WARNING: Later episodes may contain unmarked spoilers.
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- In the climax of this episode, Coulson is forced to send Franklin Hall falling into the gravity machine in order to stop it. Later on, we see S.H.I.E.L.D. agents locking up the mass of Gravitonium that had powered the machine...only to see an arm reaching out from the mass.
- Akela Amador's situation. Forced to watch her team die, kept in a cell at the bottom of a mine shaft for four years before being rescued. Only for her "rescuers" to implant a cybernetic eye into her head which they use to send her missions and control her with the threat of a kill-switch in the eye.
- People with eye issues should stay far, far away from this episode, particularly the scene involving Akela's surgery. Even with network TV limits, the Eye Scream is horrific.
- The poor ex-MI-6 agent who was also being controlled by the mysterious villain(s) behind the bionic eyes. His frightened "Oh God!" as Coulson flashes his badge will stick with you for a while.
- His own Eye Scream of the kill switch being flipped, his cybernetic eye turning around inside his socket before the Gory Discretion Shot censors the rest.
Girl In the Flower Dress
- When Chan attempts to use his fire powers without the use of his blood platelets, he scorches himself. His reaction upon first discovering this says it all.
- The Cruel and Unusual Death of the Centipede scientist by way of Chan roasting her with his fire powers It has to be seen to be believed◊. A subtle touch: Her scream doesn't fade away. It just stops when her lungs and throat disintegrate.
- The second-to-last scene of the episode is our first glimpse of Agent Coulson as anything but his usual straight, calm, collected demeanor, and it's nothing short of pure fury. It's more than a little jarring, coming from him.
- Coulson's scar. Saying he simply got shanked is a vast, vast understatement: it's obvious Loki's scepter tore half his chest apart. In "T.A.H.I.T.I." he confirms his heart was torn in half.
- The entire idea of the episode. There's an alien virus that can somehow infect humans and kill them with lightning from the inside. Simmons gets it, which nobody realizes until the Bus is in the air. Simmons has a couple of hours to cure herself of a virus that isn't even terrestrial in origin, or the resulting lightning will destroy the plane and kill everyone on-board.
- Blake's order to Coulson and Ward that they jettison their "infected cargo" (Simmons) into the ocean. Becomes a case of Fridge Horror when you realize the practical implications of the instruction: they're either going to have to Mercy Kill her first, or force her out of the cargo hold while she's still aware of what's going on.
- The stinger includes an exchange certain to send shivers down the spine of anyone who's seen a certain other Joss Whedon show, and know its implications for Coulson.
Coulson: Did I fall asleep?Masseuse: Only for a little while.
- The episode's namesake: Ward being haunted by memories of the time his truly evil big brother dropped his little brother down a well and forced Ward to watch the kid struggling to tread water.
- The completely emotionless way that the older brother tells Grant that if he tries to help their little brother, he'll be thrown in next.
- Ward's bouts of Unstoppable Rage brought on by the Berserker Staff. The staff's effects on May and the hate group are nothing pleasant either.
- A good majority of the episode. From The Bus losing power and almost crashing, to Tobias stalking and imprisoning/incapacitating each member of the team in near-total darkness using his incorporeal state, nearly the entire episode is a seat-gripper.
- A particular standout moment: the lights are mostly out, and the emergency lights are blinking on and off. The camera is focused on May in the foreground; when the light blinks on, she's alone. When it blinks out and on again, the threatening silhouette of a man looms in the background. The next time the light blinks out and back on again, the figure is gone.
- Mike Peterson calls his son, who happily tells him that his friend is watching him. When Mike asks Ace to put her on the phone, it turns out to be Raina. His son was being watched by his aunt. We never find out what happened to her.
- The way Raina reacts to information about the Clairvoyant. She otherwise seems to be the very image of an emotionless manipulator, yet she begs Po for any information about the Clairvoyant and seems to be overwhelmed with childlike joy when he tells her that the Clairvoyant knows of her and thinks well of what she's done.
- The sheer number of implants one of Centipede's soldiers has. One on each forearm, one on each shoulder, and multiple smaller ones on the back.
The Magical Place
- Coulson's cries of "Please, just let me die!" as a multi-armed robot probes his fully exposed brain during his seventh operation. The fact that he had already been through six operations before that one, and also seeing as how he was begging for them to let him die shows just show how much pain he was really in.
- Given the reveal that Coulson himself was the supervisor of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., the potential horror of his begging becomes two fold. Not only was he begging to die because he was in extreme pain and agony, but also because at that point he still remembered what happened to the previous subjects and would rather die than experience the same mental degeneration they suffered.
- Mike Petersen wakes up to find himself alone, with his right leg partly blown up, and a scarred face. Then he thinks he's left alone and sees his face in the mirror before him, a message appears in his eye sight in the manner of Akela Amador.
- The pocket-sized cryogenic gadget that can completely freeze a whole pool in a matter of seconds. And it does exactly the same to Donnie in the middle of his University lecture hall. And to top it all off, the larger version of said device that can spontaneously create a small hurricane-sized super storm with hail chunks the size of lunch boxes, and it ends up killing Seth. This episode really drives home how terrifying Super Tech can be when used irresponsibly. Reed Richards might not be so wrong about keeping this stuff locked away.
- When Skye goes into the basement of Quinn's manor. It's dark, and appears empty at first, but she soon finds a hyperbaric chamber that contains...Mike Peterson. Quinn and a bodyguard soon arrive, guns in hand, and we soon see that Mike is Not Himself.... And then later Skye gets shot twice by Quinn. She struggles to move and weakly say the word "Help" before finally collapsing into a pool of her own blood. Mike's new leg attaching and extending itself is also clearly extremely painful.
- After being told Skye is going to die, Team Coulson all go into individual BSODs. Except for May, who proceeds to go to Quinn's interrogation room... and begins beating him senseless. There's little doubt that if Coulson and Ward hadn't walked in and stopped her, May would have beaten Quinn to death with her bare hands.
- The blue humanoid concealed in the tank that is not only revealed to be the source of the GH-325 serum that was injected into Coulson (and later, Skye), but is also horrifically ripped in half and looks to be decomposing. Coulson's thousand yard stare says it all.◊
- The fact that even Nick Fury himself has gone off the grid just about the same time as Dr. Streiten.
- One of Lorelei's slaves strangles his own wife to death because she was making too much noise. And the newlywed man she'd taken earlier (stranding his pregnant wife in the process) ended up backhanded into his car.
- Rewatch Bonus. Ward tries to shoot May even after Lorelei is contained.
End of the Beginning
- Deathlok nearly choking Agent Blake to death.
- Upon the agents finding Thomas Nash, the Clairvoyant taunts them through a computer (in a Machine Monotone, no less), and tells Coulson that Skye will be endangered again in the near future, and he won't be able to save her this time.
- Poor Fitz, discovering that a friend and colleague is a Double Agent, and then being hunted down on an airplane where there's no escape. On a related note, seeing May go Terminator-mode against him is equal parts this and awesome.
- The Bus can be operated remotely.
- Simmons and Triplett are at S.H.I.E.L.D. during the events of CA:TWS, though mercifully they aren't at the Triskelion.
Turn, Turn, Turn
- The slow reveal: "Out of the shadows, into the light", followed by "HYDRA" and the dawning realization that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by an organization that itself is the stuff of nightmares.
- That heart-stopping instant where it looks like Triplett is a HYDRA agent, locking himself in a room with Simmons and pulling a knife out.
- Victoria Hand rounding up S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at The Hub to determine who's with HYDRA and who isn't. Fortunately it's because she's trying to stop HYDRA, despite what it seems like the episode has been leading up to.
- The Reveal of Ward as a HYDRA operative, calmly shooting the agents guarding Garrett (the Clairvoyant), shortly followed by Victoria Hand.
- There was something extremely unsettling about the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem on the closing title card being replaced with the HYDRA emblem.
- It's implied that instead of killing Fitz, HYDRA was going to somehow force him to work for them against his will. After Garrett would have him shot in the kneecaps for threatening him.
