The hopefully-temporary dissolution of SHIELD following the HYDRA infiltration and its classification as a terror organization has really limited the contributions each agent can make on a week-to-week basis (more like a weak-to-weak basis).
The agents, and the organization, are struggling for survival and purpose, with only Coulson seeming to care about the original SHIELD mission statement. Still, in this latest episode of Agents of SHIELD
, he had an ulterior motive for insisting they leave the relative safety of Providence and track down escaped supervillain Blackout.
Meanwhile, Skye, Koenig and May were left at the secret base to unsuccessfully and unknowingly try to outwit the traitor in their midst. So who was "The Only Light in the Darkness"? Let's break it down.
Two and a Half Easy No's
Firstly, we don't even need to discuss Ward anymore, as he's clearly not working towards redemption at present. Still, he remains exceptionally efficient and effective at being a double agent, fooling the lie detector test, taking out Koenig and getting a little action from Skye before focusing on his objectives.
Agent May contributed next to nothing this time around, except maybe that she didn't get surprise-killed. After demanding to be a part of the Blackout mission and getting reamed out by Coulson, she decided to call her mommy and go home. It certainly made things easier for Ward, who was reaching for his gun when she announced her intentions to quit the team.
I would have loved it if Agent Koenig had scored himself an MVA, but alas, it wasn't to be. It's hard to reward the dude who let Ward pass the lie detector test and then got knocked off while praising his good fortunes. Poor guy didn't even see it coming. RIP Patton Oswalt.
SHIELD I will miss you.
Thanks But No Thanks
Simmons and Tripplett accompanied Coulson and Fitz on the mission to save the cellist, and the pair was in charge of wrangling Miss Audrey Nathan, much to Fitz's chagrin. Outside of that, they pointed Fitz's gamma ray flashlights at Marcus Daniels until he knocked them down with his energy blasts.
Simmons also patched up Ward's Garrett-inflicted wounds, and Tripp gets bonus points for flying the plane and for being the one to help Coulson finish off Blackout, but neither did anything spectacular.
The Case for Fitz
Here's where it gets interesting, and even as I type this, I'm not sure which of the three remaining agents is going to prove the most valuable. Fitz made the most of his talents and was responsible for nearly everything associated with actually destroying Blackout (who was so one-dimensional and undeveloped he was a waste of using a real comic book character).
Fitz employed his Batteries Not Included buddies in the first failed attempt at taking down Daniels, then produced the gamma ray light guns based on Bruce Banner-developed technology. It was also his idea to use Audrey and her cello to lure Blackout from the darkness and into the light.
Still, this was as much an emotional growth episode for Fitz as anything else, as he grappled with his feelings for Simmons in the wake of her budding and mutual admiration for Tripp. They've always been besties, which more or less means he's been stuck in the friend zone, but there's never been jealousy issues because they've always been cooped up together.
I'm not sure if he loves her that way or not, but he decided to follow Coulson's example over Ward's advice, at least for the time being. That's probably a good move.
The Case for Skye
As far as up and down weeks go, she's the champ. It's hard to blame a person for being duped and betrayed by someone he or she cares about, but despite all she accomplished, the world came crashing down around Skye this week.
She is still riding a wave of praise thanks to her elaborate encryption of the Bus' hard drive, which is the only reason Ward hasn't killed her yet. It's also the only reason she has value to HYDRA, as Ward wouldn't even be there if the data was easier to decrypt. So it's really her own fault that she's still alive and also in immediate danger of not being in a living state anymore.
Additionally, it was her idea to hack the NSA satellite feeds that prompted Ward to speed up putting his plan into action. To her credit, she successfully tapped in the cameras and realized the lanyards were also tracking devices, which was why she was able to find Koenig's body and deduce that Ward was HYDRA. Then, when faced with a life-or-death situation, she was able to play dumb and convince Ward she was just scared of her feelings.
Though there's no way he's not at least a little suspicious that she's caught on.
The Case for Coulson
Coulson's motivations were both noble and self-serving this time around, as learning of Blackout's escape lit a fire under him to recapture the supervillains now roaming the streets in an effort to uphold SHIELD ideals. But the real reason for who he picked was Daniels' obsession with the cellist, his ex-lover, who still believes he died in the Battle of New York.
Still, he was protecting the innocent all while keeping his resurrection hidden as to let her continue to heal and move on. But when it became apparent that the plan was going to fail without intervention, he not only exposed himself (in the non-dirty way), he also put himself in immediate harm's way. There was no chance his light alone was going to stop Blackout, but he wasn't going to let Audrey get hurt, even if it killed him (again).
Then again, it took seeing, lying to and letting Audrey go for Coulson to come to his senses regarding Agent May. He also failed to question Ward's Fridge survival story for a second, possibly because he was so intent on getting to Blackout.
An Inconclusive Result
All three agents rode an emotional and physical roller coaster this week, and each made important contributions while also experiencing low points. And I really can't decide who was the most valuable to this mission.
I could just let them share it, but instead, I'll let you decide. Vote in the poll below, and whoever wins will go into the Agent of the Week annals as the Week 19 MVA. Fitz and Coulson each have four wins thus far, and Skye is nipping at their heels with three. There's only a couple episodes left, so take a second and help play a role in determining season 1's Most Valuable Agent!
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)