Caution: This review contains spoilers.
Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team took on Cybertek and Ian Quinn (David Conrad) in an undercover mission this week. They divided up into pairs: 1) Coulson and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), 2) Ward (Brett Dalton) and May (Ming-Na Wen), and 3) Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Skye (Chloe Bennet). As one may expect, they are double-crossed by an informant with Italian Intelligence and must resort to a new game plan.
Coulson and Simmons are a winning team with their father and daughter act. As revealed in an earlier episode, Simmons’ improvising skills are abysmal, so she prepares an elaborate story in advance. She attracts attention and sympathy from other passengers as she laments the death of her mother and her “father’s” shameful behavior. Stan Lee makes his highly anticipated and delightful cameo. In another area of the train, Skye and Fitz try each other’s accents with varying success.
The light mood dissipates as Cybertek security agents attack S.H.I.E.L.D., changing the format of the episode to fill viewers in on each character’s (or pair’s) perspective. When did “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” turn into “Vantage Point”? Thankfully, the pace picks up again before the recaps become too tedious. Coulson, Ward, and May are knocked off of the train, while Fitz and Skye leave a stunned Simmons behind to pursue Quinn and Cybertek.
A determined Skye enters the basement of an Italian villa, where she encounters Quinn. Fitz is occupied with the guard outside as he disables the vehicles. Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) also makes his return, receiving a new cybernetic leg to become Deathlok, an addition hinted by Marvel last month. Unfortunately, Quinn shoots Skye before Coulson and the others arrive. Is this the end of Skye? Last week’s episode showed that Coulson believes in taking care of his team. (Viewers may recall the “Mommy and Daddy” quips from Skye much earlier in the series.) Based on the preview for the next episode, Coulson seems determined to find a cure for Skye, who probably will recover from her injuries.
Overall, there was a balanced mix of action, humor, and suspense during last night’s mission. This combination of elements was sorely needed for a program that continues to see declines in viewership numbers. The long breaks between episodes may pose a challenge as well. Viewers must wait until March 3rd to find out Skye’s fate.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs Tuesdays on ABC at 8|7c.