Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 E17 "Turn, Turn, Turn"

In an episode connected directly to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Coulson and his team try to survive as S.H.I.E.L.D. collapses around them and trust is thrown out the window.


  • Alone with the Psycho: There's a brief moment of Nightmare Fuel when it looks like Triplett is HYDRA, and has locked himself in the lab with Simmons. Ultimately Averted, in that he's trying to establish that she's not HYDRA.
  • Arc Welding: The Clairvoyant is a member of HYDRA.
  • Bad Liar: Simmons, after getting caught researching the GH again. Triplett comments on it, saying that if they're ever interrogated he should do the talking.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After an entire season of complaining that his genius keeps going unappreciated, Fitz finally finds someone who does appreciate said genius... namely, Agent Garrett, who wants to recruit him into HYDRA for it, by force if necessary.
  • Big Bad: Garrett is revealed as the Clairvoyant in this episode.
  • Broken Pedestal: Garrett to Triplett after the former is revealed to be HYDRA, as he's let away Trip can be seen furiously screaming at him.
  • The Bus Came Back: Agents Shaw and Weaver come back but things weren't looking good for Weaver.
  • Call-Back:
    • Fitz invented the laser cutter used by Fury and Hill in The Winter Soldier.
    • One neat bit is that your reaction to the news of Fury's death will be very different depending on whether you saw this episode or The Winter Soldier first.
    • Images from the end of The Winter Soldier are shown in the situation room while things are being wrapped up.
    • The encrypted message "OUT OF THE SHADOWS INTO THE LIGHT" explains how all the HYDRA sleeper agents were all activated simultaneously in The Winter Soldier.
    • The story Garrett tells in The Stinger (about using a flare gun as a weapon) is the same one he was telling Coulson in "End of the Beginning".
  • Character Death: Victoria Hand gets a bullet in the stomach and two in the head, just to make sure.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the episode, Agent Shaw tells Agent Hand that he's placed microphones throughout the Hub and has men monitoring all of them. This comes back later when Coulson outing Garrett as HYDRA also incidentally clears Coulson's name with Hand's team.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several MacGuffins from previous episodes are mentioned, the data being contained on the Bus and thus at risk of being obtained by HYDRA. The Overkill Device from "The Hub" is also used to take out the Bus's weapons.
    • It's mentioned that the HYDRA conspiracy goes all the way up to the higher levels of S.H.I.E.L.D., most likely referring to Alexander Pierce.
    • Nick Fury's (apparent) death is mentioned several times throughout the episode.
    • At the end of the episode, Victoria Hand tells Coulson that Captain America has destroyed the Project Insight helicarriers and his current status is unknown.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Ward and May are locked up in the Bus's holding cell together, Ward reacts to the news that May was The Mole for Fury by saying "This is some next level sh-" before May angrily cuts him off.
  • Dark Reprise: In a logo example, the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem at the close-out is replaced by the HYDRA emblem backlit with a red glow. Also, the words "We'll be back in a moment" are not said by Clark Gregg (Coulson), but by Bill Paxton (Garrett).
  • Dead-Hand Shot: Of Victoria Hand, no less.
  • Deadly Dodging: Coulson takes out the second UAV chasing Garrett by firing right at Garrett, who tilts his plane at the last second. The shot goes past him and hits the UAV.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Ward turning out to be HYDRA indicates that this was the plan for Garrett's "Clairvoyant" identity all along. After framing Thomas Nash didn't work, he tries to take Coulson's incorrect belief that Hand is The Clairvoyant and run this gambit again, but he gets caught in a lie before then.
  • Defiant to the End: Even knowing that refusal to join HYDRA would result in their deaths (or in Fitz' case, his forced "recruitment"), Coulson, May, Fitz, Triplett and Simmons don't even consider turning against S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Coulson: I would die before serving HYDRA, you sick son of a bitch.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The encrypted HYDRA signal running through all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s communications. Interestingly, Skye quotes the trope name for this trope's heroic equivalent ("Can't Stop the Signal") almost word-for-word while explaining this.
  • Double Agent: Garrett, as the Clairvoyant, and Ward, as his subordinate.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: As Garrett is flying back to base, two UAVs emerge from the clouds behind him.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Though HYDRA primarily recruited out of Nazi Germany in World War II, and hence wasn't very diverse, it's clear from the prisoner procession at the end that HYDRA shows no racial bias in its recruiting.
  • Evil All Along: Ward, Garrett, Sitwell and all the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that turned out to be working for HYDRA.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Garrett keeps his friendly, chatty demeanor after he's been exposed, and even compliments Fitz for defying him. If anything, he's actually nicer than when he was first introduced in "T.A.H.I.T.I.".
  • First-Name Basis:
    • After they've finally worked out which side both of them are on, Coulson invites Hand to address him as Phil. She never gets the opportunity to take him up on it.
