The war between SHIELD and HYDRA is now out in the open, especially after HYDRA plays a mean Halloween trick in this week’s episode. It convinces a senator to do what he can to end SHIELD, while his brother is worried he could be found. The reunion between Fitz and Simmons isn’t going smoothly, while Hunter and his ex-wife, Bobbi Morse, squabble a bit during an important mission.
Spoilers to follow, after this picture of what Bobbi Morse looks like in all her SHIELD glory:
At the United Nations, General Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) tries to convince the delegates that SHIELD should not be trusted with all their weapons and resources. An Italian delegate wants proof, and gets it in an attack by people dressed as SHIELD agents. One of them uses a splinter bomb that dissolves the delegate, and that seems to prove Talbot’s point.
Actually, it was a HYDRA attack conducted by Scarlotti (Falk Hentschel), an assassin who came close to killing Hawkeye sometime before The Avengers. May and Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) are assigned to find out where HYDRA will strike next, and Hunter (Nick Blood) is also asked to help out. He’s slightly reluctant, since Morse is the ex-wife he complains about, but he agrees.
Talbot meets with Senator Christian Ward (Tim Dekay), who is Grant Ward’s older and supposedly evil brother. The senator thought Talbot had SHIELD put down, but that wasn’t the case. He’s also worried his voters will know Grant was with HYDRA. He has a proposal to get rid of SHIELD once and for all, and will send it to the UN. Coulson, meanwhile, tells the SHIELD office in Holland to “go dark” for awhile. He is worried if the senator’s plan is accepted, everyone will be after SHIELD.
Meanwhile, the reunion between Fitz and Simmons is shaky at best. He says she looks different, mainly because she is real instead of a hallucination. She wants him to repair the damaged hard drive Morse got from HYDRA headquarters. He’s still having problems expressing himself, as he used to be. She feels guilty about it, as she should. She hates to see Fitz this way, but it’s a different situation. At one point, he tells her not to look at him, and accuses her of giving up on him. It’s a complicated work problem that will take a complicated solution.
Skye has another tense talk with Ward, who says that his brother always has an angle. He’s also worried that his brother will find him. Is this real fear, or is he using some manipulation of his own? He also talks about Skye’s father, but Coulson interrupts, he says he got what he needs, but warns Skye she must stick to the mission.
May and her crew reach Okinawa, where Morse meets Toshiro Mori (Brian Tee), who made the splinter bombs with help from Whitehall and his HYDRA tech. Thanks to her charms and guile, she also learns HYDRA has the obelisk thanks to Skye’s dad. However, they’re also on to Morse, and someone is about to shoot her. Hunter stops him, but she’s upset because she knew someone was behind him. It’s almost cute the way Hunter and Morse squabble while they both shoot a HYDRA trying to recover. This relationship is not quite over, and May is a bit annoyed about it. Still, they learn HYDRA is after Julian Beckers (Michael Enright), a U-N official who is supporting SHIELD. If he dies, Senator Ward’s plan may get approval.
Coulson sneaks in to talk to Senator Ward, and insists he change his mind about SHIELD. He also talks about how Ward talked about how he was made to torture a younger brother, Thomas, at a well. Senator Ward claims that Ward really tortured Thomas on his own. While this is happening, Ward tells Skye that his brother is more manipulative that he is. Who’s really telling the truth? The scene hints that maybe both Christian and Grant Ward are skilled at manipulation to get what they want. The senator wants Grant arrested, while Grant is trying to hook Skye into his side. He tells her that HYDRA agents attacked her parents, and killed her mother, He also claims her father “lost it”, but that now he wants to be with her daughter again. Does Skye believe this? Maybe, or at least enough to make Grant think she’s on his side. She still has a responsibility to Coulson.
Coulson has a responsibility to SHIELD, too. He tells Grant he was kept alive because he was useful, Now, he’ll turn him over to Senator Ward because he is more useful. Coulson isn’t forgetting how Ward betrayed and killed people, despite Ward claiming his brother is manipulating Coulson for his own ends.
Simmons notices that Fitz is getting closer with Mack (Henry Simmons), and is able to communicate better. That turns out to be valuable, because they discover Beckers’ grandfather designed bombs for HYDRA..and the family is still loyal to them. This means Beckers is plotting a trap against SHIELD in Belgium.
Scarlotti kills the SHIELD agents in the safe house with the splinter bombs, but May, Hunter and Morse take care of HYDRA. The battle between May and Scarlotti is especially impressive. Afterwards, Hunter thinks about leaving, while Morse admits that she’s having a tough time finding a place for herself, especially since SHIELD isn’t SHIELD anymore. She’ll stay, though…and he likely will too.
The episode ends with Ward being taken away, while the SHIELD crew look on in anger, Simmons even says if she ever sees him again, she’ll kill him. He might even believe her, since he was responsible for her losing Fitz. While this is happening, his brother tells the U-N that SHIELD and HYDRA are indeed different, but he warns the darkness may last a bit longer than the light. he even admits his brother is with HYDRA. We see Talbot talking to May about how many SHIELD agents were killed, and offers her his hand. We also see Ward put into a truck, and planning how to escape. The last scene we see is Ward taking a guard’s gun and firing.
Finally, a man heads to a tattoo parlor and asks for some unusual tattoos. They happen to be the same alien markings Coulson has been drawing. The man says he wants the same markings because it helps him remember. For now, he is called Mystery Man (Brian Van Holt), and Entertainment Weekly has more on him.
The episode shows the world realizing that maybe HYDRA grew within SHIELD, but SHIELD isn’t exactly to blame. There is a war now, and it will be a messy one for all to see. Relationships have changed, too, especially for Fitz and Simmons, She admits to Mack she had to leave because she was making Fitz worse. Now she has to find a way to accept him as he is. Maybe that’s the way he can take her back eventually. Coulson made a hard choice to give up Ward to his brother. Although Grant was helpful, Coulson needs powerful friends to protect SHIELD as it tries to repair itself. The fact that Talbot is changing his mind about the group is especially helpful. He still wonders if Ward may still have a presence, especially with Skye.
The big question is what Ward will do next. Will he go to HYDRA, his brother, or maybe Skye’s father? That may show what Grant really wants for himself.
Finally, people got a look at a scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The clip below shows Tony Stark trying to lift Thor’s hammer, then someone interrupting the party. That’s followed by a modified version of the trailer, with more emphasis of the spooky version of “I’ve Got No Strings”.
The show is taking next week off for a special on Marvel’s 75th anniversary, but will be back in two weeks as people are found dead near more of those alien markings.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC. Watch full episodes on ABC.Go.com.