Everyone Is Filled With Hate
At this point, everyone's loyalties are shifting so fast that it seems like no one's sure whom they hate.
Skye used to loathe her father Cal, but now she's had a lovely family dinner with him. Coulson needs to find her, and he's got some kind of plan that involves seeking out the formerly hated Ward. Even May is either with one faction of SHIELD or another. We've reached Peak Double Agent and everyone's loyalties are twisted around.
Run, Fitz, Run
Alert Type: High-Tech Escape Alert.
Issue: Fitz is still being tailed, so he as to escape.
Complicating Factors: He's not a trained field agent, so he's had to get some special tips from Hunter.
Resolution: By employing the advanced technique of "running away and then hiding in an invisible Quinjet," Fitz escapes the two SHIELD agents that were following him.
Spoiler: The Quinjet could have just landed in the middle of the street and picked Fitz up at any time, rendering this situation relatively drama-free.
What Do You Do With A Problem Like Cal?
Situation: Cal is in a great mood after the family dinner, and he would just like to teleport back to civilization briefly to grab some stuff to make his cell look nicer.
What makes it awkward? Actually, Jiaying is planning on teleporting Cal out of Afterlife permanently so his inevitable explosion takes place among people she doesn't care about.
How is order restored? She lies to him. That's a very popular way of fixing a problem for a very short time.
Rules? We Don't Need Rules
What's the game? Backgammon. And to think, some people call this show boring!
Who's playing? Lincoln and Skye. Although Skye doesn't have her mind on the game, which you can't really blame her for. Backgammon's pretty boring.
Are you worried about badmouthing backgammon like that? Not really. I figure even the most hardcore backgammon player is probably just happy to see backgammon in a network television show.
Does anyone cheat? Possibly. Lincoln uses his electricity powers to move a few pieces around.
Alert Type: Irrelevant Action Alert.
Issue: The show needs to convey the information that Agents Mack and Morse are both a little concerned about the way things are going in SHIELD. They've both noticed that Simmons is maybe not trying her hardest to break into Fury's Toolbox, and they're both wondering if SHIELD is ever going to get back to fighting Hydra.
Complicating Factors: Exposition is boring. Am I right, people? Something needs to be done to add some zazz to this conversation. And it should be more PG-rated than the Game of Thrones solution.
Resolution: Mack and Morse explain their thoughts to each other while sparring. Presto: things are happening onscreen to distract the audience.
Spoiler: According to the sparring results, Mack is stronger than Morse, but she's a better fighter due to her ability to do random flips.
So, We Meet Again
Who called the meeting? Coulson, with the help of Agent 33.
What's it about? Okay, I think I have this right. Coulson wants to find Skye, even though she apparently teleported away of her own free will. And she was getting away from SHIELD agents who were shooting at her. Coulson has no leads, so he's decided that Hydra is probably investigating people with powers, so they might have a lead. And Agent Ward is the closest thing he has to having a man on the inside.
How'd it go? Agent 33 and Deathlok have a fun conversation about facial scars, but she doesn't have a spare mask to share with him. But they're tertiary characters at best, so the show moves on to the discussion between Coulson and Ward. It's fairly tense, although Coulson's decision to have this meeting in a festive family restaurant in Tijuana undercuts that a bit. The deal Coulson offers is that if Ward helps them get into Hydra and meet with the guys currently in charge, then SHIELD will stop hunting Ward and he can live in peace. After, that is, he submits to the "Tahiti Protocol" that will wipe his memory completely. That way, if he's really a good guy who just happens to have some bad stuff in his history, he'll be fine.
Simmons Can't Stop Lying
First, May got Simmons to admit to her that Fury's Toolbox is actually with Fitz. Then, when May has brought Morse in, Simmons goes along with the story that Fitz stole it. When Simmons agrees to try to hack into Deathlok's eyeball (this is not as outlandish as it sounds, since his eyeball broadcasts everything he's looking at), it's only so she can clear Coulson and Fitz's good names. Although she knows perfectly well that Fitz did the only thing he's accused of, and she was complicit in that.
Hello, Mr. Cactus
The Scene: Ward and Agent 33 (who would prefer to be called Kara, incidentally) are waiting in a car to find out the next step of Coulson's plan.
