Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Shadows”

Agents of SHIELD - "Shadows

Billy escorts her down into the Playground’s basement, explaining that there’s a really cool laser barrier inside, which she can turn soundproof or opaque at the push of a button.  She worries that she might accidentally hit an off button and deactivate the barrier, but Billy assures her it’s entirely safe.  She enters Vault D through a heavy metal door, and inside is a room with a simple bed and not much else, other than a scruffy looking former-Agent Grant Ward, who says that she’s a sight for sore eyes.  He tells her that he’s surprised it’s taken this long for someone to talk to him, as he told Coulson weeks ago that he was willing to give them intelligence on HYDRA, so why is Skye there now?  Direct and to the point, Skye asks him about Carl Creel, but he’s more interested in finding out about her.  “How’ve you been?” he asks, and she immediately stands up and starts to walk out.  He calls for her to wait and asks to see a picture of Creel.  She pulls it up on her tablet and walks closer to Ward.  He leans forward to get a better look and as he does his head approaches the laser barrier, previously invisible but glowing orange when he gets close.

Skye notices a large scar on his wrist, and he notices her noticing it.  He tells her about how he’s been through a rough stretch.  As he tells her what he’s been through, it becomes clear that he spent his time as SHIELD’s captive trying to kill himself, first by using the single button on the back of his pants that he sharpened, then a piece of paper he folded just right, and eventually running headfirst at the walls when he became desperate.  It’s most definitely a pitiful and shocking glimpse at what Ward’s become, but after a season of being lied to I don’t know that I fully believe him.  He tells Skye that he’s now accepted who he is, what he’s done, and why.  Coulson, May, and Billy are watching the exchange via security camera, and Billy warns that Ward will fill Skye’s head with lies.  Coulson, however, says that everything Ward’s said has been the truth so far, which validates Ward’s story even if it doesn’t do anything to clear up his motives.

Ward comments on May’s training of Skye, telling Skye that her stance tells him her fighting style.  When she threatens to leave again, Ward tells her what he knows of Creel.  He was a boxer, known as the “Crusher,” who turned his fists to steel under his gloves.  He can absorb any substance he touches, transforming his molecules through some unexplained process, and that he enjoys the way the transformations feel.  We get a glimpse of Creel, after a fight, picking up a piece of tree bark and turning into Groot’s cousin.  “You two must have gotten along great,” Skye tells him, scathingly.  Ward tells her that HYDRA used the white noise in the gaps in SHIELD’s channels for their communications, using SHIELD’s frequencies against them.  She’s not sure if she believes him, but he tells her, “It’s true, and so is every word I say to you for the rest of my life.  I’m not asking for forgiveness, I just want to help.”  As she walks out he calls out that, “There’s so much I want to tell you about…” before Skye pushes a button and the barrier mutes his words and hides him from view.  “Your father,” he finishes, to himself.

Back in Coulson’s office, Billy finds the signal on SHIELD’s frequencies and says that they can track it.  Skye’s rattled about her encounter with Ward, but Coulson tells her that if Ward’s information is good this might be the first of many visits down to Vault D for her.  “What is his deal,” Skye asks, but before Coulson can give an answer Billy directs their attention to the map of SHIELD’s allies on the screen.  He’s tracked HYDRA’s signals and as he does the map fills with red dots, far outnumbering the blue dots and covering most of the globe.  “I hate being right,” Coulson says.

We jump to General Talbot, who is arguing with his wife about the fact that their 11 year old son wants to go into the Navy rather than the Air Force.  As they talk, a hooded figure (Trip) bumps into him and a moment later Talbot’s pocket starts to ring.  He confusingly answers a phone that isn’t his, and is surprised when Coulson answers.  Talbot tells his wife to take their son to the car, while Coulson warns him that they’re there to ensure his safety.  Talbot’s not buying that, and he tells Coulson that they have a “Cell for you at Gitmo.”  He snaps the phone in half and calls for reinforcements as Creel shows up.  Talbot starts to fight him, delivering a few punches before being knocked aside, but May is there to intervene, delivering a flying kick to Creel and knocking him to the ground.  He reaches over to a chain divider and rips it and its attached ball off of the post, turning his arm into brass to match.  That’s not enough to stop May, who fights back regardless of his condition long enough for Skye to shoot him with a high-powered taser.  May and Skye retreat as the military arrives, surrounding Creel and escorting Talbot to a waiting vehicle.  He climbs in, the door slams behind him, and he turns to see Melinda May smiling and pointing a gun at him.  “Hi again,” she says.

