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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E19 "The Dirty Half-Dozen"

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Gonzales and Coulson must find a way to put their differences aside and work together against HYDRA, even if it means teaming up with someone they don't trust.


Tropes:

  • Arc Welding: This episode leads into the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Coulson steals intel from the Arctic HYDRA base which reveals that HYDRA is keeping Loki's scepter at their base in Sokovia. He passes this onto Maria Hill so she can have the Avengers deal with it. Theta Protocol is likewise indicated to be related to the Avengers in some fashion, though it isn't expanded upon. Raina also has a vision of Ultron's rebellion, which includes a quick shot of the scepter in Tony Stark's lab.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Deathlok loses his artificial leg during HYDRA's experiments, and the damage is extensive enough that they can't simply pop it back on. Simmons assures him they have access to a specialist who can repair it. He likewise loses his artificial eye.
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  • The Atoner: As with the start of season 2, Ward sets himself up as this for the episode. Unlike last time, however, Ward is fully aware that nobody is buying it.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Raina convinces Gordon to drop Skye off at S.H.I.E.L.D. because she's seen that Skye will save Lincoln. Jiaying isn't quite as accepting of this reasoning, since it put her daughter in danger, and especially after Cal tips her off about Raina's manipulative nature. She wants Raina's visions run through her first.
  • Big Good: Maria Hill and Fury have been this to Team Coulson all season long. They are the ones who told him to prepare Theta Protocol.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Ward knows that his past actions have made him irredeemable, so he leaves Kara at S.H.I.E.L.D., believing Coulson to be the better man to help her rebuild the life she lost to HYDRA.
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  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Averted in The Oner, as Skye takes out two HYDRA agents with one shot at point blank.
  • Call-Back:
    • Dr. List bemoans the failure of their Super Empowering experiments, noting that it's only worked twice, referring to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Both were seen in the stinger of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Coulson notes that Loki's scepter was the weapon used to kill him and has the power to control minds, which was shown in The Avengers.
  • Call-Forward: Raina cryptically details the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, as seen in her vision.
  • The Cameo: Maria Hill shows up in a video chat with Coulson, as he was getting intel so the Avengers could take out HYDRA's primary stronghold and recover Loki's scepter.
  • Continuity Nod: The last time Simmons and Ward met face-to-face, she said she would kill him if she ever saw him again. She tries her best to make good on that promise.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Skye uses her powers to restart Lincoln's heart.
  • Decided by One Vote: Gonzalez puts Coulson's plan up to a vote for "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.'s council. Weaver and Oliver vote no, citing the unacceptable risk. Bobbi and Gonzales vote yes, the latter because he hopes Coulson's team will die in the attempt or succeed and he will get some superpowered people as prisoners. May gets to cast the deciding vote.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: The Bus is shot down by HYDRA's missile defense system so Coulson's team, stowed away in the attached Quinjet, can ride it to ground level while appearing to be debris from the explosion.
  • Democracy Is Flawed: In his conversation with Maria Hill, Coulson mocks the fact that "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. puts everything to a vote. Hill doesn't think much of it, either. The plan only went ahead because Gonzales was using Coulson's team for his own purposes, and Coulson withheld his secondary objective because he didn't trust the board to vote his way otherwise.
  • Disappointed in You: Ward says this to Simmons after she tries to kill him. That's the sort of treacherous and cold blooded thing that he would do and she's supposed to be better than that.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Coulson teams up with Gonzales and "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. to stop HYDRA.
    • A subversion in the HYDRA base: Lincoln and Mike conclude that they're going to need to work together in order to escape... and then promptly get knocked out and spend the rest of the episode getting experimented on until they're rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Exact Words: Coulson promises to open the Toolbox for Gonzales, and indeed he makes good on it. He never said Gonzales would get to keep it.
    Coulson: Here ya go. Unlocked and all yours. Go nuts. At least until Fury shows up and asks for it back.
    Gonzales: (Oh, Crap!)
    Coulson: Oops. Spoiler alert.
  • Eye Scream: The last transmission from Deathlok's cybernetic eye is a P.O.V. shot of the HYDRA scientists digging it out.
  • Fake Defector: Contrary to his actions in the last episode, Bakshi is actually still on Ward's side. He was just given a lot of leeway.
  • Forgiveness:
    • Hunter explicitly forgives Mack for the choke-hold and kidnapping, and it clearly means a lot to Mack.
    • Jiaying and Cal mend the bridge broken in the last episode and are going to look for a way to be a family again.
    • Ward admits to Coulson that while he does not deserve forgiveness, Kara does. He leaves her with S.H.I.E.L.D. to help fix the damage HYDRA had done to her.
