A lot going on this week, as we meet a member of Evil Ward's family, we find out a tidbit about May's past, and Mockingbird becomes a (hopefully permanent) member of the Team.
SPOILERS! The Plot: A HYDRA team disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attacks the UN, killing several delegates and injuring Col. Talbot. This plan immediately turns the world against S.H.I.E.L.D., and I have to wonder why it took so long for HYDRA to think of it. And wasn't the world already against S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway?
Senator Christian Ward, who just happens to be Evil Ward's big brother, goes on a public rampage against S.H.I.E.L.D. Skye questions Ward about his older brother. He tells her the same story he did last season, that Christian "forced" Ward to try and toss his younger brother down a well. Coulson infiltrates Christian's office and questions him. He says the exact opposite, that he had to save his younger brother from Evil Ward. Apparently they're both equally manipulative, lying bastards. I bet Thanksgiving at their house was a riot.
Meanwhile, Mockingbird and Hunter get reacquainted, and we find there may still be a spark or two between them. Fitz accuses Simmons of abandoning him in his hour of need, which is kind of true.
Coulson offers to hand over Evil Ward to Christian if he promises to knock off the S.H.I.E.L.D. witch hunt. Christian agrees, and during the prisoner transfer Evil Ward escapes, to absolutely no one's surprise.
After HYDRA wipes out a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house and its inhabitants, Talbot offers his condolences to May, indicating he may be finally be softening his stance toward them. And a mysterious man with a connection to Coulson shows up at a tattoo parlor. Thoughts: • Coulson finds an "I Hate Mondays" coffee mug in the S.H.I.E.L.D. kitchen and asks if somebody brought it from home. Was that Grumpy Cat on the mug?
• Agent May was once married! And not surprisingly, it doesn't sound like it ended well.
• The S.H.I.E.L.D. operative based in Belgium was Agent Walters. I poked around online to try and find out if she was from the comics, but came up with nothing. I guess everyone who appears on the show isn't necessarily from the comics. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
• There seems to be a lot of duality on this show. There's FitzSimmons of course, the two nerdy science kids. Trip and Mack are both black, tough-guy technicians. Lance Hunter is the new bad boy, who's seemingly a replacement for Ward. And now we have Agent May and Mockingbird, who pretty much perform the exact same function. I don't know if there's a reason behind this, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
• Mockingbird gets a cool new costume and goes back to being a blonde, which made me happy. It makes me even happier to realize there's now a full-fledged Avenger (from the comics at least) on the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. I'm hopeful she'll stick around for a while. Her interactions with Hunter were a lot of fun.
• Evil Ward tells Skye that his brother Christian is even worse than he is. I kind of doubt that. Did Christian kill several dozen people in cold blood last year, like Evil Ward did? They're both master manipulators and it wears me out trying to figure out which one is lying more than the other.
• May, Hunter and Mockingbird enter the safe house in Belgium and are attacked by vicious HYDRA agents. During the battle, Mockingbird hits one of the HYDRA men on the arm, promptly knocking him out as he falls to the floor like a sack of laundry. I've heard of a glass chin, but a glass forearm?
• After the battle, Col. Talbot shows up at the safe house. His right arm's in a sling from the HYDRA attack at the beginning of the episode. He offers his sympathies to May, going so far as to shake her hand. With his hand that's in a sling. Apparently he's faking his injury in order to get some time off.
I think they threw in this scene to show that Talbot is finally changing his opinion toward S.H.I.E.L.D., but it felt unearned. There hasn't been enough time yet between his "shoot all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on sight" mode and this "you guys aren't so bad after all" stance.
• Coulson has removes Evil Ward from his cell and transfers him to Christian. Of course en route, Ward dislocates his thumb, slips out of his cuffs, kills the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents transporting him and escapes.
Did anyone NOT expect this to happen?
Coulson knows how dangerous Evil Ward is, listing the many people he's killed and the atrocities he's committed, and yet he walks him out of the headquarters surrounded by just a few guards. Why let him walk out at all? Why not sedate his ass and carry him out on a stretcher? Or put him in some Hannibal Lecter rig, complete with straightjacket and face mask? It makes me wonder if Coulson knew he would escape, and this is all part of some convoluted plan on his part.
I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Evil Ward was eventually going to have to escape. He pretty much had to, unless they planned on keeping him in his little cell for the rest of the series, which would have been ridiculous.
Maybe now he'll turn against HYDRA, and they'll have to team up with S.H.I.E.L.D. to eliminate him. I always like a good "villain teaming up with the good guys to defeat an even worse threat" plot. As long as they don't try and redeem him though; that would be the worst. Evil Ward's way past redemption at this point, and it's my considered opinion they don't try.
• In the tag scene, a mysterious man enters a tattoo parlor and wants some new ink. He removes his shirt and reveals his body is covered with tattoos that look exactly like Coulson's alien circuitry scribblings. I bet that's something Coulson never thought of– tattooing the patterns on himself! So I wonder if these tattoos will give him some sort of super power?
By the way, as Tattoo Guy is getting inked, he places his hand over that of the artist. I assume he was guiding his hand as he drew the symbols, but it was kind of funny as it looked more than a little like he was giving him a tender little embrace.