Ever since we learned of Agent Coulson’s romantic interest in a certain cellist during the events of The Avenger, fans speculated who this mysterious character could be. Well this past episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. answered all those questions; but with the past explained, the future has never been so unclear.
THE Lie Detector:
At the start of the episode we got a great look at who these team members really are. As with all lie detector – I’m not speaking from experience haha – a baseline must first be established. So too was there a baseline for this lie-detector-test-montage, and that baseline was Simmons. Outside of learning Simmons is a Dr Who fan – T.A.R.D.I.S. reference – we didn’t really learn anything that we didn’t already know. Slowly moving up the chart, we learned that Fitz does indeed like Simmons and that Skye’s nickname at the orphanage was Mary Sue Poots – that’s kind of adorable. Although the real highlights of this montage were May and Triplet
Trusting The Hardest To Trust:
Agents Melinda May and Antoine Triplett were never given too much focus at the start of the series. They were always kind of just there – and shown to be badasses – ; however, with both of their allegiances being called into question lately – one for keeping a secret, the other for being partners with the Clairvoyant – we learn that they are actually the most trustworthy.
During her interrogation, we find out that May’s only reason for still being there is Coulson. She deeply cares for her friend; so every time Coulson yells at her and calls her a traitor, think about how much that must hurt her. May learns that there is nothing she can do for Coulson here if he doesn’t want her, so she decides to leave – heartbroken. Some have wondered if Coulson is the husband May mentioned during her test, but there is nothing to support this. They are most likely just close friends and allies.
As for Agent Triplett, he has quickly become my favorite badass. He is everything we wanted Ward to be – and more. He is an amazing specialist who knows how to put his feelings aside, but he is also able to show genuine emotion. Two episodes ago I commented on how his reaction to Garrett was more real than Ward’s. Garett actually screamed and got physically upset when he learned of Garett’s betrayal – as opposed to Ward who just stood there. This happens again in this episode when Ward tells the fake story of what happened at the Fridge and how he put two bullets in the back of Garett’s head – one from him, the other from Triplett. Ward offers this up as a sort of ‘we’re brothers’ statement, but Triplett just scoffs him off and remarks that he would have unloaded the entire gun in him.
Again, Ward is just too calm and one-dimensional. You don’t trust a single thing since everything about him is either repressed or faked. Triplett is a much deeper character and is infinitely more loyal; but hey, it runs in his blood. As we learned during his test, Triplett is actually the grandson of a Howling Commando – one of the men who served alongside Captain America in his fight against Hydra. Triplett sees the fight against Hydra as not only a personal good vs evil, but also as a continuation of his grandfather’s legacy.
When Koenig mentioned that Fury designed this lie detector so that even Romanoff – Black Widow – couldn’t pass, you knew Ward was in for it. He even tried to cheat, but still failed. If you found it strange when Koenig asked about Ward’s high baseline and Ward said it was from his injuries – you were right. Ward’s a specialist, he’s had broken ribs and shrugged them off before. The reason he was actually in so much pain can be seen right after his test when we see him removing a splint from under his nail.
A splint under the nail is supposedly a form of torture in some places and you can imagine how painful it must be. That is actually why his baseline was so high. But even with that high baseline, he still failed the allegiance question. Sure he might have saved himself by saying he was there for Skye, but he still royally failed the ‘connected to Hydra’ question. I’m actually surprised Koenig didn’t shoot him.
Also, it’s important to note that Ward never said he was there because he ‘loved Skye’. This wasn’t us finding out if his feelings were true or not. He only answered that he was there for Skye/ “to spend time with her” because that is actually what Garrett told him to do. This could have been a chance to get some potential redemption, but no. He’s a man on a mission.
Operation: Lessen Chance of Redemption:
With the team divided, Ward knows this is the perfect chance to act, but when he learns that Skye and Koenig are about to learn everything about the raid on the Fridge, he has to push his plans forward. He not so subtly brings up the Hard Drive again and uses the excuse that he should start going through it to see what they’ll be going up against. Skye notices that this is a stupid idea since they haven’t even located anyone yet and wouldn’t make much sense right now – especially since the Hard Drive can only be accessed in a specific location.
There’s no way Ward can leave by himself with the hacked Hard Drive, so naturally it’s time to start killing his former team. Since she’s the only one there that posed a threat to him, Ward decided to kill May first. Although since she was already on her way out, Ward didn’t see a reason to start a fight with ‘The Calvary’ if he didn’t have to. On the other hand, Agent Koenig wasn’t so lucky. While Skye was finishing the NSA satellite hack, Ward quickly dispatched with Koenig via strangulation – which we learn when he’s washing blood off of a strong metallic wire after kissing Skye. It’s also safe to assume that Ward changed the images of the feed on Koenig’s wall so that when Skye came in she wouldn’t see the damning evidence, but rather just some harmless photos of an empty roof.
“I’m Everyone’s Type”:
With May gone and Koenig’s strangled body hidden, all that’s left for Ward is to seduce Skye, which will be simple for him since he thinks he’s everyone’s type. Although as we’ve seen before, Skye is no push over; and Ward’s confidence will be his undoing. Just like when he immediately assumed that ‘drinks’ meant ‘sex’, Ward’s first attempt at Skye is to call them an ‘us’. Skye quickly deflects that and reminds him that she thought they were going to die when she kissed him, and that there is no rush to start a relationship.