  • Graceful Loser: Bobbi takes Coulson outgambitting Gonzales in stride, even being amused by his reveal. Given the friction between her and Gonzales, she may also appreciate Coulson knocking him down a peg.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Coulson doesn't think deciding everything by a vote is the best way to run a spy organization — and he has a point. Being a spy is a risky business. If agents were always putting things to a vote, nothing would ever get done, so the best way for them to function is with military-like precision. After all, most western intelligence agencies are usually run by some high-ranking officer pulled from either the Army or Navy.
  • Hypocrite:
    • When May tells Coulson off about all the secrets he's been keeping from her, he fires back that she kept him in the dark about his resurrection.
    • For all his talk of transparency, Gonzales gets put on the spot by Coulson when the latter mentions the dangerous cargo the Iliad is carrying. It's not clear just how much Gonzales has told his own branch about it, but he's nevertheless shocked that Coulson knows of it.
    • Gonzales (again) justifies potentially getting Coulson's entire team killed because their enemy has no honor. Says the man stabbing fellow agents in the back, as Bobbi calls him on, and plans to betray Coulson as soon as it's convenient.
    • Gonzales for the third time this episode: He's been suspecting Coulson of recruiting and stockpiling superhumans for a personal agenda the entire time, yet when Skye, Lincoln, and Deathlok make it back to the Playground, Gonzales plans to hold them prisoner so he can learn the location of even more superhumans. He even goes so far as to admit that the only reason he endorsed the mission was because he'd be able to take them prisoner if Coulson succeeded.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • The Inhumans learn that Skye is Jiaying's daughter.
    • Upon seeing Gordon's head wound, which she had dreamed of earlier, Raina realizes her power is prophecy.
    • Coulson spoils the fact that Fury's alive to Gonzales and Bobbi.
  • It's All About Me:
    • After discussing Lincoln's captivity, Cal tries to redirect Jiaying's attention back to "what really matters": himself and Skye.
    • Ward's "apology" is filled with this. To excuse his own behavior, he brings up the team's actions against him and then says the one thing he regrets most of all is The Team will no longer accept him. Not, you know, the betrayal, the murder of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, the attempted murder of FitzSimmons, the damage inflicted on Fitz...
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Kara is the only person in Ward's life that he has shown genuine affection towards, and he leaves her with S.H.I.E.L.D. because he believes that to be better for her.
  • Moral Event Horizon: invoked Ward acknowledges that he passed this point a long time ago. "Some people don't deserve forgiveness."
  • My God, You Are Serious: When Fitz brags about how he tried to attack Ward, Simmons brings out a case of splinter bombs and suggests it would make a poetic death for Ward. Fitz thinks she's joking, until he looks at her face and sees she means it.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    • Invoked word-for-word by Gonzales to Coulson, after the latter says he had an inside man within HYDRA and was working with Peterson/Deathlok.
    • The team's reaction after Ward's apology.
  • Not Me This Time: When the team is boarding the Bus, a noise is heard and May immediately draws on Ward. Ward insists that it's not him, and moments later Skye walks onto the balcony, having been teleported in by Gordon.
  • Not So Different: After Simmons tries to kill Ward, the latter expresses disappointment.
  • Not Worth Killing: After her failed assassination attempt, Simmons tells Ward to kill her. He just says he's disappointed and leaves.
  • Oh, Crap!: Gonzales when Coulson tells him that Fury will want his Toolbox back, and that he's been in contact with Maria Hill.
  • The Oner: Following Skye taking out several HYDRA soldiers. Apparently, it's a regular thing with St. Agnes kids.
  • One-Woman Army: Remember all that training Skye has been getting from May? It paid off, big-time. In a span of forty seconds, she shoots and kills five HYDRA soldiers, reloads her sidearm, kills three more, realizes she's out of ammo and takes one HYDRA mook's dropped pistol, then kills a ninth soldier after shooting him in each leg, all without using her powers. This would garner nods of approval from May, Bobbie, and Black Widow.
  • Out-Gambitted: Gonzales thought he had a good plan. Either Coulson and his team die trying to stop HYDRA, or they succeed and he has several powered people in custody with the potential to find many more. He even gets Coulson to make good on his promise to open the Toolbox. Then Coulson reveals Fury's alive and will want the Toolbox back, and shows him that he's getting a call from Maria Hill. The look on Gonzales's face is priceless. Bobbi is a better sport about it, smiling in appreciation of how Coulson played them.
  • Pet the Dog: Bobbi is nice to Kara, recalling how they met before and offering to help her recover her memories. As Kara notes, she's the only one to not treat her like a threat.
  • Properly Paranoid: Jiaying asks Cal what Raina is like and he tells her that she can't be trusted. Jiaying then decides to keep an eye on her, which is good considering Raina is thinking of overthrowing Jiaying's leadership.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The episode title, "The Dirty Half-Dozen", refers to this. To some extent (and only temporarily), the original six team members from Season 1 are reunited in the battle against HYDRA. Also a subtle nod to another team of six who are tied in to the episode...
