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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E2 "Heavy Is the Head"

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Hunted and running out of solutions, Coulson puts his team right in the line of fire in the hopes of saving them all. But with General Talbot, HYDRA and Creel all on the attack, can they possibly survive? Meanwhile, a mysterious Doctor (Kyle MacLachlan) harbors some dangerous secrets that could destroy one of our core team members.


  • Continuity Nod:
    • When trying to help Fitz, Mack runs through several diagrams of items from past episodes.
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    • May gives Hunter a Mousehole cutter to get out of the SUV.
    • Coulson comes across a picture of Peggy Carter while researching the Obelisk.
    • Coulson has familiarized himself with holographic interface technology since the events of "T.R.A.C.K.S."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Creel beats the crap out of Hunter and would've killed him had Coulson not intervened.
  • Due to the Dead: One of Hunter's terms for betraying Coulson is for Talbot to arrange for his fallen teammates to be buried with full honors instead of being treated as deceased terrorists. Coulson ends up doing so when Hunter goes back on the deal.
  • Dynamic Entry: Hunter runs into a building, using the glass entrance like most people would. Creel simply smashes through the glass.
  • Enemy Mine: Raina helps SHIELD track down Creel because she doesn't want HYDRA to get the Obelisk either, but then swoops in and steals it herself during the confrontation.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: Raina broke away from HYDRA because she thinks their goal is "so 1945".
  • Exact Words: "I didn't solve this today." Fitz keeps repeating this, and everyone assumes he's just upset at his failure. Mack then realizes that Fitz is trying to say that he already solved it in the past, that solution being the Overkill device.
  • Gilligan Cut: Skye believes there's something wrong with Coulson, only for May to insist there isn't. Cut to her telling him "What is wrong with you?" in reference to choosing to go into the field.
  • Gunship Rescue: More accurate to call it "Gunship Backup Plan". Coulson delivers Creel to Talbot as a peace offering, hoping to make a deal. When Talbot refuses, he has the Bus with its very big nose cannon decloak. He then boards the Quinjet nearby, which was also cloaked.
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  • Idiot Ball: After knocking out Trip and taking his rifle so he can kill Creel, Hunter leaves the building and crosses the square for a better shot, predictably causing a panic because he's an apparent civilian running around with a loaded weapon in broad daylight. The commotion alerts Creel, who makes himself bulletproof and gives Hunter quite the beating.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: When the team is spying on Creel, Hunter ices his teammates and attempts this.
  • Madness Mantra: Fitz's insistent repetitions of "I didn't solve this today." Mack figures out that Fitz isn't reproaching himself, but trying to say (in his brain damage-impaired speech) that he already designed a device that can dispose of Creel.
  • The Man Behind the Man: When Talbot is enlisting Hunter's help in catching Coulson, he mentions that he has the backing of a senator with enough financial resources to let Hunter name any price for betraying SHIELD.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Currently has SHIELD vs HYDRA vs the US Military vs whoever Raina is with.
  • More Dakka: The Bus returns to the air, showing off a previously unseen nose turret that incorporates a large cannon and four smaller guns.
  • Overt Rendezvous: Creel meets with his HYDRA handler to hand over the Obelisk on a pair of back-to-back public benches. This ends up making it remarkably easy for Raina to walk away with it when the meeting goes bad.
  • Power Incontinence: Creel's trick of rubberizing his hand in the last episode didn't quite work, and now he's slowly being turned into the Obelisk. His HYDRA handler speaks a Trigger Phrase that seemingly snaps him out of it.
  • Power Nullifier: Fitz and Mack rig one up for Creel, based on the Overkill device.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Skye comments on Creel's physique and ability to change the properties of any part of his anatomy.
    Triplett: What, is he lonely?
    Skye: I doubt it, the guy's jacked, and he can turn any body part into any material...
    Coulson: Thank you for that.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Hunter tries this on Creel for what he did to Hartley. It nearly gets him killed.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: The Obelisk doesn't just kill indiscriminately; it spares Raina, and it's hinted Skye's father knows what it can actually do.
  • Secret Keeper: May knows about Coulson's unexplained compulsion to write the alien script. She has been keeping track of how often it happens (apparently every 17 days), photographs his progress every episode he has, and helps to cover it up by re-plastering the wall he carves up.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: In a sense with Creel. When hit with the Power Nullifier, he quickly rotates through several forms before the Obelisk material seemingly kills him.
  • Shout-Out To Shakespeare: Sort of. The title of the episode is a common misquotation of a passage from Henry IV, Part 2, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown".
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Coulson offers Talbot the chance to become this — he deliberately fails to keep up with the fugitive Coulson, and Coulson allows him to take credit for his team's work with the press and the Pentagon. Talbot refuses.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • A hapless waitress who accidentally gets a dose of the electric pulse of the Obelisk is transformed fully by it.
    • Creel, like every victim of the Obelisk. Coulson isn't entirely convinced it will stick.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Fitz once again clears a lab table in this fashion when he gets frustrated.
  • Touch of Death: Creel, on account of absorbing the Obelisk material. Subverted with Raina; it allows her to touch it without killing her, for whatever reason.
  • Trigger Phrase: Creel's contact uses one to make him compliant.
    Handler: Compliance will be rewarded.
    Creel: ...I am happy to comply.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Skye and Trip deliver one in Simmons' absence, making it clear that they are not happy with her for abandoning Fitz and the rest of the team.


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