- Coulson learning that he was manipulated into choosing all the other members of Team Coulson by May so that they would be capable of killing him if it turned out that he Came Back Wrong.
- Garrett's call of "Hail HYDRA!" and its answering echo from the off-screen firing squad facing down Coulson, May and Fitz.
- After Ward kills the guards and Victoria Hand in cold blood, Garrett looks up at Ward and a Slasher Smile that can only be described as "hellish" spreads across his face... all the traces of Affably Evil are gone in that devilish shot.
- Garrett casually thanks Ward for "the tip-off about the Cellist". It seems that Coulson's reunion with his long-lost Love Interest in the next episode might not be under the happiest circumstances...
- Any scene where Ward switches between his HYDRA persona and his S.H.I.E.L.D. persona is unbearably creepy.
- Him calmly listing everything he did to get the team to trust him: acting like someone Coulson would want to mentor, becoming Skye's SO, saving Simmons's life (also gaining Fitz's gratitude in the process), and seducing May.
- Garrett's method for getting Ward back into character? Beating the crap out of him until he believes his performance. It helps that Ward is still half-smiling (though it's more like grimacing) through a mouthful of bloody teeth for much of the beating.
- Every scene where Skye is unknowingly feeding HYDRA information through Ward, up to and including his arrival at Providence, since the plan from there is to find out as much as he can, kidnap Skye for her password, and kill the rest of The Team.
The Only Light In the Darkness
- Poor Audrey, having a mentally-unhinged stalker with superpowers. It also goes the other way too, since from what is described, said stalker is in constant excruciating agony and the only form of relief he can find is in the music of a woman who is threatened by his very presence. It almost makes his death feel like a Mercy Kill.
- Blackout in general is pretty creepy, what with the way the lights go out when he passes by them and his Unflinching Walk.
- Skye finding Koenig's body and discovering that Ward is a HYDRA infiltrator. Her reaction says it all.
- That entire scene is nightmare fuel that feels like something out of a slasher movie. We have Ward looking around for her, calling out her name, all the while she is clearly putting everything together. We know that if they find her, she'll be killed, or at the very least captured and forced to activate the drive. The fact that after they find her, said character is suddenly very convincingly friendly, and makes up believable excuse for why Skye can't contact the team or Koenig, only makes things creepier.
- Ward's revelation which from the flashback to his childhood in earlier episodes, might be the only truth he tells Skye in the whole episode that not only did his older brother force him to torture his younger brother, but his parents were even worse. In the flashback we see, Ward's older brother threw the younger sibling into a well and then made Ward watch the little boy desperately tread water and scream for help as he fought to keep from drowning. the above spoiler implies Ward did not try to sneak a rescue, HE was made to throw him in there, possibly to his death How the hell were Ward's parents even worse?
- Considering that he considered Garrett, and being stranded in the woods alone for six months, the better option... A lot worse.
- May digs up a flash drive containing details on the T.A.H.I.T.I. project and at the end of the episode shows it to Coulson. The drive contains one video. It's Coulson himself, revealed to be the director of the project. He advises Director Fury to terminate the T.A.H.I.T.I. project and threatens resignation over it. What's more, Coulson reveals that there were test subjects for the project, all of whom quickly deteriorated after the treatment, and while memory replacement staved off the meltdown, it did so inconsistently. And now this treatment has been given to both Coulson and (incompletely) Skye.
- The device Deathlok uses on Ward, stopping his heart until Skye caved and spilled the drive's encryption. Just the idea of such a thing is bad enough!
- When it's revealed how Ward killed Koenig; strangled him with a garrote with enough force to not only lift the latter's body off the floor, but slice into his neck and obliterate his trachea.
- Skye floating out of the freefalling Lola after not having enough time to put on her seatbelt. And then the malfunctioning thrusters flip them upside down.
- The whole team is facing jail time if they're caught again for their continued affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D. and refusal to turn themselves in. Not only is it quite undeserved and basically an attempt by Col. Talbot to extract more information they don't possess, but Fridge Horror kicks in at the thought of any of these people (but particularly non-combatants like FitzSimmons and Skye) in jail alongside genuinely dangerous criminals.
- When Ward finally snaps at Skye on The Bus, it's genuinely frightening, as we get a glimpse of just how psychotic he truly is.
- Garrett's condition:
- The Reveal of how far back it goes and, consequently, how long the Centipede project has likely been in the works.
- The experience of having the cybernetics in one's body (a large chunk of his torso) shocked by an EMP.
- The immediate physical reaction to Raina's makeshift attempt to replicate GH-325 being injected into his cybernetics.
- Fitz and Simmons getting jettisoned from the bus into the ocean. This is further amplified by them being conspicuously absent from the next episode previews, while the more obvious survival of the rest of the team is spoiled right then and there.
- Coulson and the others in Cuba get ambushed by Kaminsky and other HYDRA agents in the dark.
- We finally get more information about Skye's past. The village she was found in was destroyed, the whole population massacred, by a pair of monsters who were trying to get to her as a baby. Those monsters were Skye's parents.
- An added dose courtesy of Fridge Horror: We still don't know how Skye's parents came to be those monsters. If there's a genetic component, then there's no guarantee that Skye won't one day become one herself. In other words, how much of the survivors' description was metaphor (they're monsters because they slaughtered a village) or literal (they're from another planet/dimension.)
Beginning of the End
- Garrett punching through a US Marine Corps general, pulling out one of his ribs, and stabbing him with it.
- Ward and May's climactic fight is one of the nastiest brawls in the entire MCU so far. It involves multiple uses of power tools. She nails his foot to the floor, several times. Ward may have had it coming, but OW.
- Unlike with Skye (who Ward genuinely cared for in his own dysfunctional way), and Fitz and Simmons (who Ward felt conflicted about killing), Ward seems to enjoy hurting May. His taunts are incredibly creepy.
- Against all odds, you and your best friend survive being dumped into the ocean from a plane, but the airtight, bulletproof, space-worthy box the two of you were dumped in has sunk to the ocean floor. Just when you've resigned yourself to starvation, or more likely, suffocation, against all odds, the both of you hit on a plan to break out of the box and get to the surface, But, just before the plan is put into motion, when it's too late to back out, your best friend reveals that the plan was only ever going to be for one person, and that that person is you, and they're going to stay behind so as to not hamper your escape attempt. And you helped them put that plan together, and you never even twigged once. No wonder all Simmons can say is 'No' when Fitz breaks it to her.
- And then you somehow manage to take your friend up to the surface with you and miraculously snag a rescue, but they sustain brain damage from lack of oxygen, and the best that can be said of them is that they're alive.
- Cybertek's "Incentives Program" basically consists of holding loved ones hostage in order to compel individuals to work as handlers of the Centipede soldiers. And the construction zone Ward and May fight through makes it clear Cybertek was planning to expand it significantly.
- Coulson getting up in the middle of the night, and scrawling the same alien language that drove Garrett insane all over the wall. Somehow, his tranquil demeanor while doing this makes it even creepier. This is especially the case if you realize that the writing is the same as the one found on the chalkboard by Ward in "Eye Spy". Gets worse when you listen to the creepy music played in the epilogue.
- When Raina tracks down Skye's father, his hand is dripping with...something. What was he doing before she came in?
- Coulson and May confronting Ward as he's being taken into custody by the military. On the surface, this seems like a major victory for Team Coulson complete with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, however the expression on Ward's face is very unsettling, implying he may escape and seek revenge in the future.
- Because Garrett has both the GH-325 and the Centipede serum in his system, he can take quite a lot of punishment before finally going down, but his appearance grows progressively more disturbing with each injury. After being shot several times by Nick Fury, his mouth becomes bloodied. His face then becomes covered in blood after Mike blasts him with a missile, and is made even worse when Mike stomps on him. Finally, after thought to be dead, he goes through a Painful Transformation into a cyborg à la Darth Vader, at which point he's instantly vaporized by Coulson.