  • The Reveal: We learn that the Theta Protocol was designed for situations that S.H.I.E.L.D. can't handle... but that the Avengers can. The full nature of it is not explained.
  • See the Invisible: HYDRA's Arctic base is able to detect cloaked aircraft thanks to its remote location. As there's nothing out there, even the smallest radar signature is flagged as an intruder.
  • Sentimental Sacrifice: While the characters don't dwell on it in the least, being professionals and all, the Bus was their home for most of the first season.
  • Sequel Hook: The episode ends on Raina's vision of what's about to go down in Age of Ultron, with The Stinger just being a trailer for the film.
  • Ship Sinking: See Break Her Heart to Save Her above. Ward specifically notes he's not the one (in his view) who can help Kara rebuild her life, so he leaves her with S.H.I.E.L.D. despite their mutual attraction.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Upon being told that Raina has precognitive abilities, Skye snarks that she had assumed Raina's power to be spinning really fast to collect gold rings.
    • When talking about Ward's penchant for showing up when his name is said, Skye refers to him as Candyman.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Ward and Kara are this while they're together in the cockpit. Hunter finds the two even more sickening than his bullet wound from last episode. Fitz agrees and calls it "unsettling".
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Both Deathlok and Lincoln get this treatment. Lincoln flatlines in the middle of Skye rescuing him, but she's able to restart his heart. Deathlok survived his time on the table, but lost the artificial leg and eye.
  • Stunned Silence: When Skye and Ward clear one room, Skye takes out the last HYDRA mook with one of her shockwaves. Ward is dumbstruck for several seconds upon seeing this.
    Ward: So that's what happened in Puerto Rico.
  • Taking the Bullet: It wasn't quite intentional, as he was merely trying to stop her, but Bakshi nevertheless takes the splinter bomb Simmons meant for Ward.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Bakshi invokes Whitehall's motto, "Discovery requires experimentation," in reference to Deathlok and Lincoln. Deathlok loses his artificial leg and eye. Lincoln is in the opening stages of being vivisected when Skye rescues him, and is flatlining until she manages to restart his heart.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Oner makes it quite clear that Skye is now a force to be reckoned with in combat even without using her powers. She's not dropping magazines out of guns by accident any more; instead, she's dropping HYDRA agents.
  • Trash the Set: Coulson's plan to get into List's Arctic base involves letting the Bus be destroyed.
  • Uriah Gambit: Gonzales lets Coulson form his own team for the rescue mission because he secretly hopes that the lot of them will die in the attempt.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • Dr. List flees the base when Coulson's team attacks.
    • Ward runs off after Simmons tries to kill him. Even without that motivation, he knew he'd either end up imprisoned or hit with Laser-Guided Amnesia had he come back with the team.
  • Villain Has a Point: Once again, even though Gonzales is far from being the Big Good he fancies himself as, it is shown that he was at least right in characterizing Coulson as no different from Fury in how he runs S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson unapologetically refuses to reveal the purpose of Theta Protocol, has a hidden agenda in raiding HYDRA's base which he does not share with the team, and treats democratic rule as stupid during his conversation with Maria Hill.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Everyone on the original Team Coulson makes it quite clear that no matter how much they need Ward at the moment, they don't like or trust him.
  • Wham Line: So, about the Theta Protocol...
    Hill: Last thing: Theta Protocol. Is it ready?
    Coulson: Yes, it is. Time to bring in the Avengers.
  • Wham Shot: The plan to approach the remote HYDRA base requires the sacrifice of the Bus, which the audience doesn't find out until HYDRA blows it out of the sky.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Coulson is not happy that May joined Gonzales' side, and calls her on being mad about hiding his contact with Andrew. In turn, May gives Coulson an earful for keeping the Theta Protocol a secret from her and that he saw Andrew behind her back.
    • Ward is very disappointed in the fact that Simmons tried to murder him in cold blood — and not because he thinks he doesn't deserve it, but because she's supposed to be better than that.
    • Though she's not as vocal about it, Bobbi nevertheless calls Gonzales on deliberately trying to sacrifice Coulson's team then moving to hold Skye, Lincoln, and Deathlok prisoner after they succeed. Coulson interrupts before she can really get on his case about the latter.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Gonzales sees the rescue attempt as a win-win scenario for "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. Either Team Coulson deals HYDRA a grievous blow and brings enhanced subjects to his base, plus Coulson unlocks the Toolbox per their agreement, or Team Coulson dies in the attempt and thus are no longer Gonzales' problem. The Toolbox is still locked, but they can continue working on it until they crack it.

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