Awesome: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
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- Coulson not only calmly dodges a van door Matrix-style launched by an enraged Centipede/Extremis-powered Mike, but he also calmly negotiates with the man while he showcases that he's being affected by Extremis.
- May taking out any and all mooks she comes across in short order. Pity she's only driving the bus and not in the field.
- Ward's fight with the goons trying to get the Chitauri device.
- The fact that, according to Fitz, among Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D collectibles include not only Lola, but also the world's first G.P.S and flamethrowers. PLURAL.
- Skye has the ability to not only hack S.H.I.E.L.D from her van, she can keep her files encrypted so they can't get to them.
- How awesome is Skye? S.H.I.E.L.D. knows nothing about her - something Coulson says never happens.
- She insinuates she removed the data on herself (when she's speaking with Mike in the van about deleting his info, he asks how she knows what to do and she says quietly that she's done it before).
- As pointed out by Skye, with her ordinary laptop (which she won in a bet, no less), she was able to hunt down a secret that S.H.I.E.L.D., with all its high-tech equipment, didn't know about.
- How awesome is Skye? S.H.I.E.L.D. knows nothing about her - something Coulson says never happens.
- Fitz and Simmons finding a third option to save Michael from dying and blowing up.
- The team overcoming their differences and working together to foil Camilla's attempted hijacking.
- Said foiling involves using the 0-8-4 to blast a hole through the hull of the jet.
- And before that, there's May effortlessly dislocating her wrist to slip through of her bindings, Stealth Hi/Bye attack the mook guarding them, and then snapping her wrist back into place. And it all takes about thirty seconds.
- When the rest of the team is arguing about what to do next.
May: You talk too much [drives car through a bulletproof door]
- According to Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to keep an anti-matter meteor eating away half of Miami from reaching public eyes & ears.
- While Nick Fury has yet to actually do something in the series, the fact that he showed up at all has gotta be a Moment Of Awesome.
- It's certainly a Crowning Moment for Samuel L. Jackson. Remember, he didn't have to make that cameo. He surely has bigger and more important projects on his plate, and he has enough professional clout in Hollywood that he probably could have said no. I doubt there was anything in his Avengers contract that mandated a cameo on this show. The fact that he agreed to do it anyway is pretty cool.
- Not to mention, the show probably couldn't afford to pay him a whole lot for the cameo, lacking the kind of budgets of the Marvel films. He probably did it out of love for his character.
- Quinn getting Hall, catching S.H.I.E.L.D. completely off-guard.
- And both of them getting caught off-guard by Hall revealing he orchestrated the whole thing himself, while in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, without either party knowing.
- Skye hacks an invitation to Quinn's party using only her phone!
- When Quinn points a gun at Skye, she flawlessly disarms him using the move Ward taught her earlier in the episode.
- Skye getting Quinn to let her into his office so she can plant the device Fitz-Simmons gave her. The best part? She never actually lied to him. Every word she said was the truth: She's a hacker who works for Rising Tide and she infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. to work as The Mole.
- Coulson stopping the gravitonium reactor by shooting a window Hall was standing on, causing him to fall into it.
- May vs. Akela, especially when May calmly dodges a thrown shard.
- Akela remaining completely calm when Fitz and Simmons operate on her cybernetic eye while she's conscious. In fact, she injects the anesthetic into her own eye, because Simmons's hand was shaking from nervousness about performing eye surgery.
Girl in the Flower Dress
- Coulson releasing the self-righteous hacker Miles... in Hong Kong. With a bracelet that keeps him from using electronics. He also donates the money Miles received from the Centipede organization to the family of the Chinese S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was killed during attempt to rescue Chan from Centipede.
Coulson: [offers Miles a small box] You have a choice: You take what's in this box, or we put you in a slightly bigger one.
- Coulson's line at the beginning of the scene:
- Chan's Roaring Rampage of Revenge has impressive pyrotechnics.
- Simmons creates a cure for an alien virus by using alien DNA and she does it within hours. This is while she's racing against the clock because she herself is infected.
- Fitz rushes into quarantine to help Simmons after their Eureka Moment, thus overcoming all the fear from this episode. When she did her Heroic Sacrifice, the only reason he didn't jump after her is because Ward grabbed the parachute from him.
- Ward jumps out of the Bus and skydives after Simmons, who had jumped herself because she was infected with an alien virus which could destroy everyone aboard the plane. He's also able to catch her and cure her before they hit the water.
- In The Stinger, Coulson standing up to Blake after being lectured for disobeying an order to dump the infected Simmons off the plane.
Blake: If you keep bending the rules like this, someone might take this dream team away from you.
Coulson: I'd like to see them try.
Blake: That doesn't sound like the Coulson I remember.
Coulson: No, I guess it doesn't. Get used to it.
- May living up to her name of The Cavalry and showing that like Firefly, you don't need guns to be Big Damn Heroes.
- A relatively minor one compared to the above, but Fitz willingly going through with the mission in spite of learning there's no planned extraction for them. Not because he feels he has something to prove but because he's that loyal to his duties as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
- Fitz repurposing the core of the Overkill device, destroying the guns of the men attacking them to back up Ward, followed by him kicking one of the goons in the head hard enough to put the mook down.
- When Coulson realizes there's no extraction plan for Ward and Fitz, he marches right up to Agent Hand and chews her out for it.
- Fitz shorts out the electricity of a building with a mini-EMP just so he can fix it and win the trust of the people present. Keep in mind these were Russian mobsters who were very close to killing them both just to prove a point.
- Agent Coulson deducing the Berserker's identity with only the slightest of clues.
