in some friendly back and forth, then Tripp frisks him. They know something is up.
There is a short conversation that starts out with almost an interrogation’s tone but ends much calmer between Coulson and Hunter. Hunter explains about what he wanted out of Talbot’s deal (neglected to mention the $2 mil). Coulson confirmed that he would do the right thing and get Hartley and Idaho’s pay for their families. Then get Creole, whatever the cost.
If you haven’t this episode or missed it in the last one they have introduced a new character onto the bus. His name is Mack, which I love, and he is a huge man. Let’s just say that if there was a physical altercation, attacking Mack would be strategical misstep. Mack goes to see Fitz amidst a full-fledged Simmons hallucination. While Fitz rejects Mack reaching out, his hallucination doesn’t. It feels like if Fitz comes out of this clean on the other side, Mack will have something to do with that.
Fitz (and I guess Simmons) are looking at Creole’s DNA report. Fitz keeps saying I didn’t solve this today. As if he did solve it previously.
Creole heads back to his delivery truck and frantically searches through his collection of materials to see if holding anything will overpower whatever the 0-8-4 is doing to him. Naturally it doesn’t work. He goes outside to retrieve a ringing phone outside. He speaks to his handler who is very cryptic. Still outside, Creole meets Raina. He is not impressed. Her attempt to broker a deal for the 0-8-4 is unsuccessful.
Coulson and his team devise a plan to get to Creole. It will involve the manpower they have at their disposal, which means Hunter. Coulson looks skeptical as does most of the team. Especially Tripp.
Back in the lab Fitz is trying to convey his thoughts to Mack. The cool thing is that at this point, it feels like Mack is the Tom Cruise to Fitz’ Rain man. They are joined by what look like SHIELD science interns. Fitz gets frustrated and throws everything off the desk. Mack immediately banishes them as if Fitz’ frustration is their fault. Clever move though. By doing so, creates a small bond between Fitz and Mack. Mack appreciates what Fitz is trying to do and speaks to him straight. Not like he’s afraid Fitz will break. Then as instant as instant can be, they begin speaking the same language. Figuratively speaking.
Creole meets with his handler publicly, but SHIELD is on site. Tripp above with a sniper rifle and May, Skye and Hunter in the van. They get into position but something is wrong. Tripp can’t communicate with Skye. The moment he thinks something is up he hears a click. Turns from his scope looking over his should and sees Hunter. For those familiar with the Matrix, this is a Cypher pulling Apoc’s plug, but not fatally. He’s just using the Night-Night gun.
The meeting between Creole and his Hydra handler is going off without a hitch because Hunter neutralized all of the SHIELD agents so that he could set up Tripp’s sniper rifle to take out Creole on his own. A really stupid idea. Hunter takes his shot. The bullet travels in slow motion as we see Creole take on the iron texture of the park bench. The bullet ricochet off Creole’s head. Then Hunter runs. Which is odd considering Creole has to change back to human flesh in order to run. The handler, amidst the chaos, looks for the case with 0-8-4, but he’s too late. Raina is walking off with it. Inside a building Hunter tries to fight off Creole to no avail. And then right as Creole is bearing down on Hunter, Coulson stabs him in the back with the device the Fitz and Mack discovered, thus neutralizing the threat.
Hunter: That’s just marvelous. Talbot wants me dead and I have no funds to run with. Have any tips?
Coulson: Yeah, don’t run. Work for me instead.
Hunter: Creole must have hit you in the head. I shot three of your agents.
Coulson: Including Agent May. Not a smart move.
Hunter: She’s the type that holds a grudge?
Coulson: Savors it actually. No doubt you’ve made some mistakes. So have I. Like letting you go after Creole. But I fell for you.
Hunter: Yeah, and I took advantage of that. How do you know I won’t do it again?
Coulson: I don’t, the reality is I don’t have a fleet of helicarriers, or quin-jets, or thousands of agents at my disposal anymore. Luckily we still have our George Foreman grill.
Back on the bus, Mack and Fitz are doing their thing. And by thing I mean Fitz gets stuck on a missing word and expects Mack to finish the sentence. Which may be a step in the right direction. Mack even mentions Simmons, which gets a relatively cold response from Fitz. He even says, “How have been holding up since she left”? Then Fitz looks over at the Simmons hallucination and says timidly, “I’m ok”. So hopefully this is the beginning of the transition from impaired Fitz to recovered Fitz. He didn’t reject the idea that Simmons isn’t there, but he also looked over at her, so he’s somewhere in the middle.
Skye questions Coulson’s mental state with everything going on to May. May, who has been left in charge of Coulson’s well being by Nick Fury rejects the idea and goes to see Coulson. Where she basically echoes Skye’s sentiments. She references that he hasn’t experienced an “episode” is 18 days. The episode in question deals with Coulson engraving a wall with the same intricate design that he did at the end of the season 1 finale.
Elsewhere, Raina looks at the 0-8-4. A man enters the room, congratulates her and tells her to pick it up. “I need to know. So do you.” When she does, symbols begin to illuminate and she does not turn to stone. And yes, without thinking too hard, the symbols look exactly the same as what Coulson just engraved on his wall. She thinks it worked. He claims it let her live. Raina needs to see it work, so she asks if he will show her. He responds with, “Bring me my daughter and I’ll show you both”.
SKYE IS HIS DAUGHTER!!!
Coulson presents himself to Talbot in the middle of nowhere again. The deal is, Talbot stays off their back, and SHIELD keeps bringing Talbot gifts. Like Creole. Talbot tries to strong-arm Coulson based on their intel that SHIELD is a shell of its former self. Coulson looks up, the bus de-cloaks.
Coulson: And just in case you get any ideas, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
(Coulson quickly moves to his left to board the quin-jet that is also de-cloaking.)
Coulson (into his com): Let’s get out of here before the iceberg runs out of fuel.
I want to mention what I just saw on the promo for the next episode. But I can’t. My heart can’t take what I just saw…