Creel has been placed in a glass cell.  You know the one, that glass cell that’s been in almost every movie lately?  Talbot’s also in a cell, this time the Cage on the Bus.  He’s had his uniform removed and is strapped to a chair.  Coulson tries to be friends with Talbot, saying that he hopes they can work together, be buddies like they used to be, to stop a killer.  He comments on Talbot’s big promotion (from Colonel to Brigadier General), while Talbot says that he admires Coulson for staying hidden so well for so long.  Coulson returns the compliment, saying he respects Talbot for making staying hidden such a challenge.  Coulson says that “We swore an oath we don’t intend to break,” to save lives.  But when he mentions Talbot’s son, Talbot gets angry, shouting at Coulson and grabbing the armrests of the chair trying to break free.

That’s just what Billy was waiting for, and he praises the way Coulson got Talbot angry enough to grab the armrests so that they could use the built-in scanners to read his fingerprints.  But Fitz watches from afar with Simmons, jealous that Billy is doing the analysis of Talbot’s fingerprints and speech patterns while Fitz sits on the sidelines.  He says there’s a new “golden boy,” but Simmons just reassures him that he’s simply being rested while he recuperates, like in football.  “Football, or American football?” he asks.  “Because a head trauma joke right now, Simmons, that is severely poor taste, even for you.”  Ouch.  He admits that he’s not the genius he used to be but he still has ideas.  It doesn’t mean that everyone has to treat him like he’s going to break, because that’s distracting.  He tells her that, “Talking to you is the only time I feel clear and calm, like I might actually get better.”  “You are getting better,” she says, “everyone sees it.”

Talbot needlessly tells Coulson that they don’t see eye to eye.  He’s convinced that his soldiers can handle Creel, as they’ll have put him on lockdown, but that’s not reassuring for Coulson.  He knows that they’ll lock Creel up in the same place they lock up all of their important technology and prisoners, which is exactly what Creel wanted.  They’ve put him in the perfect position to steal the 084 that he’s been sent after.  Coulson tries to appeal to Talbot to help them, but Talbot offers Coulson a different deal.  He promises not to kill Coulson if he lets Talbot out.  Because there’s no way that Talbot will ever help Coulson.  Coulson pulls out a gun and shoots him in a chest with an ICER, saying, “Well, you might.”

Talbot wakes up in his car, still without his uniform.  He calls headquarters, giving them his access code and demanding that they double the guard on Creel and send someone to pick him up.  Unfortunately for him, his call when straight to Billy, who now has his access code and traces the call’s destination to a site near the Pentagon.  All of the agents are being sent in, Hartley’s team in addition to May, Skye and Trip.  Hunter wants to know why they’re bothering to stop Creel, but Hartley points out that the U.S. government is one of the world’s lesser evils.  They’re going after the 084 and Creel, but perhaps that’s not all they’re after, as Skye and May exchange a look that says they have other orders.  Meanwhile, Creel has vanished from his cell, much to the surprise of the guards.  He’s turned to glass, of course (I guess he’s naked?), and when the guards rush in to search the cell he takes them out.

