The second-to-last mission of the inaugural season of Agents of SHIELD
was very much a team effort, and as it is the lead-in to the finale, it ended with several cliffhangers to facilitate buildup. That means most of the end results were left up in the air, which makes it a bit harder to determine each agents' ultimate contribution.
But we can still break down the events of "Ragtag" to see who was most influential on the events that transpired so far. Still, all eyes are on our lone remaining hour of Marvel TV this spring season, and I can't believe we've gone through 21 episodes so far.
My, how far we've come from the days when Skye was a hot Rising Tide mess, Mike Peterson was a down-on-his luck guy just trying to be a good dad and Ward was an unfeeling ninja zombie robot killing machine (meaning he was a ninja zombie robot, not that he killed ninjas, zombies and robots -- let's not give Ward that much credit).
It was just six short weeks ago, on April 1, that we watched "The End of the Beginning." Now, it's time for "The Beginning of the End."
Fitz Flexes, Simmons Gets Worked Over
Man, oh man, I cannot believe how insignificant Simmons' character has become over the last six episodes or so. She made some pretty serious contributions over the first two-thirds of the season, but has done next to nothing outside of being the object of Fitz's affections since HYDRA came out as the skeleton in SHIELD's closet.
I'm not quite sure of the reasoning behind the diminished role, but I think it lessens the chance that she's actually a double agent. She and Fitz stuck together for most of this mission, feeding lines to May and Coulson in the Cybertek facility and venturing out on their own to find the Bus in Cuba. It was her idea to sneak the drone on board after Coulson told them not to engage, but that plan was derailed by Ward's appearance.
Fitz took a bit riskier approach, defiantly standing up to Garrett and blowing the EMP despite not knowing what effect it would have on shortening out the Clairvoyant's insides. But the end result of that was that Garrett got the only dose of GH325 and turned into the ultimate supersoldier, so it's tough to get too excited for Fitzy. It's worth noting that the move might prevent the creation of a stable supersoldier army, though, so time will tell.
His unwavering belief in Ward's goodness is also noteworthy and may have saved FItzSimmons' lives, as Ward ignored a direct order to kill them and instead dumped them in a pod into the ocean. So they'll likely survive, but if they end up drowning or sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic until they starve, with one possibly eating the other for sustenance until they both succumb to the throws of death, then, you know, backfire.
Ma and Pa Go Undercover
Coulson and May returned to their parental natures in this one, leading the team in various ways. Both went undercover into the Cybertek facility, where May got to to kick a little ass for the first time in a while and the couple made off with a filing cabinet full of Project Deathlok notes. ("Skye, Tripp, get ready for a large file transfer" was my favorite line of the episode.)
They used the information to determine Garrett's real motivations for wanting the GH325 serum, and May got to make use of her deceptively maternal instincts by helping Skye deal with the pain of Ward's betrayal. Skye fancied her unfeeling, but May is really bottling up all the anger and aggression to unleash on her former lover during an epic final battle.
But Coulson also made the call to enter the barbershop in Cuba, and he and May led the group into a dangerous ambush involving Centipede supersoldiers and Berserker staffs.
Skye and the Trojan Horse
Skye may have given up the contents of the hard drive in exchange for Ward's life, but she left a special gift for HYDRA. Sort of. She planted a Trojan virus that maps every system the data gets uploaded to, but in her haste, she didn't have time to properly complete it. That meant they needed to install a flash drive into a connected computer to activate it.
That's what the undercover Cybertek op was supposed to take care of, but the tech company apparently had no mainframe and kept paper copies of everything. Why is why Skye couldn't hack the system on the seldom-used UHF frequency, though I'm sure Weird Al and Michael Richards were excited over any chance at a royalty.
She also helped figure out the details of Garrett's plans, created fake identities for the rest of the team and suggested they go inside the barbershop to look for a HYDRA computer. They found one just prior to getting ambushed, and I think it will end up coming in handy once they eventually defeat the supersoldiers.
Don't Tripp Over Success
In the end, it was Agent Antoine Triplett who ended up being the most essential to this mission. Or more accurately, his grandfather. The collection of Howling Commando gizmos and goodies he brought in Pop Pop's old spy suitcase played a significant role in everything they accomplished, and I'd go as far as to say they would've been lost without them.
There were the transponder devices FitzSimmons used to feed lines, the cigarette lasers that cut a hole in the Cybertek file room wall, the Captain America pin that monitored the UHF to search for data, the zip-line gun that allowed May and Coulson to escape and, most important, the EMP hand buzzer that shorted out Garrett.
And let's not forget the stuff he actually did, like fire the zip-line gun, act as designated driver and track the Cybertek packages to Cuba. So congratulations are in order for Ragtag's most valuable agent. Welcome, Tripp, to the team that doesn't exist anymore.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD on Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC.