Agents of SHIELDAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 20: Nothing PersonalAgents of SHIELD - RSS 2.0
NOTE: As we've discussed previously, it is no longer feasible to discuss Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. without also discussing spoilers for Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Read on at your own risk (especially since I'm also going to spoil the episode itself).
"Huh?" -- Agent Phil Coulson, on finally discovering the answer to the mystery he's been chasing for an entire TV season.
So where are we?
- Thought destroyed during WWII, the terrorist organization HYDRA survived as a secret society within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself. An attempt to use The Agency's infrastructure to implement HYDRA's world domination plan in the present was thwarted by Captain America, but at the cost of dismantling S.H.I.E.L.D. entirely. Agency Director Nick Fury has vanished, having faked his own death.
- Approximately one year prior to the HYDRA revelation, Director Fury - for reasons not yet fully understood - revived KIA Agent Phil Coulson to lead a special unit of Agents primarily against CENTIPEDE, a criminal outfit now known to be a HYDRA affiliate that has transformed innocent Mike Peterson into the cyborg soldier Deathlok.
- While pursuing HYDRA, Coulson's team has "adopted" a onetime anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. hacktivist named Skye, who (unbeknownst to her) was on The Agency's radar as an infant because she is a superhuman being with unidentified special powers.
- Wounded in the field, Skye was healed with the same serum used to revive Coulson, who discovered (too late) that it derives from an unidentified corpse of alien origin. And that the project to synthesize it was overseen by someone other than Nick Fury - someone who also saw fit to erase Coulson's memories of the procedure.
- With S.H.I.E.L.D.-proper disbanded and themselves now being pursued by Col. Glenn Talbot, Coulson's team has decamped to a secret bunker in Canada to continue chasing CENTIPEDE's still-free leader, turncoat Agent Garrett. Unknown to them, teammate Agent Ward has revealed himself as Garrett's HYDRA sleeper, who has abducted Skye in order to hack a secret drive full of the team's investigative data. Skye has not let on that she knows his secret.
- The team's pilot/muscle, Agent Melinda May, has lost Coulson's trust after admitting that her real mission was helping Fury hide the truth from him. She has left the team to seek the aid of Fury's former deputy Maria Hill.
So Now Then ...
The story picks up in Washington DC with Agent Hill, emerging from a Senate hearing that apparently involved admitting that one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s assets was The Man-Thing. While on the phone with Pepper Potts (or someone named "Piper," but Pepper makes more sense given subsequently-repeated information from the movies) she makes note of obvious FBI tails... but then sees that they've been rendered unconscious.
This is May's handiwork, and the two catch up over some exposition about Hill going to work for Tony Stark for the benefit of anyone who didn't see Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet. Question: Why did May need to ask her (also a spy) mom for help locating Maria Hill last episode if she's publicly testifying before Congress? Either way, the meetup seems to be for naught - Hill doesn't have the answer May is looking for: If not Fury, who was in charge of T.A.H.I.T.I. (the alien-blood medicine program)?