General Talbot is a giving a presentation at the United Nations, talking about SHIELD betraying the Avengers, the world, their oath and his grandma’s dog. The representative from Italy loves dogs and isn’t buying it. Ok, we made up the dog thing, but everything else is real, including FakeSHIELD agents suddenly busting in the room and shooting a disk in that nice Italian representative, who literally disintegrates into dust. Now it’s party! The commando unit fans out and starts scaring everyone. Their leader, a very nice looking man with a bit of a mohawk named Marcus Scarlotti, hops on the table and struts across it while sending out another few disintegrating disks. The janitorial staff is gonna hate this guy! Talbot helps usher out everyone else as Scarlotti proudly exclaims “SHIELD isn’t hiding anymore!” So much drama!
Cut to SHIELD base, where Skye and Simmons are watching a shirtless Ward doing his morning exercises. Stare much? May enters with news about the attack on the UN. Coulson correctly calls it a HYDRA trick, while getting a cup of coffee with grumpy cat on it. Must be a Monday! Bobbi and Simmons quickly identify the assassin team leader, Scarlotti, from a previous attack. (oops. Bobbi, you dropped this /Barton namecheck) Oh yea, and Dr. Toshiro Mori made those fun disintegrating bombs. Leads! Coulson orders a field team composed of Hunter, Bobbi and May to check that Mori guy out at his base in Okinawa, Japan. Yes, the formerly married couple will be working with May. Good times ahead!
Talbot, who now has an arm in his sling, visits a politician. Said politico isn’t happy about SHIELD attacking people. Who would be, it’s terrible manners! Talbot mentions that this probably wasn’t SHIELD, but the politician is insistent on putting the agency down, especially if Talbot can’t. So Talbot switches gears, start talking about the politico’s brother, which unnerves him, but he’s still determined to take over from the genersl. As he leaves we find out it’s Senator Christian Ward, brother of Grant “I’m in the basement” Ward, the guy who betrayed SHIELD and the world. Talk about sibling rivalry!
The Senator then proceeds to go on TV to badmouth SHIELD. He also proposes a multi-national task force to first put down and then replace the agency. That can’t be good! Skye notes that douchebaggery runs in the family! Speaking of…lets go talk to Ward in the basement, see if he has any info on his jerk of a brother.
Coulson gets on the joint video phone and talks to Agent Walters in the Netherlands, tells her and her team to head to a safe house and go dark for a while. Ooh! Other SHIELD bases! All your base are belong to Coulson!!
On the jet to Okinawa, an awkward silence between Bobbi and Hunter is broken by recriminations of who said what about who after their marriage ended. But to be clear, Hunter did not call her a hellbeast to the rest of the team. Well not much! Since that conversation was going so well, Bobbi heads up to the cockpit to see how the flight is going and vent about men. May joins in, dryly noting she’s been divorced and no longer talks to her ex. Always follows May’s advice! Maybe she should write an advice column?
Simmons and Fitz try to work together in the lab on the hard drive she stole from HYDRA. It doesn’t go well, with Fitz fumbling for words and Simmons rushing his thought process. Where’s the Mac, the FitzTranslator?! Not where he’s needed, that’s for sure.
Grant warns Skye about his brother Christian, that’s he’s the real bad seed of the family. Coming from a murdering double agent, that’s pretty bad. Then he dangles information about Skye’s dad, only to have Coulson cancel the interview. Stay focused Skye, Coulson needs you!
Hunter and May wait in the jet while Bobbi heads into Dr. Mori’s house, as they’re “old friends,” whatever that means. She wants info! She speaks Japanese! Good kisser too, but Hunter is not jealous, uh huh. Bobbi makes nice with Mori, ordering tea and making pleasant talk. He calls his bombs Splinter Bombs (copyright pending!). Original specs came from Hydra, courtesy of Daniel Whitehall. Mori hopes that refining the splinter bombs will earn him a chance to work on the Diviner, aka the obelisk that everyone wants. Yeah, that thing, brought to Whitehall by a lunatic. (May, did you hear that?)
Then Bobbi’s cover is blown! Hunter rushes in to save her, and after shooting a few spies, they start arguing! Bobbi swears she knew about that guy was sneaking up behind her. AND would have taken him out with that table cloth eventually. A DAMN tablecloth as a weapon! Hunter doesn’t think so. One of the shot spies stirs and in unison they shoot him again and go back to arguing. Awww, they still have a connection!
Back to the lab as Fitz looks over files with Simmons and then we get to the heart of their problem. Simmons left, saying she was going to see her Mom and Dad and then never came back. Fitz wants to know why she left but she can’t explain it and leaves the room as Mac enters. Good timing man!
