'Agents of SHIELD' Mission Debrief: Coulson Takes to the Skye
'Agents of SHIELD' Mission Debrief: Coulson Takes to the Skye
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Before we get to the latest episode of Agents of SHIELD, I first want to update you about last week's "leave it to the viewers" most valuable agent vote. With 63%, Skye was the runaway winner. Which means that through 20 episodes, with just two to go, we've got a three-way tie between Coulson, Skye and Fitz, each of whom has been named agent of the week four times.

So who came through in "Nothing Personal," and does one of the three now have a leg up on the competition? They all contributed heavily to the success of this mission, as did everyone in an all-around team effort, so it will be tough to choose just one.

This episode was all about characters coming to grips with their situations, and some were faced with harsher challenges to overcome than others. Still, everyone stepped up to the plate. Now we just have to see what they do with it moving forward.

I'm also still not convinced we don't have another traitor in our midst, and my over-thought solution may surprise you. 

Agents of SHIELD Recap: Under the Hill and Over the Skye >>> 

May Goes Grave Robbing

Agent Melinda May was largely absent from this episode, save a few choice scenes, after she ditched the Bus and ran home to mommy in an effort to track down Agent Maria Hill. After neutralizing Hill's group of surveillance thugs, she picked up a key clue about the head of the T.A.H.I.T.I. project, which led her to Coulson's burial plot. One shovel and a few hours later, she had a flash drive.

She could have at least covered up the empty coffin. Now the authorities are going to think someone stole the entire body.

The drive contained a video of Coulson tendering his resignation as head of the project, citing unsettling side effects to the blue alien serum that rendered it too unstable for human consumption. The feuding SHIELD team mom and pop reunited in the motel room and watched the recording, and we thank you for your hard work, Agent May. Next.

More Like Maria Over the Hill

Speaking of Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders joined the cast for another episode, though this agent is a bit different from the one who served under Nick Fury. For one, she seemed a bit too content to let the justice system work its magic, with back-room deals for top brass and a move to the private sector. Maybe she's just biding her time in the smartest way possible, but it still came off a bit cold when she "rescued" Coulson with the US military in tow and a surrender plan in her pocket. 

She ventured back from the Dark Side when Coulson made it known that Ward is HYDRA and Skye was being held captive. If not for the fact that she personally vetted Ward and the subsequent blow to her ego, though, I'm not sure she would've been on board with the mission.

She kicked a little solider butt at Providence and bought Coulson enough time to get onto the Bus with her game of airplane chicken, but other than that, the best thing she offered was sobering advice about the future.

The Loyalty Question Marks

There are only three characters I could foresee being HYDRA, though Triplett seems to show unwavering loyalty without a hint of foreshadow otherwise. Once they found out that Ward was a double agent, he helped Coulson piece together the timeline of events, which included the assumption that Garrett is still alive. He ended the episode by saying he's just hanging out until Coulson tells him to do something, so he's certainly acting like a good little soldier.

Simmons, on the other hand, is increasingly arousing my suspicion. She hasn't contributed much of anything in recent weeks, and outside of flat-out telling Fitz that she isn't HYDRA, she hasn't proven that she's not. The only reason I'm rather confident she's loyal to SHIELD is that she passed the lie detector test (even though Ward did as well), and it would be almost too easy to have her be a rogue spy. Still, the "I'm a terrible liar" act would be a good cover.

That brings me to Fitz, who is now my sleeper pick for being a sleeper cell. With everything he's done this season and all the ninja tech support he offered in this episode, it would be an absolute shock that no one (except me) saw coming if he flipped sides. I want to take his emotional outbursts at betrayal on the level, but his unassuming tendencies would be a very effective alter-ego. And painfully asking Simmons if she was HYDRA? Almost too perfect.

He's one of the three most endearing characters we've met so far, so naturally we want him to be a good guy. But he's proven himself to be quite resourceful in the field on a number of occasions, despite his weak appearance, so would it be all that shocking if he was actually a criminal mastermind? I hope it's not the case, but don't say I didn't warn you.

A Clip-On Tie

After careful consideration, I've decided to award my first co-agents of the week, as I just can't separate the importance of Skye's and Coulson's contributions to this mission. Yes, Coulson did the actual rescuing, but Skye took extraordinary and genius efforts to stall and stay alive long enough to be rescued. 

Coulson was a man possessed in this episode, first piecing together all the events that transpired based solely on the knowledge that they'd all been duped by Ward. Then he settled Fitz, planned a rescue mission, managed not to get shot by Talbot, stuck by his team, convinced Hill to join his cause, fought his way out of Providence, sneaked aboard the Bus, found Skye, avoided death by Deathlok and Ward, grabbed the unbuckled Skye as she was falling out of Lola, got the car firing on all cylinders as they were dropping, perfectly parallel parked and tipped the valet. That's a busy day.

Most important, though, he continued to show absolute dedication to the SHIELD cause, despite unwavering proof that the organization is a lost cause. Because if Coulson doesn't have SHIELD, what does he do otherwise? And then he finds out he's the guy behind the project that brought him back from the dead? Weird twist, huh? Very Total Recall-y, Adam Hauser. 

Meanwhile, Skye was dealing with gut-wrenching betrayal from the person she cared about most -- her S.O., the guy who trained her in the ways of the only family she's ever felt like she belonged to. And she knew exactly what he was doing, but still had to not-so convincingly act like she was clueless. 

She even managed to pull off a pretty elaborate escape attempt that included calling Ward out as a traitor, and she would've gotten away if not for the Deathlok backup plan. The only knock against her actions is that she wasn't willing to let Ward die to protect SHIELD's secrets and she didn't anticipate Ward being able to fight off a diner full of LA cops. But those can hardly be held against her. Plus, she had the foresight to hide a message to her team that Ward was HYDRA. Without that, no one is planning a rescue mission.  

So with two episodes to go, the longest- and shortest-tenured SHIELD members are tied for the lead with 4.5 wins each. The now side-eye-stared Fitz is right behind them with four, while May is nipping at their heels with three. This has me hoping that next week is a kick-ass episode for May, setting up an epic winner-take-all battle for the season's most valuable agent in the finale.

Who has impressed you the most, and who do you think will shine as the inaugural season winds down? 

You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC. 

(Image courtesy of ABC)