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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E22 "S.O.S., Part 2"

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S.H.I.E.L.D. puts everything on the line to survive a war that blurs the line between friend and foe. Coulson and his team will be forced to make shocking sacrifices that will leave their relationships and their world changed forever.

Tropes:

  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Cal goes through the TAHITI program as punishment for his crimes, turning him into the veterinarian Dr. Winslow.
  • Amputation Stops Spread: The petrifying effect of the Terrigen crystals moves relatively slowly, giving Mack enough time to hack off Coulson's hand before it can move too far up.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Just after Coulson catches the Terrigen crystal, his hand begins to turn to stone. Said hand is then cut off by Mack before the petrification process overtakes Coulson.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Bobbi and Hunter, putting the final nail in the coffin of their Slap-Slap-Kiss relationship. The only time Bobbi shows any emotion besides indignation during her torture is when Ward reveals the "door to her room opens, gun goes off at head height" setup that he designed to kill Hunter. When she hears him approaching, she almost goes into hysterics trying to warn him or tamper with the rig. Likewise, Hunter sees her get shot (thus saving his life, but also turning him into a Blood-Splattered Warrior) and he completely loses his head, repeatedly begging her to "stay with me".
  • Badass Boast:
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    • From Mack to Gordon, as he surprises him guarding the Terrigen crystals in the ventilation room. Fitz is actually the one to make good on it, and not even on purpose, but points for trying.
      Mack: It's Gordon, right?
      Gordon: And who are you?
      Mack: I'm the guy who kills Gordon.
    • Coulson gets a less obvious one during the same fight. Grabbing a large wrench, he claims that as a kid he used to bat .400note .
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Cal kills Jiaying so Skye won't have to — he even acknowledges that he's doing it so she doesn't have to live with the pain of having killed her own mother.
    Cal: You don't have to do this. You don't have to live with that pain ... I will. [Snaps Jiaying's neck]
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  • Bad Powers, Good People: Cal mentions that elders in her village used to voluntarily sacrifice themselves to Jiaying and she tried to convince them not to, every time.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • After everything's taken care of, it looks like Cal is being sent to prison for life, particularly when he asks Skye for an occasional visit. Turns out he was actually being put through the TAHITI process so those visits won't mean anything to him, but she still does them.
    • Gordon's death is staged and shot as to make it look like he'd teleported behind and killed Fitz — the focus is on Fitz standing there looking stunned and the camera pans down, most viewers expecting to see Gordon had impaled him from behind, only to reveal it's the other way around.
  • Book-Ends: At the end of the first and last episodes of this season, someone's left hand is cut off to save them from contact with Diviner metal. Fortunately, it works much better for Coulson than it did Izzy.
    • When we first saw Gordon in the first episode of this season, he was teleporting around a room, unable to escape. In this episode, he finds himself teleporting around a room, unable to escape.
  • Briar Patching: After Kara kills an agent and takes a few shots at May, May calls in for the remaining agents to converge on the southwest corner of the building and not to lower their guard unless they see May's face. Ward killed the agent in that area and the only other one besides Hunter is with May, which May is well aware of but Kara isn't. Ward and Kara fall for the ploy, with the former killing the latter.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Skye spends half the episode with her hands locked in power-suppressing gauntlets, but she still retains the fighting skills she learned from May and the hacking skills she had before ever joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Call-Back: After going through the TAHITI program and becoming Dr. Winslow, Cal says that his veterinary clinic will become "a magical place," the same thing Coulson used to say after going through the program himself.
  • Came Back Wrong: Jiaying was a genuine example of All-Loving Hero before Whitehall tortured and killed her. Cal had hoped that reuniting his family would bring her back to the way she was before her dismemberment and reassembly.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Mack's choice of weapon comes in handy when Coulson is being petrified by a tainted Terrigen crystal he caught.
    • The power limiting gauntlets created by Simmons for Skye come back into play here, with the Inhumans locking them onto Skye to keep her in check.
  • Cradling Your Kill:
    • The late Jiaying was Cal's wife, after all.
    • Ward did the same to Kara, though in his case the killing was unintentional.
  • Deadly Hug: In a literal example, Cal kills Jiaying by hugging her with his Super Strength.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Coulson has to stop a falling Terrigen Crystal thrown by a dying Gordon from hitting the floor and shattering. He makes the catch, but doing so causes his hand to start petrifying, forcing Mack to sever his hand to stop the spread of the petrification.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Mack and Skye have to retake the Iliad from the Inhumans.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Ward visits a bar after Kara's death, while waiting for his contacts to bring a list of HYDRA agents.
  • Fantastic Racism: Coulson finds a use for Mack's: he puts Mack in charge of securing and researching alien artifacts, knowing that Mack will always be cautious about such things.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Cal goes through a variation of this. Thanks to Coulson, he realizes how immoral his wife has become and decides to side with Coulson to bring her down.
    • When Jiaying starts executing prisoners, Lincoln realizes that his side might not be the good guys in this conflict.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Neither Hunter nor May are wearing helmets during the raid on Ward's hideout, while the unnamed agents accompanying them are in full tactical gear, including helmets.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Gordon meets his end by teleporting right behind Fitz and into the length of pipe Fitz is holding.
  • I Gave My Word: What Cal tearfully tells Jiaying before he finishes her off.note 
    Jiaying: [Weakly] Cal, what are you doing?
    Cal: Keeping my promise. [Bear hugs her and snaps her spine in the process]
  • Karma Houdini: Sort of. Cal's killed at least dozens (possibly over a hundred) people in his life, and even kills the woman he loves. In the end, he's not locked up and he doesn't remember any of it, with the TAHITI program turning him into a normal guy. On the other hand, removing all of his memories is essentially executing him, and he's a lot more useful to the world as a Kindly Vet than just spending the rest of his life in a cell.
  • Keystone Army: Lincoln defeats Alisha the self-cloner by electrifying the railing that her primary body is leaning against, causing all her copies to fall unconscious.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Cal goes through the TAHITI program, becoming a veterinarian named Dr. Winslow.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: When Coulson is being petrified by a tainted Terrigen crystal, Mack uses an axe to chop his hand off before it spreads. Coulson's a bit annoyed that he didn't get a say in it.
  • Literal Metaphor: Cal tells Coulson that Jiaying had a good heart before Whitehall tore it out, which Whitehall did both literally (in the course of vivisecting her) and metaphorically (because the experience turned her into the hardened and dangerous person she is now). In the same conversation, his catchphrase "just trying to put my family back together" is connected to the experience of having to physically re-assemble his wife.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: All that Terrigen-contaminated fish oil means that there's the potential for more people with power to start showing up in the MCU, and possibly a whole lot of petrified humans. One only hopes the metal was filtered out.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Inverted. May tricks Kara into impersonating her and then heading to an area where Ward was waiting to ambush the real May. Kara gets several bullets to the stomach before Ward realizes he's been played.
  • Moment Killer: Coulson interrupts Simmons while she's trying to bring up with Fitz that they never got around to finishing the conversation they had under the ocean in last year's season finale.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Coulson assigns Skye to form her own Avengers-esque team of enhanced individuals, stressing that they need to be secret.
    • When Mack busts Skye out, he calls her "Tremors," which isn't her comic book name of "Quake" but it's close.
  • Neck Snap: Cal does this to Jiaying, followed by a super-strong Bear Hug to snap her spine.
  • Never Needs Sharpening: An unintentional example. The fish oil dietary supplements are guaranteed to change your life. Given that the fish used to make them may be tainted by the Diviner-infused Terrigen Crystals, that statement is far more true than anyone involved in the making or selling of those pills could possibly imagine.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Dumping a crate of tainted Terrigen crystals into the ocean might've kept them out of Jiaying's hands, but it ends up polluting the local animal life and will probably have far-reaching consequences.
    • Fitz accidentally pops the latch on the container holding the Kree stone while trying to ask Simmons on a date. Upon its next liquification, it knocks the door open and grabs Simmons before reforming.
  • The Nicknamer: Mack runs through "Turbo" (Fitz), "Tremors" (Skye), "Ginger Ninja" (Alisha) and "No Eyes" (Gordon) over the course of the episode. Gordon lampshades how lame the last one is.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Kree artifact, which turns to liquid every so often and is thought to be extremely dangerous, is secured by a single, hand-opened latch with no secondary lock. Fitz accidentally releases it just by leaning on it.
  • Offhand Backhand: Fitz gets a pretty excellent one with the length of pipe he was using as a melee weapon against Gordon. Gordon teleports right behind Fitz and ends up with a gut full of pipe.
  • Offing the Offspring: Jiaying uses her draining powers on Skye when Skye tries to talk her out of her plan to wage war on S.H.I.E.L.D. The first time, Skye manages to throw her off and scuttle the plane which Jiaying was going to use to escape. Jiaying tries again, and Skye retaliates with her own powers (causing Jiaying's scars to burst open), but Cal intervenes, stating that the burden of killing Jiaying shouldn't be on Skye's shoulders, but his own, as penance for letting her take things so far. He promptly snaps Jiaying's neck.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Gordon loses the ability to properly teleport, leaving him stuck in the fan room with Coulson, Mack, and Fitz — all carrying heavy melee weapons — he knows right there he's totally screwed.
  • Parental Substitute: Coulson openly admits that Skye is the closest thing to family that he has.
  • Perspective Reversal: At the beginning of the season, Bobbi was a committed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Hunter was uncertain about getting involved. At the end, Hunter has become a committed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Bobbi has become uncertain about whether she can continue.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally for Cal. After going through TAHITI, his new identity is that of a veterinary physician. The first thing we see him do is welcoming and petting a Golden Retriever who is going to be his first patient of the day.
  • Power Nullifier: Skye gets her hands locked in power-suppressing gauntlets. After Mack breaks her out of her cell, she switches to using the hacking skills she had before joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and the martial arts skills she learned from May.
