Tuesday night’s episode of Agents of Shield was a little different than we’re used to, mostly because we saw a side of Agent May that we’ve never quite seen before.
During this episode, Coulson and May go undercover in order to find a 500 year old painting that happens to have the strange carvings on the back. I have to say, I never thought we’d see May in anything girly, especially not a sparkly, silver dress. Coulson and May (who some are now calling Philinda) attend a fundraising event where the painting is located.
We’re used to Agent May being hard and quiet. We’re used to people referring to her as The Calvary. But in this episode, we learn that May can dance. And she kind of likes it. And she can flirt convincingly too. After surveying the ballroom, the two realize that General Talbot is there and they’re forced to reevaluate their plans.
This episode really had me believing that Talbot was Hydra. It made sense. It explained everything! Talbot hates Shield, hates Coulson, and wants everyone to believe that Shield and Hydra aren’t a threat anymore, which would give Hydra the advantage. And unfortunately, they learn that Talbot got his hands on the painting earlier that day. Really, Hydra has no idea what the symbols mean. But they know Coulson does, and he could be the key to understanding it. Coulson agrees to meet Talbot after checking in with his team. May follows Talbot to his hotel, and Coulson heads back to the bus.
Then we learn that Talbot is just Bakshi, Dr. Whitehall’s right-hand man, in a digital mask. Bakshi isn’t alone though–Agent 33 is with him. May confronts them and they surprisingly knock her unconscious, and then use the mask to disguise Agent 33 as May. She is able to make it all the way onto the bus and tells Coulson that Talbot really is interested in working with them on this mission. Of course Coulson figures her out by the time they get there and gives her a pretty nice punch in the face. May wakes up around this point, and it was truly strange to watch Agent May in a slip fight Agent May in a sparkly silver dress. Coulson says, “I can’t believe I’m the only one seeing this,” before running off after Bakshi, who has the painting. In the end, they are successful and reclaim the artwork for Shield.
This was a big episode for Fitz. While Agent 33 is disguised as May and is aboard the bus, she plants a device that will ultimately blow it up. That is, if it reaches the wings of the plane where the fuel is stored. Throughout this episode, imaginary-Simmons tries to convince Fitz to join the others while they’re talking and joking around, just so he can bond with them. Fitz believes that he doesn’t have anything in common with them anymore, though. While different parts of the plan are exploding, Fitz has to communicate to Agent Hunter how to rewire part of it. Because Fitz is having trouble with words and his hands, he and Hunter work together to prevent the final explosion. And they’re successful!
The best part of this is afterward when Hunter offers Fitz a beer. He naturally begins to turn it down, but Hunter tells him that they wouldn’t have been successful without him. Fitz takes the beer and suddenly imaginary-Simmons is gone. Earlier in the episode, Mack and Hunter were talking about their exes and Fitz thought he didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. After taking the beer, he calmly says that he liked a girl and told her how he felt, but she didn’t feel the same and she left. He says the whole sentence without stumbling on the words. Mack and Hunter are speechless for a moment, and Hunter finally says, “Well that’s her loss, mate. From what I can see, she’s missing out.”
I just really loved this moment for several reasons. They toast to moving on and imaginary-Simmons is nowhere to be seen. Fitz seems to have gained some confidence and feels accepted. I think the combination of the two help him finish his sentences and recall all the right words. And this moment also kind of redeemed Hunter for me. After the first two episodes, I didn’t really like him that much. He just seemed like someone who was there for the money. He didn’t care about the missions or Shield or anyone else. But he accepts Fitz here, as a member of the team and as a regular guy. In this moment, they’re just three dudes having some beers and it’s nice.
The episode ends with Coulson and May filling in the real Talbot on how Hydra sent a Talbot-clone to steal the painting. They don’t mention that they actually have the painting, though. After running some tests on it, Coulson and May learn that the piece really is 500 years old, but the carvings on the back are new. So, there is someone out there who is seeing these symbols, and possibly someone other than Coulson, Skye, and Garrett who has taken the medicine that cured them. Lastly, Raina is confronted by Dr. Whitehall, who demands that she return the obelisk.
Next Tuesday, Raina decides it’s time for Skye to meet her father. If Coulson won’t allow this to happen, Hydra threatens to kill Simmons. Catch it at 9/8c on ABC!