'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': Separation of church and state
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., stop reading now.
All together now: “Miiikkeee!!!” Or am I screaming alone here? Because that ending had a surprising effect on me. Unknowingly, I had spent the last hour falling in love with Mike Peterson. I really wanted him to join the team… and then he EXPLODED. And not because of the Centipede serum, but because Centipede killed him. Okay, I’ll stop talking about Mike for now. Let’s go back to the beginning of the episode.
First up, Centipede soldiers infiltrated a jail (via the episode’s first explosion) to rescue Edison Po, a.k.a. the man Raina went to visit many episodes ago. Po was a former marine who had gone to jail after stabbing a man in the eye. Now, he was the only person who could get in touch with “the clairvoyant.” And considering that Centipede had figured out how to stabilize its serum, the next step involved finding the key to the oh-so-vague “stage three,” something the clairvoyant was supposed to help with. However, Po was more focused on dealing with the matter-at-hand first. Centipede’s super soldiers grew exhausted after they used their powers, and their recuperation time kept getting interrupted by one very pesky S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Po suggested they stop running and start fighting. He could talk to the clairvoyant later.
Aboard the bus, Coulson had a similar idea. But if the team was going to go up against Centipede, they needed some back-up. Enter Mike Peterson, who had been training at a S.H.I.E.L.D. complex, where he learned how to do super-strength things, such as push a bulldozer. He wasn’t quite as fast as Captain America, but who is? Don’t be an overachiever, Mike.
Minutes later, Coulson arrived to welcome Mike to the team. The adorable single father agreed to some tests, during which Fitz discussed plans for Mike’s suit and Simmons got her flirt on. But more importantly, they learned that they were behind Mike’s stabilization. If you remember, the last time we saw Mike, he was about to explode — literally — in the middle of Union Station. Apparently, the gun that FitzSimmons made and Ward shot Mike with was behind his non-explosiveness now. Well done, team. P.S. You do realize that means you two have a lot more work ahead of you, right?
Away from all the testing, Skye was narrowing down candidates who could potentially be her mother. She asked for Coulson’s help with the more restricted files, but he assured her May was on it… which she wasn’t. Coulson and May agreed to “protect” Skye from the truth, which apparently meant telling her nothing. Instead of looking through files, May was busy getting sweaty with Ward. Get your mind out of the gutter, they were fighting. May won, of course. And when Ward attempted to flirt, she shut him down once again. The bus is a strictly no-flirting zone, obviously.
On Centipede’s trail, Ward and Coulson headed to the University of Ohio, during which they bonded over women. Coulson revealed he was in a relationship when he died, and thanks to the fact that his woman didn’t have a high enough clearance level — she’s a cellist — she can’t know he’s still alive. Bummer, right? And also, based on Coulson’s experience, being with someone within S.H.I.E.L.D. = bad news (cough, Ward, cough). Minutes later, Ward and Coulson had a lead on one of the Centipede soldiers. California, here we come!
After a brief moment of bonding with Skye, Mike suited up for a showdown inside Centipede’s warehouse. Three Centipede soldiers attacked Coulson, Mike, May, and Ward. After Ward took a hit for May — she doesn’t need your help! — he was out, and May quickly followed. It came down to a wounded Mike versus three super soldiers. He took one down and the other two ran. As for the one that was left behind, he died after something was released in his head, much like the way the girl died who had the camera for an eye.
Correction: That soldier died exactly the way the girl died who had the camera for an eye. Apparently Centipede also invented the eye implant, which means they have some serious power and money backing their organization. Did I mention they upgraded their eye technology so that it’s no longer traceable? Serious power and money. But money wasn’t what Raina was thinking about. She wanted to know was how Mike Peterson was able to sustain his powers without any recent injections. Well, as Po informed her, the answer to that question is the key to stage three… which means FitzSimmons have stumbled upon something Centipede has been searching for. Basically, Centipede might have power and money, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has an adorable genius duo. Top that!
After the big showdown, May had a few choice words for Ward. She did not need him to save her — told you! — but he claimed he that wasn’t what he had done. He had made a tactical decision because May is faster than him. He said it wasn’t personal. She seemed to believe him. But she was still in venting mode when Skye turned the corner. (Had she overheard May and Ward’s personal convo?!) May almost told Skye “the truth” before telling her to put aside her personal attachments and focus on the mission. Skye went back to her bunk and tore up her research. Coulson went to talked to her but decided against it when he could hear her crying.
Instead, Coulson talked to Mike about his upcoming decision. Mike hadn’t seen his kid since everything went down at Union Station. Now, Mike had to decide between a life filled with holiday dinners and recitals and a life filled with some serious butt kicking and even more serious secrets. Mike went back to his bunk and called his son… but it seemed Centipede was one step ahead. Raina had Mike’s son and wanted to exchange him for Mike. The team agreed.
The mission was already questionable considering they were going in without backup, but nobody wanted Mike’s son to get hurt. Coulson escorted Mike to Raina — who was wearing yet another flower dress — when Mike revealed what was really happening. Centipede wanted Coulson! Mike left Coulson behind and handed his son to Skye before running back and attempting to save Coulson. And just then, the bridge exploded, and my favorite new character died trying to be a hero. Is anyone else as bummed about this as I am?! I was all ready to title this react “I wanna be like Mike” too. Such a shame.
And if you thought Coulson was dead, which let’s be honest, we all knew wasn’t going to happen, they quickly revealed that he and Raina were in a helicopter with Po. The same helicopter that shot Ward! Stop shooting all the men I like. I mean, honestly. So what does Centipede want with Coulson? For Coulson to tell them about the “day after he died.” My response? Get in line.
So what did you guys think about the midseason finale? The fact that Coulson said psychics were a myth means we’ll meet one soonish, right? And how grossed out were you by the semi-handhold from Po and Raina? Is Mike really gone? I’m pretty sure he is, but I’d like to know your theory if he isn’t. It’s a guarantee that I’ll like it. What are you most looking forward to come January? More Victoria Hand? Coulson flashbacks? Discuss!