  • Public Secret Message: Skye alters the S.O.S. call to warn Coulson that it's a trap.
  • Redshirt Army: When Hunter and May go to rescue Bobbi, they take a squad of agents with them as backup. Ward and Kara quickly pick off all of them except one, who doesn't contribute anything except to briefly act as The Watson.
  • Sequel Hook: Numerous.
    • Ward is reforming HYDRA around himself, stating his desire to be with a team again.
    • Skye is now the leader and first member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new team of enhanced agents, slated to be 'like the Avengers, but secret'.
    • The Terrigen crystals that Skye dumped in the ocean are dissolving, contaminating sea life. These Terrigenefish are then processed into dietary supplements to be sold around the world.
    • Finally, when the container holding the Kree stone is accidentally unlocked, it liquifies, grabs Simmons, and then reforms with her trapped inside (but not dead).
  • Ship Tease:
    • The wrap-up scenes show May packing for a vacation with her ex-husband. Said packing includes something that looks to be either a bikini or sexy underwear. She also brings a gun, but this is May we're talking about.
    • Simmons finally gets round to addressing Fitz's Dying Declaration of Love to her in the Season 1 finale, and when he tries to insist that there's nothing there to talk about, this time it's her suggesting that there is.
    • The Stinger has Fitz awkwardly asking Simmons out on a date. Then, in classic Joss Whedon style, Jemma gets captured by the Kree stone.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Considering the Johnson family story and the circumstances, it hardly looks coincidental that Cal lifts Jiaying the same way Vader grabbed the Emperor in Return of the Jedi before tossing him into the shaft.
    • Ward slamming a guy's face into a glass seems to allude to a certain well known scene concerning a pencil.
  • Something We Forgot: Skye uses her powers to dump a Quinjet overboard with her mother's supply of Terrigen crystals on board. It strains disbelief that nobody in S.H.I.E.L.D. would think to recover the crystals. Sure enough, one of the scenes in the closing montage makes it clear that this is going to be a huge problem in the future.
  • Subverted Catch Phrase: As Ward's contact notes, HYDRA's heads aren't growing back. Between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, the leadership is gone and the organization has fallen apart.
  • Taken for Granite: Several over the episode fall prey to the tainted Terrigen crystal gas, most prominently Oliver.
  • Take That!:
    Mack: I thought my mom was bad when she started watching Fox News.
  • Take That, Audience!: Kara name-dropping the "Stand With Ward" meme and subsequently getting killed herself by Ward was a direct shot at Ward's Misaimed Fandom.
  • Taking the Bullet: Bobbi deliberately throws herself into the path of the booby trap meant for Hunter.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Coulson doesn't kill Calvin with this trope, but manages to turn him.
  • Tele-Frag: After being trapped so that he can only teleport within the bounds of a single room, Gordon accidentally teleports himself into the pipe Fitz is holding.
    • You would assume avoiding this would be a pretty vital Required Secondary Power for Gordon. Between encountering Fitz's quantum interference device for the first time and getting beaten senseless with blunt objects, Gordon is doubtless pretty far from the top of his game.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Fitz's quantum device, once activated, traps Gordon inside the fan room. He can still Teleport Spam inside, but can no longer escape.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When Coulson catches the Terrigen Crystal (in slow-motion too!), the theme song begins to triumphantly play. The arrangement quickly becomes melancholic when Coulson's hand starts turning to stone ... then it just cuts out as Mack chops Coulson's hand off.
  • This Cannot Be!: Gordon, when he finds his powers have been nullified.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: When Gordon asks how they've blocked his teleportation:
    Fitz: Science, biotch.
  • This Was His True Form: Kara's mask shuts off when Ward accidentally kills her, revealing her scarred face. Somewhat subverted, as Ward knew she had those scars all the time and didn't care.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ward directly told Kara that he personally would take out May when she arrives at their base. When May deliberately sends out a message indicating she'll be moving to a certain area of the building, Kara takes May's face, not realizing that Ward's the only one in the area. Ward kills her before realizing his mistake.
  • Transformation at the Speed of Plot: In the previous episode, Jiaying grabbed an unfortunate S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and drained the man in about ten seconds. When she tries this on her daughter, she holds on for at least twice as long — more than once, too — and yet can't manage to kill her. Skye even still has it in her to use her own powers in response. It's possible that Inhumans have more energy to drain than normal humans, given Jiaying's vague comments, or that she's hesitating because this is her daughter, but neither is clear.
  • Vampiric Draining: Jiaying's lifespan is bolstered and her regenerative powers are accelerated by draining the life out of other people. Before Whitehall, she only used it every few decades on an elderly volunteer, to make sure she'd stick around, and always hated it. After Whitehall, draining people didn't cause her to bat an eye. The village of people that Cal killed after her death were sacrificed to fuel her regeneration.
  • We Can Rule Together: Jiaying tries this on Skye, expressing how much she needs her daughter to be with her while she protects their people.

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