Finally, after seeing agent Coulson die in the 2012 movie The Avengers viewers found out how me was resurrected. Strangely enough it didn’t really seem that it was the most important thing of the episode. Instead what Coulson saw as his betrayal by SHIELD for ruining his relationship as well as Nick Fury’s unethical decision to bring him back was far more at the forefront. Ultimately it came down to very advanced technology that allowed agent Coulson to be back, but the consequences are as of yet unknown. Agents of SHIELD may have dodged a bullet by bring Coulson back in what I think is a rather orthodox way, but is the issue completely closed for fans, probably not.
With Phil Coulson a prisoner of Project Centipede, Melinda May and Grant Ward join S.H.I.E.L.D. into pursuing Mr. Vanchat in order to find Project Centipede. While Mr. Vanchat is being interrogated, Victoria Hand has doubts about Skye even when she claims that she can help find Coulson. Victoria decides to have Skye held for debriefing. Meanwhile, Coulson (who is hooked up to a mind-probing machine) is confronted by Edison Po in order to open his mind to how he came back to life the day after he died. Besides claiming that Mike Peterson chose to end his life in front of his kid, Edison claims that the Clairvoyant has seen many things except for how Phil Coulson was brought back to life as Edison turns the mind-probing machine. While waiting to be taken to be debriefed, Skye works to find a way to track Coulson and steals the car of businessman Lloyd Rathman. While Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons work on a way to stop the Centipede soldiers, Ward goes to join the interrogation on Mr. Vanchat in order to get him to spell the name of his buyers. In a desert that the nuclear bomb spared, Edison continues his work on Coulson. While at Lloyd Rathman’s house, Skye uses the police call to lure Lloyd to his house in order to get answers from him while posing as Melinda May. Skye states that Lloyd’s company has been funding an offshore account and uses her ways to get Lloyd to spill what he knows about his buyers. Meanwhile, Victoria Hand leads the S.H.I.E.L.D. forces to Australia where some Chitauri metal is being sold.
Victoria even questions Ward about how he managed to get Vanchat to talk. Edison claims to Coulson that the Clairvoyant sees the end of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Raina comes in after dealing with the other prisoner. Edison gets a call from the Clairvoyant who then hands the call from him to Raina. When the cell phone is handed back to Edison, he suddenly goes stiff as Raina grabs the cell phone. Ward asks May why she didn’t stand up for her where she states that Skye is no use to them on their airplane with all the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents there. Victoria Hand then contacts May stating that the helicopter that took Phil Coulson was sighted in the Mojave Desert. Lloyd Rathman is talked into going into his bank account. Raina states to Coulson about how Mike Peterson and Chan Ho Yin were used to get what they want. She even claimed that she doesn’t know who the Clairvoyant is where he plans to bring Earth to a new era. The reason behind Project Centipede’s study of how Coulson came back to life is to find a way to bring even their own soldiers to life after the optic implants have shut them down. Raina states that she wants to uncover the secret that S.H.I.E.L.D. is keeping from Coulson. Using Lloyd’s computer and one of his guards, Skye plans to find his transactions in order to find who paid Mr. Vanchat a lot of money. After finding proof of Mr. Vanchat’s sell to Raina, Skye gets a printed copy and drives off in one of Lloyd’s car. Raina is suspicious on how S.H.I.E.L.D. can be keeping secrets from him and even tells him on how he learned about his mother being told of Coulson’s death. Using the mind-probing machine, Raina plans to figure out why Coulson keeps saying that Tahiti is a magical place. While working on cuffs that work on the Centipede soldiers, Skye contacts the Ward about a hunch to where Coulson is being held. Coulson’s team goes to meet with Skye while Victoria prepares a strike team.
When the mind-probing machine is activated, Raina has Coulson think of the first memory of the day after he died. The memories at Tahiti show that Nick Fury had ordered Coulson to be tended to by the people there. Skye arrives at the location where she is spotted by a Project Centipede soldier upon his team’s arrival until the rest of Coulson’s team arrives to help fight the Project Centipede soldiers. The memories of Coulson then changes to an operation room where the surgeons are working on him. Skye hears his screams and arrives at his locations where she knocks out Raina. Agent May then turns off the mind-probing device and awakens Coulson. Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Raina is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody for questioning as Project Centipede’s operation is being shut down around the globe with no sign of the Clairvoyant’s location. Coulson thanks his team for rescuing him and removes the probation bracelet from Skye for helping to rescue him. Coulson covers up what his mind-probing revealed to him. Later that night, Coulson visited one of the doctors that worked on him stating that he was dead for days where a team of scientists used every method to keep him alive which ended with Coulson becoming that “thing.” As the doctor apologizes to Coulson for what they had to do, Coulson then leaves the doctor’s car. In the final scene, Mike Peterson is still alive but missing a leg as he finds himself in an undisclosed location and under the control of the Clairvoyant.
This episode succeeded only a number of different fronts. The return of a cool ‘Skye’ hopefully means her character won’t be used as clumsily as during the first half of the season. Also the confrontation between Coulson and Raina was wonderfully offbeat, at any moment Coulson could probably have killed her but she managed to drive him forward into using the memory machine gadget to try and uncover what happened after New York. The character Raina wasn’t killed off either so we will be seeing her again. I am not sure if I am really keen on seeing the character Mike Peterson again, so far he seems seriously unhinged but I guess we will have to put up with it. Agent Victoria Hand has gotten traitor written all over her, her constant misdirection of evidence and characters such as Skye means she either informed Centipede of what was happening or she is a red-herring and really is incompetent. Anyway, her character is one everyone loves to hate. This episode did not succeed on all fronts however, a times it dragged a bit and characters such as May and Fitz/Simmons remained underused even though the team was in the greatest peril since the beginning of the show.
Score; 7.9 / 10. A good episode of Agents of SHIELD, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.