Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Heavy is the Head”

"Heavy is the Head" - Coulson, Trip, May, Skye and Hunter

After the break, we see her being loaded into an ambulance by people in hazmat suits.  May tells Coulson that Creel has absorbed the Obelisk but can’t control it, and Coulson adds that Creel had control issues back when SHIELD first encountered him.  May tells Coulson, “Just because you’re director doesn’t mean everything’s on you, Phil.”  “Yes it does,” Coulson replies, but is cut off when a perimeter alert is triggered.

Trip is sent to investigate the alert and finds Hunter pulling up in a fancy car with punctured tires.  Trip asks if a rich guy loaned Hunter the car, but he’s not there for friendly chit chat.  Once inside, Coulson and Hunter sit down to hash things out.  Hunter is still upset that Hartley was killed, but Coulson insists that she should have followed his orders.  Hunter confesses that she tried to but he convinced her not to.  Coulson wants to know if he came back because he feels guilty, because he’s out for revenge, or because of what Talbot offered him.  Hunter says it’s all of the above, and tells Coulson the details.  He says that he has two days to turn Coulson over to Talbot, and in exchange he gets the money he was owed but also the money Hartley and Idaho were owed for their families.  “You’re kidding, right?”  Coulson asks.  “Cause sometimes I can’t tell.”  Hunter’s not kidding, but what he wants most of all is Creel, and he knows that Coulson will get to Creel long before Talbot ever would.

Fitz is talking to “Simmons” about tactics for fighting Creel when Mack sneaks up and startles him, asking who he’s talking to.  Mack says that lots of people talk to themselves, just like he sings in the shower.  He wants to discuss the cloaking device, but Fitz is working on something else and doesn’t want to talk about it.  As Mack tries to work his way into Fitz’s bubble, his imagined version of Simmons tries to convince Fitz to let him in.  “You know, I think I like him,” she says.  “He’s honest.”  “Blunt, I’d say,” replies Fitz, with which Mack agrees.  After Simmons insists that Fitz show Mack what he’s working on, even forcing his arm holding the papers forward towards Mack, he finally lets Mack in on his search for ways to stop Creel.  “I didn’t solve this today,” Fitz says with frustration.  “You think you can?” Mack asks.

Skye is packing up Hartley’s things in her room, including a picture of Hartley with another woman with a necklace draped over the frame.  Hunter comes in and says that the picture is of Hartley’s sister, Jane, her favorite person in the world.  He takes the necklace from Skye, saying it belonged to Hartley and Jane’s mother, who died from breast cancer, a disease Jane also has.  “Life can be a mean drunk that way,” Hunter says, “never knows when to stop punching.”  He says the secret to losing people you care about is to never get attached to anyone.  Skye says she tried that but it didn’t work.  Hunter’s been impressed with Skye’s work, saying she could earn real money in the private sector, but he balks when she calls him a mercenary as he prefers “private military contractor.”  He tells her that she needs an exit strategy, but she replies, “SHIELD’s my life now.”  “SHIELD’s not a life, it’s a job, a means to an end.  Remember that,” he advises.

Creel has returned to his van, and is looking through all of his tiny drawers full of different materials for him to absorb.  He grabs different things, including a lighter and some cloth, trying to turn his arm into them in order to rid himself of the Obelisk infection.  He’s not successful, as only his normal flesh transforms, leaving the Obelisk section unchanged.  He tries to get his HYDRA contact over the computer, but it’s unable to connect.  Finally a phone rings, and he eventually tracks down the sound to a cell phone hidden in the wheel well of his van.  It’s Sunil Bakshi, Dr. Whitehall’s assistant and Creel’s contact, who doesn’t seem particularly concerned about Creel’s condition, or the fact that he failed to show up for the rendezvous in the diner.  As he tells Creel to meet him at the second drop site, we see that Bakshi is sitting in an ambulance with two dead men in hazmat suits and a body bag containing the hardened corpse of the waitress.  After Bakshi hangs up, Creel snaps the phone in half and throws it aside before shouting at some nearby workers he startled.  A voice tells him to forget about them, because they have more important things to discuss, and he turns around to see Raina emerge from behind his van.

He doesn’t know who she is, but she tells him that she’s a “huge admirer of yours and your gifts.”  “I’m not into groupies,” he replies.  She’s interested in the Obelisk, but he tells her that whatever she’s offering isn’t enough.  She produces a small box and opens it, hoping he’s at least curious.  Inside is a sample of “carbide,” which she says is found in stardust and can store energy.  He’s definitely interested, but warns her that she’s not prepared to deal with HYDRA.  “Let me give you a tip: run,” he tells her, but she’s not afraid.  As they talk, the Obelisk infection starts to creep up Creel’s neck, but he’s not interested in her offer of help.  He snatches the sample from her, telling her it’s the cost of doing business, but that he’ll do her a favor and not tell his boss about her.

Back at SHIELD, they’re still trying to track down Creel while deciding they need a solution to his powers.  Skye notices that the HYDRA frequency they shut down is back up and broadcasting, giving them a phone number to call.  They wonder if Creel is lonely, which Skye doubts because, “He’s jacked.  And he can turn any body part into any material.”  “Enough of that,” Coulson says, a little creaped out.  He calls the number and Raina answers, happy to talk long enough for them to trace her call.  They trade pleasantries, and then Raina warns them that Creel is going to hand the Obelisk over to HYDRA, for whom she is no longer working.  “Why the breakup?” Coulson asks.  “Bad dental plan?”  She says that HYDRA is only interested in world domination, which is “so 1945” of them.  She just wants to make sure the Obelisk doesn’t fall into the hands of people who don’t understand it.  She says that Garrett had visions after the GH-325 injection, and when she starts to speculate that Coulson is having them too he takes her off of speakerphone so the others in his office can’t hear.  She says that Garrett witnessed our fate and what we’ll become, and she wants to know if Coulson has too.  All Coulson’s concerned about, however, is Creel, but Raina can be of some help there.  The sample Creel stole had a tracker embedded in it.

