Hydra is up to their dirty tricks again and they have S.H.I.E.L.D. scrambling to hold their ground. And now the rest of the world is on their tail. This…might get messy.
Talbot is at a United Nations meeting today delivering his spiel about how S.H.I.E.L.D. has continued to take advantage of everyone’s good graces since the fabled Battle in New York. The meeting was cut short by Hydra agents dressed in S.H.I.E.L.D. black. The leader of this strike team is Mark Scarlotti, whom Marvel fans will know as the original Whiplash (played by Mickey Rourke in ‘Iron Man 2′). Scarlotti is the one throwing around one of Hydra’s newest toys, a bladed device that burrows into the victim’s body and releases an energy that completely disintegrates him/her. Hm, kinda sorta EXACTLY like what the Obelisk does.
S.H.I.E.L.D. (and the media) catch wind of this attack and are immediately on the case. Simmons recognizes the new weapon from one of Hydra’s demolitions expert, Toshiro Mori, whom Bobbi (she’s wearing a Star Wars T-shirt!) seems to know very well. Coulson let’s Bobbi in on a mission already underway to find out where and when the next attack will take place. Also going are Agent May and Hunter. The ex-spouses are a little iffy about working an op together, but Coulson is having none of it. Off to Okinawa!
Meanwhile, an injured Talbot is summoned to his senator “friend’s” office where he gets berated over not truly having control over S.H.I.E.L.D. Talbot expresses his doubt that the attack was actually from S.H.I.E.L.D., but the senator didn’t care. Seeing this act as the final straw, the senator is taking point to “take control of the situation.” Talbot speculates the reason for this personal involvement has something to do with his brother. While the senator doesn’t completely deny this, his bottom line is to “bury S.H.I.E.L.D. in the ground for good.”
Then…the camera pans down to a name plate on the Senator’s desk: CHRISTIAN WARD. That’s ex-Agent Ward’s brother!!!
On the news, Sen. Ward announces that he’s proposing a world police type of organization to uproot whatever’s left of S.H.I.E.L.D. and dismantle it “by any and all means necessary.” The country of Belgium publicly disapproves of this proposal off the bat, saying that this task force is a violation of citizens’ rights. Regardless, if Sen. Ward’s proposal is accepted, every military force around the world will have the license to shoot any S.H.I.E.L.D. operative on the spot. Skye volunteers to talk to their Ward in order to find what they can about his older brother. Meanwhile, Coulson starts alerting all of his agents around the world to “go dark” for 24 hours.
In the lab, Fitz-Simmons is haven’t picked up where they left off. But Fitz just seems to get more frustrated and frazzled when she’s around. Despite their best efforts, the once beloved duo just aren’t gelling like they used to. In the basement, Skye is trying to get as much info about Ward’s brother as she can, but Ward avoids giving any solid intel by redirecting the conversation to Skye’s father. Once Skye starts to engage, Coulson cuts it short. All they seemed to get out of Ward is that he’s very much afraid of his brother, and that’s enough for Coulson to work with.
Bobbi, Hunter and May make it to Okinawa. Once landed, they corroborate on different plans. Bobbie suggests using her Hydra cover in hopes that not all of Hydra (especially Hydra associates) knows yet. This being the plan with less conflict, Agent May goes along with the plan. Little did May and Hunter (who clearly still holds a torch for his hell beast of an ex-wife) know, Bobbi’s “relationship” with Mori is way more intimate than she let on before.
Using her charm and their history, Bobbi gets Mori talking about the device Scarlotti used in the UN attack. He calls it the splinter bomb and he shipped them all out to Hydra the day before. However, he can’t take all the credit. The original specs came from Hydra technology from way back when. Whitehall gave the specs to him as a leap of faith, likely as a test to see if Mori is worthy enough to continue making cool toys for them based on The Diviner’s destructive power (The Diviner is Whitehall’s pet name for the Obelisk). Mori then slips out that Scarlotti’s team is making their way to Beckers, Belgium’s representative at the UN. If Beckers is taken out, even the neutral countries will want to side with the Sen. Ward’s anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. proposal.