Senator Ward is returning to his office only to find Coulson in there waiting. He’s rewriting the Senator’s speech. It’s funnier now! He’s also trying to clear SHIELD’s name, but the Senator doesn’t believe a word Coulson is saying. Even if Coulson knows about his brother being HYDRA and being in SHIELD’s basement. Oh, did that slip out Senator? Out comes the incident at the well story, where Christian supposedly forced Grant to torture their younger brother, Thomas. The Senator scoffs, saying he prevented Grant from doing the torturing. Uh oh, conflicting stories!
Cut to Skye in the basement talking to Grant after turning off the cameras. Skye wants to know about her father, all of it, right now. According to Grant, the dead Chinese villagers found with baby Skye were all HYDRA agents, killed by her father. Bad dad? It’s not clear and Grant doesn’t clear things up, but does promised to take Skye to him, if he’s (hint, hint) let out.
She mentions that Coulson is talking to his brother the Senator, which startles Grant. He starts saying that Christian is the bad brother who forced him to torture Thomas. There’s a great interplay between Coulson/Senator and Skye/Ward scene as the two brothers tell different versions of the same story. Back and forth the perspective shifts, who’s the real evil brother?! (My money’s on the tortured Thomas)
Finally Skye agrees to get Grant outta there, to his surprised face. But he’s being transferred, not going on a road trip! Christian wants Grant in his custody and Coulson’s agreed to the deal. Family reunion time!
Simmons returns to find Mac and Fitz talking and getting along. Just like FitzSimmons used to! They discover the original 1940s designer of the bomb, Dr. Vincent Beckers, whom Simmons recognizes and goes to warn Coulson. Because that’s the grandfather of Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julien Beckers, a guy who’s been saying that SHIELD isn’t all bad. Which has been prompting agents to hide out in Belgium. Coulson twigs that they’ve been played and orders the field team to the safe house where Agent Walters and others are.
Too late! FakeSHIELD team and Beckers are already there! Scarlotti kills Agent Walters with one of the disintegrating disks. Don’t invite him to parties!
Hunter enters the house, with a bag of beer. It’s a distraction! May and Bobbi crash through the window and begin kicking lots of butt. Scarlotti runs off, May chases, as Hunter and Bobbi deal with the rest, working together very well as a team. Are they working out their relationship problems? Fight therapy is THE BEST! May deals with Scarlotti (now with a knife on a chain) with her usual awesomeness. There should be a spin off show of May just kicking ass. Oh wait, we already have that in Agents of Shield!
After the fight, the team calls in Talbot, who takes Scarlotti into custody. Hunter packs up his stuff, deciding to leave the team since Bobbi is there now and he’s more of a merc, so yadda yadda yadda. She indirectly implores him to stay, while making it clear the decision is his and she’ll be fine either way. Dude, you can’t leave after such a great therapy session! Bobbi realizes this, judging by the smile on her face as she walks away.
At the SHIELD base, Simmons talks to Mac, thanking him for helping Fitz. He notes that Simmons seems to make him worst. She agrees and mentions that as the reason she originally left. Bummer! Though it’s nice touch that the relationship won’t be easily resolved. Fitz almost died and he has long term injuries, which that won’t be easily fixed.
Cuffs go on Ward and he’s led out, paraded past all the team members, who give him stone cold looks. When he spots Skye and tries to talk to her, Simmons blocks the exchange and tells Ward that if she ever sees him again, she’ll kill him. He’s packed on a secure bus, while saying that this changes nothing, he’ll keep his promise to Skye (to lead her to her father). Coulson warns the guards not to give him an inch.
It doesn’t matter. Ward breaks his thumb, enabling him to slip a hand out of his cuffs. Attacks are made, guards are killed and Ward is free. There’s nothing quite like crazy people on the loose!
Meanwhile, a guy walks into a tattoo shop, hoping to finish some body work. It’s the alien symbols from the sketches Coulson has been carving, all over his body! Those things sure do get around. The artist warns him that it’ll be painful. The stranger doesn’t care, says that the pain will help him “remember”. Yes, another crazy villain!
There are a lot of things to like about this episode. 1- Bobbi Morse. Her awesomeness keeps expanding. The interplay between her and Hunter is fun to watch especially since we are still kicking FitzSimmons puppies. 2- Any time May gives a soul crushing look is a time worth savoring. There were several. 3- It’s just great to see Coulson on top of his game here. As we wander through the SHIELD base, it feels dynamic and full of agents. Coulson has been busy. AND we get a peek, if a grim one, at another base. Finally, it looks like there will be no Ward redemption arc anytime soon AND we have exciting family history going on with him. We couldn’t be more thrilled about those things.
New Rules for the Agents Handbook:
Always send May and Bobbie on field ops.
Don’t trust Ward, ever. Not on a train, not on a bus, not in chains or handcuffs.
Field ops can be bonding experience for exes!
Don’t talk to your exes. Unless you have to.
Let Coulson rewrite all your important docs!!