Every character from the latest episode of Agents of SHIELD
belongs in one of the above categories, but the main problem in breaking down the mission is that we don't yet know who fits where. We've determined that the Clairvoyant is actually a SHIELD agent with high-level security clearance, which basically makes everyone a suspect.
This is the first time I am writing the debrief/agent of the week article without knowing who I'm going to end up choosing as the star of the mission. So I guess we'll just see where "The End of the Beginning" leads us.
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The Known Bad
There are several agents we can be sure were not the star of this mission, so let's get them out of the way first. Agent Ward, for all his SkyeCare and butt kicking, basically murdered the wheelchair-bound catatonic cripple he believed to be the Clairvoyant. That's not winning you any medals. Strike one.
Agent May, regardless of her intentions, has a secret phone tapped into the hardline that she's not supposed to have. And when she's caught with it, she won't divulge any information. Stee-rike two.
Agent Simmons is going behind Coulson's back to test Skye's blood at the Hub in an effort to learn about the GH325, even though that might be the sole piece of information the Clairvoyant doesn't know regarding Coulson's resurrection and why he or she is seeking out the SHIELD team in the first place.
We can at least rule her out as being the Clairvoyant, as she is actually too smart to be some sort of supervillain. She would obsess over the most minute details, and I don't see her pulling a Verbal Kint. Still, steeeeeee-riiiiike three, side retired.
The key message in all of this is Trust Coulson. Why no one is cluing him in to this stuff is beyond me.
The SHIELD brass is a whole bunch of question marks, particularly the ones who made little or no contribution to the mission anyway. Agents Hand and Sitwell both opted out of the suspect vetting, but at least Hand was planning on organizing backup. Instead, we see her at some sort of control monitor rerouting the Bus to her location with orders to kill everyone but Coulson. Still, I don't see her as the villain. We just don't know her motivations. And who knows where Sitwell went?
Agent Blake is in a similar situation to the above higher-ups, only he went on the mission and was nearly killed for doing so. I doubt he is a bad guy, because it takes a certain amount of cunning to have yourself beaten close to death just to hide your involvement. His big contribution was shooting Deathlok with the tracer bullets so the team could find the pretend Clairvoyant.
And that brings us to Agents Garrett and Triplett. On the surface, Garrett seems like a dedicated agent with close ties to Coulson who is doing due diligence looking for a bad guy. He comes across as a genuine friend and has contributed greatly to several missions. This time around, he has a heart to heart with Skye about her involvement with Ward, he teams up with Coulson to search for possible Clairvoyants and he helps lead the raid on the abandoned racetrack once they track Dealthlok there.
But being so close to an investigation is also the perfect cover if you're part of what you're investigating. Garrett has access to all the files and information regarding the case and the manhunt, and he also possesses the ability to throw other agents off the trail if they get too close. As late as last night, when I posted the recap, I was convinced that he is the Clairvoyant.
My only cause for doubt is that it just seems too obvious a choice, and that maybe there is a surprise in order. And now, I'm starting to eye someone else as the culprit: Agent Triplett. He has access to all the same intel Garrett does, and he hides behind a veil of nicety and flirty interactions with Simmons. We're supposed to like them together so as to not suspect he might be behind everything, all while standing in Garrett's shadow. And let's not forget that he already fought Ward over getting access to Quinn, so there's a bit of a rivalry their over-shared sensei.
If the Clairvoyant is, indeed, Triplett, then Garrett would be a decent choice for Agent of the Week. But with all the mitigating factors, I'm sticking with what I know. And the best part about being named Coulson is that you clearly belong in the "Coulson" category -- undeniably trustworthy and dedicated to the cause, without reason for suspicion. Coulson is the glue, and the series falls apart without him.
For his part in this mission, he accomplished a lot. He got the brass on board with welcoming Skye, realized that Blake had shot Deathlok with tracer bullets, led the raid on the racetrack and came to the realization, with Skye's help, that the Clairvoyant's button-proddings were the result of an inside job. But he also lost control of his team, for all the reasons listed above, and he has no idea who he can trust.
Likewise, Agent Fitz had a solid if not unspectacular mission, creating the tracer bullets, unveiling the glowing ball surveillance pods at the racetrack and stumbling upon May's secret line. The only knock against him is that he is very much in favor of ignoring Coulson's order to sit on the GH325 until they have more info.
Welcome AGENT Skye
That only leaves one character, and it's someone we can seemingly trust who played a huge role in this mission. So Skye gets this week's gold star, for a promotion 16 episodes in the making. And in addition to losing her freelance status, she was also granted security clearance, access to everyone's personal files and tasked with being the only person who knew the identities and locations of all the persons of interest.
She might have been able to hack all that info anyway, but it's certainly easier to just be able to open the documents. Her previous lack of clearance makes it very unlikely she is the Clairvoyant, especially considering the fact that she had to wear that bracelet that locked her out of the Internet for a few weeks.
Skye is also emerging as a leader, as she was instrumental in determining that they were searching for a SHIELD agent, ordered Fitz to cut the extra phone line and pulled a gun on May, putting her life on the line when she said that May wasn't fast enough to take them both out.
Then again, these are all things that a criminal mastermind would do to throw us off the scent. And if she is an evil genius, having Quinn shoot her for the opportunity to get the same serum that resurrected Coulson would be a pretty brilliant move. Just saying.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.