    • Agent Weaver calls Simmons by her first name throughout their conversation, emphasizing their friendship and mutual concern.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Agent Shaw expresses concerns about killing people that he and is fellow agents used to call friends, which hints at Hand's team being Good All Along. A hardened HYDRA agent would not likely have had the same qualms.
    • Garrett is the only one who misheard "limb" instead of "head" in the HYDRA motto. He also misheard Fury's SHIELD recruitment speech, and he used his incorrect understanding to justify his actions as the Clairvoyant.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Low-key version when Coulson has Fitz repair May's direct line to Fury.
    Coulson: Fitz repaired your direct line. If you have the ability to make this right, now's the time, because you can't make it worse.
  • Guns Akimbo: Ward in a fight with twelve other agents. He takes out six of them before he's disarmed and has to switch to fighting hand-to-hand.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: All over the place by the end of the episode:
    • Fitz arguably hits this point after shooting the HYDRA agent.
    • FitzSimmons both acquire something of a Thousand-Yard Stare for their last couple of scenes.
    • Triplett suffers the more violent alternative of this trope while seeing Garrett led away in handcuffs, screaming at him and having to be restrained by another agent.
    • In her final scene of the episode, Skye stands staring at her newly minted (and now defunct) S.H.I.E.L.D. badge, while muttering "It's all gone."
    • May proves a bit more resistant, but is quiet and subdued along with the rest of the team back on the Bus before Coulson arrives to reboot them all into action. A number of Not So Stoic moments earlier in the episode show her near to tears, which suggests she's been on the edge of this trope all along.
  • He Knows Too Much: Garrett killed a number of the SHIELD agents under his command. Coulson speculates that this was because they started asking the wrong questions.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Garrett advocates killing Victoria outright, deeming her a traitor and thus deserving of it. Coulson refuses, as behaving like HYDRA would make them no better. Garrett's attempts to press the issue end up outing him as a member of HYDRA.
  • Hope Spot: S.H.I.E.L.D. has stomped HYDRA, the last traitors are on their way to the fridge. Then Ward turns his gun on the SHIELD agents escorting Garrett.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: Garrett claims not to completely believe in HYDRA, but it seemed apparent to him that HYDRA was going to come out on top.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Garrett outs himself as the Clairvoyant to Coulson; he knows too much about Raina.
  • Improvised Weapon: Ward briefly uses a shard of glass from a case he just broke with an agent's head when fighting twelve at once.
  • In the Back: Conveniently, Sitwell's agents in the group sent to capture Coulson's team and Garrett are standing behind the loyal SHIELD agents, allowing them to shoot their fellows in the back upon Garrett's command.
  • Just One Little Mistake: In his rant about why they should kill Victoria Hand, Garrett accidentally lets out that Raina used the theta brainwave machine, something he couldn't know unless he was directly involved with Centipede, since Coulson never told anyone.
  • Kill 'em All: Hand attempts this on The Team, thinking that they're HYDRA. It doesn't work.
  • Kirk Summation:
    Garrett: This is me being honest, Phil.
    Coulson: No, John, this is you being a psychopath.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: You really need to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier before this episode. Pretty much every single major twist — including the end of the movie — was revealed. Funnily enough, one of the few that wasn't revealed was the Winter Soldier's identity, which everyone knew months ago.
  • Made of Iron: Despite getting a bullet to the arm and only minimal treatment for it, May has no problem kicking ass when the time comes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At one point, Coulson, Fitz, and Garrett argue about HYDRA's slogan, specifically if it's Head or Limb in "Cut off one head/limb, two more will take its place". Both versions have been used in the comics, though the MCU so far has stuck with "head".
      Coulson: "Cut off a head, two more will take its place."
      Garrett: ... Was it a head? I thought it was a limb.
      Fitz: No, no, it's a head.
      Coulson: It's a head.
    • Garrett's preceding line "HYDRA always comes back". In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is actually the first time HYDRA has ever officially come back. So the line both points to Garrett's secret allegiance as well as references the Marvel comics as a whole.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: S.H.I.E.L.D. is in tatters, with fragments of HYDRA scrambling to grab onto any worthwhile assets they can seize. Ward and Garrett are HYDRA members headed to places unknown. Finally, with their command structure all but obliterated, Coulson can only give the order to "survive" in the wake of all the madness.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Between Ward and Skye, since Ward is about to fight twelve guards, bad odds even for him.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Ward somehow goes from being stomped into submission by five guys to having killed all five, apparently with just a knife.
  • Oh, Crap!: Coulson has this reaction when he realizes there's no innocent way that Garret could know that The Clarivoyant used the brainwave machine on Raina.
  • One-Man Army: Ward shows off just how good he is, taking down twelve agents authorized to use lethal force on him. The last five were in the middle of stomping him into the ground when he beat them.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A quite well done case, as Victoria lays out a very convincing argument for why she's concluded Coulson is with HYDRA based upon many counts of Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! throughout the show, but is still smart enough to listen in on him and Garrett and realize what's actually going on.