- Garrett himself throughout the entire episode. He grows very erratic in a short amount of time, to the point where even Ward, Raina and Quinn are frightened of him. He wasn't a paragon of sanity before, but he starts to kill on a whim, rants about seeing the universe and generally gives off the impression of being unstoppable all while wearing a big Slasher Smile. Bill Paxton does a good job of being both entertaining and terrifying at the same time.
- Fitz is alive, walking around, and apparently getting better...yay! Except he's actually getting worse and he's begun hallucinating Simmons, who left because she thought it would help Fitz get better.
- In a moment that's particularly dark in hindsight, Fitz is afraid he's hallucinating and asks Simmons if she's seeing the same thing he is, to which she promptly responds that she is, and that he needn't worry. On this occasion it really is happening (confirmed by May, who sees it too), but Fitz being reassured that he's not hallucinating by his own hallucination speaks volumes about his grip on reality. As Coulson hints at the end of the episode, he doesn't even realise he's suffering a slow decline either, instead believing he's getting better with Simmons's help.
- Hartley, after being ambushed by Creel, grabs the Obelisk in an attempt to use it against him. It ends up attaching itself to her hand and starts slowly killing her to the point that Hunter ultimately has to slice her forearm off with a knife.
- Ward hasn't been doing well since the end of season 1, to say the least.
Heavy Is the Head
- Since the revelation in the premiere that she's just Fitz's hallucination, every scene with Simmons is more than a little eerie.
- The waitress who was serving Creel's table at the diner turning to stone after accidentally touching Creel, who had absorbed the Obelisk.
- Coulson's hypergraphia attacks occur regularly, May knows about it, she helps him cover him up, and she keeps a gun nearby if she needs to kill him. Edges into slight tearjerker territory when Coulson is being stubborn about the dates and admitting how tired he is with holding the attacks off.
Making Friends and Influencing People
- HYDRA's methods of brainwashing high-value targets, such as Agent 33, which looks a lot like something from A Clockwork Orange. All the while, Whitehall calmly delivers a chilling monologue.
- Fitz decreasing the oxygen in Ward's prison so he can experience for himself what happened to Fitz's brain.
- Donnie freezing a HYDRA agent, then shoving said agent to the floor on the way out, causing him to shatter rather gruesomely.
- The ending scene, with Whitehall and Bakshi discussing Simmons, especially with the line "We'll make her comply" played as a voiceover over a shot of Simmons standing in the elevator with an unsettlingly blank look on her face.
- Simmons' bright and cheerful morning routine doesn't seem to be this, until she goes into the building and you see the HYDRA logo on the wall.
Face My Enemy
- The fact that HYDRA has developed technology that lets their agents impersonate whoever they want, and all they need is some DNA and a voice sample. Which begs the question of how they managed to get General Talbot's DNA, with the implication that the United States Army isn't as HYDRA-proof as they claim to be...
- Dr. Whitehall corners Raina and implants a device on her that lets him torture her at will until she hands over the Obelisk. The fact that this is the first time we've actually seen Raina show genuine fear says a lot about Whitehall.
- The fact that there's someone else in the world who may have been injected with GH-325, carving alien messages into random objects.
- The revelation of how fragile the New S.H.I.E.L.D. can be struck home here. May gets knocked out long enough for a blood sample to be taken, thus allowing Agent 33 to impersonate her. This almost led to Director Coulson being captured and the Bus blowing up with his inner circle inside it. Without them, S.H.I.E.L.D. would've collapsed and HYDRA would've had one less thorn in its side.
A Hen in the Wolf House
- The Doctor is revealed to have a Hair-Trigger Temper on par with the Hulk's, which even he is similarly terrified of.
- Simmons being revealed as a mole within HYDRA, and her walking into the lab to find everyone in the room staring at her.
- Raina, of all people, freaking out and in tears for many of her scenes, considering that for the whole of Season 1 she was barely ruffled at any point, even when she was beating beaten and arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. It really underscores how scary Whitehall and The Doctor are, and how terrifying it must be to be caught between them.
A Fractured House
- HYDRA has managed to manufacture flying discs which replicates the effects of the Obelisk/Diviner that would quickly reduce their enemies to dust. Chew on that for a while.
- Ward revealing to Skye the reason why her father slaughtered everyone in that town when she was an infant: They were all HYDRA agents who had killed his wife.
- Ward and his Senator brother about their family. Who's telling the real truth?
- "So it's a well now." Tim DeKay's calm delivery of the line is blood chilling.
- Whatever the Ward family history may be, the idea of being handed back over to Christian clearly serves as some high quality Nightmare Fuel for Grant.
- Grant Ward, one of HYDRA's agents within S.H.I.E.L.D., escapes during the transfer to the US Government Custody and the last shot we saw of him was killing the soldiers who were watching him.
- The last shot we have of the episode shows a never-before-seen man going to a tattoo parlor for some ink. What does he want? A new addition to the alien writing sprawling across his torso identical to the stuff Garrett and Coulson had been carving.
The Writing on the Wall
- The carvings are becoming more and more frequent for Coulson, to the point that rather than being twice a month he carves every night.
- This whole episode has Coulson acting like a drug addict, needing to carve more and more to satisfy himself, physically lashing out whenever hindered, and even locking Skye in Ward's prison in order to get answers about the carvings from Thompson.
- The guy from the Wham Shot from last episode? Turns out he's Sebastian Derek, an early T.A.H.I.T.I. patient treated with the same GH-325 serum as Skye, Coulson, and Garrett. Oh yeah, and he used to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. black ops assassin. Fun.
- Coulson experiencing flashbacks of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and other participants' GH-235-induced Sanity Slippage while hooked up to Raina's memory machine. He watches them shift from happy and peaceful to deranged and tormented. The only way to help them at that point was to torture them even more to rewrite their memories. At the end, Coulson sees himself superimposed on one of them.
- [ We know that Coulson ended up needing memory replacement too - what's the chance that Coulson didn't go insane before that? He probably was once one of those screaming, deranged "things", as Dr. Streiten referred to him in The Magical Place, being hauled away to be operated on.
- The entire premise of the episode is that there's a killer who carved alien symbol onto his victim's bodies until they died out of pain. How this got a PG-rating is a wonder to critics as well as audiences.
The Things We Bury
- The secret behind Whitehall's youth. He stole the organs from an Obelisk-resistant woman who remained young and unchanged for years. Viewers get to see graphic details of the HYDRA scientists drawing blood and fluids as well as cutting her open. Even worse, the woman was Skye's mother, hence why the Doctor slaughtered all those HYDRA members in the immediate area, and secretly harbors so much hatred for Whitehall.
- The full truth of the Ward Household is revealed and it ain't pretty. Grant and Christian were both physically abused by their mother, while their father turned a blind eye to it. Their other brother Thomas was the apple of their mother's eye and Christian wanted to hurt him to get back at her. But he didn't have the stomach for it, hence why he made Grant do it. Grant finally gets his brother to admit it. He then kills him and their parents, and does it in a way to make it look like a murder-suicide.
- Throughout the episode, the way Christian tries to manipulate Grant is so textbook abusive it's enough to make anyone a little queasy.
- How do we know that that's the truth? Christian only admits it under a lot of pressure - what if it's not true, and he only "admitted" it because he was hoping it would get him out of the situation? For all we know, Grant is making it all up and he just wants an excuse for why he's the way he is.
- Grant Ward has rejoined HYDRA, and since he knows all the strengths and weaknesses of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson's team like family. If you read the truth about the Ward Household then you know what Grant does to family.
- Though, it might not be too bad of a nightmare, considering how he arranged "Face Time" with Coulson for Bakshi and noted he will be leaving further "presents" for S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward clearly has an ulterior agenda not in-line with HYDRA.
- Coulson's meeting with the Doctor at the Australian satellite facility. After Triplett is shot by a HYDRA agent to protect Fitz while he works on installing the transceiver, the Doctor-who Coulson hasn't seen in person yet-pretends to be a facility employee with medical training who can help Trip. The Doctor helpfully works on "saving" Trip before maybe not so unintentionally referring to Coulson as "Phil". He's rather unimpressed when Coulson pulls a gun on him by rather cheerfully stating that he's actually severed one of Trip's arteries and if he lets go, Trip will die, and as a result forces Coulson and Fitz to throw their guns over to him. During the ensuing confrontation, the Doctor veers between affable and enraged, especially when his Berserk Button of calling his daughter "Skye" is pressed. Coulson's barely-contained fury is very visible, especially when the Doctor manages to get away by providing Coulson with the anti-coagulants he'll need to save Trip's life while he makes his exit.
