Raina can’t believe that Coulson sacrifice one of his own agents, but he tells her that they all take risks and that he had no choice. She starts to object, but Hunter joins them, telling her that her “tiny violin’s playing but no one is listening, sweetheart,” completely with miming playing a tiny violin. Coulson deduces that HYDRA wants the Obelisk from Raina but that she doesn’t have it, Skye’s father does. “You’re scared of him, and you don’t scare easily,” he observes. She says he’s a dangerous man and that they wouldn’t believe the stories she could tell, but they’ve already established that he’s not “father of the year.” As a last, desperate measure, Raina begs Coulson to take her in, but he simply tells her, “Sorry, no vacancies.” He thinks for a second and says that maybe they can work together after all, nodding at Hunter. “Tag and tail it is, then,” Hunter says, injecting her with a tracking device. Raina realizes that they’re going to use her to get to Whitehall, and Coulson says that “Whether you’re alive or not when we get there depends on you. How useful you make yourself.” He then asks how they can find Skye’s father.
Simmons doesn’t want to sound ungrateful, because she is, but she wants to know who Morse is. She says that Coulson sent her to keep an eye on Simmons, but that they’ve been thrown a curveball. They need to get to the roof because there’s an extraction team waiting for them. She says it’s all part of the plan. They spot a guard around the corner and Morse tells Simmons to wait while she talks to him. She tells him that the position has been compromised and he should follow a certain protocol. Meanwhile, Simmons sees Bakshi coming down the hall after them and steps around the corner, forcing Morse to knock out the guard. “I told you there was a plan,” she says, a little disgruntled. She sends Simmons off to the roof while she heads for Bakshi and his guards, drawing her steel batons. Simmons gets to the roof but there’s no one there. Morse joins her a minute later, tailed by guards shooting at her. Morse leads her to the edge of the roof, telling her to jump, but Simmons doesn’t see any way she’ll survive jumping from a building. The two take the leap anyway, landing on top of the invisible quinjet waiting for them. They climb in, and Trip welcomes Simmons back to the fold. She’s thrilled to see him, and he points out that Morse likes to make an entrance. Simmons asks why they’d bother with sending her in when “Agent Morse” (“It’s just Bobbi”) was already inside. Bobbi says that she didn’t have access to the high level projects Simmons was working on, and when Simmons laments that she couldn’t get them more info Bobbi pulls out Simmons’ hard drive, which she removed after their conversation in the bathroom. “I like you,” Simmons says, as Trip radios that they’re on their way home.
Hunter turns Raina loose outside the restaurant, telling her Coulson let her off easy and adding, “Good luck out there, love.” Coulson tells May that the address Raina gave him is just a few blocks away, and she must have chosen the restaurant for more than the ambiance. May reminds him what former SHIELD Agent Richard Lumley told them about Skye: wherever she goes, death follows. “Yeah, that was a memorable quote,” Coulson replies. They decide to set up surveillance on her father’s address, but when he asks Skye to check the police scanners for any activity he finds that she’s missing.
Skye heads down a back alley looking for the address. She finds the door she’s looking for, number 451, draws her gun and heads inside. She searches the room, asking if anyone is there. “You wanted to meet, well here I am.” She kicks open a door into another room, but it’s empty. She pulls out her flashlight and its beam falls on a picture frame lying on the floor. Inside is a photo of the Doctor holding a baby all wrapped in blankets. She stares at it as a hand reaches out and touches her should. It’s Coulson, who sees the picture and realizes that he really was there at one point. Skye mumbles that she just wanted a glimpse of him. The two look at each other for a moment, with Skye struggling to keep her emotions in check. He finally speaks up and says, “You’re having one hell of a day, huh?” She nods, biting her lip as lets go of her emotions and starts to cry, and she walks over to Coulson’s waiting arms for a comforting hug. He whispers comfortingly to her that they’ll find him, and everything’s ok. Meanwhile, the Doctor watches on a tablet from his car outside, keeping tabs through the cameras hidden in the room.
Hunter arrives, asking if they’re in a group hug type situation as Coulson and Skye release each other. May is checking the other room and they head that way to see what she’s found. Skye passes Hunter and asks if he’s been drinking. He says he was undercover, but she asks, “Your cover is what? Ron Burgundy?” “I can see why she frustrates you,” he tells Coulson. May hasn’t found any sign of Skye’s father, but she has found something else. They all enter his operating room to find the two men from earlier dead on the floor. Their throats were cut with a scalpel, but the other damage he caused to the room was pure strength. They all know who did it. The Doctor watches from his car, as Coulson stares into the security camera. Skye’s overwhelmed by what her father did, saying she can’t believe it. “He’s a monster!” she exclaims, and the Doctor echoes her words as he watches along. In anger he smashes the tablet, throwing it from the window and driving away.
