By Amanda Gurall
SHIELD starts off with a little recap of what Ward (Brett Dalton) has been up to, which apparently includes mooning over Agent 33 (Ming-Na Wen) and chipping away at his new master plan. He is so successfully creepy in his new romance (which I do not buy as anything but manipulation) that he even orders twee pumpkin pancakes at a diner. They end up holding the place at gunpoint in an homage to Pulp Fiction...Oh pumpkin pancakes! Not actually there to rob the place they are only looking to abduct a scientist to try and fix the broken nano mask Agent 33 is stuck with. He succeeds and the agent is able to look at anyone, even a photo to become them so nano 2.0 is a big improvement. However she is stuck looking and sounding like Agent May (also Ming-Na Wen) without scars until she finds a photo of her original face. Or something.
Skye (Chloe Bennet) has been injuring herself from the inside out in her attempts to control her quaking which sounds particularly awful. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is designing some gloves and casts to help her stress fractured wrists heal and while she has not talked about wanting to kill all of the inhumans again she has not come around to the other side or realized her judgement isn't helping her at all.
Mac (Henry Simmons) has taken Hunter (Nick Blood) to the "real SHIELD" where he meets the higher-ups led by Robert Gonzales (Edward James Olmos). Hunter is defensive and refers or them as "Hufflepuff" however he has a little less humor when Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) enters and he has to deal with her betrayal. This faux SHIELD wants to instill transparency in the organization and is firmly against everything that Fury and thus Coulson (Clark Gregg) has done and the way in which they have accomplished it. Except that they use nothing but deceit to accomplish this themselves? They will oust Coulson, restoring SHIELD to the organization it never really was but the people deserve. So say we all.
Coulson takes Skye for a trip and while en route they talk about their families and we learn that Coulson used to fix a red '62 Corvette with his father. He resented being made to do it while the other kids were out playing but then learned to treasure the time with his dad, blah blah blah. Cheesy origin story of Lola finished they arrive at a cabin. He is bringing Skye to what was one of Fury's safe houses to protect everyone involved while they decide what can be done with her. She is pulled from duty and basically stuck here helpless again but supposedly protected and in contact with HQ daily. I am sure that will go smoothly. He gifts her with some gloves that Simmons made that will help control or lessen the damage from her powers yet have some side effects. He doesn't go into more detail which seems kind of neglectful but there are things that need doing. This was a clunky way to put her issues on hold to move the Ward story along and I think it's sad and a bit unrealistic they wouldn't have at least one actual human from a group that is essentially family staying to protect her.
Back to Agent 33 and Ward, we find her experimenting with a fashion magazine; for a second let's just think about how much fun it would be to be able to do this? You could look like anyone! This time around she can even be a man. She is filled with insecurity and is an empty slate now with no leader to follow. She doesn't realize she is following Ward. She decides to try and pay him back by climbing into his lap wearing Skye's face! Skye's face and May's voice. I really think Ward was almost tempted into taking her up on that gift but he turns her down and tells her all he wants is the real her. He tells her about his history being brainwashed by Garret and after he was free from him, going to visit his family and expressing his feelings about their feelings. Of course we know he expressed them all over the carpet when he murdered them and set fire to their bodies but Agent 33 feels connected and grateful. Ward gives her an envelope with the information on Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) who is being held by Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) and the U.S. Military. 33 is all for some revenge as Bakshi was the one who took her to Whitehall when they brainwashed her into a HYDRA agent. She is also given a ring because she is about to become Mrs. Talbot.
We get a little screen time with Talbot who is sweet in a way and he buzzes his wife right in to meet him even though It is a little early for "Taco Tuesday". Fun aside, thinking of the tough Talbot having a little office taco picnic with his wife every Tuesday is great. So 33 as Mrs. Talbot gets into the building and Ward follows behind, killing whomever he needs to protect their mission. RIP front desk guy.
She shape shifts from person to person until she finds a short man to kill and become so the uniform fits. When Talbot receives a call from the real Mrs. Talbot and knows he has been had he rounds up all the females in the office because he only knows nano mask 1.0 which could not change genders. The number of high ranking females in this military compound is refreshing though unrealistic so he wastes his time with this little search while man-33 and Ward succeed in taking Bakshi.
At faux-SHIELD Gonzales asks Bobbi if she has lost her focus because of Hunter, she says she is still on task. She goes to Hunter and finds him angry and defiant, asking her to walk away from this coup and join him at SHIELD. He says he is leaving she she looks at him while she considers the idea but in the end tells him she won't stop him: everyone else will. He opens the door and tosses the incoming armed soldier across the room like an old tissue then escapes down the hall. Since when does he have this kind of strength? His easy escape ends with him opening an exit door and realizing he is on a huge aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. Of course there are some submersible transportation pods with the keys in the ignition so When Bobbi finally follows him through the door all she sees is the pod getting away. At least she stayed true to her word, she made no effort to follow him.
At HQ Mac has returned and May chats with him, clearly suspicious of his story about Hunter. Coulson has returned to their base as well and he is keeping Skye's whereabouts from Fitz and probably anyone who does not need to know. Fitz finds Simmons and confronts her when she uses Tripp's death as an excuse for her fear and attitude. He tells her that it is not his change or Skye's change that is the problem, it is hers. Can't say I disagree with him she has not handled anything very well this season and hasn't been that great of a character. Coulson and May decide to find out what Mac has been doing and they don't suspect Bobbi yet.
Faux-SHIELD discusses Hunter's escape with one of the agents angrily suspicious that Bobbi will let him go if given the chance. (Clearly.) They know Hunter is 12 hours from shore but they don't know where he is. I'd suggest they head towards shore to find him but maybe they are surrounded by shorelines 12 hours from the ship. Bobbi says she will go back to infiltrate SHIELD and take care of/ kill Coulson and she will do it in six hours. She also got the group to focus on Coulson and not finding Skye which seemed protective of Skye and may indicate that Bobbi will not end up being on the side of faux-SHIELD. This is probably not true since she is their best way in and the preview for this week's episode shows Coulson and team defending themselves. I would like Bobbi to stay on team SHIELD so it is probably just wishful thinking on my part.
Our last scene is Agent 33 in the mirror changing her face from May to her real face which is badly scarred. Kira (Maya Stojan) is her name and she has apparently accepted herself and is a fully autonomous person now. We know she has been manipulated into following Ward and is probably no better off but all seems well and she and Ward go to Bakshi who is restrained in front of a TV screen. His eyes are taped open and he is about to get the full Faustus brainwashing with Kira and Ward at the helm. This show has some issues keeping a balance between plot and character development with the best example being the treatment of Skye this week. I felt the episode was mostly enjoyable and had some real humor but almost literally putting her on a shelf for the entire episode and not allowing her to be anything but a scared mouse is getting tiresome let's hope she gets some redemptive action in this week's episode?