Coulson: I am going to find you again. And when I do, we're going to finish this talk.
The Doctor: *grins* I look forward to it.
Ye Who Enter Here
What They Become
- There is a second Obelisk. It begins reacting after the Obelisk in the city activates and it intrigues a man with literally no eyes. He doesn't even have eye sockets, just skin where his eyes should be!
- Remember how a few episodes ago a HYDRA goon was killed after he was frozen by Donnie Gill and then shattered? Essentially the same thing now happens to Trip after being hit with the Terrigen crystal shards.
- Imagine suddenly losing your sight and then randomly teleporting through a room and into its walls. Then imagine doing that for fourteen hours. Poor Gordon must have been out of his mind with terror.
- The horrifying way transformed Raina kills a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist. And not to mention we get several shots of her transformed state. Did we mention she's in pain all the time?
- Skye discovers that she's a Gifted while she's in quarantine (i.e. a glass cage) and listening to her friends develop Fantastic Racism. All she can do is wait for them to find out, and when they do, she won't be able to do anything about it. Suddenly Cal's concerns about her safety on Team Coulson are not so unreasonable.
- Near the end of the episode, we see a device hidden within Coulson's office (on a model of Lola, no less) scanning for something...until it was revealed to be Fury's Toolbox. Then we see Bobbi and Mack revealed to be the ones looking for the Toolbox. Bobbi says she will be "making contact" soon.
Who You Really Are
- There are four more Diviners out there somewhere, and we don't know if HYDRA has them or where they're at.
- Bobbi and Mack aren't working for HYDRA. But if not HYDRA, then just what the hell are they planning?
- Mack chokes Lance to the point of unconsciousness when he asks one too many questions about the above.
One Of Us
- The reveal that Skye's attempts at controlling her powers just caused them to go inward, nearly shattering her bones.
- Angar the Screamer. When we first see him, he's wearing a creepy, Hannibal Lector-esque mask. He gets even scarier when the mask comes off. In a subtle but terrifying bit of CGI, he unhinges his jaw like a snake before letting out a bloodcurdling scream that drops everyone like flies...and then the birds start falling.
Love in The Time Of HYDRA
- For all their talk of transparency and openess, the "Real SHIELD" is just as paranoid and full of Fantastic Racism as HYDRA has been shown to be. Gonzalez insistently refers to Skye "it" or "something" and ignores Bobbi's points that Skye was acting in self-defense. They also immediately conclude that Coulson was building an army of super-humans on Fury's orders, on the basis of him having Skye on the team. These are supposed to be the good guys.
- Lai Xi is pretty cultish: communal lifestyle, social isolation, members who join for the promise of ascension but only a few can be chosen, cryptically named leadership and a Big Brother Is Watching omnipresent character along with a prison with no windows where a guy can smash things and scream his lungs out for days and nobody will notice a thing.
- Eva Belyakov's daughter, Katya, who's essentially a Humanoid Abomination in the form of a little girl. Ava Acres's nightmarish performance just sells it.
Katya: I like their pain...Take my hand...I need a new mother.
- The worst thing about Katya is that she's not malicious or evil in any way. Even in her insanity, she's truly innocent and unaware about how terrifying her gift is.
- Jiaying implies that she was alive and conscious when her husband found her vivisected body in the woods and while he stitched her body back together again.
The Dirty Half Dozen
- Simmons' completely nonchalant attitude in her plan to hit Ward with one of the splinter bombs. She's going down a bad road...
- Even worse, when she kills Bakshi instead and is afterwards asked where he is, she just smiles and tells he didn't make it.
- We also get to see the downside of Raina's gift. Imagine being able to see exactly what Ultron will do to the world and being completely helpless to stop it.
- The SHIELD break-in, at least from HYDRA's perspective. They knew SHIELD had highly-skilled operatives when they signed up to fight SHIELD. But they didn't know SHIELD had an Enhanced; imagine what it would have been like when Skye got there. She cleared out a room in a second with her powers. And that was one of the tamer uses of her powers.
- We briefly see when a HYDRA surgeon casually cuts Lincoln's unconscious body with a scalpel as if he was a lamb.
- It's implied that while being butchered by Whitehall, Jiaying was conscious enough to know that her organs were put in jars. Let that sink in for a moment.
- Ward and Kara being able to take out Bobbi and planning to kill her. the borderline-Slasher Smile they share at the end really sells it.
- There's something extremely unsettling about the Kree Monolith. A simple stone pillar with seemingly random holes in the surface changing into a liquid form and back again is somehow very eerie in its unnaturalness. It almost seems as if it as alive somehow.
- Skye's mother's inhuman ability is sucking the life out of her hosts. The audience sees it SEVERAL times throughout the finale episode.
Jiaying: (As she is draining Skye/Daisy's life essence) I always believed the reason I endured all that torture and pain was for you. That you were my true gift. But you're not, this is.
- Consider how old Jiaying is. She has possibly been doing this for centuries. Cal said in the past one of the elders would sacrifice themselves every few decades so they could continue to have her guidance.
- What's worse? She even uses her draining powers on her own daughter, complete with Skye/Daisy begging her mother to stop as her skin and eyes begin to pale.
Skye/Daisy: (With what little of her voice is left) Don't....do this....
Jiaying: You've made your choice. I'm sorry.
- Jiaying killing Raina. Even worse? Skye/Daisy witnessed the whole thing happen right in front of her.
- There's the lovely closeup of Ward shoving the needles under Bobbi's nails.
- Bobbi's entire ordeal is just pure Nightmare Fuel. The torture itself she's trained to overcome, and she's even alright when they're seconds away from killing her. Except they catch on to that, and so they decide to lure Hunter there and kill him in front of her. Bobbi then has to stew in that for hours, set up in a terrifyingly simple trap that will give her a fully uninhibited view of Hunter getting shot and killed just a few feet away. Her clearly visible panic as she hears his coming closer is one of the most heartwrenching scenes in the entire goddammned series.
- Cal's completed transformation. Mister Hyde is terrifying.
- The Inhumans invading the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier, killing innocent agents and to take the Kree Weapon. The whole scene was a stuff of nightmares, since we know the variety of abilities the Inhumans could do.
- Coulson, Mack and Fitz fighting Gordon who can teleport anywhere he likes. How it did end? Gordon gets a steel pipe stuck in his stomach.
- After catching a dropped terrigen crystal to save everyone on the Iliad, Coulson begins to turn to stone. We are then treated to the very horrifying visual of Mack cutting off Coulson's left hand with an ax to save his life. Coulson's scream of pain is the stuff of nightmares.
- How does Cal kill his wife Jiaying? He gives her a neck snap, followed by a crushing bear hug which probably crushed her insides to pulp.
- The epilogue has its own horrors.
- Ward has gathered up the remnants of HYDRA and is intent on forming his own team of HYDRA agents to oppose S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Possibly foreshadowing the Inhumans movie, the box of terrigen crystals Skye has pushed into the ocean with her own powers had broken open, infecting the wildlife in the sea, mainly fishes. The fishes were then caught and processed into fish oil, which is then sold in supermarkets and other shops in the world. What happens when those terrigen crystals-infected fish oil were consumed by humans...? How many people are either going to develop superpowers, or be petrified into stone.
- Remember the Kree weapon which was sealed within the S.H.I.E.L.D. Aircraft Carrier? After Fitz accidentally unlocked the weapon's containment box and left, the Kree weapon turned into its liquid form, swallowed Simmons WHOLE (while she was still screaming), and went back to its original form in a matter of seconds. This leaves Simmons's fate in doubt until the next season.