The team prepares to move out to his tracked location, but they want to subdue Creel rather than kill him.  However, they do have a “heavy duty backup plan with armor piercing rounds” thanks to Trip.  Hunter wants to go but Coulson isn’t sure he can follow orders.  In a moment of honesty, Coulson confesses that part of him wants Hunter to stay at the base running the back end, while the other half would rather have his boots on the ground.  Hunter gives his “scout’s honor” salute that he’ll follow orders, as he feels like he owes it to Hartley.  Coulson asks May’s opinion, and when she says that they could use him he tells Hunter to suit up.

Mack has gathered an audience for Fitz, including three nameless techs in lab coats.  He’s talking to them about Creel, but keeps repeating that “I didn’t solve this today.”  As he gets more agitated, Mack snaps at the techs, “Beat it, you’re pissing him off!”  At that precise moment, every SHIELD fan fell in love with Mack.  Anyone who so fully supports and defends Fitz through this gets my complete support.  As Fitz says, “I didn’t solve this today,” again, Mack realizes that he means that he solved it before.  He asks Fitz if it’s one of his old designs, and Fitz excitedly replies yes.  “I’m with you, Turbo,” Mack says, pulling out a tablet as they flip through Fitz’s old designs.  After scrolling through a few, something finally catches Fitz’s eye.

Hunter isn’t thrilled about using ICERs, asking how they got stuck with the non-lethal option.  It was a coin flip, May says, and Trip called tails.  Besides, their mission is just to neutralize Creel, not kill him if they can avoid it.  Trip gets in a sniping position, watching as Creel sits on a bench with a briefcase containing the Obelisk.  He starts talking to the Bakshi, who is sitting behind him, as Skye runs facial recognition on the stranger.  Coulson orders Skye and Hunter to go after Bakshi, while Trip and May take out Creel.  May and Skye acknowledge the orders and are immediately shot with ICERs by Hunter, who also acknowledges the order.  Trip is still watching Creel and Bakshi, wishing they had a laser mic so they could hear their conversation.  When Skye doesn’t answer him, he gets suspicious, but he turns around to see Hunter’s gun trained on him.  “Aww, hell no,” Trip says, before he too is iced.

Creel wants help for his condition, but Bakshi wants the briefcase first.  Creel threatens Bakshi with the same fate as the waitress, but Bakshi tells him to remember his training.  “Compliance will be rewarded,” he says.  “I’m happy to comply,” Creel responds, and he instantly suppresses the Obelisk.  Hunter has taken Trip’s rifle, and takes up position behind a hotdog cart.  He takes aim at Creel and pulls the trigger.  We watch in slow motion as the armor piercing round leaves the barrel and flies at Creel, but at the last instant Creel’s face turns to metal and the bullet bounces off.  Hunter takes off running with Creel chasing him, but when Bakshi reaches for the case he finds that it’s vanished.  We get a glimpse of a woman in a flower dress disappearing with it around a corner.

Creel chases Hunter into some sort of building lobby, and turns his fist into metal before trying to bash Hunters brains out.  The two struggle, with Hunter attacking the parts of Creel that are still flesh, but Creel gets the upper hand.  He turns his hand into the Obelisk material, to do to Hunter what he did to the Waitress, when out of nowhere Coulson stabs Creel in the back with Fitz’s device.  Creel falls to his knees, turning rapidly from one material to another, from diamond to glass until finally transforming into something that resembles Hartley’s severed arm (and maybe a Kree?).  Coulson turns to Hunter and asks, “You were never a boy scout, were you?”

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6 thoughts on “Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Heavy is the Head”

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

  2. Pingback: Instant Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Making Friends and Influencing People” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  3. Pingback: Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Making Friends and Influencing People” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  4. I want to know if Fitz’s “hallucination” of Simmons is a conscious game to avoid the hurt of her leaving, a conscious attempt to circumvent the brain injury, or an unconscious adaptation of his brain to the circumstances. It’s a nifty way, too, of keeping the actress, and the character, in our view.

    “Each episode this season needs to advance the larger stories on SHIELD. ” that struck me. I personally prefer stand alone stories… I don’t have to tune in next week or wail that I missed one (a holdover from childhood where if your parents decided to go visit Aunt Nora you missed the second part of that Disney two-fer). But this is a comic book, a serial by nature, so it makes sense for the series to follow that idea.

    Obelisks, Krees, fathers, Doctors… I’m gonna need a wiki to keep up with this…

    Oh wait, there is one, the Marvel Wiki.

    Lance Hunter. Come on guys, it doesn’t get any more comic booky in the name dept than that one. I suspect someone somewhere said something like, “Let’s throw a nice British accent in there, that’ll add some class…”

    OK.

    He’s kind of cute.

    Seriously, if you can get past the ridiculous name, he might add that spice, that uncertainty, a sort of pirate zest to the mix.

    Rooting for Simmons to be off on a Deadly Mission of Great Importance for SHIELD.

    Like

    • In the old days of TV, the sort of TV I grew up on, serialization was almost impossible. You couldn’t have a season-long story arc, because there was no way for people to be sure they caught every episode live. These days, stand-alone episodes are heavily criticized, because audiences only want serialized storytelling. It’s interesting how much has changed, and writers with long careers are really having to adjust to this new method of storytelling.
      The Marvel Wiki is very helpful, as I’m not enough of a comic book fan to have any idea what these things are referencing without it.
      Lance is growing on me, for sure, and I appreciate that he’s bringing an outsiders attitude to the group.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Things We Bury” | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

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