Coulson is shocked, as Garrett confesses that HYDRA’s infiltration goes all the way to the top brass. He confesses he’s not a true believer but that he felt the wind changing direction. He points out that Coulson has been serving HYDRA all along as well, even if he didn’t know. Garrett killed his own people for asking too many questions, had Coulson tortured, and Coulson calls him a psychopath. He makes a pouty face and turns to Fitz. He tells Fitz that HYDRA needs him, and that they’ll make use of him no matter whether he cooperates or not. Tears roll down Fitz’s face in fear and shock, but he refuses to join. Garrett orders his loyal soldiers to shoot them, but make sure with Fitz it’s just in the kneecaps.
Boom! An explosion rocks the building and we jump to Skye and Ward, to see Skye’s new form of hacking involving bombs. However, it’s not as impressive as they might have thought. “Was that all of it?” Skye asks. Ward replies, “It wasn’t as big as I thought–” BOOM! The rest of the bomb detonates, taking down the Hub’s systems for good.
The explosion knocks out the lights and and gives May and Coulson a chance to fight back. Coulson goes straight for Garrett, while May takes on the four other soldiers and Fitz hides under a desk. May has the upper hand but is cornered by a soldier, but Fitz saves the day by shooting him from under the desk. Garrett cuts Coulson’s arm with a knife, and seemingly gets the upper hand, but Fitz tosses him the pop-up, knock out device we saw a long time ago, which finally takes Garrett out.
Hand bursts in, and when Garrett tries to explain she tells him that she heard everything. In a really touching moment, Simmons runs over to Fitz and gives him a big, desperate hug. Coulson, however, wants to know how deep HYDRA’s infiltration of SHIELD goes, but he can tell from Hand’s face that it’s not good news.
Garrett is led away in handcuffs as Trip has to be restrained while shouting at him. Ward just looks confused and hurt as Coulson pulls him aside to explain. He looks like he can’t believe it, however, shaking his head and pushing away. Skye looks on, clearly hurting to see Ward hurting.
In the control room Hand informs Coulson that Captain America has taken down the Helicarriers at the Triskelion, but that his current status is unknown. She says that HYDRA has taken over the East African Headquarters and the “Treehouse.” However the Fridge is still secure, along with all of its prisoners, so Hand is going to take Garrett there and make sure he’s locked up. Ward volunteers to go along, wanting to turn the key on his former S.O., telling them “I want to see him suffer.” Hand offers her hand to Coulson who shakes it as she reminds him that “All we have is each other.” “I guess you can call me Phil,” he replies.
As Hand and Ward take Garrett away, Skye looks at her newly acquired SHIELD badge, which is now meaningless. Coulson, removing his suit jacket for the first time, tells her to get the Bus’s systems back up while the others work on getting the Bus repaired. May questions whether he still wants her onboard, and he replies, “You’re not a friend, but I do believe you’re an ally. And we need all the allies we can get.” “What are we planning to do next?” she asks. “Survive,” is Coulson’s only response.
Onboard the plane transporting Garrett to the Fridge, Hand comments on the fact that for once he’s not telling stories for all to hear. She worries that locking Garrett in a cage isn’t enough punishment for him, and offers Ward the chance to just shoot him now, making sure he kills the real Clairvoyant this time. He pulls out his gun and thinks for a second before shooting Garrett’s two guards and Victoria Hand! Not content to just shoot her once, he fires again and again while she’s on the ground, and Garrett looks up at him and smiles as the screen fades to the HYDRA logo.
After the credits, we hear Garrett is back to telling entertaining stories. In fact, it’s the same story he told to Coulson on their mission, about dropping through a skylight and shooting someone with a flare gun. Ward stares at the floor, or perhaps at Hand’s dead body. After a moment he raises his eyes and looks right into the camera, filling us with a million questions.
Holy shit, that was one intense episode. Not only did we find out for sure who the Clairvoyant is, SHIELD was demolished, HYDRA came to light, Garrett was the villain all along, May was reporting to Fury all along, Fury is “dead” as far as they know, and Ward murdered Hand. I can’t remember a bigger shakeup ever occurring on a show in the middle of its first season. This show has never felt more alive and unpredictable, and it could go anywhere from here (including turning into The A-Team). Tonight’s episode was jam packed with revelations and new directions, but also had its touching moments and even some humor despite the dire circumstances. I’ve never been more excited to see what comes next.
