We switch to Coulson carving a wall with a knife. Skye walks in, turns off the music and talks about how she can’t figure out what the map is for. Coulson encourages her to look harder, cause you know he’s losing sleep over this…
Ward! is out in the open, his brother is covering up his escape, so our intrepid team is looking for him. Trip is watching Ward in a bus station, he empties a locker. The team discussing bring him in by any means and Ward flashes Trip a bomb strapped to his chest. Uh oh. Guess not those means. Not very stylish either Ward!
Skye comes and shows Coulson some crime scene photos of our artsy lady carved with map symbols. Turns out that lady was a SHIELD agent! Coulson and Skye go check out her place and find a lovely set of paintings she’s worked on. All with a certain alien map motif… One marked with a title- A Magical Place.
Skye and Coulson notice she had some map pieces Coulson doesn’t have. They ponder how the Miami painting fits and decide they need an autopsy of the woman they now know was a SHIELD agent (level 6), who died of cancer 5 years ago.
Cut to a body being tabled for autopsy! Some quipping from the lab geeks and Mac, then Simmons opens the bag and everyone really needs to go on a coffee break. We’re just gonna pause here and note that SHIELD agents stole a body. We knew stealing a General back in episode 1 was just a gateway crime! Simmons promises updates while she does CSI type stuff.
Ward ingratiates himself with a lady and a boy to get on a bus but then decides to sit next to Bobbi. He’s totally made her for not being a fast reader and a SHIELD agent, so he skips off the bus to another. Bobbi comments to May how good Ward is (while ignoring what a terrible reader she is), while Ward settles on a new bus with… Hunter there to keep an eye on him. Hunter is wearing a cowboy hat. It’s a good disguise.
Simmons is ready for her autopsy report. She notes the women died of a heart attack from the pain while being carved alive. Definitely not a second date. She speculates the woman is not the first victim carved up. Then she says the women got a tissue sample of the Creepy Carver and it turns out they both had GH-325 in their blood. Simmons wonders if Skye or Coulson have been compulsively writing or carving. Coulson lies that they are fine.
Simmons and Skye have a lot of questions about how many Tahiti patients there were, how they can be found, if the killer will come after them- and Coulson’s all ‘I dunno’, here’s Raina’s memory machine, you’re gonna have to torture me for answers.’ Where’s Ward when you need him?
Simmons straps Coulson up to monitors to track his health. Skye berates him about how bad an idea it is and can she please call May about this? Coulson says no, her job is to find Ward, then demands to be put in so he can take responsibility for the Tahiti Project he was overseeing. Mac notes this is very creature feature and wonders what he signed up for. Side note- the Fitz and Mac combo seems to be going well for Fitz. Coulson dives into the memories and sees 6 patients. 5 of them start alien writing and going crazy, the killer seems normal. We meet Blond Doctor who seems to be the head doctor. Coulson wants to shut things down, she says they should keep going to make progress. She suggests erasing the bad parts of their brains and letting them start over. Coulson is horrified watching that procedure as it reminds him of his time under those laser knives. Under Raina’s machine, Coulson finally starts remembering who the people were and are.
Ward walks into a bar… oh wait, that’s not a joke. The barkeep has a gruff sense of humor and welcomes him back. Mr Slick Hydra Agent, aka Bakshi, shows up with some agents. Turns out Ward called him. During the meeting- Strucker (from the Winter Soldier end credits) is mentioned as the head Hydra; he is currently overseas. Ward asks to meet whoever is in charge, aka the busy Whitehall. Ward promises a face to face with Coulson, Bakshi thinks about it.
Back in the lab, Coulson’s freaking out, but they manage to track down all the people. 4 are dead, 2 are alive and Coulson knows who done it. Meantime, May and Skye finally chat. May mentions the bad Ward situation, Skye mentions the bad Coulson sit, May says to lock Coulson up. Coulson agrees to let Skye lock him up, pushes her into the cell and runs off to take care of business.
We cut to a kid and his dad, driving trains around a cool looking, probably alien map infested city track. His wife comes in and says an old friend is here to see him.
Mac and Fitz are playing video games to help Fitz hand eye coordination. Fitz discusses how brains keep all files in a back up and that brains don’t lose things, they just misplace the connections and Mac asks if that’s true for Fitz. Oh yeah and someone finally notices Skye in the cell. Don’t play video games at work!
May, Hunter and Bobbi are gearing up to take down the bar. They discuss the merits of this idea and the need for back-up. Hunter makes a comment which Bobbi takes as him saying she flirt too much. They start arguing like a former married couple until May shushes them. Get a room you two!
Coulson gets to Train Dad’s house. Train Dad is nervous, and Creepy Carver sneaks up behind the frantic Coulson and whacks him on the head. Mac and Skye take off after Coulson. Skye gets chatty about what the Tahiti Project was. Names are dropped!
May, Hunter and Bobbi walk into the bar to find it empty with a dead barkeep and a packaged Hydra agent. He has a gift tag that says ‘for Coulson.’ Speaking of Coulson, he’s trussed up like a pig in the garage with Train Dad. Coulson finally notices the train set. He switches his thinking from 2D to 3D and finally gets it. Crazy Carver gets chatty with Coulson, he reveals that pain reset his memories. Train Dad escapes! He catches a knife! Then he takes his family and runs. Coulson and Crazy Carver fight. Train Dad flags down Mac and Skye, they find Coulson. They draw guns on him! Coulson shows Crazy Carver the train set and they both bliss out a bit.
Mission complete! Train Dad doesn’t believe he was a spy, Coulson offers him a job, Train Dad declines. Ward is missing, Bakshi is now in the cell and Coulson is doing the happy dance ’cause his compulsion to carve is gone. He says it’s a city, a city that turned on a homing beacon with the alien blood. He reminds the team that Hydra is looking for it too. Also he’s not crazy… anymore. Now that the mystery is solved, they have to figure out where the alien was trying to go!
In the Stinger- Ward is cleaning up to some blues music. Skye looks at Bakshi’s phone and Ward calls it. He talks to Skye about the gifts he’s going to leave them. He mentions he has to take care of some personal business. He’s not impressed with the new recruits (his shoes are big to fill), then he hangs up. Looks like he’s got a bag of toys he’s packing up. With a newspaper article of his bro. Seriously, who reads newspapers anymore??
Good episode! The best thing about this episode is that our team was losing for a significant part of it. Our hard won victory isn’t huge. but it moves the storylines along. How great is it to not be running after the same mystery all season? We solved one and traded it in for another. Skye totally womans up and pulls a gun on Coulson. Twice- and her actions are backed by the rest of the team. (think if that had been Fury!) We have great interpersonal dynamics going on. Also, being a fan of the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’, it’s fun to ponder where this is all going? Is there an Infinity Stone in that city? Is it the abandoned city at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy? Will things lead into Ant Man? How did one Kree end up on Earth? Is Skye Inhuman? How awesome would it be to see May and Groot fight?
New Agent Handbook Rules:
Think different! Seriously, don’t be so 2 dimensional!
Former Shield agents can be anywhere! Anyone!
Listen to Ward’s words very carefully. A face to face meeting means different things!
But don’t be friends with Ward. He’s more of an acquaintance than a BFF.
Video Games are good! Play nice!
Pay attention to the security cameras!
Alien blood can be tricky. Especially Kree blood.