Dangerous secrets are being kept from Coulsons team, and he works the system to save Ward and Fitz when they are sent on a Level 8 classified mission that may end in tragedy.
The team is called to the Hub, a major S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Coulson, May, and Ward meet with Agent Victoria Hand, who informs them of a separatist group in South Ossetia which has obtained the "Overkill", a sonic weapon that can remotely detonate anything from a rifle's bullet to a nuclear missile. Hand wants a two-person team, one field agent and one tech, to infiltrate their headquarters and dismantle the weapon.
Meanwhile, Skye grows suspicious when details of the mission are being kept from the team. With the help of Simmons, she manages to hack into classified files and finds out that Ward and Fitz's mission does not include an extraction plan.
The seventh episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Tropes in this episode:
- Acting Unnatural: Simmons makes a hilariously bad attempt to act casual (coached by Skye through an earpiece) when Agent Sitwell catches her attempting to access a computer terminal without authorisation. After first claiming to be looking for the bathroom only to be told that she is staring at a wall panel, she then attempts to compliment his head. It gets so bad that Skye has to tell her to stop talking.
- Affectionate Nickname: Marta begins calling Fitz "Mishka" ("little bear") once she warms up to him.
- Arc Words:
- Coulson catches onto his own use of "It's a magical place" when someone mentions Tahiti, realizing that there's more going on than he's been told.
- "Trust the system."
- Artistic License Biology: Simmons gives Fitz a supply of antivenin because Ossetia has lots of endemic spider species. An endemic species of a given region is one found in that region and nowhere else. While its possible that Simmons meant only to refer to the number of local species in Ossetia, the line definitely sounds as if she thinks shes saying theyre venomous.
- Bond Opening Sequence: May and Ward rescuing Coulson and another minor agent from a Siberian prison.
- Call-Back: There are several to the climax of the last episode, regarding Simmons jumping out of the plane and Fitz having to leave the rescue up to Ward.
- The Cameo: Jasper Sitwell gets some screen time in-show after appearances in Marvel One-Shots and some of the other films.
- Classified Information: Due to the nature of the mission as Level 8, above the team's general Level 7 clearance, this becomes a key component of the episode.
- Cool Plane: The Bus' turbofan engines are revealed to be capable of rotating, granting VTOL capability (once again alluding to its past as the prototype-Helicarrier).
- Dutch Angle: The opening sequence, where Coulson is being led to an interrogation room with a bag over his head, is full of tilted camera angles.
- Epic Fail:
- A Father to His Men: Coulson gets upset when he learns that there's no extraction plan for Fitz and Ward. Not because there's no extraction plan, but because his men went in not knowing that. Coulson himself has arranged such missions, but he was straight about the details.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: When concerned about Fitz's safety, Simmons begins finishing Skye's sentences for her. Simmons is actually quite good at predicting what Skye is going to say, but Skye still finds it annoying.
- From Bad to Worse: Things start going wrong almost immediately for Ward and Fitz and they keep going wrong.
- Gunship Rescue: Fitz and Ward are saved by the Bus when they're cornered by the separatists.
- Hidden Depths: Fitz is surprisingly capable in the field. Obviously not perfect, but better than you'd expect from a tech geek.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Coulson attempts to requisition the files concerning his own death and recovery, only to be told he doesn't have proper clearance to access them.
- Lost Food Grievance: Fitz is really annoyed when Ward throws away a sandwich made by Simmons, though Ward was justified because the hounds after them would easily catch a whiff of it and find their hiding spot.
- Manipulative Bastard: Agent Hand either knew Coulson's team would find out there was no extraction plan and Coulson would go in after his people or else she was just saving face by pretending she meant for things to happen that way.
- Metaphorically True: Coulson tells Skye the truth about the unredacted file concerning her... but only part of the truth. The whole truth, he says, is meant to stay secret.
- Mythology Gag:
- When discussing the Hub, the Triskelion is mentioned as another major S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Also functions as foreshadowing, as we see it for real in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which came out not too long after this episode aired.
- The Overkill Horn is a weapon that has been used by both S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA.
- Noodle Implements: Noodle questions, really. Trying to plan an escape, Ward asks Fitz how long he can hold his breath underwater, whether he's familiar with the term "slam and cram," and how attached Fitz is to his pinky.Fitz: Very, very attached, and before you ask another terrifyingly vague question, let me be clear. Any plan that involves any one of those scenarios isn't going to work for me!
- Not So Stoic: Subverted. At first glance, it seems that May is incredibly calm with regards to Fitz and Ward's mission (especially compared to Skye and Simmons). This is especially evident during the scene where she is calmly doing Tai-Chi on the plane. But she wasn't. She was doing Tai-Chi because she was getting anxious about them and needed to reboot.
- Oh, Crap!: Several times, but never more so than when Ward realizes there's no extraction team in place.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Saffron Burrows' natural English accent is definitely audible at times, such as when she says "Seems Fury has a soft spot for his favorites."
- Revealing Hug: When Skye hugs Coulson for looking into her background, his face makes it clear that he knows more than he's let on, which is revealed in the next scene.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Getting fed up with being Locked Out of the Loop with regards to Ward and Fitz's mission, Skye convinces Simmons to help her hack S.H.I.E.L.D. to get access on the mission's files by playing on their shared concern for "our boys". Later, when the two learn that there is no extraction plan, May decides that they will extract Ward and Fitz by themselves.
- Ship Tease: The post-"FZZT" fallout includes continuing some of the ship tease between Fitz and Simmons from that episode.
- Shout-Out: There is a tiny TARDIS in the background of the scene where Simmons helps Fitz pack.
- Silent Snarker: When Coulson goes to talk to May about what's going on, she never says anything but keeps up her end of the conversation by just giving him these looks.
- Suicide Mission: What the "Overkill Device" mission essentially is. Coulson is absolutely pissed that Hand not only sent his agents onto such a mission, but that she had given them a False Reassurance that they would be extracted. When Hand tries to point out that Romanoff and Barton had been sent by Coulson on missions of this type when they were under his command (and without an extraction plan, too), Coulson fires back that he made sure to point this out to them during their mission briefings, and they still volunteered to go anyway.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The MacGuffin of the episode is "the Overkill device," a weapon that uses sound to activate any weapon at will, from infantry firearms to nuclear missiles in their silos.Agent Ward: The "Overkill Device?"
Agent Hand: A little dramatic for my taste. I imagine something was lost in translation.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Given Victoria's attitude at the end, she apparently expected Coulson to discover the lack of an extraction plan and arrange one of his own.
- Weaponized Exhaust: May uses the exhaust from the Bus's engines to take out the mooks threatening Fitz and Ward.
- What the Hell, Hero?: All over the place:
Coulson: I told you to trust the system.
- Skye ends up hacking S.H.I.E.L.D. to get some intel on the mission. She and Coulson then pass the ball back and forth as they argue over the hacking and the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. lied about an extraction team.
Skye: Yes, and the system sent Ward and Fitz to die.
- Simmons gets second-hand flak when Victoria complains to Coulson about his team shooting a superior officer.
- Coulson calls Victoria on lying to him about the extraction when his clearance should have allowed him to know about it.
- Ward threw out a perfectly good sandwich.