Laws of Nature
- Poor Joey has not had a good first day as an Inhuman. He takes a completely innocuous fish oil pill, and suddenly everything around him melts, and now there are people who are authorized to use lethal force on him, and yeah, he gets rescued, but now he can't go home again.
- Again, the monolith.
- The monolith is a wormhole created by the Kree. When inactive it is a solid block of stone, but when active it is an undulating mass capable of capturing life forms and transporting them elsewhere in space.
- Fitz calmly grabbing a shotgun, heading into the Monolith room, shooting out the lock, and entering the containment unit all screams of a potential suicide by monolith. Then he completely and utterly loses his shit when it fails to do anything. Imagine heading into the den of the monster that killed your best friend, expecting it to do the same to you, and it doesn't. That hurts so much more than mere death.
- Jemma Simmons after being swallowed by the Monolith.
- Alone. Hurt. Hunted. On the other side of the universe and seemingly for weeks or months. What has she had to do to survive for so long?
- If the Monolith's portal abilities are triggered by the Inhuman gene, then that makes Simmons' Inhumanity very likely. Going on her dim view of Inhumans from the second half of season 2, this idea alone would probably be in-universe Nightmare Fuel for Simmons.
- The alien, Lash, that's been hunting Inhumans and killing them. Skye and Lincoln barely faze the guy, Mac empties his gun into his gut and it doesn't slow him down. He has a nasty way of killing.
Purpose in the Machine
- The history of the Monolith. A flashback at the start of the episode shows a person being randomly selected to be swallowed up by the Monolith. It's implied that this happened to multiple people.
- Ward's new vision for Hydra is already proving to be effective. In his first appearance, we see him speeding around a parking garage in a sports car, spouting a Social Darwinist lecture to his second in command. He believes that Hydra's leadership had grown too complacent and reliant on their money and privilege, and that to be a true member, one has to 'earn' it. So what do his followers do? They stand completely still at each of the pillars, fully ready to die for Ward if he crashes into them. Oh, and the guy he's talking about is clinging to the hood the entire time.
- Likewise, his quick molding of Werner von Strucker (son of the man himself) into a potential Hydra leader. Ward successfully uses the same Sink-or-Swim Mentor tactics that Garrett used on him, and at the end of the episode, we get the Wham Shot of Werner getting close to Andrew Garner by enrolling in his class.
- Simmons' Catapult Nightmare after her rescue from the Monolith. It's clear that she's going to have a lot of issues resulting from her stay on the alien planet.
- The fact that she kept a weapon on her the entire time on the trip home, the move to the containment room, and falling to sleep. She's been so traumatized that even with the rest of Team Coulson around her—even with Fitz right next to her—she still didn't feel safe.
4, 722 hours
- The fact that the alien planet Simmons and Will were stranded on is apparently alive. It's that it's actively malevolent towards Jemma and Will. In their one attempt to actively escape, Jemma figures out that the next portal will open in the 'No Fly zone', over a canyon that Will has visited and charted to be 30 metres wide. After days of trekking, they get there and find that the canyon has increased to more than 100 metres wide with a dead drop in the middle. The conclusion they both reach? The planet doesn't want them to leave. Ever.
- "It", the unknown, shapeshifting monster that roams the planet's surface, killing anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.
- The form it takes near the end of the episode - the corpse of one of the astronauts who died on Will's mission looks freaking terrifying.
- Imagine living the way Will has, stranded for fourteen years with no hope of rescue. Barely seeing the sun. Knowing you're, in part, responsible for the deaths of three men, and that their corpses may rise out of the sands of the planet to kill you when you exit your home. Imagine facing the abandoned city with the corpses of explorers past alone, like the protagonist of a Lovecraft story.
- Scariest of all, add up all the clues and it's implied that the planet that they're stranded on is this.
Among Us Hide...
- Hunter's taken off the case to Kill Ward. Though his desperation to do something is played for laughs It's becoming quickly apparent that his solution to all problems is violence and death. Making one wonder if this is the start of a decline.
- The reveal of Andrew Garner as Lash, the Inhuman that's been killing every member of his species that he can get his hands on. May's tear-stricken, speechless, horrified reaction mirrors what the audience is going through, especially with the fact that he's in their base, with at least three Inhumansnote within arm's reach.
- The flashback of Andrew transforming into Lash before going to town on Werner's goons. No wonder Werner himself was so terrified when he bolted out of the store.
- The Mook Horror Show Lash pulls on damn near everyone in this episode. He rivals the Hulk on invulnerability, can smash you into a wall with a single blow, and even his human form can't be killed with mere guns. So how in the hell can you beat him?
- Lash's reasoning behind killing Inhumans: he only kills the ones that would turn evil, and is killing them before it happens. Recall back to what Steve said in AoU regarding 'ending the fight before it starts'? It really does appear that 'Good becomes Great, Bad becomes Worse'.
- Lash's intentions aside, look at the people he kills; he killed humans that got in the way, he killed newly turned Inhumans that had the potential for darkness (which amounts to all of them) and he has killed long-term Inhumans that could use their abilities for evil purposes. Now you are probably thinking he is a hypocrite for saying this, since he kills people under a 'just' cause, but look at Joey, he was happy about his newfound control over his powers, and he could just as easily tear down a building in a few minutes as well as build one in an hour. His excitement seems to be the trigger for Lash to kill him, but Andrew is hesitant as it is possible to talk him out of it.
- The stinger: Rosalind seems to be taking her orders from HYDRA, and is trying to deliver Coulson to them; meanwhile she is developing a romance with him and trying to lower his guard, and her 'legitimate' work entails putting Inhumans in stasis for now unknown purposes (for HYDRA)
Many Heads, One Tale
- Gideon Malick becomes a source of this when it is finally revealed where his allegiances truly lie. He has at his fingertips the ATCU (which Rosalind was completely unaware of until this episode) and the Order of the Monolith, which was in reality an older incarnation of HYDRA. His mission is to bring to Earth an ancient master that the Order had been serving for centuries through sacrifices, and to have an army of Inhumans under Malick waiting on the other side.
- And that master he serves? The thing on the planet that's been terrorizing Will for over fourteen years and nearly killed Simmons. An Inhuman so powerful and evil that it had to be banished to the other side of the galaxy to be stopped. And Gideon wants to bring it back here.
- Ward, not to be outdone by Malick, has his share of horrifying moments in this episode. First, he engages in a bit of Cold-Blooded Torture on Malick's men, with implements such as a kitchen knife and a blowtorch. Then, on his way to Germany, he blows a hole in the side of a full airplane, after warning the passengers — much to their terror — that they're about to experience some turbulence and will likely freeze to death. Then, at the end of the episode, he starts torturing Andrew with mustard gas in the hopes of drawing out Lash.
- How "It" works: It smells blood and moves to the injured party, then when the person dies, It crawls into their dead body and reanimates it. It is just a worm-like creature that controls the dead body.
- 'You're not Will.'
- And how do we learn this? Because whatever wounded Will's leg caused the flesh to be stripped to the bone.
- By the end of the episode, It has now taken over Ward's body as it's new host, and we see the creature wriggling in his forehead.
- 'You're not Will.'
- During the battle, Simmons is cornered by HYDRA and has to make a difficult choice: either free Andrew or possibly get killed. In the end, she does wind up freeing Andrew, who unleashes Lash on some HYDRA soldiers. This has direct consequences because later in the episode all the Inhumans that HYDRA had captured at their base are killed by Lash. May sees their body parts lying around.
- Coulson's execution of Ward. As Ward is lying on the ground incapacitated, Coulson angrily glares down at Ward and presses his robotic hand down on his chest. As Ward helplessly struggles, Coulson presses his hand down further, crushing the HYDRA agent's chest. There's a sharp sound as his rib cage collapses. It's so brutal that Fitz is visibly stunned for the rest of the scene.
- "It" was explicitly named as an Inhuman. Which means that a human being was turned into that thing.
- "It"/Hive in Ward's body. Its movements and expressions are creepily stilted and lifeless as it speaks in a Creepy Monotone about its former glory and utters ominous vows of a return to power upon regaining its former strength. Brett Dalton's performance really sells the fact that the person this body used to be is gone. It really says something when you can make eating a chicken leg with a glassy, hollow stare look bone-chilling. It doesn't help that the chicken leg is raw, as is all the other food that HYDRA brings to it.
