Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D S01E20: Nothing Personal (open spoilers)

Gotta love a Godfather reference.

I’ll let somebody else do the synopsis.

This episode addressed some of the points raised in previous threads. Koenig is clearly dead (unless somebody wants to argue that Simmons faked the autopsy). Nobody thought May was dead or a Hydra agent. The issue of Simmons’ loyalty was raised on the show (which indicates we’re at least reading the clues correctly). And we saw the flying car in action.

I think this may have been Skye’s best episode. She led Ward along successfully. She managed to get her verbal shot in at him. She even managed to sow some confusion about what side she was on.

The new revelation about Tahiti was good. I think it would have been more shocking if Coulson had been supporting the project unaware he would be the eventual subject of it.

“Nothing Personal”
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Written by Paul Zbyszewski & DJ Doyle

Skye and Ward reexamine their relationship, the team puts the clues together and try to come to terms about Ward’s betrayal, all while May finds the truth behind Project TAHITI.

The episode opens with Agent Hill on the phone with Pepper Potts talking about the obvious tails she has surrounding her. Suddenly, all of these tails are knocked out, and Hill is on high alert. Clearly, May’s Mom’s intel was on the money. They have a conversation about Tahiti. Fury’s words on the matter are “I buried that intel when I didn’t bury Coulson.” With that Rubickian mind bender May takes her leave.

The team are at the secret Canadian station trying to figure out what happened. They have video of May leaving, the bus leaving with Skye and Ward, but all of the other cameras and surveillance has been cut off. FitzSimmons leaving the thinking room to go make pancakes. Coulson and Triplett are analyzying the situation. Right when Coulson realizes a wolf might have been in their midst Simmons screams. While on their way to pancakes FitzSimmons each find an important clue. Fitz dechiphers “WARD IS HYDRA” to mean that Ward is Hydra. Simmons finds Koenig’s body and realizes that it means someone is dead.

Skye is taking Ward to a diner in LA. They are both saying all sorts of things that have double meanings. Ward won’t let Skye out of his sight. But, he meant it in a nice way, Honest. They get to the diner and Skye insists on taking a long time to hack so she can get some ice cream. She’s having a difficult time controlling her nerves, but she covers by telling stories of Mike Peterson and how they sat at the same table.

Fitz is totally flipping out. His mancrush on Ward means that there is no way he can be Hydra, and Triplett will never replace him. Simmons’ calm autopsy leaves no doubt who did the crime. Coulson sends Fitz out to focus his anger on getting the station to work again. His ninja powers come through, with the power back on Skye’s location is shown. Also. Coulson sees a gun in a drawer. That must be important. They have plenty of time to go save Skye! Looks like this week’s episode is only going to be 30 minutes long… Cue cheering! RECORD SCREECH. Oh wait. The army is there. Colonel Talbot comes through the doors and after some witty repartee with Coulson we find out Hill is who lead them there.

A shocked mourner sees May climbing out of a dug up grave site. He looks down and see an empty coffin and a headstone for Coulson. It turns out Fury is quite literal with his puzzles, and a flash drive about Project TAHITI was in Coulson’s casket.

While Talbot interogates the others Hill is giving Coulson the “What are you going to do after you graduate speech?” But, Coulson is too focused on Ward and Skye to worry about that. Hill quickly comes to his side when she realizes that Ward is Hydra. (She vetted him!) Coulson unbuttons his jacket, and you just know fun ass kicking is about to happen. They fight, and Coulson grabs the important gun and stuns the army guys.

Back at the diner the service is horrible. Not only is the hacking not done, but no dessert is in sight. Ward is nervous about the cops, and getting the data off of the hard drive. And, Skye is just pissed. She goes into this venonmous stream of dialog that puts everything she is thinking about Ward into his mouth towards Garrett. Until finally, she shows his picture featured on the screen and the police start coming over to take them in. She tries to warn them that he is armed, but he quickly breaks free, while she escapes the diner and tries to be arrested. Ward kills the arresting officers coming after her telling her she doesn’t understand. Skye escapes in a cop car, GTA style. Unfortuantely, a block away Deathlok flies onto the scene.

Ward tries to get the info from the drive from her, but Skye consistently refuses. He claims that he has feelings for her, and everything he did wasn’t personal, but for the mission. Skye needs to throw up, and isn’t willing to hack. Deathlok comes in and shoots Ward with a heart attack bullet. That convinces Skye to give out the information.