So obviously we have to start with Ward. What do y’all think? It certainly seems like he’s allied with Garrett, who was his S.O. back in the day, but things may not be as clear as they look. Obviously, he murdered Hand, and he’ll have to own up to that some day, but I hold out hope that he’s pretending to be with Garrett in order to try to infiltrate HYDRA either to gather some intelligence or to do some damage. I think that final shot of the episode showed that he’s somewhat conflicted, but what that means is anyone’s guess. I may have had my suspicions about Garrett, but I never suspected Ward. Either way, Ward is a great actor, either convincing Coulson that he was really upset about Garrett’s betrayal or convincing Garrett that he’s really on his side.
How is Skye going to handle this? Beyond just the kiss, their connection has really grown since she was shot, and this is bound to shake her to her core. Her attack really brought them together in new ways, and clearly his shooting of Nash was a direct result of his feelings for her. As for the kiss, it was a great moment, and felt very natural for the characters. I liked that it came after a moment of emotional vulnerability and honesty from Ward, something we don’t see a lot of, and perhaps that moment played a part in his decision to join with Garrett one way or the other. Regardless, I think they’ll have a lot to talk about when/if they finally get around to that drink.
I can’t claim that I predicted that Garrett was a villain, but I at least thought it was a possibility. With all of the setup pointing at Hand as the bad one, it felt like a bit of misdirection. I thought that Garrett might be the Clairvoyant, but I actually thought it was more likely that Trip was working for the Clairvoyant, which would have put Simmons in danger (though I’m glad he wasn’t). It’s cool to see Bill Paxton play a villain, which is something out of the ordinary for him. However, considering it was reported that he had only signed on for four episodes, I’m not sure what will happen to him next week.
Each reference to Captain America: The Winter Soldier was like a little treat tonight. From the big moments like “HYDRA” appearing on the Bus’s screen to the little things like the reference to Sitwell and the use of the “mousehole,” they really worked hard to tie tonight’s episode to the film. It was much more of a direct crossover with the movie than either of the Thor crossovers, but given the impact of The Winter Soldier on the MCU, it makes sense that the connections would be stronger. I’ve heard various things about how the team behind the show reacted to hearing what was planned for the film, and I have to say they’ve conquered the challenge really well thus far.
Let’s just say that our heroes have a lot of issues to work out going forward. Obviously they have to deal with the loss of SHIELD and their resources, plus the emergence of a big new threat in the form of HYDRA. The Bus is pretty torn up, but I bet it’ll get patched up pretty well by the remaining crew at the Hub. Far worse are their interpersonal relationships. May may have proven herself to be an ally, but she has a long way to go to rebuild trust with the group in general and Coulson in particular. Ward’s situation will also leave a lot of work for them all down the road. Then there’s Coulson and Skye’s resurrection, which will be much harder to investigate with SHIELD down. Not to mention all of the SHIELD agents like Agent Weaver who might need rescuing. I think things will get much tougher on our crew from here on out.
Don’t forget that next week at SHIELD’s normal time they’ll rerun tonight’s episode. The new episode will air immediately afterward, one hour later than normal. This is a pretty smart move, as it gives viewers who might not see The Winter Soldier until this weekend a chance to catch up on tonight’s events. (Even if it means a later night for me than I’m used to writing recaps.) Next week’s episode features guest star Patton Oswalt (a Whedon alum from Dollhouse) as our team searches for a safe haven. The preview we saw also gave us a glimpse of Garrett and Ward teaming up with Raina on a HYDRA mission. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
What did you think of “Turn, Turn, Turn?” Did you suspect Garrett was the Clairvoyant? What do you think Ward is up to? Is he really with HYDRA or is he going undercover? What about the kiss? How about May admitting that she formed the team in order to deal with whatever happened with Coulson? Am I the only one who really loved FitzSimmons’ hug? What about all the Star Wars references? Where does the show go from here? (Read this.) Let me know in the comments!