If Abe Lincoln was watching this show, he’d likely tweet, as @honestabe, “A SHIELD divided against itself cannot protect”. That’s what is happening now, as Commander Gonzalez invades Coulson’s SHIELD. Skye also gets a visitor who lets her know who she can really be.
***** SPOILERS BELOW *****
Much of this week’s episode is set during the day SHIELD fell, also known as the third act of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Mack is close to being killed by a ruthless HYDRA agent aboard a heli-carrier. However, he’s saved by Morse and Isabelle Hartley (Lucy Lawless). Together, they hope to rescue Commander Gonzalez (Edward James Olmos), who was able to hold off another group of HYDRA agents. They have orders from Nick Fury to get him out, and make sure HYDRA doesn’t get the ship or cargo.
Memories of that day are juxtaposed with Gonzalez’s plan to capture Coulson and his crew because they are not the real SHIELD. They also think Coulson doesn’t suspect a thing, as he and Mack talk about Lola while Morse plants a bomb that’s designed to knock out the power. For some reason, Coulson tells him, “The path we’ve chosen doesn’t leave a lot of room for trust, does it?”
Skye, meanwhile, is still at the retreat, talking to Simmons via videophone. She hasn’t tried the tremor-cancelling gloves, yet.
Mack sees his cover’s blown when the mechanics suddenly pull guns at him, and Coulson wants answers. Morse finds the Toolbox, but May finds her, too. Morse says she’s doing it for SHIELD, the non-Coulson version, but May isn’t buying it. They wind up in a fight, with Morse grabbing the Toolbox and knocking out the power. Coulson and May still wonder what Morse meant by “the real SHIELD.”
Morse gets back to Gonzalez and Calderon (Kirk Acevedo), telling them she has the Toolbox. She’s also told Hunter (Nick Blood) hasn’t been located after he escaped from the aircraft carrier where “real SHIELD” is located. They also seem to be really interested in Skye.
At the retreat, Skye notices how her powers are causing serious bruising on her arms. She finally wears the gloves, which give her a rush. She also wonders why she’s lost her wi-fi. With a little snooping, she finds out the cabin is reinforced like the cells on the Bus. There’s also a big imprint of someone’s big fist. It’s later revealed the retreat was built by Bruce Banner, to keep himself away from others when he Hulks out. As io9 pointed out, this shows some irony, since she was compared to the Hulk last week.
Skye also has a visitor, none other than Gordon (Jamie Harris). He tells her how he experienced his new form after experiencing terrigenesis, as fans saw in “Aftershocks”. He said after he was transformed, he was embraced by a mentor, then he asks what SHIELD did after her powers emerged. He says that everything has vibrations, and she has the ability to tap that power. She describes her power as a thousand bees inside of her. He’s suggesting she should go with him to meet others of their kind, and understand her real powers. She’s not sure about it yet, but he’ll wait until she’s ready. Until then, he zaps himself out of the cabin.
Back at the base, Simmons is packing a gun when Morse shows up. It looks like she is unaware of what’s happening, until she’s able to knock Morse out. Fitz, though, is confronted by Mack, who insists Fitz trust him.
Then, it’s time for another flashback when Morse, Mack and Hartley are about to get Gonzalez out. However, Morse gives Hartley a token from Franny’s Saloon, and tells her to give it to Hunter (Nick Blood). Hartley says he’ll be mad, but Morse doesn’t mind. She tells Mack that Fury gave her another mission: to sink the ship and sacrifice her life. Gonzalez has a better idea…they’ll all sink the ship together. Eventually, Mack suggests they defeat all of the HYDRA soldiers on board and keep the ship. Gonzalez wonders if that can be done.
Back to present day, May finds a gas mask in Morse’s locker, She figures out the “real SHIELD” will take the base by knocking everyone out with dendrotoxin. Mack saves Fitz from an explosion that allows the “real SHIELD” to take over. However, Mack is injured, and Weaver (Christine Adams) asks Simmons to help him, despite what is happening. They also want to capture Skye, because she’s considered a threat. Morse wonders if that’s necessary, but she agrees to help Calderon capture her.
Skye decides to take off the gloves and wash her hands. She then discovers a new power…making running water go in weird patterns. Then, she gets a call from May telling her to get out now. She does, just as the “real SHIELD” arrives.
When Coulson and Gonzalez finally meet, Gonzalez says he doesn’t want to run SHIELD, but Coulson shouldn’t either. Gonzalez says it’s all due to Fury bringing Coulson back from the dead, and injecting alien blood in him. That led to the obsession over the alien city, and what happened to Skye. Gonzalez also knows Fury has a list of people with “terrifying powers.” He needs to find them to make sure they won’t destroy the world.
One more flashback: Gonzalez and his crew are about to blow up the ship. Mack doesn’t want her to do that because it’ll kill other SHIELD agents still on board. Gonzalez says she has Fury’s orders because it isn’t a democracy. She says that maybe it should be. They decide to fight to save SHIELD. So, they ignore Fury’s orders, get rid of the HYDRA soldiers and take back the ship. Then we see Gonzalez tell Coulson that decision was a good one. It wouldn’t be surprising if that ship later became his SHIELD headquarters.
Coulson asks if the “real SHIELD” is “five friendly faces that agree on everything?” Gonzales sees it another way. Fury ran the place like a king, and that Coulson was his heir. Therefore, Coulson can’t be in charge. He also says SHIELD was brought down by secrets, and he doesn’t want it to happen again. Coulson said HYDRA brought down SHIELD, but Gonzalez disagrees. He’s hoping that Fitz and Simmons will do the right thing, and help him crack into the Toolbox. To him, Fury was worse than HYDRA because he knew things he wouldn’t share.
May makes her choice. She knocks out Gonzalez with an icer gun, and helps Coulson escape.
What about Skye? She holds off several “real SHIELD agents” until Calderon is about to shoot her. At that point, she uses a new power that deflects the bullet, and tears down several trees. A piece of wood impales Calderon, and that’s when Skye realizes how devastating her powers really are. She whispers to Gordon to help her and he zaps back to take her away, as Morse looks in shock.
Finally, Coulson is in a magical place, namely a bar in Hawaii. Hunter is there, too. He signs his name on a napkin, showing he’s with SHIELD to stay. So what’s next?
The battle between the two SHIELDs will continue, and maybe Morse will question who should be trusted. She’s at the ideal spot since she came up with the idea to ignore Fury’s orders because SHIELD is in disarray. Gonzalez thinks people like Skye and Gordon should be captured because they really can’t be trusted, but Morse thinks that shouldn’t apply to Skye. So, does she really know what is the “real SHIELD”? Adrianne Palicki talks abut that in the latest Entertainment Weekly.
Coulson’s other agents also have to deal with “real SHIELD”, too. While Simmons will help Mack recover, she will ask Weaver why she would turn on Fury. We did learn an “enhanced” person tried to kill her, but is that Fury’s fault? May’s upcoming discussion with Gonzalez will not be as cordial as his meeting with Coulson, Expect Bahrain to be mentioned, but let’s hope maybe she’ll argue that Fury kept the list of people with powers secret because he was concerned they would be exploited. After all, he didn’t use them…right?
Also, what does Gordon have in mind? He’s taken Skye, her dad and Raina away to the Inhumans’ secret lair. Is he aware they will meet, and cause another set of problems?
Next week: Coulson is on the run, and Skye meets the Inhumans.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC. Watch full episodes on ABC.Go.com, HULU Plus and On Demand (check with your local cable provider).