Austria, 1945! Werner Reinhardt aka Dr. Whitehall is interviewing people about that pesky little device we know as the Obelisk/Diviner. He encourages someone to touch the device and they’re killed, just like almost everyone else who’s touched it. Reinhardt/Whitehall is definitely the evil bad guy! It’s the lofty monotone chat that gives it away! When a female Asian prisoner is forced to touch it, she doesn’t die and the Obelisk glows with those nifty symbols everyone has been so curious about. Cue the interest from the good evil doctor! Plus the desire to perform medical experiments upon the woman to find out her secret. The sudden appearance of the allies along with the death of the Red Skull (from the first Captain America movie) puts a crimp in that plan and everyone bugs out. The mysterious woman is lost in the process. (and ohbytheway- she’s not a no name actress so we’ll see more of her for sure!)
Fast forward to our modern times, Whitehall (still looking so young and fresh) is talking to Skye’s Father, who calls Whitehall a monkey. Hey, don’t insult monkeys! SkyeDad reveals that the Obelisk is a key, not a weapon as Whitehall thought. It only kills people it doesn’t divine are worthy. Hence the name The Diviner. The Obelisk is probably just a nickname it picked up in high school. In some sordid locker room incident!
Cut to the Bus, aka the Invisible Jet 2.0! May fumes about being left at the base while Coulson, of all people, is out in the field. Seriously, this is like the Captain of a starship going down with the away team, makes no sense other than to show how awesome the captain is. But since it’s Coulson, isn’t that redundant? (uh-oh, stuck in a Coulson is Awesome redundancy loop)
Back at the base, Mac is worried about Coulson, who admittedly wasn’t looking very sane last episode when he willingly allowed himself to be sort of tortured by Raina’s memory machine (FYI, it’s great to be able to write sentences like that). Mac brings this up with Lance, who isn’t exactly buying it, but looks interested. Mac wants to talk more, but Simmons enters and talk turns to what Bobbi is up to. She’s interrogating Bakshi! That’s Whitehall’s main lackey, who was captured last episode. He was a gift! Remember when Grant Ward betrayed the whole team ’cause he’s Hydra, got captured, then escaped and is now trying to make amends? Yeah, that sounds crazy, what is Grant’s angle with this? Anywho, he left Bakshi for SHIELD to find, with a note saying “A gift for Coulson”. Can’t wait to see what he gets the team for Christmas!
Anyway, Bobbie keeps asking Bakshi questions in the Black Widow style of questioning. He falls for it! While bragging about this and that and how awesome Whitehall and the Red Skull were. Idiot! Bobbi picks up on the reference, but since the Skull has been dead for 70 years, she doesn’t quite put the pieces together. We’re still on the ground floor of amazing things beginning to happen in this world, so no one makes the immediate jump that immortality or everlasting youth is possible. Unless you’re Captain America. Which Bakshi is most definitely not!
Bobbi also messes with Bakshi’s head a bit, asking him if Hydra has brainwashed him. It’s a thing they do! Simmons realizes that anyone who was part of Hydra could have been brainwashed and wouldn’t know it. Remember that stint she did as a double agent within Hydra? Uh oh, maybe’s she’s been brainwashed! Or maybe Bobbie has when she was undercover? Hello future sub plot!
Oh look, now it’s Senator Christian Ward, Grant’s older brother. He’s headed to his mountain retreat where either his wife, mistress or butler is supposed to meet him with a very special see through outfit. All that gets interrupted by his little brother Grant (brothers, amirite?!) kidnapping him. Family meeting time!
Back on the Bus, Coulson, Skye, Fitz and Trip land in Hawaii. Everyone gets strange assignments, including Fitz, who will have to pull off a high pressure and time sensitive technobabble thing. Yeah, the guy who’s still recovering from brain damage has some work ahead of him! What’s the point of all these odd jobs? The team is laying the groundwork for a scheme to find the location of the hidden city revealed by the strange alien symbols that Coulson had been carving. We’re on the clock people, no time for sight seeing!
Meanwhile, Simmons find old records, including Peggy Carter’s report in the Obelisk, aka the first 084. Simmons completely geeks out over touching something Agent Carter did. She probably runs a Tumblr about her!
Back in 40s, Agent Carter interviews Whitehall. He tries to bargain for release, mentioning all the information he can provide and how other German scientists will help put people on the Moon (true story!). But Peggy doesn’t give a damn, considering Whitehall’s penchant for performing experiments on people. He mentions a legend about blue skinned angels who came Earth with a gift, but Peggy still isn’t believing it. Seriously, why would angels be blue, like Kree aliens were in Guardians of the Galaxy?
SkyeDad scoffs at Whitehall in the modern day, saying the Obelisk is not a gift for humanity or a weapon for conquering as Whitehall thinks, but rather a device for ending mankind, except for a chosen few. More people with terrible gift ideas! That sounds inhuman! And what terrible angels- must be cousins of Manny!
Whitehall wants to know what SkyeDad is getting from all this and he says it’s pretty simple: vengeance on those who wronged him and broke up his family. Whom he intends to see again, in the afterlife. Not an upbeat dad! Also Kool-aid would be easier…
Grant leads his brother off into the woods, as Christian tries to convince Grant that he did all those evil things for him. Who’s the crazy one here? Ward does seem to be twisting things, taking situations the wrong way and all, but the Senator is certainly playing mind games also. And there’s a whole lot of blame and lack of taking responsibility. Anyway, they reach a certain point and Grant pulls out a shovel. It’s time to dig for the well where the other Ward brother, Thomas, was injured by either Christian or Grant. Too many bros!