- Ward's body is in a horrible state; it's emaciated, horribly pale, could easy pass as a zombie, and still has Coulson's hand print embedded in it's chest.
- The way It/Hive's hand starts to disintegrate as it promises to make a "believer" out of Giyera. Whatever that means, it can't be good.
- Lucio, aka the "Medusa eyes" Inhuman. One glance, and Bobbi and Hunter both drop to the ground, petrified and helpless. The way their skin loses all color and their eyes are wide open makes it hard to tell at a glance if they're even still alive. And at the end of the episode, he's in the custody of HYDRA.
The Inside Man
- Hive finally manages to completely heal. How, you ask? By taking five living humans and stripping them to the bone so it can use their flesh to repair its borrowed body. All that's left are bloody, smoking skeletons while Hive is covered with and standing in a puddle of what used to be people.
- Even better, the camera lingers on it as it rises, in such a way that it looks like It is staring directly at the audience.
- The flashback to Maveth shows Ward's dying point of view after Coulson crushes his chest and leaves for the portal. The last thing Grant Ward ever saw is a thing slithering over his face.
- It is a brief mention, but it was stated that there was staff at the ATCU building that gets imploded with nitramene. Considering how small the ball of rubble is compared to the original building, having fun thinking what the experience may have been for anyone inside.
- The Watchdogs themselves are this: a hate group bent on the annihilation of everyone remotely 'alien' from the planet. And now that Gideon Malick/HYDRA is funding them, they've gone from being an online anti-alien group to full-blown domestic terrorists with enough weaponry to start a nuclear war. And because of the masks they wear, they could literally be anyone.
- The look of barely concealed disgust that Giyera gives Blake. You know that once the Watchdogs have served their purpose, whatever Giyera plans for their leader is not going to be pretty.
- Seeing Daisy briefly become The Unfettered is terrifying. More so if you don't know her, and even more so if you're on the receiving end. While the Watchdogs are clearly insane, they are partially right: the Inhumans (and others) are dangerous. There is a reason the Sokovia Accords are an important issue.
- We get to see Hive devour people onscreen, and it's just as horrifying as you might imagine.
- Malick crushes a man's head, again onscreen.
- More mild than most examples, but the Terrigen has permeated the ecosystem enough that nascent Inhumans can undergo Terrigenesis just by being out in the rain.
- Hive speaking to Malick as his brother Nathaniel, who he sacrificed to save his own skin. Hive teaches then Malick the meaning of sacrifice by killing his daughter in front of him.
- This episode brings The Thing levels of Paranoia Fuel, thanks to Hive finally using his Mind Control ability on one of the Secret Warriors. The lack of trust and mounting tension throughout the entire episode makes Daisy being revealed as Brainwashed and Crazy even more terrifying. After getting an eyeful of Hive dust, her face momentarily seems to take on an expression of horror before the brainwashing sets in.
- The final scene establishes that while the other Secret Warriors might be dangerous, Daisy is the one who really earns the title of Person of Mass Destruction. She brings down the entire hangar and does unknown amounts of damage to rest of the base in less than a minute. she didn't even seem to be putting any particular effort into it!
- Simmons' post-mortem examination of Lucio is shown in nauseatingly-graphic detail, including peeling back is skin and cutting the top off his skull to see his infected brain underneath.
- Hive's influence over the Inhumans in its sway is very reminiscent of a cult. Both Daisy and Alisha talk about how wonderful it feels to be around Hive and how they want Lincoln to join them. Its influence even pushes them to do things they would otherwise never do (Alisha kills her own clones and Daisy threatens to kill Fitz).
- According to Simmons research, Hive's infection is more akin to addiction than brainwashing; Hive's spores affect the dopamine levels of his victims' brains, essentially drugging them into absolute loyalty towards Hive.
- The "test" of the eye-enhancement tech that Fitz-Simmons have to perform to get in to see Dr. Radcliffe: installing the eyes in a living specimen. Simmons goes so far as to put a needle of anaesthetic in the patient's pupil before exposing the test as a fake. The patient (Radcliffe himself) then gets up and casually takes the needle out of his own eye.
- Hive taking on Will's persona while talking to Simmons. Exactly why it does this is unclear, but it's extremely disturbing.
- Before that, there's the fact that Simmons is staring down the thing that spent six months hunting her. She's utterly terrified to the point of Tears of Fear, and who can blame her?
- Hive's apparent master plan: replicate the Kree experiments that created the Inhumans to turn everyone on Earth into an Inhuman.
- The results of the first Radcliffe's first experiment with Inhumans. The poor test subjects are liquefied, screaming in agony the whole time. All this takes place on screen.
- The Kree Reapers that land in the town HYRDA controls. In their hunt for Inhumans, they slaughter multiple people, including Alisha, armed with nothing more than blades. In turn, they No-Sell every physical blow thrown at them. May can't tell if they're killing HYRDA agents, or everything they come across. No wonder Hive was terrified of these guys.
- The artificial Inhumans that the Watchdogs are turned into using Daisy's blood are alien-looking Humanoid Abominations that cannot speak and rely on primitive instinct. While Dr. Radcliffe considers it a failure, Hive considers it good enough to subject the entire world to!
- Hive has previously been shown to shrug off gunshots, a grenade and an RPG, and has been able to survive Lincoln's electrical blasts and even Lash's energy blast, with so much as a nick in his suit. Here, Daisy attacks him with her powers, stabs him repeatedly with a combat knife, and even breaks his spine and arms with her abilities, and he just regenerates. Nothing they do to him personally does more than mildly inconvenience him. Knowing all this, the humanity of Millenia ago had every right to be afraid of a being who was virtually immortal.
- Hive's experience with the memory machine is essentially a schizophrenic freak out turned Up to Eleven. Imagine a normal person who has multiple personality disorder, and they lose track of which personality is the right one. Now imagine, instead of personalities, you had entire lives, and you are reincarnated with the memories of the previous lives still intact. For millenia... And imagine each and every one coming to the surface simultaneously, all believing that they are the current life. 100+ lives all interacting in your mind at once, with an eon of memories all pushed to the surface. It's more scary to think that Hive wasn't reduced to a huddled ball of insanity by this tactic.
- Even worse when you think about exactly what must be in those memories. Every single one of his hosts, including his original body, must have had horrifying experiences and unpleasant deaths, and all crammed into his head. Imagine dying hundreds of times over, none in ways anyone would want to go.
- Ghost Rider himself (now the page image) is the stuff of nightmares. The way that the skin on Robbie's head slowly burns off to reveal the flaming skull is particularly unsettling. If his appearance isn't enough, his power certainly is; once he reveals his flaming skull, he absolutely curb-stomps Daisy, and was clearly more than capable of killing her if he hadn't decided that she didn't deserve it.
- Ghost Rider running down the Aryan criminals in the opening. They're absolutely terrified, to the point that they fire an RPG to try and stop him. It doesn't work, and the Rider's car just bursts into hellfire in response.
- We don't see exactly what Ghost Rider does to one of the Aryans he kills, but whatever he did, it sent a lot of blood flying onto the car door and another criminal's face.
- The dispassionate way that Robbie executes the captive Aryan is bone-chilling.
Aryan: I don't deserve to die!
Robbie: Everyone says that.
- "They say when the Rider burns you, he burns your soul."
- The ghost in the box, and what it does to the Chinese gangsters who find it; instant Hate Plague with zombie hallucinations. At the end of the episode, it's attached itself to May.
Meet The New Boss
- The episode opens like something out of Supernatural, with a little boy seeing the ghost from last time. He tells his dad, who at first doesn't believe him; until the ghost reappears and flies through his chest. He then begins seeing the same things as the Chinese gangsters and May. His son approaches and says, "Daddy, I'm scared". But his father hears it in a deep, echo-y voice while his son's eyes become blackened, dead things...
