With only a week to go before the midseason finale, things are really heating up on SHIELD. Our last episode helped position the pieces for the endgame of this half of the season, and this week’s episode gave us what felt like part 1 of the finale. This week had it all, with dream sequences ripe for fanfiction, fight sequences, possessed characters, two Melinda Mays, two Koenigs, the return of Raina, and some confirmation of a popular theory. It’s all building up to an exciting midpoint next week, before SHIELD takes an extra-long break while Agent Carter gets a chance in the spotlight (I’ll be recapping Agent Carter as well). So let’s jump into “…Ye Who Enter Here”, written by Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Billy Gierhart, and let’s do it quick before my local TV station cuts in with a random commercial at the worst possible time.
We open with a dream sequence. Skye is wandering the Playground, which seems to be deserted, while wearing a flower dress in the style of Raina. She calls out for Coulson, asking where everyone went. She hears a brief snippet of tinkling music (“A Bicycle Built for Two”) and no sooner can she asks what it is than she vanishes and reappears in another room, sitting in front of a table. On the table is a music box, and Coulson (holding a Chinese newspaper) stands beside it staring at it. She asks what he’s doing when he should be prepping for their mission, but he says that this is the mission, that it opens. Skye shouts no and pushes the box from the table. May appears, and she and Coulson are dressed like 1950’s parents (complete with pearls for May), and she says that sometimes sacrifices have to be made, that a poison tree can lead to poison fruit. We watch as Coulson and May lay a baby down on the table and walk away. Skye picks up the music box, but it starts to glow with the alien writing and her hands and arms start to turn black as if she’s holding the Diviner. We hear a voice calling her name and she wakes up to find Coulson standing beside her. He apologizes for startling her, but she says she just dozed off. He’s come to tell her that they’ve arrived back at the Playground.
Things at headquarters are very serious, as you can tell from Mack driving a remote controlled Lola (complete with Coulson doll) down the hallway into Fitz’s foot. Mack tells him to take it easy as he made it, but Fitz tells him that if he’s looking to bribe Coulson for some extra vacation days it’s won’t work. Mack says that he wants to work on the real thing, and the remote controlled Lola was his way in. “How’d you get it to fly?” Fitz asks, and Mack’s a little disheartened when he answers that he didn’t. Mack looks through the doorway beside them and sees Hunter and Simmons working together, and when Fitz asks him what’s wrong he says a storm’s coming. Fitz is confused about the weather report, but what he really wanted was some help with Simmons from Mack. “You know at some point you’re gonna have to talk to her, right?” Mack advises, which isn’t exactly the answer Fitz wanted.
Simmons goes to check on Trip’s bandages, telling him he’s very lucky that they used a clotting agent on him, adding that she’s very glad they did. She advises a week of bedrest, but he’s not interested in that. He winces as he goes to put his shirt on, and she warns him that he’ll rupture his sutures. He tells her that he won’t be high-fiving people any time soon, but reminds her that there was a doctor available to help when he was shot. She asks what Skye’s father was like, and Trip says, “That man was out of his damn mi―” before changing it to “hey Skye” as she walks in. She immediately guesses that they were talking about her dad, and freely admits that he’s seriously messed up. Simmons says that she was going to use the off-color version of “messed up” (but that probably wouldn’t fly with ABC). Skye can’t shake the vibe that something really bad is going to happen. Trip asks if she means like someone getting shot, because he already has that covered so she can lose the vibe. Simmons advises positive thoughts, and knocks on the table before realizing that it’s not actually made of wood. As she and Trip leave Skye knocks on the table anyway, just in case.
