So, who else is ready for next week’s winter finale? Because THAT happened. And THAT happened. As is custom for penultimate episodes of this show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ramped up big time, while setting up very specific plots that will no doubt lead to something big. So without further ado, let’s begin.
Because hard truths solve everything about a relationship, Coulson and Rosalind are having a casual dinner date at Rosalind’s apartment. She’s even brought burgers from DJs. They’re flirting and eating, and maybe there are people (like Banks) who are a little wary that they’re still seeing each other, but Rosalind doesn’t care and neither does Coulson. They discuss Malick, with Rosalind clueing him into her strategy now that she knows she’s technically working for Hydra: She’s going to go back into the ATCU, and it’ll just be another day at the office. Coulson is worried that he can’t protect her, but Rosalind thinks she’s the last person on earth to warrant needing a bodyguard. And maybe she’s right, because no one probably could have protected her from the sniper shot that interrupts their dinner. Rosalind is killed instantly in front of Coulson’s eyes. Oh, dear Rosalind. We hardly knew ya. (Really! She told Coulson there’s a lot he doesn’t know about her.)
Who committed the JFK “shot heard round the world?” Unsurprisingly, Grant Ward. (Best since Romanov, huh? Because that’s some Hawkeye sniper skill right there.) Ward doesn’t exactly keep himself hidden: He calls Coulson and admits he murdered his girlfriend because, well, he wanted Coulson to know what it felt like to see someone he loves bleed out in front of them. (Ahem, Kara.) He also drops that he’s planning to take Coulson out, resulting in an ambush in Rosalind’s apartment that Coulson just barely survives. He escapes by jumping out a window and is saved by Mack, who he had emergency-texted, and is taken back to base where he pretty much loses it.
It doesn’t take long for the whole team to figure out what’s happened, and for as much as some of them may have been wary about Rosalind, it’s clear that they all understand how it feels when someone you care for is senselessly murdered. Coulson spirals into all the levels of anger and grief, and after he’s calmed down a little, May comes to see him. Coulson wants all of the original team members to tell him what they remember about Ward — no matter how uncomfortable it makes them. This involves re-hashing May’s one-night stand, Fitz’s brotherly relationship (take note, this will be important later), and Simmons’ short-lived friendship. May’s assessment: He wants people to think of him as a hero. Fitz’s assessment: He was trying to replace something in his life that he lost. Simmons’ assessment: “He was a bad flirt, always laughing at his jokes and those ridiculous puns.” (I’m glad even the writers have realized Brett Dalton’s episodic tweets are amazing.)
And then we cut to Daisy, because maybe the writers want us to believe that SkyeWard is still alive and well after all. (Anyone who’s worried about Daisy being too soft, though, don’t worry — she assures Coulson she’s never going to forgive him for this.) Coulson wants to know how she fell for Ward, and Daisy opens up easily; messed up childhoods make it pretty easy to bond. She maintains that for whatever reason, Ward never lied to her, probably because of their pasts and struggle to belong. More importantly, she tells Coulson that as screwed up as he is, she understands how he could have landed in Hydra/Garrett’s hold and how after years of being abandoned, father figures and powerful organizations could be pretty appealing. Even more importantly, she lets Coulson in on this secret: Ward doesn’t kill because he feels nothing. He kills because he feels too much.
NEXT: I am not throwing away my shot