Warning: Spoiler Alert
A young clergyman discovers a very special painting. Naturally, the suggested value is with the painting’s subject matter. Then the man turns the painting over to reveal a different work. Eerily similar to that of Coulson and Garrett. What follows is a very Mission Impossible like sequence. Swiping things and discretely passing them off. Even Coulson and May entering an invitation only event as a couple. A little dancing (awkward dancing), a little reminiscing, and then they notice General Talbot.
Talbot is apparently drunk. And will not agree to not blow Coulson’s cover. He doesn’t necessarily look like he cares, he just isn’t willing to give Coulson anything Coulson wants. Back on the bus, the rest of the team stand observing. Complaining that they aren’t getting to do anything. Then Hunter fires into how he met his ex-wife. Which is a story no one wants to hear. Coulson calls an audible. They want to seize the painting sooner rather than later.
Coulson: Laser grids. Why is always laser grids?
The painting isn’t there. Skye digs up that the US Government (or Talbot) secured the painting hours ago. Assuming they knew SHIELD would attempt to get it, this feels like a trap. Apparently, Talbot is Hydra? Being a certified d-bag is one thing, Hydra is something else entirely.
Coulson and May escape undetected and slip out through some shrubs. Then the headlights turn on. It’s Talbot. He wants to ‘work together’ on the secret writing on the back. They agree to meet at Talbot’s hotel in about an hour. Clearly something is up, and Coulson knows it.
Coulson: He’s clearly working us. I just need to know why.
May: I’ll handle it.
May: Hey, this is the part I do. It’ll make up for all the dancing.
Coulson: You liked it.
May: No I didn’t.
Coulson: A little bit?
May: A little bit.
Back on the bus, Skye is digging for something. Tripp walks in and inquires as to what she’s digging for. She replies with that smirk of hers to go along with her line of being a good, helpful soldier. Then Hunter walks in and says he appreciates her thoroughness. Then Skye had to open her big mouth about his ex wife. Mack is not pleased.
Hunter: Ha ha. No, it didn’t work out because inter species relationships are hard. I was human where she was a demonic hell-beast.
Tripp: You don’t say.
Hunter: She is pure evil.
Skye: At least you got away from your ex. The guy I had a crush on is now a psycho living in our basement.
Mack: I wish I could relate but all of my ex’s are awesome.
Hunter: Is that right? I seem to remember an entire year where you pretended to like quinoa.
Mack: Yeah…that was a dark time.
Then hallucination Gemma appears over Fitz’ shoulder. Ironic as they technically were never an ‘item’. She suggests he join the conversation as they are bonding. He stands up all but ignoring her and walks away.
May sneaks down the hall of what I have to imagine is Talbot’s hotel room. She spies through the crack of the door and identifies files including pictures taken of Coulson’s team. Then the woman in the room closes one of the folders. The folder has a big Hydra logo on it. May springs into action. She gets the woman in an arm bar and asks, “what have you done with Talbot”? Talbot is standing right behind May and swings on her. She then begins to fight both of them at once. Eventually hitting Talbot square in the face. Then his face shutters.
While this visual may seem strange and groundbreaking to the uninitiated, we saw this in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Romanoff used a very similar tech to sneak into SHIELD as a board member in order to stop the Robert Redford character. The question is, who is wearing Talbot like a mask? Earlier Talbot was speaking to German on the phone. So I’d be inclined to believe Hydra has SHIELD tech.
The man parading around like Talbot is Bakshi. Just as we discover that, the woman tazes May. The prevailing wisdom is that Coulson doesn’t trust Talbot as much as they thought. So they must use someone Coulson does trust. Like the motionless figure laying on the floor. Agent May.
‘Not May’ gets on the bus and swindles Coulson rather easily. Then she plants a device on the bus that literally sinks its clutches into the bus. They depart with little issue. But in the car, Coulson is attempting to talk about his contingency plan with what he thinks is May regarding the ‘what if I turn all Garrett’. Problem is, ‘Not May’ has no idea what Coulson is going on about. Until that is, he tells her. Now her responses have been subtly un May like. The affectionate hand squeeze was particularly strange. They walk through a hallway. Coulson is on to ‘Not May’. He starts asking things that should elicit a specific very May-like response. Each one in its own way, not something May would say. Then he asks about coffee and she responses with “I’d like that”. Clearly Hydra’s files on SHIELD personnel could be more detailed.
Back on the bus, Fitz builds up the courage to engage his team in friendly socializing when the bus starts to misbehave. In his broken stutter, Fitz is able to convey what is about to happen with the bus. Explosions not being outside the realm of possibility.
‘Not May’ fighting ‘Lingerie but Real May’ is enjoyable I must say. Even my two-year old son left his bedtime routine to come and sit (a little to close to the TV) for this scene.
The device ‘Not May’ planted on the bus is communicating to the bus that it has experienced a water landing and has sealed the plane. It also is running through the electrical systems shutting various things down. At last mention, the next thing should be to explode the wings…which house the fuel.
During the fight, Bakshi makes a break for it. Coulson gives chase. Bakshi is calling for reinforcements to his location and then Coulson decides to stop running and shoots him in the back with a Night-Night round. Meanwhile, Fitz has commandeered Hunter to do what Fitz tells him to. Which in and of itself is taxing. Apparently ‘Not May’ is unaware of the idea that weapons (knives, wood posts, etc) just don’t work against May.
Hunter is handling Fitz’ direction as well as could be expected. A snag here or there but nothing catastrophic. Then there is one more small explosion and Hunter hunches over reacting to it. Assuming that was a bad thing, Fitz looks up and says, “I think that’s a good thing”. The lights start coming back on and Fitz says, “now the plane is fixed”. Then in a moment that Fitz very much needs, Hunter (excitedly) throws his arm up signifying that he would like invite Fitz into one of our greatest and easiest shows of success and inclusion. The Hi Five.
(Fitz is back in what feels like the old lab. Mack is sitting watching.)
Mack: Want some help with that?
Fitz: No. Thank you. I need to learn to do these things by myself.
Hunter: Guys drop everything.
Fitz: No this thing is worth a fortune, I’m not going to drop it.
Hunter came with gifts. After surviving a Hydra attack, fixing the bus, and discovering he’s a hell of a mechanical engineer (thanks to Fitz), Hunter decides its time the fellas enjoyed a beer. Fitz falls back claiming that he should get back to work. Hunter looks at him and explains how we wouldn’t be in the advantageous situation they are in if it weren’t for Fitz. Then Fitz shares (quite smoothly) what he wanted to share earlier in the episode.
Fitz: Yeah, hey so…I don’t have an ‘ex’, but there was this girl that I like. I told her how I felt but she doesn’t feel the same way as I do. So she left.
(each guy looks at the other during a long pause)
Hunter: Her loss mate. From what I can tell, she’s missing out. (raises his beer) To moving on.
Side note. I don’t know if anyone (except maybe my wife) wants Fitz and Simmons to end up together and make genius babies more than I do. But at this point, Fitz has to move on. If that means he puts his time and effort into hanging with the fellas (Mack and Hunter) then so be it. With every confident move forward, he gets stronger and more focused. Believing that Simmons left because of what he said, has all but broken him. We can revisit this later, but for now Fitz (for lack of a better term) needs to get his swagger back. And his control of words.
Finally, Coulson gets May (the real May) to commit to a play for when Coulson’s condition gets so back that there is no turning back. Think when Garret went all crazy. She has a plan that doesn’t involve shooting Coulson. Coulson finds this sweet and flattering, but unacceptable.