By Amanda Gurall
Last week on SHIELD we started with the Inhumans immediately after the botched visit to Cal's (Kyle MacLaughlan) stomping ground and a Hydra attack. Raina (Ruth Negga) has more powerful psychic dreams, Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) has been watching her sleep (don't they have cameras for that?) and Gordon (Jamie Harris) returns injured and tells them that Hydra has Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) Cal was also pretty pissed off and he spilled their family relationship secret to all of the wanna be inhumans standing around. Jiaying decides not to go after Lincoln because the risk is too high that they are tracking Gordon and ready to kidnap more of their kind. Skye (Chloe Bennet) much prefers the SHIELD rule of not leaving anyone behind and Raina shows up to tell her that she is able to save Lincoln because she saw it in her dream.
Gordon says, "We think Raina's gift may allow her to see things before they happen." And to that Skye responds,"I thought her gift was spinning really fast to collect gold rings." Funniest line of the entire season.
Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) negotiated that they would send in a small tactical team to rescue Mike and Lincoln however Gonzales was willing to sacrifice them so he wouldn't endanger his team. Is this opposite day? His entire issue with SHIELD was started because Fury wanted him to sacrifice a few agents for the good of the whole. Great. Luckily Coulson is willing to take the risk with his own team and Gonzales has no problem letting him endanger original SHIELD. The plan is to take a small team to rescue the enhanced prisoners, disable the missile defense system allowing SHIELD to bomb the facility. Before giving her deciding vote agent May (Ming-Na Wen) has words with Coulson. She calls him out on all of his lies and hypocrisies then gets to the source of her pain, Coulson seeing or using her ex Dr. Andrew. Turns out Coulson was only seeing him for therapy for his alien writing impulses which was a little touching. Coulson is so full of one liners and confidence sometimes I forget how much he has suffered. They put the issue behind them and go ahead.
Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) is looking very Mockingbird in her field uniform.
Mike (J. August Richards) and Lincoln are in secure cells in the Hydra arctic base and they are being disassembled bit by bit starting with the removal of Mike's cyber eye. Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) is there with Dr. List (Henry Goodman) and we are not sure whose side he is truly on. Strucker is apparently happy with List's progress towards finding the genetic element that will allow Hydra to create enhanced people.
Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is still bent on murderous revenge and convinces Coulson to let her go with the team although she just wants to kill Ward with a splinter bomb. Skye appears in the garage and Ward gleefully says, "we finally got the team back together!" Oh Ward. So they fly to the arctic circle base with the Quinnjet on top of the bus, cloaked. Ward (Brett Dalton) starts to bring them up to speed on the mission and the group tension, or hatred for him, is overwhelming. Ward ends up explaining that the fact that he destroyed their "family" is his biggest regret and for a second it looks like they believe him but no, they all wish they had finished him off long ago though Simmons is the only one willing to try.
At the Hydra base List is disappointed that Lincoln has apparently failed the experimentations and is near death. He says the only ones who have survived are "the twins" and they are at another Hydra base in Sekovia with Strucker. Wouldn't it be great to see what they are getting up to? If only there were a movie to go to to show us what's happening in the greater MCU. Just then they spot the cloaked shield plane and shoot it out of the sky.
The bus is shot to pieces and they land the Quinnjet as if it were a piece of debris from the plane. Their dangerous rouse works and they all survive undetected. They make it to Bakshi and he seems to be under Ward's spell so they proceed with 15 minutes before the bombers arrive. They enter the lab, List escapes too easily and Ward is shocked and totally turned on when Skye masterfully uses her powers. They rescue poor Mike who is now missing his eye and half a leg. After killing about 8 men Skye finds Lincoln and resuscitates him with her powers just in time. Coulson and May take the control room and Simmons is focused on killing Ward. She was knocked over by Bakshi who ends up taking a splinter bomb for his boss. Ward is furious but he lets her live, saying he is disappointed in her. We all are.
May tries to get Coulson out of the control room to escape but he is busy getting files from the computers, another secret mission. They all escape and we don't get to see the bombing of the base but we are told it was successful. Ward did not join them on the return but escaped, leaving Kara with SHIELD. He asks Coulson to take care of her and vanishes into the night once again, doing so without telling anyone what Simmons did. Gonzales reveals to Bobbi that the only reason he went along with Coulson's plan is to get enhanced people on the base and hold them there against their will. Coulson hands him the toolbox and tells him Fury will be coming back for it, "spoiler alert!" He gets a call from Maria Hill and we see her on the big screen calling from Avengers tower. He uploads the files he took which turn out to be information about Strucker's base in Sekovia and the scepter they have there. Maria asks if Theta Protocol is ready? He says,"Yes it is. Time to bring in the Avengers."
A quick scene with Raina and Jiaying, Raina is in the middle of telling her that maybe she should be the new leader when she is shaken by a vision of Loki's scepter and "so much destruction…men made of metal will tear our cities apart and the world will be changed forever." Sounds about right! If you have not seen Age of Ultron yet I feel like you should see the film before proceeding with the next episode of SHIELD. It may not give away everything but they managed to give some pretty big spoilers after Winter Soldier so I won't be too sure. If you have seen the movie, please continue for a little bit about Theta Protocol.
The following contains spoilers for the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron do not read any more if you have not seen it yet.
The movie started with the Avengers taking Strucker's base in Sekovia, finding the twins we heard about from Dr. List this week (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) and leading to the end of Strucker. SHIELD and Coulson's intel led them to this directly and the show was a great set up to the action in the movie. I feel bad for people who don't watch SHIELD as it adds a nice layer of storytelling and awareness. I also feel bad for the people who STILL leave the second the credits roll but that is another matter. So what is Theta Protocol?
Going by the film I have to assume that it is the construction of the new helicarrier and the new Avengers base (and that is confirmed in this week's episode). That part seemed pretty clear but do they need 100 bunk beds at the new facility? Or could Coulson be setting up more bases or an entirely new division of SHIELD? Before they went to Puerto Rico Coulson told Koenig (who is still wierdly missing from the show) that if things go south he has to enact Theta Protocol. Is this the activation of an entirely new group that might take over for SHIELD completely if they were killed? He didn't say finish it, he said enact it so perhaps they were not completely set up but would have been better than leaving a vaccum against Hydra. I know there are other theories and complicated possibilities but until we see more from this week and next week, it seems pretty clear that Coulson remains on the right side of things and had a major part in winning these battles in the greater war to come. He really needs his own trading card.