Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned on March 3, 2015, much to the excitement of millions of viewers, cast members, and crew alike. After the cataclysmic events in the alien city, the members of S.H.I.E.L.D. attempt to pick up the pieces, figure out what has happened to Skye, and strike at HYDRA’s inner forces while the loss of Whitehall is still fresh. If you missed the episode, or just feel like reliving the best moments of the midseason premiere, here’s our recap and thoughts on this rollercoaster of an episode!

Be warned: There are massive spoilers ahead, so if you don’t want to know what happened, turn back now!

Let me begin by saying: Dichen Lachman is queen. The opening scene throws us back to 1983, where Skye’s mother Jiaying soothes a frantic young man who has picked up a powerful sort of temporal space manipulation and lost his eyes in the process. As he flits in and out of existence around the room, she attempts to calm him, fulfilling her role as mentor to those with newly acquired abilities.

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We find ourselves back in the present shortly thereafter, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ramps up the emotion right off the bat as the members of Team Coulson deal with the aftermath of their trip to the city. They start by facing Tripp’s death head on. Now, I say death, but with all of these whispers about Inhumans floating around I’m still gunning for Inhuman!Tripp sneaking his way back into the MCU eventually.

Clark Gregg nails an emotionally charged speech to quarantined Skye, introducing the driving motivation behind their forward actions from here on out. S.H.I.E.L.D. is seeking justice.

Meanwhile, over at HYDRA headquarters, Whitehall’s spot needs to be filled. Old white upper class folk sit around drinking red wine and being generally evil as they scheme HYDRA’s future moves and leadership.

While most of the team has reunited, Simmons is conducting research in the city, searching for any usable knowledge. We get the painful moment of Tripp’s stony profile being wheeled by, and the final member of the team gets her reaction. And then the quiet peace of excavation is destroyed as people start dying—bloodily. Raina doesn’t seem particularly happy about her new transformation.

Bobby and Skye bonding yay. Quarantine sucks but Skye’s got a fan. The ultimate brotp strikes again as Fitz tries to help Mack, who is dealing with the aftermath of having his body hi-jacked. Serves as motivation to keep shit like this from happening again. The slow moments of recovery end fairly abruptly as news of Raina’s escape reaches the group. Tensions skyrocket as latent anger from Coulson and Skye’s obsessive alien hunt come to the front. Coulson sends the dissenters on a Tripp guilt trip and we’re back on track, ready to step back into the spotlight and go on the offensive. Apparently whenever I mention Tripp I also use the word trip in the sentence. It doesn’t soften the blow.

Having Bakshi under lock and key means leverage for Coulson, and he sets out to take advantage of this by offering a trade. As the team sets out for the exchange, we can only expect trouble. Major side impact trope, activate! Things get shoot-y fast but Agent May’s there so they get by just fine and we get to see May’s excellent moves.

And then they all get shot.

Hunter, playing the role of evil kidnapper, makes off with their prisoner and the downed S.H.I.E.L.D. team calls CUT and climb to their feet, hoping their dramatic ploy has worked.

Radioshack is Hydra pass it on. Thank you Hunter. He always seems pretty happy pointing guns at people and being ambiguous.

Simmons is back on base and busy Turns out, Raina’s DNA is several shades of crazy, and Simmons is having an internal crisis over her role in things. Let’s just keep bringing up Tripp eh? But her panic and disdain towards whatever has happened to Raina makes Skye, who experienced the same thing, very nervous. Simmons becomes the outspoken negative force, thrown by her role and regretting her fascination in studying what was happening rather than eradicating it, but this strong reaction serves as a sharp point of guilt for Skye. Using the constantly sweet and friendly Gemma Simmons to antagonize Skye really drives up the sense of concern Skye’s feeling.

Cal makes a reappearance as Raina confronts him about the metamorphosis she underwent, which has been plaguing her with pain and unhappiness. The first glimpse of Raina’s new appearance during her plea for understanding makes for an exciting halfway point. Raina seems to be blaming her less than perfect appearance on Skye’s presence, but her complaint gives Skye’s father a renewed joy and sense of hope. Raina drops a pretty good truth bomb, though. “She’ll never love you, you stupid man.” I’ve always liked Raina. But Cal is merciless, claiming no help for her and  crudely insinuating that if she is unwilling to accept her new life she should end it instead.

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As that slimy Bakshi makes his way back to the cold embrace of HYDRA in order to unknowingly set the plan into motion, Bobbi joins up with Hunter and we get a little peaceful opening up time. Bobbi reveals to Hunter that the secret she and Mac share is that they attend a support group together. Hunter’s relief at the news goes deeper than trust–he’s happy she’s finally opening up and facing her feelings. Guys, I ship it pretty hard.

HYDRA’s upper class elite have been turned against one another thanks to some skilled information breaches a la Hunter. Props to SHIELD for operating a complete takeover, hijacking themselves and tricking HYDRA into believing their scheme, and for getting the members of HYDRA to do most of the work. Masterfully done. HYDRA has some nasty death devices in their arsenal, and upper white class leaders meet their demise in a shockingly quick roundup.

INHUMAN BOMB. Fitz drops yet another utterance of “inhuman” when he discovers that Skye’s heartrate at the time of collapse was 300BPM. It looks like Fitz is the first to pick up on what’s going on, and he brings it straight to Skye. Unfortunately, his slightly accusing tone doesn’t resonate well with her and she kind of…explodes a few things.

fitzskyehugThings are looking dire for Skye as DNA results come back and the shattered proof of her powers are about to give her away, but Fitz returns to present a cover and keep her secret safe in the face of such heightened emotions. The Fitz and Skye hug and declaration of “you’re just different now, and there’s nothing wrong with that” hits a lot of notes, especially coming from Fitz. I’m constantly in love with how the character dynamics work. Fitz has had his share of struggles over this season, and hopefully this view towards Skye’s condition reflects how he is beginning to accept himself and his own limitations as well. I have a lot of feelings about Fitz.

Raina’s preparations for suicide are interrupted by a flurry of black suits that want to collect and register her, but her unwillingness to go quietly flares up. She prepares for battle, but our eyeless presumed Inhuman arrives in a blaze of temporal shifting and collects Raina, ready to teach her. Looking forward for what’s to come from this new alliance. Inhumans comics fans far more versed than I are theorizing that this new character may be a lesser used Inhuman by the name of Reader. Also he’s credited on IMDB as Reader, but rumors have been known to sprout on there despite its fairly reputable history.

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Things aren’t quite calm yet. Turns out, Mack and Bobbi are still up to something, Bobbi’s little revelations in the car with Hunter were fabrications, and who the fuck are Mack and she working for??

All in all, the directness with which the team faced Tripp’s death was beautifully written and incorporated a real sense of emotion. As ever, there are internal and external forces at work, and instead of exposing the secrets of the team, we’re faced with yet more. Skye’s got a long road ahead of her, that’s for sure. On another note, I want a Lola projector!

Writer. Cosplayer. Binge Netflix Watcher. Anime Dweeb. Book Enthusiast. Harbours inappropriately strong feelings about Shakespeare and William Blake. Once lost a whole day theorizing about Game of Thrones. The most motivated procrastinator she knows. Sometimes it works out in her favor. Mostly just causes widespread panic. It's all good though, because she never forgets her towel.

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