Season 1, Episode 20
Date of airing: April 29, 2014 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 5.946 million viewers, 3.6/6 in Households, 2.08/6 with Adults 18-49
It was a solid episode, and it had a surprising ending. An easy ending too, because T.A.H.I.T.I. was simply a rock that had been carried through the latter half of the show, and it’s good that it ended right here, with every loose end having been cut off the weight of the show. Even though the T.A.H.I.T.I. plot worked good to give an explanation of Coulson’s existence, the fact that he is still alive after his mortal wound in MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, as well as saving Skye’s life, T.A.H.I.T.I. wasn’t good for anything at this point of the show. And with Coulson having been the project leader before MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS, the writers took the easy route out of the show, and finished it not with a bang, but with a quick and satisfying closer. The writers literally waited until it’s best to close the story, and when they found the right time, they did it within less than a minute. It’s almost hilarious, but at least it’s not illogical. Though a little T.A.H.I.T.I. back story would be good. I would really like to see the side effects of the drug in action, just to put some unexpected drama and thrill into the show for a few minutes. Also, I wouldn’t mind having something of an anthology show that deals with some past events of S.H.I.E.L.D. and how certain projects came to be. Sort of like how Nick Fury came up with the Avengers Initiative during the final moments of CAPTAIN MARVEL.
So, Skye played Ward like she is the chess master, and Ward didn’t even notice it for most of the time. It seems like Ward had a huge boner for Skye, or he would have realized that Skye was just stalling time when they were sitting at the cafe and talking about random stuff. Because seriously, why would she need an hour to hack the drive, when she has proven to hack stuff in less than a second since she has been with Coulson? But it was cool that Skye wasn’t just playing Ward anymore, and instead tried to have a serious conversation. Okay, that conversation didn’t lead to anything, but the preamble in the cafe, and the conflict in the plane later, were almost great, and put a lot into the character arcs of Skye and Ward. I could almost believe that Ward really feels something for Skye, and I could definitely believe that Skye wasn’t interested in anything anymore and probably would have given her life to protect the files on the drive, if it hadn’t been for her weird feelings for Ward (or who knows, maybe she is unable to kill a person and that’s what stopped her from keeping her secret). Which makes the heart attack thing ridiculous though — with all the hate Skye had for Ward in that moment, she should have had it easy to let him die. This shouldn’t have been a personal moment for her. He was a goddamn HYDRA agent. She should have let him die, no matter the emotional cost later. Because she knew exactly what would happen when Garrett gets the data off the hard drive.
The involvement of Maria Hill was surprising though and it was fun, though her action against Talbot and his team was a bit off. I understand that she would do anything to help the few friends among S.H.I.E.L.D. that she has left, but she pretty much committed some form of treason by attacking Talbot and his team, and she should be on the FBI’s Most Wanted as well now, no matter the fact she works for Stark Industries now. But apparently the fight in the Providence base wasn’t an issue at all at the end, when Maria had all the time in the world to help Coulson and go against Ward with her own little arm of soldiers (if she actually had one). What a shame she was disappearing at the end again — maybe the show would live a little, if it had a character from the movie franchise for a few consecutive episodes. And Maria would have been perfect for the final fight against Garrett, because Coulson definitely needs all the help he can get right about ow. If not from a superhero, at least from a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that has had his or her time in the movies already (Agent 13, anyone?).
One thing was pretty crappy though: May is getting deep into Coulson’s grave, because right there is a flash drive that contains all the answers to T.A.H.I.T.I., as well as all the momentum to just kill the story by the end of the episode. How convenient that this little piece of a flash drive was in Coulson’s grave and carried all the answers. How convenient that May decided to check in Coulson’s grave (who actually knew that the data was in Coulson’s grave — I can’t quite imagine that Maria Hill would offer that information, but I guess since S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, all bets are off). How convenient that the flash drive contained all the answers Coulson was looking for during the previous six episodes. But everything to kill a storyline that is no longer needed…
In the meantime, the drama in Fitz’s life was intriguing. His freakout when he learned that Ward is HYDRA may have been a bit over the top, but I loved that it was a deeply personal character moment for him, and it even made sense in the whole of the show, when you think back to how Ward and Fitz pretty much became friends and partners during their mission in the episode “The Hub.” Besides that, Fitz mentioned that he hates change, and now a lot of things have changed. His employer doesn’t exist anymore, one of his friends is a serial-killing Nazi, and he may have come to realize he cannot live without Simmons in his life (hence their little talk at the pool). Fitz happens to have the greatest character arc right now. Bigger than Skye’s. Much bigger and more interesting than Coulson’s.