- Randolph acting completely calm and nonchalant throughout the entire thing. Starting by shrugging off a cultist attack with a simple "I messed up." and culminating with casually catching Agent Ward's knife and bending it, with a look on his face that says 'Oh, come on, how did they figure it out? Now I've got to explain myself, so tedious.'
- May assembling and wielding the completed Berserker Staff and kicking ass, and also holding onto her sanity because she's dealt with her pain rather than repressed it.
- Ward also becomes a One-Man Army using two staff pieces like batons, dispatching a few dozen crazed cultists single-handedly.
- After Randolph gets impaled with the staff, Simmons is panicking that she doesn't know how to help someone with Asgardean physiology. Coulson takes the matters into his own hands (literally) by shoving his hand into the gaping chest wound, feeling around for his heart and then clamping down on a laceration on it while helping it pump long enough that the Asgardian rapid healing takes care of the rest.
- May pulling a Stealth Hi/Bye on Tobias, who can literally teleport.
- Tobias shutting down The Bus and capturing all but one member of a S.H.I.E.L.D. team with teleportation and a wrench.
- The prison break at the beginning. Edison Po just calmly sits there eating his lunch the entire time, completely unfazed by the fight, and corrects a solider with "Time to go, sir." Despite the fact that this soldier had super abilities.
- Mike vs. Three Soldiers. Mike wins.
The Magical Place
- Skye gets kicked off the bus because she's no use there then follows the money all the way back to Centipede to locate Coulson with none of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources... except for the Walking Techbane bracelet that shuts down every computer she touches. Including GPS. She successfully uses the disarming techniques Ward had been teaching her, while channelling Melinda May.
- May tricks Victoria Hand into booting Skye off of The Bus, thus allowing her to work outside the box, which is where she operates best. Even Hand seemed impressed.
- The Bus gets one when May needs to quickly change directions. How often do you see a passenger jet do a complete 180 in-flight?
- Skye pulling a Shut Up, Hannibal! by punching out Raina.
- Villains can be awesome too. For example, Raina talking Coulson into cooperating with the Mind Probe. Despite his training to resist interrogation, despite him knowing how evil they are, despite being 5 minutes past the torture. Props to the writers too, for making every second convincing.
- There's another one for Coulson in here too - even though he caves in to Raina's manipulation, he manages to hide what he's discovered about his resurrection from her, meaning the baddies are still in the dark how he survived, while he himself comes away with more information than he had before.
- May flies The Bus in and out of the eye of giant, hail-spewing superstorm without batting an eye.
- The students of the Science and Research Divison of the Academy transformed the school's boiler room into a night club. They supposedly did this without the faculty knowing or at least discreetly enough for Plausible Deniability.
- Lola aids Coulson in capturing the missing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
- May killing all of her torturers with a knife she was just stabbed with.
May: Just what I needed.
- Simmons jumps on a grenade to save the rest of the team. Luckily it's non-lethal, but she didn't know that.
- Stan Lee chastising what he thinks is a deadbeat dad, before heading to his train compartment with two sexy women.
- Ward bursts into Ian Quinn's mansion Guns Akimbo and tranquilizes several of Quinn's bodyguards before they can as much as draw their own weapons. Quinn tries to slip away, but only walks into Coulson's gun. Check and Mate.
- May beating the crap out of Quinn for shooting Skye.
- Fitz and Simmons locating the facility where Coulson was resurrected, in only a few minutes, by following a paper trail in S.H.I.E.L.D's human resources documents.
- When everyone is blaming themselves for what happened to Skye, May snaps them out of it and says that the only one to blame is the man who shot her.
- Coulson, when asked by Agent Sitwell, "How was Tahiti?" We fully expect Coulson to repeat the old Catch Phrase "It's a magical place"—probably with a bitter and/or snarky tone. What does Coulson do? Puts on his sunglasses, CSI: Miami style...and says, "It sucked."
- Sif gets plenty of these moments. Specifically:
- Dishing out a Curb-Stomp Battle to a group of thugs under Lorelei's control.
- Climbing on the top of the plane in mid-flight!
- Getting back into the holding cell without Lorelei noticing—providing a nice Oh, Crap for our villainess. The following fight also qualifies.
- Coulson himself lampshades this trait of hers near the beginning, after recounting what he's seen Sif do: "Pretty Badass."
- During the bar fight Sif takes a shotgun blast to the torso at point blank range. Barely a flinch.
- Lorelei has her moments, too—and not just of the Evil Is Sexy variety. Her unflappably confident demeanor makes her quite charismatic in general.
- Coulson's Indy Ploy when realizing that Fitz has been compromised. What's awesome is that he somehow gets away with it!
- You've really got to give it up to Brainwashed!Fitz too: Most people who are affected by Lorelei's power basically act like hopeless love slaves, making it fairly obvious that they are under her control. Fitz lures Sif into the interrogation room without ever tipping her off.
End of the Beginning
- Coulson telling off The Clairoyant:
Clairvoyant: A force beyond your comprehension is coming for you. You and Skye. She has something we want and she will die giving it to us. I have seen it.
Coulson: Go to hell!
- Before becoming brutally incapacitated by Deathlok, Agent Blake managed to shoot him with the tracker devised by Fitz. When Coulson later realizes this he says to himself: "Nicely done, Blake."
- Seeing May unhesitatingly and unflinchingly hunt Fitz down is equal parts Awesome and Nightmare Fuel.
- Coulson stops her by drawing his gun on her. She tells him that the bullets in her gun are just icers; he counters by telling her that his are the real thing and he has no problem using them on her if she doesn't drop her gun. The message here? No one messes with a member of Coulson's team, not even one of his own agents.
- Awesome moment for Skye too, as she backs up Coulson and pulls her own gun on May.
