The latest episode of Agents of SHIELD serves as the build-up to the epic two-hour movie-like season 2 finale, so it’s no wonder that it’s mostly expository in nature. Gotta set up the pins before you can knock them down.
But that doesn’t mean that “Scars” is devoid of shocking moments, because even I don’t see the dramatic ending unfolding the way that it does.
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On the bright side, if you were worried that not yet seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron would make this episode confusing or, at worst, offer spoilers one way or the other, you’re in luck. The blockbuster film served only as an anecdotal reference point to unite the SHIELD factions and also as an excuse to once again promote division.
The only revelations were that Stark created Ultron (which was in all the previews), that the Theta Protocol was the reconstruction of the helicarrier that crashed at the end of The Winter Soldier and that there’s a somewhat-happy-amid-the-body-count ending. Sorry if you were unaware of any of those things, but c’mon, Ultron wasn’t going to win. The movie is still good, and everything else can still be a surprise.
Whereas last season was irrevocably altered by the events of the Captain America sequel, this time around, SHIELD set the stage for the movie by locating the whereabouts of Loki’s scepter. Other than that, you didn’t miss much.
The episode kicks off with a year-old flashback, just in case you didn’t see Ultron, where a Star Wars-sheet sleeping Sam Koenig (welcome back Patton Oswalt!) greets Coulson and opens the door on the helicarrier. Then, back in the present, while TV footage of the devastation in Sokovia plays in the background, Coulson and Robert Gonzales decide to play nice.
Coulson suggests that they unite SHIELD, with him as director serving under Gonzo, and this seems like a good idea, at least in the short-term. Sure, Fury is still alive and helped save the world again, but the real threat is Skye and her people.
Skye, who has been holding court at Lincoln’s bedside, explains the concept of the Inhumans and their quest for anonymity, but no one is sure what kind of dangers they pose. All they know is that everyone on both sides is probably more scared of the other.
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The Vision of the Goo
By envisioning the destructive events of the movie, Raina has proven her gift to be invaluable, but then she has a dream of a molten rock-like structure with waves crashing along its shore. This is apparently a Kree creation that signifies potential Inhuman extinction, so Jiaying allows Raina and Gordon to go look for it.
They teleport to the helicarrier, where they search for the item behind a red door. It turns out it’s the “secret” that Gonzo has been keeping in the cargo area, and even though it resembles the shifting metallic gravitonium from season 1, all are in agreement that it’s alien in nature and was discovered more than 100 years ago.
Gordon and Raina escape as SHIELD stumbles upon them, but Weaver has been able to recreate the HYDRA tracking software using Deathlok’s removed eye, which now shows the location of Afterlife. So they no longer have to wait for the Inhumans to come to them.
Raina’s Power Grab and Trust Issues
Gonzo wants to come up with a plan of attack, but Coulson suggests a sit-down with Jiaying so that they can convey their peaceful intentions, with Skye acting as a liaison. Coulson expects to be the one doing the meeting, but Gonzo and May (who is apparently no longer interested in being the mom to Coulson’s dad) overrule him on the basis that he can’t be objective when it comes to Skye. Especially not after Stark was allowed to create Ultron without supervision. So Gonzo will take the reins.
Raina foresees SHIELD’s arrival and predicts horrible things will happen if Jiaying is allowed to remain in control, and she sees herself as being the one to keep the peace. Gordon brings back Skye and the now-indexed Lincoln, and Skye tells her mom to sit down with SHIELD because Coulson is the closest thing she had to family before her transformation.
Cal wants to blow the jets out of the sky because indexing is like branding, though he admits that Coulson, his least favorite agent, did take care of their beloved Daisy. So they agree to hand Cal over to SHIELD as a sign of good faith since they sent back Skye and Lincoln.
It seems like Raina has convinced Gordon, but he actually tattled, and Jiaying, Gordon, Skye and Cal all show up to put her in her place.
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Misleading First Impressions
So at this point, it appears that Raina is trying to put herself in charge to create chaos, Gonzo is plotting to destroy the Inhumans, and Jiaying is meeting with SHIELD to avoid conflict. But that’s about to go out the window.
Gonzo sits down with Jiaying, saying they both bear the scars of HYDRA and that SHIELD exists to keep everyone safe. So he proposes meeting her people, indexing them and then, if anyone goes off the reservation and endangers people, SHIELD can stop him or her. He even presents her with an old three-token Chinese symbol, meant to ward off evil spirits, which was originally intended for Skye before Dr. Whitehall began his experimentation.
She offers him something in return, first wondering how fear leads people to think they have the right to register and monitor gifted people? She pulls out a blue and silver rod, which she says is a melted-down Diviner that the Inhumans created. It allows them to grow their own crystals, but it is forever laced with the metal that makes it fatal to humans.
“Let’s hope you are one of us,” she says as she drops it on the table. As Gonzo begins to turn to ash, she chastises him for comparing their scars, adding that she would never let anything like Whitehall’s experiments happen to her daughter or her people. Gonzo utters his final words — “You’ll get everyone killed, you crazy…” — before suffering the same fate as Tripp. Jiaying then takes his gun and shoots herself twice, stumbling out of the hut while screaming, “He tried to kill me” and “This is war!”
A few other things of interest happened:
— FitzSimmons has been working on normalizing Agent 33, but she’s really just pretending in order to carry out a revenge plan against Agent Morse. She dons her May mask and tells Bobbi they’re doing advance recon for the mission to Afterlife, but they’re really headed directly to Ward. Morse wins the fight, but Ward shoots her with an icer, and they apparently plan to torture her before killing her.
— Mack quits SHIELD, saying he can no longer be an agent if Coulson and his alien-infused body are in charge.
— When Cal surrenders to SHIELD agents, they find vials of liquid on him. Not 100% sure what they are, but Gordon made an earlier reference to Cal being nothing without his concoction.
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Let the Battle Begin
The stage is now set for SHIELD to battle the Inhumans, with Skye naturally stuck in the middle, as season 2 comes to a close. And with Gonzo out of the way, it also appears that Coulson is back in the leadership role all by his lonesome.
I was a bit surprised by Edward James Olmos’ unceremonious end, but it does make things a bit easier. (Although, if you think about it, it also makes the events that have transpired over the past two months a bit meaningless.) And while it’s not shocking that “Scars” concluded with the beginning of a conflict, I did not predict the nothing’s-as-it-seems outcome.
In the end, Raina was trying to keep people safe, Gonzo was preaching peace, and Jiaying literally fired the first shot. And Agent 33 was nothing but a big, fat faker. I still love me some Ward, though.
Did you like the episode? Are you excited to see how things end up? What do you predict will happen in the finale? Will we be left with a cliffhanger? Or get a resolution? Tune in next time to find out!
You can watch the two-hour Agents of SHIELD season 2 finale on Tuesday, May 12 at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)