  • The Reveal: Garrett is the Clairvoyant and a HYDRA agent. Ward is also a HYDRA agent.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Victoria Hand pulls one on Triplett and Simmons, claiming to be HYDRA and offering them a choice to join or die. They pass when Simmons tosses a knife to Triplett, who threatens a Taking You with Me on one of the guards.
    • Coulson, Fitz, and May effectively get an accidental example: Garrett's failed attempt to recruit them is caught on microphone, proving their loyalty.
  • Ship Tease: Coulson/May is played up, though revelations about her activities have left him somewhat wary of her.
    • Ward and Skye finally have an honest conversation about their feelings for one another, culminating in their First Kiss. It's very unclear at this point if his feelings for her are genuine despite his being The Mole, or whether "overcome by emotion" is simply a convenient excuse he's playing up for shooting the fake Clairvoyant in the previous episode.
    • As soon as Hand's team gain access to the room where Garrett and Coulson have been facing off, Simmons breaks through the line of armed agents to run up and hug Fitz.
    • Fitz, for his part, spends the entire episode desperately trying to find out what had happened to Simmons, attempting to convince Coulson and Garrett to make recovering her priority over finding the Clairvoyant, rejecting every suggestion that it might already be too late to help her, and generally trying to ensure she isn't forgotten in all the madness happening around them.
  • Shout-Out: When dealing with two heatseeking missiles at once, Garret pulls the exact same trick used by Anakin Skywalker early in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
  • Soft Glass: Averted. When a combatant slams Ward's head through the glass case of a fire extinguisher, Ward immediately begins bleeding copiously and grabs a big shard to start slicing throats.
  • Stab the Salad: A variation: it looks as if Triplett is about to turn on Simmons after allowing her level 6 when he pulls out a knife, but it turns out he is handing it over to her, explaining if she tried to kill him, he would know she was a traitor.
  • Superdickery: In the last episode, Agent Hand redirected the Bus to the Hub and gave a Kill Them All order, making her look like the villain. In this episode, we discover that she thinks Coulson is HYDRA.
  • Title Drop: Actually occurred in the previous episode, which hints at Garrett and Ward's true allegiances:
    Garrett: Ward's your SO. I was his. Turn, turn, turn.
  • Too Dumbto Live: Hand has just seen most of her organisation destroyed by a massive internal coup, and spent most of the episode convinced that Coulson's team are HYDRA. She apparently wants Garrett dead, and yet for no apparent reason she decides to hand a loaded gun to Garrett's personally-trained student to kill him rather than pulling the trigger herself. For a highly-trained secret agent, this is not exactly sound decision-making, and ends in her getting shot and killed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Fitz, while still clearly scared out his mind, manages to shoot May's opponent just before he kills her, and toss Coulson a "bouncing betty" to knock out Garrett.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Downplayed, but a number of fans managed to figure out from the promo that Hand had been Good All Along by her stance that someone Simmons declares "a good man" is "a liar", accurately guessing that she thinks HE'S the bad guy.
  • Villainous B.S.O.D.: Ward seems to go through one after he had killed two other agents and Hand. When he comes out of it, though, he goes straight into a Kubrick Stare.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Coulson and Garrett, who were both agents under Fury.
    • Coulson and Sitwell, though Sitwell is killed off-camera, (or rather, on camera in The Winter Soldier), around the same time that Coulson learns about his friend's betrayal.
    • Coulson spends a third of the episode believing that this applies to him and May, though he turns out to be mistaken. He considers their friendship to be over regardless.
  • Wham Episode: HYDRA is alive within S.H.I.E.L.D. (though that was given away in The Winter Soldier), Garrett is the Clairvoyant, and Victoria Hand is killed by Ward who is allied with HYDRA. Also, it was May who built Coulson's team (by giving Fury the team parameters he would give to Coulson) so that if side-effects of his resurrection became apparent, she would have a biologist to look after his body, a mechanical engineer to work the machine that would look after his mind, and a special forces operative to help physically take him down.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I never mentioned that."
    • "Director Fury is dead."
    • "Hail HYDRA."
    • From an in-universe perspective May's "I assembled this team!" is one for Coulson.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Victoria hands Ward a gun to kill Garret. Ward uses it to kill the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents guarding Garret.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: One for the MCU as a whole: it's been observed that Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, is the only major S.H.I.E.L.D. character absent both from this episode and The Winter Soldier (aside from a tiny in-joke reference to him as part of Black Widow's costume in the movie). Since The Avengers established him as the Avenger who worked most closely with other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on a day-to-day basis, it's an odd omission.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Ward and Skye are confused when their explosives generate too small of an explosion. Then the rest of it goes off.
  • You Are in Command Now: As of the end of the episode, Coulson is the highest ranked named S.H.I.E.L.D. operative (apart from Barton, whose current whereabouts are not discussed in this episode or The Winter Soldier) that's not dead,note  missing,note  resigned,note  comatose,note  or HYDRA,note  possibly making him the acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.