Turn, Turn, Turn
- It turns out that the Mousehole, that lightsaber-esque cutting tool used by Fury and Hill in The Winter Soldier, was invented by Fitz. Fitz saved Fury and Hill's lives!
- Ward takes out twelve guards by himself. (Offscreen Moment of Awesome, sadly....)
- May echoes Black Widow by doing a hurricanrana on a mook.
- Fitz, Cowardly Lion though he is, stammering defiance to the Clairvoyant's face through tears of fear and wishing the Clairvoyant pain. Pain that Fitz would like to play a central role in administering.
- Not just that, he saved May's life by picking up a gun and shooting a mook that got the drop on her. Fitz's not even remotely cleared for combat, and, judging by the way he tossed away said gun after the deed was done and the floods of tears afterwards, that's probably the first time he's killed someone. Fitz is really stepping up to the plate, no matter how terrified and unwilling he might be.
- The climactic fight between Coulson and John Garrett, a.k.a. The Clairvoyant, now outed as a top HYDRA operative.
- Garrett's flying causing the two missiles chasing him to crash into each other. Then later, Coulson shooting down both the UAVs with his and Garrett's coordinated "play dead" maneuver.
- Hand, pretending to be HYDRA in a Secret Test of Character, approaches Simmons and Trip and gives them the choice to either die or join HYDRA. Trip and Simmons share a small nod, and then Trip takes down the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent closest to him and holds him at knifepoint using the knife tossed to him by Simmons. They'd rather die than join HYDRA, and if they're going down, they're taking at least one of them down with them.
- Coulson's trust in Fury is sound: he and his team, although battered, demoralised and on the run, manage to find Fury's secret base, and Koenig confirms to Coulson that Fury is indeed alive.
- The mole's explanation of their ongoing deception of Team Coulson is evilly awesome, involving a multifaceted Batman Gambit.
The Only Light in the Darkness
- Ward beat a super-polygraph designed by Nick Fury so that even Black Widow wouldn't be able to beat it, albeit with difficulty, by giving technically factual but out of context responses.
- Agent Koenig's steely-eyed interrogation of Ward, when the test nears the end—even holding the man at gunpoint when Ward starts evading. Note: He pulls a gun. On Ward. For all his nervous nerdiness in the previous episode, this one moment goes a long way towards making clear the man's a Hidden Badass. Too bad he caught the Idiot Ball soon afterwards.
- After a few moments of totally breaking after finding out about Ward, Skye gets herself together, resets Ward's penny trap he'd set up to see if anyone had entered the room where he'd stashed the evidence, and completely and totally fools Ward into believing she's none the wiser. She managed to bluff a Hydra spy with Black Widow levels of spy training, despite having found out that the person she trusts most was a spy.
- Also, she shows just how Properly Paranoid she really is: Not only is the hard drive with every secret from the show's run encrypted so only she can access it, but it's also GPS-locked to one location. And that's what we know so far, there may be more security.
- Maria Hill easily identifying the surveillance agents on the street as she walks by.
- And May neutralizing all of the surveillance agents so that she could speak to Hill without interference.
- Simmons snapping at Colonel Talbot for going after the whole team when he knows full well who the HYDRA infiltrator was, where he's headed, and the fact that he has a hostage. Made more awesome by the fact that it's the first time in the series Simmons has managed to chew anyone out at length without losing her nerve midway through, and she looks appropriately pissed.
- Skye's ability to keep her cool after finding out Ward is a HYDRA agent, and setting up several concurrent plans to wait him out and get help.
Skye: Hail Hydra.
- First, she managed to leave a note revealing Ward as a traitor using just the supplies in the bathroom.
- Second, she stalls Ward by giving him a false location for the hard drive to be encrypted, and tries to sneak a gun along just in case.
- Then she keeps stalling at the false location — which is the diner from the first episode, a place she would know Coulson should be able to recognize and find — to wait for her team to catch up.
- And when all else fails, she calls Ward out in the most epic fashion possible — while pretending to decrypt the hard drive, she starts pressing Ward on how he heroically killed Garrett, asking him what he might say to Garrett were he in the diner with them, and coldly offering a few suggestions. Ward is uncomfortable with this line of questioning, and with the police officers who are starting to clear the diner out. She finally turns her laptop towards him: she tipped off the police and presumably every U.S. government agency that Ward is a mole. And as the officers walk over to arrest Ward:
- She runs out of the diner right after, as the police attempt (unsuccessfully) to apprehend Ward, and even manages to hijack a police car to escape him...but she doesn't get very far before Deathlok shows up and captures her.
- After she wakes up on the Bus, she immediately tries to attack Ward while yelling insults at him, and right after he restrains her and says she can't win, she gives him a nice headbutt to the nose.
- Finally, she gives another epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech in which she becomes the first person to call out HYDRA for being A Nazi by Any Other Name, and she vows that she will never give Ward what he wants.
- Coulson chewing out Maria Hill for her part in keeping him in the dark about his resurrection, for leading the US military to Fury's secret base, and for selling out Coulson's team and preventing them from going after a known HYDRA agent.
- Coulson and Hill's epic takedown of Talbot and his troops so they can go after Ward.
- Hill telling Ward exactly what she thinks of him:
Ward: Maria Hill. I'd kind of hoped you had gone down with the Triskelion.
Hill: And I'd kind of hoped that you weren't a duplicitous lowlife, but here we are.
- Coulson and Skye escaping Ward and Deathlok in Lola. Mid-air.
- And that's after holding them off with the machine guns hidden in Lola's headlights.
- He even lands Lola perfectly lined up in the only open parking spot in the immediate area.
