Anyone who travels or commutes on a regular basis knows the conundrum. Should I take the train? It's cheaper than flying, but also much slower. It's faster and fancier than the bus, but also much more expensive. Usually, the factors for me are speed and price. If I'm not getting there the quickest, I might as well spend the least amount of money.
This is not the case in Europe, though, where a cross-country train ride is the equivalent of traveling between neighboring states. And such was the goal in "T.R.A.C.K.S." when our Agents of SHIELD
team attempted to follow the path of a smuggled device from seller (CyberTek) to buyer (Quinn and the Clairvoyant).Agents of SHIELD Recap: All Aboard the Runaway Train >>>
But much like train travel, this mission was full of ups and downs. It may have ended as a success despite being compromised from the start, but at what cost? Who gets credit and who gets blame? Let's break it down.
Coulson Takes the Fall
A lot of the blame for this one falls on Coulson's shoulders, and he clearly took it to heart in his vigil over Skye's body in the hyperbaric chamber. And it all started with him trusting the wrong man. Clearly, proper research could have uncovered that Russo was in cahoots with CyberTek in regards to passing objects through the Italian countryside. But instead, he put his entire team at risk.
Not much went well for the resurrected Phil in this one. His best contribution was trying to use the holotable with Ward and then threatening to exile him if the May relationship interfered with team safety. You know, more than he just did. At least we know he's comfortable with the word "sex."
Agent Ward's Bleeding Rift
Ward did his usual physical violence thing well, but more so on the defensive. He managed to fight off the hot chick and the security guard, which led to him and Coulson jumping off a moving train and getting night-night bombed.
He was also torn up about Skye's injuries, thought it's not entirely clear who he's blaming when he said he doesn't blame himself. He's either opening up a rift with Coulson or with May, and while I'm leaning towards the former, it's a dangerous game to play when it comes to questioning superior officers.
May Tries Really, Really Hard
May, as usual, really stepped up, but that's mainly because she took the brunt of the punishment. She got shot at, hung from the rafters and stabbed, and she still managed to hot-wire a truck for Coulson and Ward and save them from Russo's gun after she had killed all his henchman. After she was stabbed in the shoulder.
But when it came to completing the objectives of the mission, like Coulson and Ward, she contributed very little. It was really the next three who were responsible for any positive outcomes, and boy did they pay the price.
Fitz Gets Physical
Fitz and Skye were initially supposed to simply monitor the location of the device after Simmons marked it with a tracker, but they were tasked with much more after everything went to hell. First, they were attacked by a gunman who shot up their computer screens, but they fought back admirably. Fitz even ran at the guy bullheaded and landed a nice hit or two before eventually shooting the guy a couple times with night-night darts and dumping him in a box.
After the train stopped, it was up to them to follow the device, which they did willingly without backup or regard for their safety. Fitz activated the tracker that led the rest of the team to the villa and also eluded the security guards while disabling their vehicles.
It's Win-Lose for Skye
Skye took a lot of initiative as an agent in insisting they continue to follow the device and in going inside after Quinn. It was probably a stupid decision, as she ended up getting shot a couple times, but it was certainly ballsy. And they did end up catching Quinn, but that had as much to do with the team response and the Clairvoyant's decision to have Mike Peterson kill everyone from CyberTek (and not engage SHIELD).
She's still a bit too green to be taking on solo missions, especially when she gets distracted so easily and allows the opposition to get the jump on her. We all know she won't die, but it was still troubling to see her take those bullets.
Jem is Excitement, Jem is Adventure
In the end, everyone had successes and failures during the mission, but only one agent was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice -- again -- and did it without hesitation. She didn't make a risky decision, she literally jumped on a grenade. And that means Jemma Simmons is finally the star of a mission.
First, she came up with the hilarious undercover story for herself and Coulson, urn and all. Sure, anyone smuggling something would immediately be suspicious about the British girl with the clearly American father making a scene by screaming on the train and then dumping the ashes all over the place. I also doubt even the worst among us would just trounce through said ashes and continue on his or her way, but hey, it made for entertaining television.
Simmons also saved Skye by lowering her body temperature in the hyperbaric chamber and was responsible for keeping her alive until they got her proper medical attention.
But where Simmons became a hero was when she walked into the luggage car to find Fitz and Skye under attack from a gunman. After he pulled out the night-night device and pulled the pin, she grabbed him in a bearhug until it exploded and rendered them both unconscious. She was lucky it wasn't meant to kill, but she had no way of knowing that.
Much like when bomb-Simmons ejected herself from the Bus, dives-on-the-bomb Simmons acted without hesitation and didn't think twice about the fact that it could be the end for her. Her first priority was to save her friends and colleagues, and that's worth a commendation.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.