The road to hell is paved with good intentions… and on Agents of SH.I.E.L.D., they have a pretty good chance of causing your death. Or at the very least, a lot of trouble as “Scars” proved. Gonzales and his “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriots may have thought they were doing the right thing, but look where that put Edward James Olmos—dead.
But at the heart of “Scars,” more so than good intentions, is perspective. Coulson thinks he’s doing the right thing, while Gonzales and his team believe they have the truth on their side. Gonzales sees his plight to be the same as Jiaying’s, while Jiaying see the scars they each bear as being worlds apart.
Those divergent perspectives lead to conflict and, as “Scars” proves, all-out war. So how do we get to that point? Let’s take a look, with some light spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron in mind.
“Scars” reveals that Theta Protocol, all along, has been the reconstruction of a helicarrier, one believed to be destroyed in the Hydra coup. And that helicarrier is instrumental in the salvation of Sokovia. The revelation that this is thanks to the secret work of Coulson and Fury leaves Gonzales and his team initially angered, but they come around as Coulson admits his faults.
He suggests they prevent the secret-keeping by uniting—he’ll retain his role as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. while operating under the advisement of Gonzales and his panel.
They agree, and it’s a good thing because they’re about to face the very real threat of the Inhumans… or at least, the threat that Raina causes them to be. She’s had visions of a stone of Kree origin that Jiaying and Gordon confirm could spell their end. Gordon and Raina go to find it, conveniently located on Gonzales’ ship but are quickly found out by May and Bobbi.
The vessel goes into lockdown as the Inhuman duo runs back to Afterlife. Coulson confronts Skye about the stone, but she’s unaware of its importance. She claims Lincoln, who awakes in the medical wing and is immediately distrustful of S.H.I.EL.D., is uncertain about it as well. They still lock the stone down under heavy support while Gonzales reveals they were able to follow Gordon’s teleporting signature back to Afterlife.
Knowing Gordon’s location, they want to chase after him. What they can’t plan for is that Gordon is warned by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s imminent arrival by Raina.
Ah Raina, the clairvoyant Inhuman (pun intended) is the spark that ignites the powder keg of mistrust at Afterlife. She tells Gordon that S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjets will rain fire from the skies. Jiaying is already suspicious of Raina, and even consults Cal about how much faith to put in Raina—he’s not interested in giving Raina much of a pass for her previous behavior.
But Raina, as selfish as Cal expects her to be, goes so far as to tell Gordon that if Jiaying talks with S.H.I.E.L.D., the warfare will begin. Maybe she could try meeting with them herself, she suggests.
Instead, Jiaying will remain the representative for Afterlife. Coulson sends Skye and Lincoln back to her to offer the chance of a meeting between the two sides. Skye convinces her mother of the idea, expecting that Coulson will come, unite the two sides, and bring everyone some peace and quiet.
Peace is not a word Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is familiar with, and that plan immediately goes awry. Coulson’s decision to go as the delegate is outvoted, Gonzales and his crew believing he’s too invested to properly broker peace and do what must be done. Coulson acquiesces, showing them he is willing to listen, and stays behind while Gonzales and Weaver head to Afterlife.
NEXT: Gonzales is a horrible negotiator.[pagebreak]
They arrive, Gordon serves as their welcoming party, and Gonzales slips into his meeting with Jiaying. She’s willing to hand over Cal to S.H.I.E.L.D.—Kyle MacLachlan makes the temper-challenged guy so damn sympathetic as he says his quasi-farewell to Skye—and begins to negotiate with Gonzales.
Unfortunately, the foolish man inadvertently insults Jiaying. He hands over a present, a medallion Jiaying had intended to give to Skye when she was born but thought it to be lost. He tries to convince Jiaying they are not so different. After all, Hydra led to both their physical injuries. He has a bum leg and… oh, right. Hydra cut up Jiaying into pieces, stole her organs, and left her for dead.
Jiaying exposes her true intentions after this particularly baffling negotiation tactic on Gonzales’ part, revealing a terrigen crystal she had manufactured from a melted down Diviner. Some pieces of the Diviner rest inside the crystal, however, which spells doom for plain old humans. So she smashes the crystal open, its mist spreading and turning Gonzales into cold, hard stone. And to cap her plan off, she takes his gun, shoots herself a few times in the should, and steps out into broad daylight.
“S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to kill me,” she says. “This is war.”
Maybe Raina wasn’t so far off…
While the showdown between the Inhumans and S.H.I.E.L.D. was at the heart of “Scars,” that didn’t stop some of the other characters from causing or getting into trouble.
Let’s start with Bobbi and Kara. Kara’s brain appears to be Hydra-free, but her intentions are far from good. Bobbi heads out with May as scouts ahead of Gonzales’ flight to Afterlife, but May reveals herself to be Kara. And while Bobbi makes short work of Agent 33, when she lands the jet, a rogue Ward appears and ices her.
He has plans for her, but Kara played her role in S.H.I.E.L.D. perfectly (she was a plant, as many of you suspected). So they won’t kill Bobbi… yet, but that doesn’t mean Ward minds icing her a few more times.
And on the subject of Bobbi, if the possible S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off proves to involve Mockingbird, is the show setting up her departure? She mentions the one time she considered walking away from her position to May, has a cryptic conversation with Mack, and is now caught up in the machinations of Ward.
Speaking of Mack, he reveals to Coulson that he’s decided to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. I hope that Bobbi’s predicament and the warfare that’s about to take place force him back to action, as such a great character deserves a better exit than that, particularly after a few weeks out of the spotlight. But if his days with S.H.I.E.L.D. are numbered, he will surely be missed.
- The episode opens with a flashback to Patton Oswalt as Sam Koenig. He is sleeping in Star Wars bedsheets because, of course, synergy.
- What did everyone think of the reveal of Theta Protocol? It is nice to see some explanation for how Fury found a helicarrier lying around for the events of Age of Ultron, but was that enough after the build-up for all of you, or does it feel like a bit of a letdown?
- May and Coulson also get as close as they ever will to crying with each other as the latter tries to apologize to the former. Tensions are still high between the two throughout “Scars.” She thinks Coulson should let Gonzales go to Afterlife, she reveals what really happened with the girl in Bahrain, and it seems their relationship will need a bit more therapy before it’s fully repaired.
- Though Fitz and Simmons’ relationship appears to be in much better shape than it was even a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it feels like the show has had to sideline them with the sheer number of players in the fight.
- Another potential spin off idea: After we had a taste of a Coulson/Hunter road trip, tonight’s bro sesh in Coulson’s office with those two and Fitz was great. Coulson suggested the three of them had been hanging out too much, but really, I don’t think the show’s explored that dynamic enough.
NEXT WEEK: The showdown between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans comes down to one key figure—which side will Skye choose?