- Fitz hits Garrett with a short-range EMP in an attempt to kill him, and brags about it to his face while still at his mercy. The Dog Bites Back, indeed.
- The fact that Triplett has in his possession a collection of fully-functional seventy-year old S.H.I.E.L.D. tech.
- Deathlok calls out Raina for giving his son over to HYDRA. She tries to argue that she was Just Following Orders, just like him. He counters by asking if someone is waiting to blow a hole in her head if she doesn't obey. Also a CMOH, since it shows that even as he's being forced to murder people, Mike Peterson, the guy who loves his son more than anything in the world, is still in there somewhere.
- Ward taking a moment to give Garrett hell for ordering Deathlok to shoot him.
- May blackflipping down a corridor and incapacitating a guard before he can use the phone. As soon as he's out, the phone flies into the air, and May calmly catches it and hangs it back up.
- Garrett had his guts blown open by an explosion, and when S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't able to extract him, he stuffed them back in, closed the wound with duct tape, and rescued himself.
- Fitz manages to free himself and Simmons from the HYDRA agents guarding them by throwing his office chair at them.
Beginning of The End
- Nick Fury showing up and not only rescuing FitzSimmons from the ocean, but backing up Coulson by bringing him the Destroyer Gun and joining him for some Snark-to-Snark Combat with Garrett during the latter's Motive Rant.
- The entirety of May and Ward's fight.
- May's reaction to Ward taunting her that the fight was like their relationship all over again:
"You were never on top."
- The nail gun
- May crushing his larynx.
- May's reaction to Ward taunting her that the fight was like their relationship all over again:
- Mike/Deathlok, after learning that his son was safe, immediately blasts Garrett, the man who ruined his life, with a missile before delivering a brutal Finishing Stomp.
- Coulson's To the Pain speech to Ward.
"Your attempt to cross off Fitz and Simmons failed. But Fitz may never be the same again. So I'm going to invent new ways to ruin the rest of your life. I will do whatever's necessary to get HYDRA intel from you, but your torture? That's gonna be internal. [May: And a little bit external.] Sure, some of that. But you devoted your entire life to a deranged narcissist who never gave a damn about anyone, and now he's dead. You've the rest of your life to wrestle with the question, 'Who are you without him?'"
- May easily defeating a Berserer Staff-wielding Kaminsky:
- Then she promptly gets the Berserker Staff and (unsurprisingly) delivers an epic beatdown to the half-dozen other super-soldiers in the room.
- Skye giving Ward a "The Reason You Suck" Speech while he holds her at gunpoint:
"You're not the evil I was referring to; Garrett is evil. You're just...weak. Doing whatever you're told. I hope Garrett orders you to walk into traffic."
- Coulson being named new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Fitz is ready to sacrifice his own life to save Simmons. Simmons in turn basically goes "screw that" and hauls both of them 90 feet up through ocean water, with Fitz unconscious the whole time, and then keeps both of them treading at the surface long enough for Fury to play Big Damn Heroes and haul them out.
- In both cases, the fact that they come up with workable plans in a short space of time and under incredible pressure just adds to the awesomeness of the execution, and there's a hint of Guile Hero at play for both of them. Fitz is able to fashion a breathing device and detonator out of whatever happens to be lying around a standard S.H.I.E.L.D. medical pod, simultaneously keeping Simmons in the dark as to the fact that he doesn't plan on going with her to ensure she continues to help him. Meanwhile, Simmons must have had to do some pretty quick planning on how to curtail Fitz's Heroic Sacrifice, even as she's breaking down completely listening to his Dying Declaration of Love.
- Samuel L. Jackson appearing again as Nick Fury is as awesome as it comes, especially since this time, it's for a hell of a lot more than a cameo to lecture Coulson about wrecking a plane.
- Once again, practically every word out of his mouth is both awesome and hilarious.
- Fury delivers the Destroyer Gun and this time, Coulson knows what it does.
- A mortally-wounded Garrett begs Coulson to stop Mike from killing him. Coulson's response?
- Coulson killing Garrett; nonchalant and with the HYDRA Hand Cannon.
- Especially great considering how Garrett was right in the middle of an awesome "I Am Back!!!" moment.... and Coulson acts like he barely noticed anything.
- The fact that Joss Whedon and company effectively teases the viewers with effectively giving Garrett the equivalent of "hand springing up out of the grave"...only to pull the rug out with a big Mood Whiplash, courtesy of Coulson.
- What did Fitz do after Ward ejected the pod from the plane? Strap both Simmons and him to one of the backboards to avoid impact of hitting the bottom of the ocean, calculated how deep they had sank and why, rig the wireless signals on the EKG to send distress call, checked and organized most of their inventory and did the math for every posibile way out of the pod. All of this with arm broken in two places, which he put in a sling all by himself. No sign of panic, even when he understood that there's no way out. Quite impressive for someone who didn't pass their field assessment and was probably still very shaken by his friend trying to kill him.
- When Garrett is espousing his godhood delusions to Fury and Coulson, they simply ignore him and instead make fun of Garrett mishearing an inspiring quote from Fury. This shows that in spite of the fact that the Big Bad has a god complex, the heroes simply don't take him seriously at all. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- The Howling Commandos and Peggy Carter storming the last Hydra cell.
- Skye taking a level in badass and fighting alongside the likes of May and Triplett on the front lines. Looks like all that training from May paid off.
- May vs. Absorbing Man, who's wielding a ball-and-chain and has turned his body into the same kind of metal as it. Not only does she take him on without a hint of fear, but she was holding her own even before the team intervened.
- Skye's Genre Savvy about Ward's attempt to Hannibal Lecture her, keeping her word that she'll shut the interrogation down the second he says something not directly related to the questions she's asking.
