The first season mid-break ended with a cliffhanger featuring Coulson abducted by the Centipede Operatives which apparently leaves super-soldier Mike Peterson dead in an explosion. As the first season starts up again, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) is leading the effort to rescue Coulson, noting that even Director Fury has an interest in seeing Coulson rescued. The team captures a a man who deals in the black market sale of Chitauri artifacts and a known associate of Raina, the woman in the flower dress. Hand has expelled Skye from the team after Agent May refuses to vouch for her but we know instantly that this was May’s plan all along. She wanted to get Skye away from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s eyes so she can use her hacking skills to try and locate Coulson.
Meanwhile Coulson is interrogated by Edison Po who tortures him to reveal the secrets of his resurrection. Po reveals that the Clairvoyant has been unable to get a read on Coulson, which is part of the reason they have such a high interest in him. When Po fails, Raina takes over, appealing to Coulson’s own sense of curiosity as well asS.H.I.E.L.D.’s rejection of his requests for more information about what happened to him. Coulson’s memories gradually return with aid of a machine. The illusion of Tahiti disappears as Coulson reveals being in an operating room pleading with the doctors to let him die. Dr. Streiten (Ron Glass) objects believing that he should be allowed to die but we see Coulson’s brain being given electric stimuli by a weird machine that looks sort of like a giant, metallic insect. Dr. Streiten divulges to Coulson that thememories were implanted into Coulson on orders from Fury himself. But why?
One door opens and another closes this week on MAOS. We now know that Tahiti was all an illusion and that Coulson wasn’t just dead minutes or hours but several days. Why did Fury want him alive so badly? What technology was used to bring him back to life? Was it human or alien? The episode reveals a lot about Coulson while adding even more mysteries. I think it’s safe to say that Coulson is definitely not a Life Model Decoy. We see his body being brought back to life and I would guess that Raina would have figured out that as well. Clark Gregg goes through a wringer of emotions throughout the episode. Raina uses Coulson’s love for a woman and that S.H.I.E.L.D. basically has screwed him to get him to break down. As he lay on the operating table, begging to die you could not help but sympathize with the character.
This episode helped galvanize the team unlike any other. While Skye initially feels betrayed by May she quickly finds out that it was her plan all along. Skye goes solo for much of the show and gets to show off some previously unseen fighting skills. And you had to love the one punch KO of Raina. After the final break we get to see what happened to Mike Peterson and it isn’t pretty. Now…One thought crossed my mind when I saw Peterson at the end…or I should say one name…Deathlok…specifically, the Luther Manning version of Deathlok. I’m convinced that Peterson will become the Cyborg character.
A lot of pieces were put in motion to get the second half of the season off to a strong start, The writing is becoming tighter with more of a focus towards on-going plotlines rather than self-contained episodes. This is a must if the show is to be successful.