Before Bobbi can suss out anymore information, Mori’s men get a message from Hydra which blows Bobbi’s cover. Hunter and May are already in place and take out Mori and his men before they could even get a shot out.
Coulson makes a preemptive move and visits Sen. Ward himself. He’s not there to make a plea on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D. No, he’s there to tell the senator that he has his Hydra brother locked up in his basement. In their conversation, Sen. Ward shed some light on a few ambiguities in his younger brother. Namely the story about how Grant was supposedly bullied by Christian to drown their youngest brother in the well. According to Sen. Ward, young Grant killed their brother Tommy with a screwdriver by a nearby creek they usually frequent when their parents were gone. Christian found them and saw a darkness in Grant. Afterward, Grant told their parents that Christian made him kill Tommy. Regardless on which story is true, Coulson wants to make a deal with the Senator. His brother in exchange for a reversal on the anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. program.
Simultaneously, Skye is visiting with Ward once again. This time, she’s there to hear all he knows about her origin: The village in the Hunan Province that had baby Skye were full of innocent civilians, they were Hydra agents. With his wife killed and his daughter lost, Skye’s father apparently lost it and tore the village apart. Ward then tells Skye that he can take her to her father through his many contacts and resources. He’s pretty much now saying anything to convince Skye to let down the barrier that contains him. Only…Skye has a different idea. They’re transferring him to Christian’s possession so he can be publicly tried and punished for his crimes.
However, time is still running out for Julien Beckers, Belgium’s prime representative at the UN, and Scarlotti and his team just found out his location. May, Hunter, and Bobbi are still en route to Belgium.
But wait, the plot thickens even more!
Fitz has been looking over the specs for Mori’s splinter bombs, which we previously established were based off of old Hydra tech. Turns out that the tech was developed by a Hydra scientist from the 1940s: Vincent Beckers… Um, Julien Beckers’ grandfather. And the Hydra connection stayed very much alive. Uh oh.
Since they previously believed that Beckers was in danger, Coulson alerted his agents to look for him and keep him safe. The closest team took him to their safe house in Bruges, Belgium. Unfortunately for them, this was exactly what Hydra wanted. Whitehall and Beckers made S.H.I.E.L.D. believe that Belgium would be a safe haven for agents, setting up a trap and killing/capturing whomever made it to the safe house. Six agents have already been killed using this method.
Scarlotti and his team are already waiting inside the safe house by the time May’s team land. Luckily, Coulson already alerted them to what’s waiting for them, and they get in position. A fight ensues. May taking on Scarlotti alone, and Hunter and Bobbi taking on the rest. As a nod to comic book fans, Scarlotti fights May with a blade attached to a chain, which he can “whiplash” around the room. Eh? Get it?
The team subdues Scarlotti and his men and wait for Talbot to come and arrest them, Beckers included. Meanwhile, Hunter is thinking about leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., to which Bobbi responds that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the S.H.I.E.L.D. she’s used to and she’s not sure where she fits in either. Will they stay on the team for much longer?
Coulson and a large team of S.H.I.E.L.D. officers begin Ward’s transfer. At the same time, Sen. Ward announces that he’s no longer interested in targeting S.H.I.E.L.D., but rather he now sets his sights on ridding the world of Hydra. He goes on to reveal to the press that his younger brother is a Hydra agent and that he plans to have him tried and branded as a traitor, which will subsequently get Grant executed. Completely aware of his fate, Grant waits for his opportunity to escape during transfer. He kills every officer riding with him in the van.
At the very end, we meet a man covered in the mysterious alien writing, which are tattooed on his body. “The pain helps me remember,” says the man to the tattoo artist. Remember what? Who is this guy???