- The team manage to break into Talbot's military base that's swarming with personnel and steal an 0-8-4 and a freakin' Quinjet. Granted, they don't hold onto the 0-8-4 for long, but they apparently make off with the Quinjet free and clear.
- The shot of Asphalt!Absorbing Man stopping a speeding SUV with merely his crouched body is pretty damn amazing. Bonus points for the visual similarity to a scene between the Winter Soldier and Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Heavy Is the Head
- Coulson's crew beat Crusher Creel at last after the last episode's bummer.
- With a modified version of one of Fitz's designs. Not bad for a guy whose mind is barely functioning.
- Coulson meeting with Talbot, the man dedicated to hunting him down personally, in person and offering him a deal. Talbot even grudgingly admits that Coulson has "big brass ones". When Talbot points out that he has no backup and rejects the deal, Coulson has the newly cloak-capable Bus decloak overhead, aiming a cannon in warning. When Talbot and his man are too busy gawking at the thing, he calmly walks away right into the quinjet, which was cloaked next to him all along, and flies off.
- Even better is that he makes a statement about the Bus just being "the tip of the iceberg" which is a complete bluff, and he even has to get out of there quickly before it drops out of the sky and wrecks the illusion. And Talbot buys it completely.
- Creel turning himself to metal from a park bench railing to deflect Hunter's bullet in the nick of time.
- Mack basically decides to try treating Fitz like an adult, and it works, allowing him to make his first active contribution to the team since the incident that left him brain-damaged. Skye comments that Mack's the first person to even get Fitz to converse coherently since Simmons left. He even seems to make some headway into making Fitz realise that "Simmons" is a hallucination.
Making Friends and Influencing People
- Fitz giving Ward a nightmarish demonstration of hypoxia by slowly sucking the oxygen out of his cell.
- Fitz doesn't seem to be having any trouble using the technology he encounters in the episode; he's shown using the advanced controls to Ward's cell with no difficulty whatsoever. It's a definite improvement on earlier episodes, where Mack at one point apparently even has to take over his tablet computer for him; though his aphasia seems to get worse at the same time (though that might be put down to the stress of seeing Ward unexpectedly).
- Donnie getting Tired of Running and fighting back against his HYDRA pursuers, not to mention the aftermath of his rampage on the cargo freighter.
- Skye snipes Donnie on her first such mission. Not only is she successful, her pulse doesn't change.
Face My Enemy
- May's fight with Agent 33 disguised as her, perhaps the single most impressive brawl in the series. May ends it by leaping off a table, over the swing of 33's weapon, then uses the momentum from her descent to slam 33's face into the aforementioned table. Also one for the editing and effects guys, who make a fight between two Ming-Na Wens completely believable.
- Fitz guiding Lance through fixing Agent 33's sabotage of the Bus, proving he still has what it takes even with his brain damage.
- The marvelously choreographed ballroom dance, doubtlessly helped by the episode's director being a dancer himself.
A Hen In the Wolf House
- Coulson staring down Raina's threat to expose Simmons, with Raina gradually losing her composure as he just lets the timer count down, knowing that Mockingbird will get her out.
- Mockingbird introducing herself to the Marvel Cinematic Universe by single-handedly saving Simmons when the latter's cover gets blown. In addition to that, she swipes Simmons' hard-drive, and all the top-level HYDRA projects contained there, on the pretense of preventing them from being leaked to S.H.I.E.L.D! This would both deny HYDRA anything Simmons may have worked on and thus put them back, and let S.H.I.E.L.D. find out everything they gave Simmons access to.
- As a sub-CMOA, Simmons and Mockingbird jumping off a building onto a cloaked Quinjet.
- In The Stinger, the Doctor effortlessly taking down a pair of HYDRA agents, never raising his voice and barely even breaking stride.
- Simmons keeping her cool and framing her lab partner. She watches him being knocked out and dragged away to be tortured without giving the game away - damn, that's cold! A season ago, she had to shoot Sitwell because she lost her head and couldn't talk her way out of the situation. Simmons has come a long, long way.
- Mockingbird's infiltration is itself an Off Screen Moment Of Awesome. As a S.H.I.E.L.D Reverse Mole, she worked herself into a position of hunting other S.H.I.E.L.D infiltrators. Black Widow, eat your heart out!
- There's also some Fridge-Awesome in this as well; as she was in charge of finding the moles in the organisation, it means that she would be directly in charge of investigating these moles; as she'd know ahead of time who was really a mole and who wasn't, she'd be able to take suspicion off of the real double agents, and frame actual HYDRA agents, and thus cause instability as their loyal forces were turned against one another. Not only did she get herself a high position, she got herself the perfect position to mess with HYDRA, and they had no idea.
A Fractured House
- At the start of the episode, Talbot shuts up Senator Ward by telling him he knows about his brother, and responds to his question about threatening him by saying he doesn't play politics. Talbot may be after S.H.I.E.L.D., but it's because he genuinely believes they are a threat, and not because he's a lapdog for a Sleazy Politician that is trying to avoid embarrassment.
- The entirety of May's fight with Scarlotti; on that note, Bobbi and Lance prove to be quite the Battle Couple.
- Ward claims he's still a member of Coulson's team. Coulson tells him in no uncertain terms to go to hell, which also sounds like a Take That to Ward's defenders:
Coulson: You are not, nor will you ever be, part of my team. You dropped FitzSimmons in the ocean. You murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. You betrayed us all, you deluded son of a bitch!
- While being escorted to his new custody, Ward tries to talk to Skye — only for Simmons to step in front of her.
- While it was terrifying, Ward taking out the guards was pretty awesome.
