Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) makes a guest appearance in this week’s “Agents of SHIELD,” which picks up where last week’s ep left off — Coulson and crew back at Nick Fury’s secret base, but finds the Bus gone, Patton Oswalt’s agent garrotted, and the traitorous Agent Ward having absconded with everyone’s favorite hacker Skye. Before Coulson can go after his agents, though, the U.S. Army shows up at the base — led by Maria Hill (at the urging of Melinda May, who you may recall was looking for Hill at the epilogue of last week’s ep). Time for a talk!
Ward, if you’ll remember, is trying to hoodwink Skye into decrypting a hard drive that contains goodies Garrett, Ward’s mentor and current Hydra tool, wants. She informs him that to do this they have to head off to that same Los Angeles diner where she first met Mike Peterson (guest star J. August Richardson), who has, of course, now become the death-dealing Deathlok. Given this little trip back to memory lane, it’s no surprise when Deathlok actually shows up, ordered by Garrett to get the job done in case Ward drops the ball because of his feelings for Skye. Hey, can you blame the guy? She’s awful cute.
Because obviously Skye is not a total idiot, she’s managed to trick Ward into a highly trafficked locale and contacted the cops by flashing Ward’s face all over an all-points bulletin. Sucker! This leads to Ward taking on a diner full of cops, but if you’ve already seen Ward in action, then you know this is child’s play for the Hydra sleeper agent. Then Deathlok shows up and Skye’s big plan to escape goes up in smoke. But hey, at least she tried, and for a moment there she almost succeeds. This leads to a serious talk between Skye and Ward onboard the Bus, with Deathlok lingering in the background waiting to put Plan B into motion. They really, really want what’s in that hard drive, in case you haven’t figured it out.
So who the hell is Ward? And why is he doing this? Is he actually just a really confused guy under the thumb of Garrett? As you can see by the promo for next week’s episode (below), we’re going to find out soon enough! Personally, I’m calling brainwashing. Unless, of course, the idea here is to either kill off Ward as a main character, or send him off to the Freezer (when, I’m assuming, they fix that place up). Either way, Ward has become a really interesting character. Bet you didn’t think you were going to say that when this show began, huh? I know I didn’t.
And oh, I did say Maria Hill is back, right? Yeah, there’s that. She doesn’t really do much, and honestly, besides tying “Agents of SHIELD” up even further with the cataclysmic events of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” I’m honestly not sure what the point is behind Smulders’ guest spot. I was much more interested in Melinda May’s little field trip to the cemetery, then later, bringing Coulson the answer he’s been hunting for all this time: the secret identity of the guy behind the TAHITI project. As Coulson would say upon hearing that long-awaited answer: Hunh. And oh, former “Heroes” star Adrian Pasdar shows up as a douchey Army General who eventually gets beaten up. Nice.
By the end of the episode, Coulson has saved Skye from the Bus, using a diversion by Hill to sneak onboard the plane. There is some gunplay, before Coulson skedaddles with Skye in Lola. The team settles at a cheap motel for some downtime, and to try to figure out what the hell’s going on. So what the hell is going on? I have no friggin’ idea. At this point, I can safely say that “Agents of SHIELD” has me flummoxed. I can’t predict where this show is going, but it’s certainly got my attention.
Things I really liked about this episode include Ward and Skye’s interaction. The would-be lovebirds have a couple of down-and-dirty chats, first at the diner, then on the Bus. All of it makes me supremely curious how the writers plan on saving Ward — that is, if they intend to “save” him at all. I’m kind of glad the whole Coulson/TAHITI mess is cleared up. Or mostly, anyway. It was beginning to become a little tedious, to be perfectly honest. The Lola stunt, while a tad lame, was fun, though I could have used some wrap-up of the whole Fitz-Simmons-Tripp triangle.