- It turns out there are more spirits like the woman; they were apparently scientists researching an artifact called the Darkhold, and were killed by their experiment. We don't see how, but it must have been very violent because they appear to be covered in blood and fresh wounds.
- In the previous episode. we saw May had been affected by the ghost woman. We'd expect her to turn herself in for testing or decontamination or something. She doesn't, but it's partially justified by the fact that she's seeing everyone's faces as being those of death. She doesn't think she can trust any of them, and ironically believes herself to be the Only Sane Man. Since she's normally The Stoic, calm, and in control, watching her freak out and believe that all of her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have turned into monsters is deeply unsettling.
- She goes to talk to the Chinese gang leader, believing he's sane as well. Except he starts rambling and then beating his head on the door until it bleeds. Arguably May has it worse than the viewer: we can see he's clearly insane by now, but May looks at him and sees that he's Driven to Suicide, past the Despair Event Horizon. And it's what awaits her if she doesn't find a way to stop everyone from turning into monsters. Oh, wait...
- The Ghost Rider, of course.
- Daisy makes the mistake of threatening his brother, so he lights up a wrench and goes for her head. He ends the fight pretty quickly, too, though it takes a second hit this time. And after, we're not sure what he's going to do with her.
- And then he transforms again, and this time its a bit more horrific. The lighting is odder, and the effect is faster. And once he's transformed? He literally burns a person's soul. Guess the Aryan was right...
- The blackouts cause a lot of this:
- Daisy and Robbie talk about how looting and rioting typically take place during black outs because people feel embolden. In otherwords, seven major cities with the lack of inhibition of the internet.
- Robbie specifically talks about his fear that his wheel-chair bound little brother will be stuck in a bad part of town.
- The new villain, Senator Nadeer, is looking like The Unfettered; seven major cities blacked out so the Watchdogs can zero in Inhumans while she fans the flames of Inhuman hatred. Imagining what she's going to do next is even scarier.
Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire
The Good Samaritan
- Robbie's first transformation into Ghost Rider is lifted straight from the comics. His screaming mixed with the slow, obviously painful transformation is enough to give anyone shudders.
- By the end of the episode, Eli has succeeded with his plan, and gained godlike powers. And Coulson, Fitz, and Robbie are nowhere to be seen.
Deals With Our Devils
- Just the thought of being unharmed, only to find out you are now a ghost, and noone can hear or even see you.
- Mace sends Simmons to a classified mission. The problem is that it is classified even to him, and upon trying to get Simmons back, the senator abruptly hangs up on him. Imagine being in Mace's shoes, realizing he just sent Simmons off with no backup and no idea where she is.
- Even worse is Fitz overhears the whole thing, and is not only pissed, but terrified for Simmons' safety.
- Nadeer's brother was conscious and aware of everything around him while he was stuck in Terragenesis (He could hear and remember Simmons introducing herself).
- Eli's powers, being able to create carbon from effectively air. Including the air inside the human body.
- It turns out that the ghosts are being dragged into Hell slowly. Lucy and the others were stuck in limbo, too far up for Hell to affect them, while Coulson and co are too far down to affect their environment, and slowly sink into the depths with each passing moment. From what we hear from the Rider, Hell ain't pretty.
- Mack getting taken over by the Ghost Rider- it fully suppresses his consciousness, leaving him unable to account for anything he does for hours. During that time, he runs away from SHIELD, attacks the Chinese gangsters, and even kills a few of them. The experience brings to light all of the darkness inside of him, and leaves him broken.
- Not to mention the fact that the Rider considered the situation where he fully suppressed Mack to be be "not ideal". Makes you wonder just what the Rider considers an "ideal" host.
- And then there's the shot we get of the actual Spirit of Vengeance, outside of a host.
- When Radcliffe opens the Darkhold, the camera is looking up at him. This is the perspective of the book; book is reading its reader. What is that famous phrase, "And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you".
- We also see his reaction. At first it's confusion, followed by shock, then mounting horror.
The Laws of Inferno Dynamics
- Agent Nathanson finds something horrifying at Radcliffe's house and Aida sees it with him. She strokes his cheek while he is stunned with fear and says "I'm sorry. I know how this feels..." and she snaps his freakin' neck; no emotion or anything. Then we see what Nathanson found; a bloody and unconscious May. Ladies and Gentleman, this is why androids were banned!
- To make matters worse, another May - a Life-Model Decoy who no-one's recognised as such - is back at the base drinking whisky with Coulson.
- The face Aida makes as she explains how the Darkhold showed her how to feel. You can see the madness in her eyes. The biggest kicker? It was all an act, as Radcliffe was corrupted by the Darkhold and is now seeking it for himself to achieve immortality.
- How about some Paranoia Fuel for you? Life Model Decoys are so convincing that LMD!May doesn't know that she is an android.
- While having trouble with interrogating the sniper who tried to kill Mace, Simmons comes up with an idea to make him talk. Claiming to have gotten quite a few skills at torturing people while with HYDRA, Simmons decides to show the guy what happened to the last person who refused to answer her questions: Aida's severed head in a cooler filled with ice, complete with some fake blood on the mouth to make it seem all the more real. The guy starts talking.
- Toward the end of the episode, Fitz downloads Aida's data to investigate what made her turn on S.H.I.E.L.D. What truly makes the scene frightening is that Aida's head is partially activated, and talks to Fitz while he's doing this.
- Let's take a look at Radcliffe and Aida's entire treatment of the real May. Locking her into a Lotus-Eater Machine, running her through simulation after simulation to try and keep her calm and contained. The capper is putting her back into the Bahrain Mission, allowing May to 'save' Katya this time around and all this is done with the idea that they are helping May. The treatment of May is less a Doctor working with a patient and more of a Researcher playing with a test animal.
Hot Potato Soup
- After the Watchdogs start strong arming Radcliffe and Aida, Radcliffe gives Aida a nod, and she not only overpowers two Watchdogs, but also kills one by punching through his stomach.
- What makes it creepier is that when Radcliffe tells her to stand down, she just sits down, smiling politely, with her hand still soaked in blood.
- Just before Mack is about to use his shotgun-axe on LMD Radcliffe, it asks why, if Mack doesn't consider it a living thing, he felt the need to turn him on before killing it. Mack's response? He wants to hear a robot scream!
- Doubles as Paranoia Fuel, but after her brother was outed as an Inhuman, Nadeer was paranoid she was an Inhuman as well, or at least a carrier. When Shockley crushes the Terrigen, she panics as the mist passes around her, only to see Shockley become cocooned.
- Shockley's powers: he can manipulate the kinetic energy of his cells at an atomic level, pushing them to the point his body becomes combustible and highly explosive. He then reforms From a Single Cell (albeit without any clothes) to do it again. As Mace points out, he is now 'an undetectable suicide bomber who can walk away.
- Worst part, the Anti-Inhuman cell SHIELD has on board the Zephyr cannot contain his powers. Something that was designed to contain the Hulk cannot contain Shockley.
- After the explosion, we see Shockley reform. First it's a gas, then it forms into a skeleton (we're seeing that a lot lately), before it forms meat, muscle, tissue, and finally Shockley. It's like Hive stripping a body from last season in reverse.
The Man Behind the Shield
- The ending of the episode: Coulson, Daisy, Mack, and Mace have all been replaced by LMDs, and only Fitz and Simmons are aware of it. And then they make it five, as the Coulson LMD reactivates the May LMD.
- The basic premise of the episode. The base is heavily infiltrated with android doubles of most of the team, leaving the remainder who are still human wondering who's left that they can trust.
- Daisy and Simmons jump into their counterpart's identities in the Framework. But the Jemma Simmons of the Framework is already dead. So what happened to Jemma when she logged in?
- If you could fix one regret in your life, what would it be, and who would you be if you did? Well, Coulson would be a teacher spreading fear of Inhumans, Fitz would be rich and dating someone else because Simmons died, and May would be working for HYDRA.
- The fact that Ivanov's been reduced to a severed head in a glass container who's now controlling an LMD of himself, courtesy of Aida.