Coulson gathers the team plus all the nameless SHIELD agents who wander around the Playground for a briefing at the Bus’s ramp, complete with holo projectors. “Here’s what we know,” he says, “HYDRA’s on the move.” He says that they can’t let HYDRA beat them to the city. They’ve already got the Diviner, and there’s something powerful inside it that will be unleashed when they take it to the temple. Mack asks if it’s chemical or biological, but all they know is that it’s alien. Bobbi pipes up to say that when Whitehall talked about it he was looking for something that would cause an “extinction level event.” “Because bad guys love their WMDs,” Coulson observes. It’s like they have the keys to launch a nuke but now they need the lock, Skye says. The advantage is that SHIELD knows where the city is but HYDRA doesn’t. Skye takes over the meeting, pulling up a map of the earth and describing the process by which they located the alien city. The map zooms in on an island, and Trip asks if it’s in the Bermuda Triangle, “because that would explain a lot.” “Actually it doesn’t have anything to do with the Bermuda Triangle,” Coulson says, “We solved that in the 80’s.” Trip then suggests Atlantis (backing a popular, non-Inhumans theory), but Coulson tells him to try Puerto Rico. He says the plan is to enter via one of the airshafts they’ve discovered in the plans for the city and then blow the hell out of it.
Meanwhile in Vancouver, a man is trying to pay for coffee at a shop with a $100 bill, despite the woman saying she can’t break it. Raina walks up, looking like she’s in disguise without her flowered dress, and says she’s changed her mind and would rather have a water. She then suggests that they fly off to Shanghai, which makes him smile and laugh at her expensive tastes and wandering spirit. As they talk she spots a familiar looking woman sitting in the corner and walks over to her. “You know Agent May,” she says, “the whole point of embedding a tracker in someone is that you don’t have to stalk them.” The woman takes off her sunglasses to reveal that she looks like Melinda May except for a massive burn on the side of her face. It’s Agent 33, and she tells Raina that Dr. Whitehall would like to talk to her.
Raina hurries out of the coffee shop, but as she walks a voice tells her to take her next right. She looks over and sees Koenig, who tells her to follow his instructions “unless you want to spend your last night on Earth in the Hotel HYDRA.” She turns the corner and finds herself face to face with another Koenig, who tells her he’ll explain later and to give him a hug. She does and he opens his umbrella, which drops a cloaking fabric around them as they snuggle in close. The HYDRA guys tailing her walk right by as Koenig says “bye bye HYDRA” and removes the umbrella. He introduces himself as Sam Koenig, says that Coulson sent him, and takes a picture of her with his phone for her official lanyard.
Koenig calls Coulson on the Bus, where they’re headed to the alien city, and makes his report. He says that the woman looked exactly like Agent May except for the burn on her face. Coulson tells him that it’s Agent 33 who was wearing a nanomask when May electrocuted her in the face. “That is so badass!” another Koenig says from off camera, to whom the one in view (Billy) calls, “Sam, I’m on with the director!” He says there are four HYDRA teams looking for Raina and that Agent 33 told Raina that Whitehall wanted to talk to her. Coulson says it’s their first sighting of HYDRA in a while, and he wants to know why and why now. He’s going to send May with an extraction team. “Sending the Cavalry? Sweet!” Sam says from off camera. “What are you 13?” Billy asks. “You can’t do a situp and you think you’re going to hook up with―” Coulson cuts him off before things get any weirder.
May and Skye are watching a news report of the murder-suicide of Christian Ward and his parents, though new evidence says that other parties may have been involved. “He did it,” Skye says, “you know he did it.” “No doubt in my mind,” May replies. Skye laments that Christian refused their help with Ward, but May says that it was his choice. Skye wants to either capture Ward or “put the son of a bitch down.” Coulson comes in to tell them of the new mission to extract Raina, who HYDRA wanted to capture but not to kill. Meanwhile, he’ll take Bobbi, Mack, and FitzSimmons on to the city. Skye wants to go with them, but he says he wants her running point on the interrogation of Raina, and she sets off to spread the word to the team about the new objective. May asks Coulson if he’s trying to keep Skye away from the city, but he says he’s more concerned about keeping her away from her lunatic father. He asks May to keep an eye on Skye, to which she replies, “Of course, I’m her S.O..”