‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: Enter Deathlok

Agents of SHIELDABC Television Network

Mission Briefing
Whew that was a doozy! Episodes upon episodes of languorous table-setting has finally led to this: definitively, the most engaging episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. The show’s recent shift into high gear is probably thanks to the upcoming Marvel flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which promises to have game changing consequences for the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization.

The newly-minted cyborg Deathlok (formerly Mike Peterson) begins attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in classified locations, which means one thing: S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting close and the Clairvoyant is getting nervous. The agency has narrowed the Clairvoyant’s possible identity to 13 gifted individuals, but as is always the case, things aren’t quite what they seem.

The Agents
All of the usual subjects are geared up for this mission, plus a big cast of supporting agents, including Agents Victoria Hand, John Garrett, Blake Felix, Jasper Sitwell, and Antoine Triplett. This is the most agent-heavy episode of the series yet.

Mission Fallout
S.H.I.E.L.D. decides to have a big pow wow on the bus to discuss the best ways to finally close in on the could-be psychic. Skye gets promoted to a full-fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent thanks to her skills and her ability to get shot, and is able to narrow down the most likely Clairvoyant subjects down to three.The agents decide to split up into groups of two, in order  to go after each subject, with Skye running backup via laptop. The duo of May and Blake draw the proverbial short straw, and get attacked by a upgraded Deathlok, who’s now sporting a fancy new gauntlet equipped with missiles. Blake is nearly killed, and May is momentarily incapacitated by one of Deathlok’s rockets. S.H.I.E.L.D. wrestles up a tactical team to go after Deathlok and suspect Thomas Nash after it’s discovered that Blake was able to implant a tracker into Deathlok. The team tracks down the signal to Florida, and move in on Nash. After dodging Deathlok, Coulson and Garrett locate Nash, who proclaims himself to be the Clairvoyant. Nash states that a unknown force is coming after Coulson and Skye, and that Skye will die giving the force something they want. Ward shoots Nash and kills him after being pushed to far, and is apprehended by S.H.I.E.L.D.

After the mission, Coulson has doubts that Nash was really the Clairvoyant. Coulson and Skye puzzle out that The Clairvoyant’s knowledge of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s movements and intel must make him higher up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Coulson confronts Ward, thinking he’s working for the Clairvoyant. Meanwhile, Fitz discovers the encrypted line that May used to communicate with her handler at the end of the last episode. May discovers Fitz snooping around and gives chase. Coulson finds May, and the two engage in a classic Mexican standoff with Skye pulling her own gun on May. Coulson demands the identity of the real Clairvoyant before the jet is rerouted via Victoria Hand, who commands her agents to kill everyone on board when it touches down. Could  Hand is the Clairvoyant? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

The Most Valuable Agent Award
We’re giving agent Felix Blake the honor this week for getting stomped on by Deathlok and having the sense of mind to implant Deathlok with a tracker. Good going Blake.

Mission Highlights and Other Observations
– We really enjoyed the banter between Coulson and Garrett this episode. It really gave the characters a sense of shared history.
– Simmons and Triplett continue to throw googly eyes at each other, but their attraction feels rather forced.
– We’re not totally convinced that Victoria Hand is the real mastermind behind the Clairvoyant. There’s still a handful of episodes for S.H.I.E.L.D. to throw acurve ball or two our way, and it will be interesting to see where everyone’s allegiances lay once the dust settles. 
 – Judging by the snippet of Captain America: The Winter Solder shown at the end of the episode, we’re guessing the events of the film will play a large part in the next episode. You might want to try to catch the film before next Tuesday in order to be all caught up. It’s nice that we’re finally seeing some more connective tissue between the television show and the films.