The Symbol: This cactus, which is the only thing that Ward brought from their old life.
The Meaning: Somebody's going to get a nasty needle-wound.
That Quote"Because I spent my entire life searching for you. I lied and I broke laws just to get the tiniest sliver of information. And I had no memories of my family. Cal had memories. He knows what he lost."- Skye, explaining why she now empathizes with Cal -
for being in charge of Hydra
Name: Dr. List
Last Seen: Taking over Hydra with Strucker.
Likely Punishment: Getting shot in one of the last two episodes of the season, possibly by a Hydra agent who turns out to be a double agent.
Reward: If you capture him, you can skip this subplot entirely and move directly to the action sequence at the end of the episode.
Place Of Interest
Why Are All The Pastries Gone?
Cal wants to show Skye the wonders of Milwaukee. For him, that begins and ends with this one pastry shop, which the Milwaukee Tourism Board would probably find fairly disappointing. Especially because he hasn't been here in decades, and the pastries have been replaced by a currency exchange. He complains that the internet has driven all the bookstores, video stores, and ice cream shops out of business. Skye points out that there are definitely still ice cream shops. And even the other two categories aren't entirely gone yet, although I admit that it's not looking good.
That Quote"He's not a cyborg. He's a SHIELD agent...with rockets in his arm."- Coulson, defending Deathlok's honor -
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Cal's New Name
Name: Cal L. Johnson, M.D. Age: Somewhere in his 50s? Occupation: Medical doctor, freelance weirdo. Goal: To reconcile with his wife and daughter, protect them from harm, and cause unpredictable mayhem whenever things don't go his way. Sample Dialogue: [Explaining why his office door doesn't say Cal Zabo] "I changed it to something more sinister when I went on the run."
Plot Lightning Round
It's time for all the storylines to intersect on Skye, because she's still the main character. First, Lincoln pops out of a hallway nook to check on Skye. Cal starts to realize that maybe Skye isn't planning on spending the rest of her life hanging out with her estranged, crazy father. Also, he's angry that people keep calling her "Skye" instead of "Daisy." Seems a little hypocritical, since we just learned that he changed his last name to make it sound cooler.
Next, Hydra attacks the building. They've found a way to track Gordon's teleportation because of something called "quantum entanglement," and they figure there are probably some "powered people" in here. Cal tells Lincoln to get Skye out of there and proceeds to wreck the Hydra soldiers. Of note is his terrifying battle cry: "Hey, fellas!" Lincoln also tells Skye to run because he wants to stay behind and fight. He runs into Deathlok and the two of them fight, not knowing that they're on the same side. Apparently electrical surges don't work against a cyborg, which seems unlikely. Wouldn't you think that somebody that's full of cybernetics would be more vulnerable to giant doses of static electricity?
Next on the list is Coulson's team, who tracked this cellphone that Skye stole from a thug on the street. Coulson, Hunter, and Ward enter the building, and immediately split up. Coulson and Ward bump into the Deathlok/Lincoln fight.
And JUST THEN, Simmons gets the video feed from Deathlok's eye working, so everyone in SHIELD headquarters can see what appears to be Coulson working with Grant Ward, the traitor. This is kind of a Three's Company-style misunderstanding, in which everyone's going to jump to a conclusion based on a quick visual. On the other hand, Coulson really is working with a known Hydra agent who betrayed him, so maybe it's good that everyone saw it.
Skye also sees the two of them together, and she decides that seeing Coulson is worth dealing with Ward. But as she comes toward them, Gordon teleports in, grabs Skye, and teleports her out. If she's going to continue to be the nexus point of all the action, this teleportation thing really gets in the way. As long as Gordon's available for last-second saves, she's never in any real danger.
Wrap It Up
Deathlok and Lincoln have beaten each other up, so it's easy for Hydra to stroll up and capture them both with a stun grenade.
Mack and Morse are a bit late to the party, but they show up at the building after everyone's gone. Except that it turns out that Coulson has come back, and he's...surrendering? ["To Morse's camel toe, presumably. Guys, it's bad." - SDB]
He IS surrendering! He wants them to take him back to the base, which is an interestingly straightforward approach to this whole thing. One might almost wonder why he's spent several episodes on the run.