Ward is about to fly away when Trip and Hill show up. Hill and Ward trade barbs for awhile, until Ward flies away. While the insults were being thrown from plane to plane Coulson climbs on the bus. He goes to free Skye and they go to take on Ward and get the plane back, until Coulson finds out that Deathlok is there. They hurry to leave the plane, and succeed in pleasing everyone on this message board by flying away in Lola. Then the entire season’s FX budget was blown in 25 seconds, followed up by the cheesiest joke on TV in decades.

Back at a hotel with a pool Hill spends more time convincing Coulson that SHIELD no longer exists. Coulson hasn’t accepted the fact, yet. He seems to be getting closer, but he’s not quite there. Fitz is on edge; he needs Simmons to tell him that she isn’t Hydra. If it turns out she IS Hydra I think it is clear he will go on a murderous rampage that would make even the Hulk flinch.

May has returned with the Project TAHITI video for Coulson. It’s a video message that Coulson sent to Fury before he died. Huh.

Very fun episode. I’m a bit disappointed that Skye didn’t say “Shit no. Let him die!” when confronted with Ward’s heart attack. But, I guess that doesn’t really fit her character that well. I thought the visceral scene between Skye and Ward at the diner was excellently written and performed outrageously well. I’m usually not very impressed by Skye’s acting, but I thought she really nailed it in that scene. In fact, I liked the whole plotline of her playing Ward. It made her character a lot more interesting, especially since they showed her dropping her guard, but thinking quickly on her feet to come up with why. Another plus was that Ward had some great evil scenery chewing on the bus. Also. It’s hard to top Coulson’s reaction to seeing himself on the video at the end.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Ward. They are clearly setting up some dissension between him and Deathlok. It’s also clear that he’s alliance is to the Garrett, and the mission, and not so much Hydra. I guess it is a possibility they will try to make him redeem himself, but the bodycount grows continuously, so the only kind of redemption he can hope for is a deathbed one.

Favorite parts and lines:
[ul]
[li]I have to mention it again. I loved Coulson’s reaction to his own video.[/li][li]Fun scene among Trip, Skye and Coulson over junk food and working.[/li][li]Hill’s cameo this episode was much better and more interesting than the one earlier in the season. She talked a bit more about her new job with Stark.[/li][li]The grave is dug up and the coffin is empty. I think it is a good thing Fury is on the run, or there might be some Avengers with questions about a certain inspiring death.[/li][li]“Who or what is a Man Thing?”[/li][li]“I should have knocked on wood just then.”[/li][li]Deathlok to Ward “It wasn’t personal.”[/li][li]I made fun of that valet scene with Lola. But, I’m not too proud to admit that I laughed out loud. As silly as it was.[/li][/ul]

I heard you twice the first time you said it.
Loved that line.

God damnit Skye i hate you so much. You are not a murderer if you let the bad guys kill each other you dumb idiot.

Thread here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=17334556#post17334556

Well, pleased me at least. Checkov’s flying car had been sitting on the mantle a bit too long.

I’m already hating the endless “OMG Simmons is so Hydra I knew it!!!11!” posts this is going to spawn.

Also: countdown until Fitz/Simmons figuring out how to jailbreak Deathlok from Garret’s control: end of this season, or feature for next season?

I thought it was out of Skye’s character to save Ward. After discovering that he killed Konieg and knowing that he killed so many others that scene didn’t ring true to me. I hope they don’t try to rehabilitate Ward.

Glad they used Lola, and the lame joke was lame. But it was still funny.

I really have to see Winter Soldier at some point.

“Sorry for your loss”

The more I think about it, the TAHITI revelation really makes Fury come out looking poorly. (And he wasn’t looking that great anyway, as the super-spy who didn’t notice HYDRA had infiltrated his spy organization.)

Even if you overlook that TAHITI involved some rather dodgy human testing – obviously done on cadavers, after all – that testing continued multiple times. Now, maybe the subjects going crazy wasn’t evident at first, such that they went ahead with additional test subjects (dodgy protocol)… but their solution to the crazy was to wipe memories and reprogram them.

No wonder Fury had a hard time noticing SHIELD was infiltrated by HYDRA; those are Hydra’s tactics! And yet, familiar enough to SHIELD that it was available for use at TAHITI without having to check with Fury; Coulson apparently could authorize it.