Back at the Playground, Simmons has landed, where Coulson welcomes her home. She says she’s just happy to be alive, and that if it hadn’t been for Agent Morse (“Bobbi!”), she’d probably be brainwashed and happy to comply. “She’s amazing,” she adds, looking at Bobbi in awe. Coulson says that’s why he asked her to join the team. (Yay!) As they pass the lab, Simmons leaves the group to head inside. She stands by the doorway as Fitz looks up and sees her. “Hi, Fitz,” she says awkwardly. “Is that really you?” he asks. “Of course it is, who else would it be?” she asks. They stand, looking at each other from across the room, and it’s the most sad and awkward thing I’ve ever seen. Finally Simmons asks, “How’ve you been?”
Bobbi spots Mack, who tells her, “Long time no see!”
“Don’t start that again,” she says as the two hug.
“What you been up to?” he asks.
“Oh, you know, working undercover at HYDRA. Acting all uptight and evil. You know what I could really go for right now?”
“A three-olive martini,” he suggests, and together they both add, “hold the olives!”
Hunter walks in, and she says, “Nice suit, Hunter.”
“Really?” he says. “That’s what you’re leading with? What did you do to your hair?”
“I was undercover.”
“I prefer you blonde.”
“Two seconds in and there’s already a tone.”
“This isn’t a tone, this is my speaking voice when I’m upset with an unreasonable person.”
Trip leans over to May and asks what this is all about. She asks him whether Hunter has told him stories of his she-devil ex-wife. He nods, and she gestures at Bobbi with her head. He looks back at the pair and says, “Damn.” Things start to get heated when Bobbi tells Hunter that she vouched for him, and he replies, “Why the hell would you do that?” Coulson decides to step in, giving Hunter a stern look and telling him to play nice.
He finds Skye back in his office, and he says it’s good to have Simmons back. Skye tells him that she knows he’s going to go after her father. He’s a bad guy, and he has the Obelisk, which is a bad thing. She says she spent all of her life wondering who he was and why he left, but “I don’t care anymore. All I care is that we stop him. Whatever it takes, I’m in.” However, she tells Coulson that he has to be completely honest with her, which means no more secrets, no more compartmentalization or cameras. “Bring me in, no exceptions.”
“Ok, we should probably get started,” Coulson replies, flicking a switch on his desk. The screen on the wall raises, revealing the alien carvings he left there. “So this is what you’ve been doing up here,” Sky says. “It’s what I did yesterday,” he says, earning a shocked look from her. He says he doesn’t know how to explain it, just that the writing “needs to be carved.” She asks if they appear in his mind like a vision, but he says it just kind of happens. He says it means nothing to him and he doesn’t even have a theory. Skye looks at the carvings for a moment, running her hand over them, before turning back to face him. “I do,” she says. “It’s a map.”
After the credits, we see Dr. Whitehall in his office, where people are working on packing up everything. Bakshi says that the lab will be dismantled within the hour, and the rest of the facility soon after. Clearly the realization that they had not one but two moles means they need to pack up and relocate. The elevator door opens and in walks Skye’s father, carrying a large case. Whitehall tells the guards to remove him, but he stabs one in the throat with a scalpel and beats the other one up easily, slamming him into Whitehall’s desk and knocking him out with the case. He leans forward and cleans of Whitehall’s desk with his shirt sleeve, asking everyone to try to keep their heads. “I hear you’ve been looking for this,” he says, opening the case to reveal the Obelisk. “In its native language it’s known as ‘the Diviner.’” He says he knows many little details about it, and when Whitehall asks the Doctor to teach him, he says that “I’ll teach you how to survive it.” He tells Whitehall that they both share a common enemy, “a guy named Phil Coulson. I thought maybe together you and I could kill him. Along with, you know, everyone else.”
That was an intense episode! I’m so glad Simmons survived and is back with the team. I love the addition of Bobbi, and I hope we get to see a lot more of her! We got our biggest look yet at Skye’s father, who is shaping up to be quite the threat, especially now that he’s aligned with HYDRA. Coulson’s secret is no longer as secret as it was (how long before the entire team knows?), and we’ve got some interesting new theories. And next week looks exciting, for a couple of reasons (more on that below). This season has been great so far, I hope they can keep it up. I’m much more invested in the show than I was last year at this point (and this is coming from someone who loved the show from the start), so I really want to see them succeed. Don’t forget to read my instant reactions to the show, which hit some different points from my SHIELD thoughts below.