The base team is going through old records. An old photo of Whitehall photo is discovered and boom the connection is made. Reinhardt is Whitehall! No one knows how he still looks so young, but gosh do they want to know!
In the 1940s, Peggy visits Whitehall again, mentions he’ll be in prison forever with no deal. He’ll die and be forgotten. Major downer! He stays in the secret prison for 44 years, until Hydra double agents pull him out, commanded by Undersecretary Pierce aka THE bad guy in Winter Soldier. They’ve found the woman who didn’t die when touching the Obelisk. She hasn’t aged, which prompts Whitehall to finally do his those medical experiments. Jeeze that guy is focused!
The SHIELD team at the base continues going through old records and Bobbi is back to interviewing Bakshi. She continues egging him on about the possibility of being brainwashed. He flips the script and mentions various things she did to get close to Hydra, something the rest of the team doesn’t know about. She flips it back when she mentions that he gave up Whitehall accidentally. Then Bakshi just plain old flips and bangs his head against the desk, breaking a suicide pill that was hidden in his cheekbone. That’s loyalty!
Back to the Ward bros, arguing about what really happened to Thomas. Did Grant push him or did the Senator manipulate Grant into doing it? A shovel to Grant’s face hints at the Senator isn’t quite so innocent. Ward recovers and forces Christian to look down the well, threatening to throw him in. Faced with his own death, Christian admits it was him who wanted to harm Thomas. Their abusive parents didn’t torture Thomas, Christian was mad about it and wanted to kill Thomas for that. So Grant isn’t quite so bad, but he’s still bad, what with killing other SHIELD agents and all. Or is he? The bros hug it out and Grant says it’s time they went home. Watch out Mom and Dad!
The plane team heads to a base in Australia to patch into a something and do a technobabble thing that will help them find the missing city. Its goes bad, there’s an ambush! It’s Hydra! Gunfire is exchanged, much running is done as Coulson tries to salvage the plan. Trip is shot! Then SkyeDad appears, offering to help, ‘cause he’s a doctor! Nooo, ask to see his certification!
No one does, so SkyeDad continues to pretend he doesn’t know who SHIELD is, while patching Trip up. Then he slips up and calls Coulson by name. Oops! Coulson pulls his gun, but since SkyeDad literally has Trip’s life in his hands, it’s not going to go well for the heroes at this point. Fitz tries to keep working! SkyeDad says there’s something in the Obelisk that’s really cool. A tessaract? Maybe, but he doesn’t know what that is! He splits, leaving Coulson and Fitz instructions on how to save Trip, so there’s no chasing after SkyeDad. Smart, but crazy dad!
Whitehall performs his experiments on the woman. It’s not pretty. But eventually he figures out how to restore his youth, which kills her. He sees it as second chance, which works well in his talk with…Grant! Look who’s come looking for work and wanting to do evil things. Or is it to find SkyeDad as he promised Skye in the creepy way he does so well? As the tv plays a news report about how Senator Ward was found dead with his parents, it’s hard to say. Oh Grant, what are you up to?
As SHIELD headquarters, Bakshi’s in a hospital bed, while Lance and Bobbi argue, yet again. He doesn’t trust her, wants to know what she did to get close to Hydra. Bobbi says she’s never lied to him. Lance wants to trust but just doesn’t. She insists she always tells the truth to him, but he still doesn’t trust her. What are they to do? Maybe have sex in an SUV out in the SHIELD parking garage, ’cause there’s nothing sexier than lack of trust in a relationship!
The technobabble worked! Skye manages to run a program to find the lost city. Hurray! But Coulson and Fitz have to break the news about who shot Trip (who’s going to be just fine). No one on this show has happy reunions!
As Whitehall and Grant continue talking, SkyeDad joins them. Talk turns to friends and enemies and SkyeDad says it’s important to keep an eye on your enemies. He and Whitehall trade mysterious glances!
Cue 25 years ago, as SkyeDad finds the dead body of the woman Whitehall tortured. It seems to be Skye’s mother and you know that’s going to be a problem really soon. Like in two weeks, when SHIELD returns for its mid season finale!
Why do we love this episode? Action. it hits the ground running. We are after the next prize. All our players are up to good and no good. All of our characters are feeling dynamic and evolving! Fitz does a tech thing under pressure without help! Skye runs her little tech team to find the city! Ward plays so many sides he might as well be rolling a D20. And Dammit SHIELD there you go again putting awesome actors in as great characters and killing them off without a second thought! It is keeping us on our toes. Plus we are lovin’ this build to Agent Carter.
Overall, this season has been excellent. It knows where it’s going, how it’s getting there and what its characters are doing. There’s a been a ton of mystery about what happened to Coulson, what the Obelisk is, which have been solved, along with more questions about Skye, Hydra and Raina. It seems pretty clear that Kree alien race has been monkeying around Earth for some time and that there may be more of them still on Earth, especially in the hidden city everyone wants to visit. Bottom line the show is confident and has us on the edge of our seat from week to week, wanting more!
New Agent Handbook Rules:
If you’re an evil lackey, don’t brag, you’ll just give up information!
Peggy Carter is awesome!
Always have an invisible jet!
Don’t shoot Trip!
Don’t trust a Ward brother!
Play the crazy side, you’ll get farther!
Don’t trust the Kree- if we’ve learned anything about Obelisk gifts and Nebula’s past its DON’T TRUST THEM!