But even beyond that: who the hell was Fury going to use the TAHITI treatment on? Maria said it was to recover fallen Avengers… Thor (if he was even planned as an Avenger) obviously isn’t human, and unlikely that it would work. Stark was explicitly rejected as an Avenger, because of his instability. Hawkeye and Natasha weren’t supposed to be Avengers.

So, the candidates are Captain America and the Hulk… two subjects of experimental serums of unknown provenance, but which Fury knowns have very bad things happen from interactions with the super-serum formula (Red Skull, Abomination) or gamma-irradiation (Abomination, the Leader).

Fury’s plan was to inject unknown alien goop into the Hulk and hope for the best?? Really?

Very juicy and satisfying ep. I’m usually such a Skye sourpuss, but she was great. Well, Ward must die, but I can handle her not wanting to stoop to his level in any way.

I like Adrian Pasdar, but I so want to shoot his character right in the hairlip!

Lola!

A lot of thoughts, but I just want to toss this out here now. There was one moment in this episode that followed up from last week’s episode that confuses me. I’m going to reference the season finale solicitation, so I’ll hide this behind a spoiler S.H.I.E.L.D.

Patton Oswalt is listed as Agent Koenig in the finale’s casting. Is it a flashback? Will this be the official “introduction” of LMDs to the Marvel Universe (outside of the throwaway line in Iron Man 2)? From last week (and given how we hadn’t seen Agent Hand’s “killshot”), I thought the whole thing might be somewhat of a swerve, but I really don’t see how they fake an autopsy. Granted, we still saw Ward kill multiple nameless S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but still… Thoughts?

“Huh.”

Loved it. I wonder what little surprise Skye left HYDRA in the data. I stand by my previous prediction about Garrett.

As for Avengers - just because we saw a certain set in the movie doesn’t mean that’s all that were chosen. I’m sure Fury was covering his bases for just about any metahuman. But I’d bet he was trying to make sure Steve Rogers survived no matter what. Quite a little man-crush there.

Right- but she also left a present behind with the decryption - she had to sell “giving in” believably.

I remember how early in the season we were all hoping the show was just starting out slow and would get up to speed (which I think most of us would agree it now has done).

I thought of Firefly and its early cancellation. That show was cancelled after eleven episodes. Three more unaired episodes had been completed and were included in the eventual box set.

To put this in perspective, the eleventh episode of Agents of SHIELD was “The Magical Place” (the episode where they rescued Coulson). The fourteenth episode was “TAHITI” (the one where they find the alien drug).

Now imagine that the series had ended at this point.

Liked it overall, although one could audibly hear the plot gears grinding in the bits toward the end. The writing and performances have really sharpened up; I particularly like the parallel evolution of the Coulson/May and Ward/Skye dynamics.

I endorse this statement. I was practically yelling at the screen, “You just called him a big fat Nazi, and told him no Skye nookie forever! Let him die, FFS!”

That whole scene was frankly pretty hokey, but yeah, I was getting mighty tired of seeing the 'Vette just sitting on the ramp every episode.

Also enjoyed the little throwaway detail of Ward spray-painting over the S.H.I.E.L.D emblem on the SUV.

I’ve practically had to physically restrain myself from making one of those posts. I hope that’s appreciated.

Some good lines already quoted, but also:

"If I come out, will you shoot me? “Cause then I won’t come out.”

“New plan. Run!”

I initially shared the “god no!” reaction to Skye saving Ward… but in hindsight, if she really left a ‘surprise’ on the hard disk, maybe it is preferable to have both Ward and Deathlock on the bus, instead of just Deathlock. You know Garrett’s first thing to do after decrypting the drive, is to have Deathlock kill Skye… maybe not so easy with Ward around. Plus: while they are busy bumping testosterone with each other, there might be a chance to escape.

I’m guessing Josh stepped in and showed the kids how to write some snarky goodness.

Fury himself?

Incidentally, does this mean they can kill off Ward, but keep the actor playing Ward, except now he’s playing a character minus the torture-down-the-well memories, and the joining-up-with-HYDRA memories, and so on, but with a new “Tahiti” catchphrase?

After hearing the reaction that normal people have to the TAHITI treatment, I am going to go on record as saying that Skye will wind up being a Kree-human hybrid, possibly even related to Starlord from GOTG.

related to who?

Sky never died; for her it was just like any miracle drug (essentially any medical drug) that made the nasty pain go away.