So Coulson thinks Skye is an alien. What do we think? Obviously she doesn’t look like the corpse in the Guest House that was used to make the GH-325. Perhaps she’s only half-alien or less? Do we think her different reaction to the drug is connected with her father, her mother, or something else entirely? On the other hand, since the “Skye is an alien” theory was thrown out there so strongly, I’m going to bet it’s a red herring, and there’s something entirely different going on with her. All of the signs and teases point to a Kree connection, and while I still think that’s likely, I’m betting Skye isn’t an alien and her resistance to the serum is something else entirely. (Having said that, I won’t be disappointed if she’s part alien.)
How about the other theory that was proposed tonight, namely that the alien writing is really a map? Skye seemed pretty confident when she said it, and she has been researching the writing for a while now. On the other hand, maybe it was just a guess or a feeling. If it is a map, what is its purpose? Is it directions to the home planet of the Guest House alien? Or perhaps directions to Earth for the aliens. Perhaps it’s a map to something alien hidden on Earth? On the other hand, the map guess could also be wrong. My initial thought was that they’re blueprints, and I still think that’s a possibility. One thing I know for sure is that they’d solve the mystery a lot quicker if they brought the whole team in on it. Hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later.
I have a bit of pet peeve when it comes to recaps that I read. I can’t stand it when the person recapping a show isn’t a fan of the show, or obviously hasn’t watched it much before. I saw several today for this latest SHIELD episode that made a big deal of Skye’s father’s comment that Skye isn’t her real name. The problem is that we already know that! Last year when (Eric) Koenig interrogated the group, she told him that she chose the name Skye for herself. The nuns in the orphanage gave her the name Mary Sue Poots, but she changed it as soon as she could. I don’t expect any recapper to remember everything that happens in a show (I’m sure I make many mistakes), but websites at least need to get someone who enjoys the show and watches it by choice, rather than someone doing it as a job who doesn’t really care. People are passionate about their TV, and they deserve to have someone equally passionate covering their show for them. (But if anyone wants to pay me to do this, I’d be happy to take their money!)
Everyone probably feels the same way that I do about Bobbi Morse. I hope she sticks around forever, gets sent out to kick ass with May all the time, has somewhat flirty conversations with Simmons (who seemed very smitten) and trades barbs with Hunter all day. Bobbi Morse is of course a comic book character, who goes by the name of Mockingbird (and will get more Avengers-esque outfit in future episodes), and Hunter’s comment about preferring her blonde was a reference to the character’s comic book look. Adrianne Palicki was great (and has some background with comic books), and she’ll make a great addition to the team. I’m thrilled that the male/female balance has been restored on the show, with Simmons’ return and the addition of Bobbi. I don’t expect things to stay stagnant for long, but I hope it lasts a while.
Looks like things are going to be rough for our crew next week. HYDRA stages an attack on the UN pretending to be SHIELD agents, setting off a manhunt for our heroes. They’re trying to hammer home the idea among the public that SHIELD is a terrorist organization, and it seems to be working. The team will have to turn to Ward for help, probably much to everyone’s dismay except for Ward himself.
Don’t forget that next week’s episode will feature the debut trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is a smart move for the marketing people, as it makes the trailer debut an event while also hopefully bringing more eyes to the show. The ratings numbers have been dropping slowly for SHIELD, but not as alarmingly as it did early last season. It’s too early to tell what SHIELD‘s prospects are for renewal (there’s a lot of season left), but extra viewers will always help. Anything that gets more people to tune in and see how great this season is is a good thing in my book. (Of course, the prospect of an Avengers boost next week was probably hurt by the fact that a grainy version of the trailer leaked today in advance of its debut. I haven’t seen it, and I’m not going to go seek it out, but I’m sure it’s still out there for those who are interested.) * A further update: after the trailer leaked, Marvel went ahead and officially released it anyway, so so much for a bump for SHIELD. On the other hand, the trailer is awesome!
What do you think? Did you enjoy “A Hen in the Wolf House?” What’d you think about Bobbi Morse? Are you glad Simmons is back with the team. Do you think Skye is an alien? Is the writing a map? Who among the team has been brainwashed by HYDRA? (It has to be someone, right?) What do you make of Skye’s father? Am I the only one who teared up at Skye and Coulson’s hug (her true father)? Are you looking forward to the Avengers trailer? Let me know in the comments!