Agents Of SHIELD Goes Abroad
Life in SHIELD isn't perfect, but at least you get to travel.
Agent May is on a break from the rest of the team. It's important to bring that up as often as possible this week so that no one's surprised when she shows back up. Grant Ward is also on a break, but it's somewhat more permanent since he was last seen vowing to rebuild Hydra. We also need to keep in mind that Coulson has a prosthetic hand, that Skye is now named Daisy Johnson, and that Simmons was absorbed by a monolith and transported to an alien planet.
Meanwhile, 176 Years Ago
Welcome to Gloucestershire, England, where it's always 1839. When you visit, you can be sure that everything will be period-appropriate. As you step off the old-timey locomotive, you'll be assigned your very own souvenir neck ruff, beer stein, and debilitating case of scrofula.
Q: Wait, why is it 1839?
A: Why shouldn't it be? Maybe 1839 was such a great year we decided to live through it again.
Q: Who are these guys?
A: No one knows! When you come to Gloucestershire, not only are you transported back to 1839 but you're surrounded by this kind of dude. They like to hand around tables and nod significantly at each other.
Q: Does anything happen before we leave Gloucestershire and return to the modern day?
A: Almost! One of the Gloucestershire Gang is randomly selected to go somewhere that no one's ever returned from.
Q: Does he return to Gloucestershire?
A: No! He gets swallowed by the monolith that (in 2015) is in the hands of SHIELD. Apparently it used to live in Gloucestershire.
Q: Any regrets about typing "Gloucestershire" so many times?
Fight! Fight! Fight!
Fitz vs. A Rock
Fitz is very angry at this rock for having absorbed Simmons, and he is expressing his anger through the ancient art of fisticuffs. And shouting. His squad rushes in to drag him away so they can seal the monolith in its protective plexiglass case.
Winner: A rock. Fitz is really not all that physically intimidating.
To See A World In A Grain Of Sand
Alert Type: Sand Alert.
Issue: Fitz still thinks the rock might hold the key to finding Simmons again, and this time he's got proof: a grain of sand.
Complicating Factors: It's supposed to be a Clean Room, so the presence of even a grain of sand is suspicious. And carbon-dating it reveals that it's a billion years older than the Earth. Don't ask too many questions about how carbon dating works on this show. "Too many questions" in this case is "even one."
Resolution: The sand can only have come from an alien planet, which means the rock must somehow be a portal, and that means there's a chance that Simmons is alive somewhere. Fitz would like all available SHIELD resources put toward this ghost of a shadow of a slim chance. Everyone's immediately on board.
Spoiler: Well, we already saw Simmons on an alien planet that did seem to have some sand, so Fitz is probably right.
That Doesn't Look At All Safe
Situation: Grant Ward is back, and he's monologuing about Hydra.
What makes it awkward? He's doing it while Tokyo Drifting around a bunch of pillars with a terrified guy holding onto the hood. Oh, and there are people standing next to the pillars. We don't really see if they're terrified, but they can't be entirely comfortable.
How is order restored? Ward eventually slams on the brakes, incidentally leaving a lot of rubber on someone's nice clean floor.
Oh, Right, From Season 1!
Name: Professor Elliot Randolph (Peter MacNicol!). Age: Thousands of years old. Occupation: Professor. Also, Asgardian alien. And currently a prisoner, thanks to stuff that happened in Season 1 that no one remembers. I don't, anyway. Goal: To lay low in prison, rather than being out in the world where people are getting a little tired of aliens constantly wrecking up the place. Sample Dialogue: "To the plane! Am I allowed to say that?"
Is There A Doctor In The House?
Who called the meeting? Daisy.
What's it about? Dr. Garner (May's ex-husband) (also Blair Underwood!).
How'd it go? Dr. Garner is called in whenever SHIELD picks up a new Inhuman because Daisy is trying to put together a super-team. But he always recommends these people get some therapy for a while first, because they're usually not in control of their wacky new abilities. And they've just been told that they're part alien, although no one's made it clear exactly how much alien DNA is required. A lot of people have some Neanderthal DNA, and it doesn't usually affect their lives.
Hey, It's David Lo Pan!
Name: May's father (James Hong!). Age: Hard to tell. Could be thousands of years old. Occupation: Retired golfer. Goal: To get some valuable family bonding time with his daughter. Sample Dialogue: "I may not be a spy, but 20 years with your mother has taught me a few things."
This Means Something. This Is Important.
The Scene: Professor Randolph is consulting on the mysterious alien monolith that is also a portal to another planet. He claims not to be an expert on the subject, but he knows an awful lot of impressive lingo.
The Symbol: An ancient scrap of parchment with the Hebrew for "death by punishment."
The Meaning: Foreshadowing isn't as subtle as it used to be.
Plot Lightning Round
Hotties On A Yacht
Ward and his bald friend have a new target: this dude with a yacht. His yacht has a hot tub and the hot tub has attractive young women in bikinis. The first step is to cause mayhem, so the bald guy swims up and releases a bag of rats onto the yacht.