- Even after the truth about Fitz is revealed, Simmons struggles with the possibility that she could also be an LMD programmed to think she's the real thing.
- The sight of the LMDs of Team Coulson trying to kill the ones who are opposing them. The fact that they're LMDs does nothing to lessen the horror of watching this family trying to kill each other. Stand out points include:
- LMD Coulson coldly pointing a gun at LMD May right before she could blow them both up was highly disturbing, especially considering how much their human counterparts care about each other, made worse by the fact that both have recently realized that they love each other. She may be more than capable of emotion but he certainly wasn't.
- LMD Fitz brutally stabbing Jemma while switching between human and robot personalities, followed by Jemma repeatedly stabbing LMD Fitz. After seeing how far one of them will go for the other (Jemma dragging Fitz from the bottom of the ocean; Fitz jumping through a portal to find Jemma), it's incredibly horrifying to see them attacking each other. Jemma is left visibly traumatized by the event; when Daisy finds her, Jemma keeps saying "It wasn't him" in a way that it's clear she is trying to reassure herself of this fact.
- The LMDs of Coulson and Mack shooting Daisy after she defeats LMD Mace. Daisy has spent her life searching for a family, and now people who look like the men she views as a father and a brother are trying to kill her.
- For some reason, the LMDs are also trying to carry out the Watchdogs' mission of genocide against the Inhumans, now using the Inhumans' trust of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get close to them by sending multiple LMDs of Daisy to execute them simultaneously. For extra horror, it was LMD Mack that tried to lead Yo-Yo into the trap.
- The Framework World, ALL OF IT, is pure Nightmare Fuel. Here's a highlight reel:
- Hydra is in control, and it is utterly normal.
- Coulson being totally on board with the Hydra party line and inhuman hate. PHIL. COULSON.
- The Avengers and the Battle for New York aren't mentioned. Clearly, the Chitauri and Loki didn't win, but we don't know what did happen. Especially as Coulson was the one who's death saved the team.
- Nothing about previous SHIELD Agents or the Avengers are mentioned leaving the fates of Fury, Hill, Hand, Bobbie, Clint, his family, Steve, Tony, Bruce, Natasha, and the Maximoff twins up in the air. The fate of the SHIELD Science/Tech Academy does not bode well for them.
- Fridge Horror starts kicking in when you realize Bahrain happened PRIOR to the Battle of New York and the Cambridge Incident happened within a short time after that. So it's possible that HYDRA was in control at that time would have occured, thus no Avengers at all.
- Keep in mind l, the first third or so of Thor happens on Asgard, i.e. out of Hydra control. Once Thor arrives on Earth, he interacts with A) Shield and B) Astrophysicist Jane Foster. In this reality HYDRA has replaced SHIELD and probably keeps a close eye on an Astrophysicist who hypothesizes dimension/space travel. So, who did Thor meet and interact with on Earth? And how does this play into Loki's plans? Is he openly ruling Asgard? Did he ever meet Thanos?
- Was Steve Rogers ever rescued? Is he still trapped? Or did HYDRA just find and kill him?
- All of the anti-Inhuman hate and reference to Nazism.
- May, trying to do a good thing, accidentally (if indirectly) causes the end of the world as we know it.
- Fitz of all people is The Dreaded Mad Scientist who performs Cold-Blooded Torture on Inhumans.
- In-Universe, Daisy is understandably scared when she realized that in the Framework, she and Ward remain a couple. She even cringes when he hugged her from behind.
Identity and Change
- If you thought the Framework world was horrible last week, just wait.
- Mack lives in constant fear that Hydra will come after his daughter and himself; when you remember that Mack joined SHIELD before the Katya Incident occurred (2002 vs 2008), it's entirely possible he's hiding from the government because they know he's ex-SHIELD.
- May appears to have lost her ability to empathize. She all but states that she Would Hurt a Child and believes no one is innocent. She attacks Mack in front of Hope so that he'll cooperate, then uses Mack to trick Daisy/Skye into revealing her true allegiance. And once she catches Skye, May allows her men to beat the shit out of her.
- Fitz is the worst of all; he's cold, emotionless, a shell of his former self. A sadist who's almost as scary as Whitehall. The look in his eyes when he says, "I know exactly who I am..." And then shoots Agnes in cold-blood. It's equal parts heartbreaking and terrifying. You can see that the kind and gentle man Jemma Simmons loved no longer exists. To top it off, at the end of the episode, he's just finished torturing Radcliffe and promises to do the same to Skye/Daisy. She tries to protest, the usual, "You don't want to do this" schtick. Fitz looks right at the camera and says, "Yeah. I do."
- While she's the Big Bad and Obviously Evil, it's hard not to sympathize with Aid- sorry, Madame Hydra. She's a sentient being, and yet she was forced by her programming to be subservient to Radcliffe. He kept her locked in a closet and forced her to do menial tasks, he referred to her as less than human. Every part of her Motive Rant is true, and the thought of being in her position... (shudder).
- It's also terrifying just to hear the rage in her voice. There's a reason 'mad' is a synonym for 'insane'.
- A bit less than the previous two episodes, but still, the Framework World delivers...
All The Madame's Men
- We have heard snippets of how bad a father Alistar Fitz was to Leopold, but we finally see first hand what he is like. The man embodies Tranquil Fury, and anyone who cannot do the same is seen as weak. Furthermore, it appears that in order to instill the personality into Leo he had to beat the poor guy, as evidenced when Leo snaps at him after he reports a failed raid on Daisy and May.
- Worse is that Leo confided in Radcliffe about his father, whom the latter reveals to him while being interrogated. Radcliffe reveals to Alistar that in the 'other world' Alistar Fitz is a drunkard wife beater who disappeared from his son's life because he couldn't be bothered with him. He remarks that he was a failure there, and is still a failure now to his son as he can't catch a single escaped fugitive. The resulting No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Alistar just furthers the fact that this guy, the man who raised Leopold Fitz in the Framework is one messed up son of a bitch.
Farewell, Cruel World!
- Imagine being in Mack's shoes for a minute, having to choose between the Framework and Reality. On the one hand, the world is being ravaged by terrorists and is constantly at war, and you serve as a part of the group that protects the people, but you have your girlfriend by you; or the world is being controlled by a terrorist organization hunting anyone who speaks out against them, you have thrown your lot in with the freedom fighters and are now an enemy of the state, but you have your bright little girl along for the ride. Which is worse?
- Aida's psychotic break after Fitz tells her he's in love with Jemma, not her. Aida feels intense emotions, and lacks any emotional maturity due to just recently gaining a human body, so she's become an unstable Yandere with an apocalyptic grudge against humanity.
- At one point, it seems like Aida will sleep with one of the Ivanov bots. Aida mounts him, only to bash the back of his head into the floor several times.
- Aida/Ophelia now has the overwhelming desire to control the world by force, and she has the means and powers to do so. An angry, vengeful being with near unlimited and wide ranging powers (Gordon's teleportation, Lincoln's electric powers, Eva Belyakov's strength, and Jiaying's Healing Factor, among others), access to a supernatural artifact that can reshape the world, and an ally who can produce multiple LMDs of himself are all ingredients for a terrifying foe, as demonstrated by her rampage in this episode.
- Yo-Yo waking up without her powers and Strapped to an Operating Table inside a wrecked building in the Framework. That scream...
- Ghost Rider emotes for the first time in the series when Aida escapes him... by giving a primal scream of rage!
- The slow deletion of the Framework; while it might not seem important, seeing people, apparently living and breathing people disappear, while those that remain are left confused by their absence; and they can't exactly distract themselves with their stuff because that's disappearing, too. And it doesn't matter if you run. No matter where you go in the world, the world itself is fading. It culminates in Hope disappearing from Mack's arms, leaving him broken.
- Deserved or not, watching Ghost Rider roast Aida alive is pretty horrifying.
- For all the months of his disappearance, Robbie was in another dimension where the Rider was in full control of his body while he was stuck in an And I Must Scream situation. Daisy sums it up as "terrible, painful and lonely". He also says this is only one of several alternate dimensions in the MCU that could legitimately qualify as our concept of Hell.