The Olympics are over, the hiatus is done, and SHIELD is finally back! When we last left our crew, things weren’t looking good. Sure, they’d finally captured Ian Quinn, but before they did he shot Skye twice in the stomach, and Simmons was forced to cryogenically freeze Skye just to keep her alive long enough to reach help. Tonight’s episode picked up right where that one left off, and gave us some interesting new information to chew on, all while introducing us to some new characters and giving us an interesting tease for next week. So let’s head to T.A.H.I.T.I., written by Jeffrey Bell and directed by Bobby Roth.
The crew manages to get Skye to a medical facility, but things don’t look good for her, as she is rushed into surgery. Simmons worries that she didn’t do enough to save her, but Coulson reassures her that she was great. Coulson gets on the phone, trying to contact Nick Fury, because there are “questions only he can answer” about how Coulson was brought back from the dead. Questions whose answers might be able to save Skye. Everyone is playing the blame game. Fitz blames himself for not stopping Skye, but Simmons reminds him, “As if you could stop Skye doing anything she set her mind to.” Ward is blaming himself as her supervising officer for not preparing her better, and probably also blames Coulson for letting her get in a position where she might get hurt. May stops all of this by wisely reminding everyone that the person who deserves the blame is the man who pulled the trigger.
The doctor comes out and everyone stands, eager for news. She tells Coulson that it doesn’t look good, as the bullets tore through her stomach and both of her intestines. All they can do for her is to make her comfortable. She tells Coulson that he should contact her family and get them to the facility before it’s too late, but he tells her, “We’re her family,” to nods from the rest of the group.
The doctor leaves and May immediately walks out, and moments later is in the cage on the Bus, beating the stuffing out of Quinn. Coulson and Ward show up and Coulson orders her to stand down, which she reluctantly does. Outside the cage, she rages that “he (Quinn) deserves to die, not her,” to which Coulson agrees. He tells her to fire up the plane, because they’re going to need to find different doctors to treat Skye, ones whose abilities include bringing people back from the dead.
Skye is loaded into the Bus inside a small medical bay, as they take off for Bethesda. That’s where Coulson’s file states that he was revived/healed, and they’re headed there in the hopes that the facilities and doctors can help Skye. He tells the group, “It’s time you know the truth,” finally revealing to them that he died after the events in New York and was brought back. FitzSimmons says that’s medically impossible, but he produces his file, which is stamped with “Level 10”. Fitz reminds Coulson that it’s “against the law” for them to read that, but Coulson orders them to, because he only understood a small fraction of the information inside. They ask what this has to do with Tahiti, and he replies, “Turns out… not so magical..” The file contains some hopeful information, however, as Coulson’s heart was torn in half by Loki, but they managed to repair it.
In the cockpit, Ward wonders whether they’re doing the right thing with Skye. May says that Coulson will do whatever it takes to save Skye, which doesn’t exactly reassure Ward. She tells him that Coulson is one of the best people she knows, and that “people like us… we need people like him.” Ward says that he kind of liked watching May beat up Quinn, particularly because she doesn’t “open the blinds like that very often.” Before they can have much of a heart-to-heart, however, they’re surrounded by SHIELD jets, which order have arrived because Coulson refused to hand Quinn over for interrogation until Skye has been saved.
“All the war and chaos in the world and they send planes after us,” Coulson comments, as they’re informed that a plane will be docking with them in order to transfer Quinn. As the jet lands on top of the Bus, Coulson complains “if they scratch my pain I’m gonna be pissed.” However, his mood lightens when he sees that they’ve sent an old friend to pick up Quinn, John Garrett (guest star Bill Paxton). It turns out Garrett, and his right hand man, Trip, have also been chasing Quinn, and Coulson’s capture of him put a bit of a kink in their plans. However, when Coulson explains what happened with Skye, Garrett seems to understand Coulson’s need to have someone around to punish if things go badly.
Trip, who knows Ward, is stunned by the “playboy jet” Fury gave Coulson, and wonders how Coulson managed to swing that. “He died,” Ward says, but Trip is distracted by the fact that the Bus has a full bar. He asks Ward to show him to Quinn, but Ward refuses, despite the fact that once upon a time Garrett was Ward’s supervising officer. Trip says that he’ll find Quinn on his own, but when Ward tries to stop him a fight breaks out. Ward seemingly gains the upper hand just as Coulson orders him to stand down. Garrett has convinced SHIELD that he can do the interrogation of Quinn onboard the Bus, meaning they won’t have to take Quinn away just yet.