Ward of course says they should rush and goes into a story about his childhood. He reveals that his brother didn’t beat up his younger brother, but rather forced Ward to do it himself – and that his parents were even worse. On one hand, this story does explain why Ward has such respect and allegiance to Garrett. If Garret truly is the one who took him out of that hell, then Ward really does owe Garrett everything. Although in reality, all Ward’s done is move from one bully telling him whom to hurt to another.
Even though Ward’s flashbacks during his time with the Berserker Staff kind of confirm these tales, we can’t be sure if these revelations are honest moments of him confiding in Skye or just a ploy to seduce her. All this talk about how ‘he’s a bad man’ could just be to get pity from Skye, who up until now has only seen him as the hardhearted selfless hero. It’s important to remember that he is the one who makes the first move with the kiss, so the endgame of seduction is still his aim – rather than just confide in someone whom he says he wants to confide in. When Ward later finds Skye – after she found out he’s Hydra – he has the perfect chance to try to redeem himself; but instead he just continued with the mission and came up with some bogus lie to drag Skye along – literally.
Skye Turns The Tables:
As I said, Ward’s overconfidence will be his undoing. This isn’t only shown by his decision to strangle Koenig rather than shoot him – since it led to a bloody struggle rather than the easy take down Ward initially thought – but also thinking that Skye would just fall into bed with him. Skye is no push over. She’s strong, intelligent, and she’s figured everything out.
Earlier in the episode, we saw how Skye realized the lanyards at Providence were actually trackers. While Ward is cleaning himself off, Skye decides to find Koenig who is still missing. If you thought Skye was going to be one of those characters that would run screaming, you’re wrong. Skye not only immediately figures out that it was Ward, but also that Ward is Hydra. She knows there is no way she can take Ward, so she amazingly composes herself and decides to turn the tables. She returns the penny to the top of the closet door – so Ward would think the room was still untouched.
Now what Skye’s plan is exactly, we don’t know. Whatever she was looking for in the bathroom or why she stopped in front of that picture is still a mystery, but here’s my idea: I think she somehow left a message for Coulson on the screen. The easy way is that she wrote something for him physically with something in the bathroom. The other option is that since she still had Koenig’s iPad – and remembered the images can be set to change – she made it so that the image would change to was ‘Ward is Hydra’ or something of the sort. Skye’s message would also ask Coulson to track her – since the lanyards are all tracking devices.
It seems as though Ward took Skye with him before she got to do something else. Hopefully this didn’t stop her from some important part of her plan, but I think Skye has a good handle on it. All and all, Skye is doing a much better job of being an inside agent than Ward is right now. Skye is actually being smooth and deceptive while Ward for the most part acted like a clingy crazy stalker this episode. Speaking of crazy clingy stalkers . . . .
This episode we met Marcus Daniels, a prisoner of the fridge who was experimenting with something called ‘Dark Force’ – which believe it or not is bad. As a result, Daniels can absorb the energy of almost anything – including the electrical impulses in someone’s body. Though beyond being severely overpowered, Daniels also has a history with Coulson and the Cellist who stole his heart.
As May first suspected earlier in the episode, this was of course a distraction planned by Hydra. Garrett would have known about Coulson’s involvement with Daniels – as well as Daniels affinity for Coulson’s love – and knew it would be the perfect lure to split up the team. Thankfully everything worked out thanks to some inventions by Dr Bruce Banner that helped them overload Daniels with so much energy that he exploded.
One quick thing to note here is that the SHIELD agents in the Fridge experimented with Daniels to make him stronger. Maybe they originally thought they could get Daniels sane and make him part of the Avengers. Who knows, but this does mean that there will be a lot of other amped-up super-powered prisoners on the loose.
After years of speculation, we finally met the famous Cellist whom Coulson was so smitten with. More than that, we also got to hear about her relationship with Coulson; and it was actually THAT romantic. She spoke of how she had a crazed super-powered stalker and no one would believe her:
“But then a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent came to my door. I don’t know why, but I trusted him right away. Something about his face, the handsome part maybe. He just swooped in. It was like out of a movie.” – Audrey
The looks on everyone’s faces when she reveals this agent was Phil are priceless. Sadly, Coulson makes sure not to reveal himself to her. He knows she’s slowly started to move on and with everything about S.H.I.E.L.D. so scattered and dangerous right now, it’s really not the time for romance. Even though he might not let her know he’s alive, Coulson still protects her from danger. It’s heartbreaking to see the look on Coulson’s face as he comforts her and says he’s still watching over her, but then runs away so that she thinks it was only a dream. Just as Raina said last episode, Coulson’s a good man – maybe even the best man.
The juxtaposition of Ward and Coulson’s relationships is interesting to say the least. Even if Ward had honest feelings for Skye, he hasn’t acted on them or done what’s right for her. He’s left a path of death and destruction in his wake and she knows now that he can’t be trusted. She’ll never be able to trust him again. Coulson on the other hand shows himself to be the charming, caring man we’ve always seen him as. Though more than that, Coulson realizes the error of his ways by spending time with the woman he loves. He knows he’s been tough on May and wants to apologize and trust her again. Ward on the other hand spent time with Skye and is still following Garett’s plan to the letter.
Next episode will bring us the return of Cobie Smulder as Maria Hill – last seen applying for work at Stark Industries. We know May is off to find her with the help from her mom who is a member of some yet to be named organization. The past few episodes have raised the bar time and time again for this series; and it’s safe to assume it’s only going to keep getting bigger. Between adding better characters and slowly taking out flat older ones, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the path to Season 2 – if ABC is smart.