- Skye expertly plays Ward again, acting like she's desperate enough to find her father to let him out, when she's actually just making sure he's been bled dry of information on that front before he's transferred. The last time we saw something like this, it was Black Widow tricking Loki.
- Note: Ward has been trained for years as a spy, while Skye just became a full-fledged S.H.I.E.L.D agent last season. In other words, a rookie spy sold a seasoned veteran a pack of lies like it was nothing.
- Walters, the head of the S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse in Bruges, Belgium gets one even though HYDRA agents have broken in and killed her men. When Scarlotti puts a knife to her, she headbutts him, and when he puts in the razor disc infected with the alien Obelisk and she starts to disintegrate, instead of screaming in terror or agony, she's Defiant to the End; her last words as she's Killed Mid-Sentence are "HYDRA will never defeat S.H.I.E.-"
- Here's an Awesome Moment if there ever was one: Coulson made good on his threat to Ward from last season. He promised to invent new ways to ruin Ward's life for what he did to Fitz, and forking him over to his possibly sociopathic older brother would certainly qualify. Granted, Ward escapes shortly after, but that doesn't take away from Coulson's awesomeness.
The Writing On The Wall
- Simmons deduces exactly what's going on with Coulson in under a minute, a secret that he's been keeping from most of the team since last season. Skye and Coulson's shocked glance at each other says it all.
- Ward proves himself to be quite the Magnificent Bastard by outsmarting the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. field team (consisting of certified badasses May, Trip, Hunter and Morse) sent to catch him and HYDRA, leaving a tied-up Bakshi as a gift for Coulson. The Evil Brit is literally "giftwrapped", with a gag over his mouth that says "For Coulson".
- Coulson's fight with Derek, the other GH-325 recipient who went Ax-Crazy, ends with his victory. "You want pain? Come and get some!"
- Hank Thompson catching that knife with his bare hands! Then he throws it just right to free Coulson. According to his file, this is the least of what he could do back when he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
- Fitz and Mack go into the field successfully, stealing Stevens' body from a morgue by just walking out of there with it like they own it. Not half bad for two non-field-trained agents.
- Skye drawing a gun on Coulson (who's basically her Parental Substitute) to protect Simmons.
- Coulson pulls a fast one on Skye, trapping her in Ward's old cell, before escaping the Playground and tracking down Thompson for more information on the alien writing.
The Things We Bury
- This episode as a whole is one big CMOA after another, not just for S.H.I.E.L.D., but also HYDRA, Ward and the Doctor.
- The Bus team subplot is one big CMOA for Coulson as a leader and strategist: he needed a satellite to find the mysterious city but the control center in Hawaii is too well guarded, so he takes it down by planting 2 trojan horses that seem like harmless objects but create a massive EMP when they come near each other, forcing the much less well-guarded back-up center in Australia to activate. On the field, he encourages and believes in Fitz's ability, eliminated his self-doubt; he acts cool under pressure when being ambushed by HYDRA and doesn't hesitate to save Trip's life even if it mean letting Skye's father go. In the end, they succeed and the satellite finds a match for the mysterious city.
- Fitz's I Am Not Left-Handed reveal: after complaining that he's only got one good hand following his brain damage, he repeats the same procedure one-handed for hours in order to get it done in under six minutes. He's able to trim it down from eleven and a half to just over seven, which Coulson points out still isn't good enough. Fitz then reveals that it was his bad hand he was practicing with - with both, he'll be fine. He's Back.
- In the actual event, he's not only able to perform the procedure in under six minutes, but do so with a gunfight going on around him, Triplett potentially dying a few feet away, and distracted by a tense stand-off between Coulson and the Doctor. Then when he's finished, he helps Coulson save Trip's life, just to really underscore the awesome he's once again capable of.
- It should be noted that for the first time all season, Fitz didn't stutter or hunt for words throughout the whole episode.
- The Doctor. Turns out everything he's done was to get to Whitehall and avenge his dead wife.
- Bobbi Morse is quite the detective for deducing so much from a slip in tense.
- Also a villainous example is Grant Ward, who has moved his plan along flawlessly: He killed his Abusive Parents, framed his abusive brother for it and is now back to HYDRA with the intention of bringing Skye to her father.
- Peggy Carter turning down the future Whitehall's attempt to become a Boxed Crook, saying he'll never see her again and will have no one to share his rants with for as long as she lives.
- The fact that the Big Bad is so outclassed is satisfying. S.H.I.E.L.D. found out about the city on their own and have a head start on finding it, the Doctor is playing Whitehall like a violin virtuoso, and Ward has been personally welcomed back to HYDRA while likely planning to metaphorically carve up Whitehall and serve him to S.H.I.E.L.D. on a silver platter. After everything going wrong for S.H.I.E.L.D. and them struggling to just keep up, it is delicious to see their enemy at such a large disadvantage.
Ye Who Enter Here
- Skye's fight with Agent 33. She's come a long way from the hacker who knew exactly one martial arts move a year ago.
- Crosses over with Heartwarming: Every single member of Team Coulson was prepared to get blown out of the sky by HYDRA rather than let Skye be captured. If anything qualifies as Undying Loyalty, that's it.
- Bobbi being able to hold her own against possessed-Mack, at least for a little while.
- The fact that there are tasers on the ends of Bobbi's batons.
What They Become
- Skye getting the chance to pull a Calling the Old Man Out on her father.
- Skye managing to get the drop on Ward and putting a few bullets into him. The fact he was savvy enough to be wearing body amour saved his life. Her casual quip as she leaves him behind without looking back was icing on the cake.
- Skye standing up to Cal a second time to get him to halt his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Coulson.
- Before that, though, Coulson managed to hold his own as long as possible, even pulling a Black Widow-esque move on him.