Naturally, the women scream like it's the 1950s and they're housewives who have seen a mouse. Or mice. They don't need to have all seen the same mouse. In the confusion, Ward strolls up because the yacht is still at the dock.
Then he just punches and kicks everyone in his way, which is a lot less whimsical than the rat thing. And since none of the guards seem like they were all that discombobulated by the rodent infestation, the bald guy wasn't even that important to the operation. Ward even shoots a guy on his way in, so it's not like secrecy was that important to him. When he gets to the target, he just punches the kid out.
To be honest, even though Ward is a bad guy, the kid seemed like he probably had it coming. As long as all the hotties got away, the only part of this that really seems evil was shooting that one guard.
Return To Gloucestershire
Welcome back to Gloucestershire! As you can see, we've redecorated. It turns out that living in a place where it's always 1839 is not as charming as it sounds. The wi-fi alone was terrible. So we're going with a new angle, which is bound to bring in the tourists!
Gloucestershire FAQ 2.0
Q: This place looks completely empty. What's up?
A: This must be your first experience with the rustic charm of a vacant castle! A vacant castle fires the imagination. It could have ghosts. It could have squatters. It could smell like mold. It probably does.
Q: But why is the castle empty?
A: How do you mean?
Q: Well, it's been 176 years since the last time we saw this place. Has it just been empty the whole time?
A: Not the whole time. There was some kind of vaguely Satanic party that Professor Randolph went to in the 1850s.
Q: But now it's just sitting empty, waiting for SHIELD to nose through the place, looking for the Hebrew carving on the wall that the Professor remembers?
A: Yes! That's the whole point. It's a magical, mysterious place that you could rent for parties. Or weddings.
Q: Or LARPing?
A: Sure. Go nuts.
Hey, Is That A New Knife?
Who called the meeting? Hunter, who thought he'd just stop by May's secret Hawaiian hideaway.
What's it about? May's still a little jumpy, so unexpected visitors get a knife to the throat.
How'd it go? No one gets killed, so that's probably a win. But May declines to join Hunter in his plan to infiltrate Hydra and eventually kill Ward. Not that she objects to Ward dying; she just wants to stay home and try to make sure no one assassinates her father.
BrainteaserQ There's a secret cavern underneath a conveniently vacant castle. Inside that cavern is a vaguely steampunk machine that seems to be attached to a hole in the ground. You have a monolith, a giant airplane, and an ancient elvish sword. What do you do?A Fly the monolith to the castle with the giant airplane, then put the monolith in the hole. The sword doesn't do anything.
That Quote"Teeth, eyes, fingers. Whatever it takes. Get the passwords."- Grant Ward, authorizing his bald friend to torture that douchey guy until he gets access to his bank accounts -
Alert Type: Science Alert.
Issue: Nobody's sure what this machine does, but you'll never learn anything if you go around not turning on mysterious machines that connect to alien rocks.
Complicating Factors: It's really dark in this underground vault. There are some dim lights, but they seem to mostly be there for atmosphere. So it's hard to see exactly what's going on.
Resolution: The rock wobbles a bit, then Daisy collapses.
Spoiler: The machine is broken, so something's going to need to be done.
Rise Of The Douche
Name: Werner von Strucker, son of Wolfgang von Strucker, former head of Hydra. Age: Mid-20s. Occupation: Rich dick. Goal: At the moment, to beat Ward's bald friend to death, because it turns out this whole thing was a test of the douche, not of baldy. Sample Dialogue: "Hail Hydra. Can I have my hotties back now?"
I'm Picking Up Good Vibrations
Fitz starts babbling about quantized fields and quantum harmonic oscillation theory, which basically boils down to the idea that the broken machines were somehow designed to open the monolith portal by creating very specific vibrations. Luckily, Daisy happens to have exactly the superpower that's called for, so everything's fine. The new plan is for her to open the portal manually, and she thinks she can maintain it for about a minute. As soon as it's open, they carefully lower a probe into the portal, figuring they can get some information before deciding what to do. But Fitz is very impatient, so he just dives right in. Why wait, right?
Plot Lightning Round
Welcome To Not-Earth
Fitz finds himself in a planet made out of smoke and blue. He tries shouting for Simmons, which seems optimistic. And yet, it does not take very long before she calls back for him. So even though the monolith is in a different place on Earth and Simmons has been running around for however long it's been, she happened to be within about fifty feet. That's convenient!
Naturally, Fitz can barely reach her, and there's a time limit so the cable he tied around his waist starts pulling him back toward the portal. Will Simmons be stranded here? It seemed like she would, but Fitz managed to grab her hand again. And then they both held on very tightly indeed.
In fact, they hold on so well that after the portal closes, both Fitz and Simmons are back on Earth. Mission accomplished! And the monolith shatters, so there will be no more excursions to mysterious planets any time soon.
Wrap It Up
Later, Simmons wakes with a start, holding what looks like a stone knife out in front of her. Apparently things did not go great for her on the alien planet.
So she gets out of bed and rests her head on Fitz's lap. It's very sweet. It's nice that these people sometimes get a moment to rest...
...because elsewhere, Creepy Werner has enrolled in Dr. Garner's class. Presumably Ward has some kind of ridiculous plan.