SHIELD reflects on the events that occurred in Age of Ultron, The Inhumans’ existence is no longer a secret, and Ward continues to have his own agenda.
Much of this episode can’t be talked about without talking about the latest MCU movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, so be warned, there will be spoilers both from the movie and from the episode.
Wow. I was wrong in my speculation about A LOT of things. There isn’t too much tying Agents of SHIELD to Age of Ultron, aside from Coulson’s secret Theta Protocol. After seeing Age of Ultron, I had two big guesses as to what Theta Protocol was, and the secret of real SHIELD’s ship, the Elliot.
At the end of Ultron, we see the Avengers assembling at the New Avengers Facility. With real SHIELD speaking of resources, bunks, and Coulson collecting powered people, I thought Theta Protocol was that. It wasn’t. It was actually the restoration of the original helicarrier from the first Avengers, which Coulson and Fury kept off the books as a “break in case of emergency” plan.
After seeing the helicarrier save the day at the end of Ultron, I also thought that the secret of the Elliot was that it WAS the helicarrier. As we saw in the first Avengers, the helicarrier can act as a ship. But no, the secret of the Elliot is much more complicated.
I thought the tie in to Age of Ultron would be Coulson, Fury, and real SHIELD putting aside their differences and making one SHIELD, and using the Elliot as a helicarrier to save the people of Sokovia. As I said, I was wrong on just about everything, except one.
The events in Sokovia and Theta Protocol saving the day has given real SHIELD new perspective on Coulson, and they’ve decided to rejoin and form one SHIELD, with Coulson as director, and the real SHIELD council as his, well, council. He’ll run SHIELD with input and advice from them.
They turn their sights on the assumed threat of the Inhumans. Many see them as dangerous, others see them as a people just trying to live in peace. The Inhumans of Afterlife have the same thoughts of SHIELD. Some fear them, others want to give SHIELD a chance to prove it’s different and NOT Hydra.
As Coulson is too close to the situation, Gonzalez acts as the representative of SHIELD, with Skye as a liaison, as she is an Inuman and an agent of SHIELD.
Meanwhile, Raina has another vision of a stone that becomes an ocean, that puts fear into Gordon and Jiaying. They’re able to locate this stone, which sits in the bottom of the Elliot. That’s the secret cargo the Elliot was carrying. We don’t know much about it, aside that it was made by the Kree to kill the Inhumans after they decided the experiments were too dangerous.
Much of the rest of the episode focuses on how each character we’ve come to know this season feels about the other faction. Cal warns Jiaying about SHIELD and Raina’s manipulation, Skye assures SHIELD and Jiaying that both want peace, and Raina has a vision of SHIELD raining fire down on Afterlife. In response to her vision, she warns of the consequences of Jiaying meeting with SHIELD and suggests herself as the representative for the Inhumans. Her plans backfires, as Gordon and Jiaying confront her and lock her away until SHIELD is gone.
This seems like the smart move. Raina thrives on chaos, as Cal so eloquently puts it. Surely, with her psychic powers she is trying to secure her place as a leader of the Inhumans. So, her vision MUST be a ruse and play for power. Right?
Gonzalez and Jiaying meet, and Cal is turned over to SHIELD to answer for his crimes, a gesture of good will from the Inhumans to SHIELD. Gonzalez also brought a gift for Jiaying, an “inssurance policy.” I haven’t trusted Gonzalez once this entire season, so I was hesitant about his gift, but, again, I was wrong and it was a traditional Chinese ward of evil spirits that was taken from Jiaying when Whitehall captured her. She meant it as a gift to baby Skye but never had the chance to give it to her.
Gonzalez explains to Jiaying the true purpose of SHIELD, to protect everyone, powered people and non-powered people alike, from the “bad” powered people. This seems to contradict how Gonzalez has acted in the past, almost being predjudiced and acting on fear of powered people.
Jiaying has another gift for SHIELD, an artificially created diviner crystal, made to grow their supply of terrigen crystals. She smashes it in front of Gonzalez, releasing the effects of the diviner on Gonzalez, accusing him of being as bad as Hydra. Gonzalez pulls out his hidden gun, but is too late and turns to stone. Jiaying takes his gun and shoots herself in the chest, running to her people to tell them SHIELD tried to kill her, and declares war.
In the last scene, Ward and 33 have managed to kidnap Bobbi and her quin jet. His leaving SHIELD, and 33 staying for “redemption,” was apparently all a trap in order to get to Bobbi? But why?
Even though he died actually trying to make peace with the Inhumans, I still don’t trust Gonzalez. He probably wasn’t a cylon, but he had other motives. Or maybe he was just an old untrustworthy man that was finally ready to give the benefit of the doubt to powered people. However, through the whole episode he had his finger and thumb in his vest pocket, so maybe he was being controlled by the ONE RING!
But now Jiaying pulls something like this? Killing Gonzalez and declaring war on SHIELD? Just as real SHIELD was basing their decisions on fear and misunderstanding, it seems Jiaying is doing the same. Already having a conclusion about SHIELD and the terror they will inflict on her people, regardless of offering peace or not.
This episode does a great job of showing the split that has been happening all season, dividing the characters thoughts on powered people. It’s a great set up to Civil War. I just hope it actually does carry over to next summer’s third Captain America movie and we see the characters and effects of Agents of SHIELD in the film.