- Trip managing to disarm the final bomb at the buzzer despite lingering injury.
- Fitz is regaining more of his expertise, arming the bomb and getting back to the others with 10 minutes to spare and recalling situations and terminology that he most likely had forgotten.
- He isn't lost for words even once for the episode, clearly showing his progress.
- Skye's delightful rejoinder to Ward when he comments on the training she's received from May:
Ward: How's your marksmanship?
Skye: (in Tranquil Fury) I don't know. Hand me your sidearm and let's find out.
- The reveal that Skye is not a Canon Foreigner but Daisy Johnson, aka Quake. At the episode's end her powers are activated by the Diviner and she lets out an earthquake in the caverns housing the mysterious city.
- Trip smashes the crystal that was inside the Diviner, knowing what could happen to him from just touching it, to try and free Skye, and when the shards start to turn him into stone, he just looks at her as if to say "Hold on, kid, I'll be there soon" with no regret whatsoever.
- As sad as Trip's Dying Moment of Awesome was, the scenes where the Diviner splits open and reveals the Terrigen crystals and misting all over Raina and Skye was incredible, complete with Skye bursting out of her cocoon and the earthquake effects immediately taking place afterwards.
- May's maneuver with the bus at the beginning of the episode shows she's even more badass as a pilot than she is as a fighter.
- Coulson concocting a plan to take out the entire leadership of HYDRA in one fell swoop, getting them to turn on each other by faking a prison break and assassination attempt on Bakshi, then mopping up the few who are left. It works without a hitch.
- On a meta level, after the show's first season suffered from having to wait for the release of Winter Soldier before it could do anything big, it now gets to close the book on that same plot thread completely on its own, no wait for another movie necessary.
- May distracting four HYDRA mooks with a nearby gas explosion, then coming out Guns Akimbo and taking them all down.
- Hunter killing a HYDRA leader with Boom, Headshot.
- Gordon warping in to save Raina from her attempted Suicide By S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.
- Beyond the rescue, there's his maturity and strength of character. In his first scene he's a scared child who can't control his powers. In his second scene, he is a confident man who is in complete control of himself. In him we see what an Inhuman can become with the right guidance and support.
- Fitz, despite his condition troubling him once again this episode, is not only the first (and only) one to realise that Skye has a superpower now, but he decides to conceal it from the rest of the team to protect her from their new-found Fantastic Racism, despite his initial fear.
- He successfully covers up the reason for the broken lamp and the real blood tests from Simmons, who out of everyone would expect to know if Fitz was lying to her, and from May, who as an operative is an expert in detecting this kind of concealment. Obfuscating Disability plays a role: he plays expertly on the fact that they trust his implicit honesty, are familiar with his clumsiness, and believe that his brain damage has lessened his mental abilities to the point where he couldn't keep something so important from them.
Who You Really Are
- Skye ICERs herself to shut off her out-of-control superpowers and protect the team. Even Sif is impressed, to the point where she backs off on her crusade to capture Skye.
- The confrontation between Fitz and the other agents. When they say that they should have been told about Skye's new powers he immediately bites back against their somewhat entitled attitude in that regard by pointing out the recent Fantastic Racism that they've been showing is the reason they weren't told. Not to mention that when Simmons tries to invoke a Double Standard he beautifully shuts it down by bringing up her actions over the course of the season, not just defending Skye but getting a chance to vent to her about his feelings towards what she has done.
Fitz: I was your friend. And then I changed. How did you handle that?
- Once again, Bobbi holds her own against a being with super-human strength, this time against the Kree warrior, Vin-Tak. While he's eventually he's able to subdue her, she keeps at it long enough, and gets enough good shots in, to buy Fitz time to get the Destroyer Gun (aka "The Bambino") to take him down, allowing her to use his memory-truncheon against him.
One Of Us
- May performing an epic Slow Walk before throwing down with Francis and winning despite her foe's superhuman strength.
- Gordon calmly standing up to Cal and verbally shutting him down. Not only is he dismissive of his temper tantrums, he makes it clear that Cal doesn't belong with the Inhumans because his powers came from a chemical experiment and that his petty feud with S.H.I.E.L.D. is endangering the truly gifted.
- On the meta level, after Inhuman, the show was used once again to set up a future movie (Captain America: Civil War this time) with the reveal of "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only does this help make sense of Civil War's premise "superheroes have to work for S.H.I.E.L.D." but also present a clear conflict for the show should it be renewed. The show has really come a long way from reacting to the movies to set up not one but two of the major cinematic installments of the MCU. This level of planning and integration between TV and movies is virtually unheard of before.
- Bobbi taking down a dangerous criminally insane Gifted who was got the jump on her at the beginning, in about twenty seconds at most, while Coulson just looks on. Particularly since she did it without her batons.
Love in the Time of HYDRA
- Lance being able to take down "real" S.H.I.E.L.D.'s guards, and somehow managing to escape the entire compound without a trace.
- For all of Talbot's ridiculous monologue about lawn mowers, he's not stupid. Once he hears that his wife is in two places simultaneously, it takes him about five seconds to figure out what's going on.
- Agent 33 knocks Bakshi out when he tries to use his Trigger Phrase on her and reactivate her brainwashing.
- Ward refuses 33's advances while disguised as Skye, showing a little Character Development.
One Door Closes
- May and Bobbi's fight. May proves a slightly better ass-kicker, but Bobbi is Crazy-Prepared.
- Simmons taking out Bobbi by handing her two seemingly random objects which combine to knock Bobbi out. What's truly awesome is that Bobbi was taken completely off guard. Simmons, legendary Bad Liar, sold a professional secret agent a stone cold deception.
- May avoiding capture then helping Coulson escape.