The two teams drive up to the base, with Trip dressed in Talbot’s uniform, claiming to be a General Jones there to see Talbot.  The guard doesn’t have him on the list of approved visitors, but “General Jones” orders him to double check.  Meanwhile Skye is in the second vehicle, hacking into the base’s secure lines, which are only accessible in person.  Just as the guard is about to force them to leave, the phone rings in the guardshack, and it’s General Talbot, wanting to know why they’re holding up General Jones.  It’s really Coulson, back at the base with Billy, who threatens the guard by name.  When Billy tells him to go bigger with his performance, he pulls out this beauty, “I’ll have you so deep in horse manure, son, you’ll need a snorkel,” which was a bit bigger than Billy had in mind.  However, when Jones’s name shows up on the official register, they’re finally let through, with “Talbot” telling the guard to make sure to come shake his hand the next time he sees him.

Inside the base, it’s time to search for the needle in the haystack.  The teams split up, with Hartley’s group looking for the 084 and May’s team looking for something else, while Creel looks on, having blended into the wall beside them (and still naked?).  Hartley finds the 084 and cuts open the box (why?), before Creel attacks.  She slashes at him with a knife, which bounces off his concrete skin, and she reaches down and picks up the mysterious metallic object (WHY!?!).  Her hand is instantly stuck to it, and it starts to turn her hand and arm blue.  May and Skye turn up and drive Creel off, but when they get to her she can barely move and is in lots of pain.  Skye looks at the object for a moment, and it flashes with some familiar-looking symbols that quickly disappear.

Hunter wants to leave, now that they have what they came for, but May says that that’s not everything they were after.  They call Coulson asking if they should cut their losses and abort, but Coulson says no, they’re to proceed as planned.  Hunter’s having none of that, and he and Idaho grab Hartley and take off.  There’s a firefight, where Skye proves she’s been practicing her marksmanship, as Hartley’s team makes their escape in an SUV (with an odd, lingering, close-up shot of the license plate… thoughts?).  They drive off and Hartley tells Hunter to cut off her arm, pulling out a knife.  She says she can feel it killing her, and that if he wants her to survive to the hospital then he needs to remove the arm.  He’s still dubious, but she tells him they’ve done wonderful things with robotic arms, but most importantly she doesn’t want to die.  That seems to seal it for Hunter, and he grabs the knife and sets to work.

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5 thoughts on “Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Shadows”

  1. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Shadows” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  2. what…
    new….
    haircut…
    never noticed.

    Lucy Lawless still radiates Power.

    Trip is a class act. General.

    What is it with Put the Villain In A Glass Cell? (do not tap on the glass, it annoys real power says one tumblr cartoon of Loki). I clicked the link, I’ve seen that… it’s hilarious! (especially Stitch).

    I’m also wondering why a seemingly intelligent agent picks up the MacGuffin of Doom with her bare hands (could have used the case like a clamshell…).

    OOOOOOOooooooooooo o . O Liking the Kree theory. (of course the MacGuffin of Doom is alilen…)

    It would be hilarious to have Skye and Starlord related. Skyelord. Bwaaa haaa haaaaaaaa.

    Also kind of a neat image to have the Absorbing guy be, for a moment, Grootish.

    Now all we need is a talking raccoon.

    And a way for me to find Agent Carter online.

    As for Ward, while I would (if I was a superhero on the series), have cheerfully and gleefully fried his ass permanently, whatever the writers come up with will be interesting.

    And I do believe in redemption,.

    Sometimes.

    Maybe.

    Oh hell Rocket, just hand me that blaster………….. oh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Like

    • Haha, I know, Stitch is the best, and it’s funny how well he fits into that trope. It’s the cool thing these days, and SHIELD is no different.
      I’m with you, Lucy Lawless’s character seemed too smart to me to just pick up the obelisk with her bare hand. I get that it was important for the season to establish the obelisk’s effects, and if they were going to kill her off maybe it didn’t matter anyway, but it did seem a little sloppy.
      I can’t take any credit for the Kree theory, but it does make sense to me (plus it’s pretty much been confirmed at this point by Clark Gregg and others).
      I doubt Skye and Quill are likely to be related, but it’d be pretty hilarious if they were!
      I definitely wanted Creel to turn furry like Rocket after he turned into a tree!

      Like

  3. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Heavy is the Head” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  4. Pingback: Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Heavy is the Head” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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