- Skye really unleashing her powers, sending out a vibration wave that knocks Bobbi and Calderon off their feet, blows up a tree and levels the clearing behind them, and puts a giant stake in Calderon's shoulder for good measure.
- Once again, Gordon teleports in and grabs someone like it's nothing. This time it's because Skye asked, and he lets her make the decision.
- Coulson getting the drop on Mack: First, he lets him take a look under Lola's hood, casually chatting about how Mack's model of her was perfect...except for one detail: Coulson knows Lola like the back of his hand, so he was able to find that extra component Mack added. When Coulson isn't satisfied with Mack's explanation, he reveals every mechanic in the room to be an armed S.H.I.E.L.D agent and they all simultaneously pull their guns on Mack.
- In a flashback, Bobbi arriving to save Mack and co from HYDRA, storming in and casually killing each one of them before her and Hartley arm the engineers. Then there's her leading the charge, and revealing she was there to sink the Iliad to keep it out of HYDRA's hands despite that meaning she'd have no escape.
- Isabelle Hartley fighting a whole ship's worth of HYDRA agents on the day they rose up. When given the assignment that will require getting past more of them, she just grins because she gets to beat more of them up.
- Gonzales' summation of how he dealt with the HYDRA agent that tried to kill him: "That man had an ax. Now I have it."
- Coulson calling BS on the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D.'s philosophies:
"Fury's secrets didn't destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.; HYDRA did."
- Just to hammer home how much Skye has really benefited from May's training, she single-handedly fights and defeats an armed "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. agent using nothing but martial arts (not even her own powers!), to the point that she pins him to the ground and has his own gun pointed at him. Unfortunately, this doesn't go well when Calderon finds her.
- When Coulson tries to buy a car, the salesman assumes he's looking for a Mid Life Crisis Car that he's a guy who's "played it safe his whole life and is looking to let the tiger out." Right before he and Hunter steal the salesman's personal car, Coulson quips, "Sorry, Eddie, but the tiger's been loose for some time." *PEW!*
- May calling Gonzales' bluff.
- Fitz getting the Toolbox out of Gonzales' team's possession with the help of Simmons and taking a bite of his sandwich.
- He gets another one when he calls the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. agents out on being driven by fear, going so far as to grab the toolbox in defiance. When the agents train their guns on him he just tosses it around into his other hand, practically mocking them by doing so before setting it down.
- Gordon effortlessly putting Cal in his place. Even when Cal bluffs into getting close enough to knock him off his feet, he's gone and back quickly.
- The back and forth scheming of Coulson and Gonzales.
- Coulson and Hunter playing cards and using a hologram of it to ambush Gonzales's retrieval team and then stealing their uniform for disguises.
- Gonzales' reinforcements not falling for their disguises and flanking them with a second quinjet.
- Mike Peterson being a One-Man Army as usual to bail Coulson and Hunter out.
- Simmons, the girl who couldn't tell a lie in Season 1, fooled both Mack and Bobbi (who were also double-agents before) with her apparent break with Fitz and Coulson, and is working undercover again in the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. like she did in HYDRA earlier this season.
- The reveal that Skye's mother is still alive, essentially pulling a reverse Fridging and showing that Dichen Lachman hadn't been wasted on a throwaway role after all.
- Fitz realizes that Gonzales' is having him followed so he will lead him to Coulson. So Fitz locks himself in a bathroom, openes the Toolbox to call Coulson to ask how to shake a tail.
- Everything May did in Bahrain. Infiltrating the stronghold, neck snapping the guards, defeating three of them simultaneously, and then killing an Inhuman with Super Strength and all without losing a single agent. It's little wonder the others started calling her "the Cavalry" after this.
- Skye causing an avalanche.
- Jiayang says that Cal "pieced me back together". This means he sewed her together, stitch by stitch. For someone that's currently experiences rage issues, that's something that requires a remarkably steady hand and iron nerves.
- Lincoln figuring out Raina's power is precognition.
- Clark Gregg made such an impact in the MCU, despite playing a supporting role to colorful superheroes, that Coulson's death in The Avengers led to a fan campaign to somehow resurrect the character that actually worked.
- Joss Whedon claiming that Disney wouldn't let them show any new clips at Comic-Con... so "all [they could] show" was the entire first episode.
- Despite being put in the same time slot as the #1 show on network television, which could make one think this show had been Screwed by the Network, it did well enough to be renewed. That's right: Agent Philip J. Coulson (Team ABC) went 22 rounds with Special Agent Leroy J. Gibbs (Team CBS), and while Coulson lost on points, he managed to avoid a total knockout. note
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. quite possibly made television history by incorporating the major plot twists of Captain America: The Winter Soldier literally a week after the film had its American premiere. When TV shows spawn movies, it often takes a season for any plot developments from the film to make it on to the show (and more often they never really do). AOS actually made people watch Winter Soldier to keep up on the show's plot... or rather, Winter Soldier drummed up so much popularity that it got people to return to the show in droves.
- After Marvel announced that they were going to air the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron during the sixth episode of Season Two in order to get people to give the show a second chance now that it's improved so much, some jackass decided to leak it online, thus robbing Marvel of this opportunity. However, instead of getting worked up, Marvel responded by jokingly pinning the blame on HYDRA. Then they released the clip properly so fans could watch it with their consent, then promised — and delivered — a different piece of exclusive footage for people to catch at the end of the episode instead. All in all, while Marvel want to get people to give their show another chance, they still put their fans first and made the best of a bad situation.
- The show went from spending its first season reacting to events in Marvel movie releases to taking a proactive role in the universe by setting up the introduction of the Inhumans five years before they're due to get their own cinematic outing.