We all learned a few things in theÂ Agents of SHIELDÂ Fall Finale.
First, participating in the SHIELD Secret Santa program must totally blow. By end the end of ‘The Bridge,’ we have Phil Coulson kidnapped, Agent Grant Ward shot and Centipede experimentee, newly adopted SHIELD agent and Captain America fanboy Mike Peterson (J. August Richards:Â Angel;Â Raising the Bar,) apparently blown up.
Around the old SHIELD Christmas tree, odds are never in your favour that your gift recipient will actually live for the Annual Hub BYOB Holiday Party, and you’ll likely be stuck with that Duck Dynasty Chia Pet (Uncle Si!) you bought as a joke present. (Nobody likes joke presents. Agent Romanoff will kill you.)
God help you if Agent May draws your name. I’ll bet her idea of a good present would be to follow you around the party and attack you at random (Leg sweep! Chest punch! Head plunged into The Twins’ (Fitz and Simmons) special holiday punch (guaranteed hangover-free!) until you pass out, just to teach you to never drop your guard. Self-defense lesson and paranoia: May’s gift that keeps on giving.
But I digress.
While Skye is trying to find her parents (Still? God. Wake me when that’s over) this episode does an excellent job of illustrating that the only way to emotionally survive a career with SHIELD is to be an orphan, husbandless, wifeless, childless, or basically have no interest in retaining any sort of relationship with another human being whatsoever that goes beyond a little inter-SHIELD dallying, and even then, you have Agent May yelling at you when she thinks you might be placing her safety above the mission. (Feelings are for weaklings, babies and people watching a video of puppies learning to howl on the Internet).
As if Ward would do that. He has no emotions, or at least none that are demonstrable. For a guy who complains that Mike’s Extremis technology and having powers is ‘cheating’ he’s the most mechanical person on this show. Also? I dare you to tell Wolverine his adamantium claws are ‘cheating’. Go on. It’ll be your Christmas present to me.
In throwing Coulson under the bus and handing him over to Centipede, now headed by newly sprung from jail Edison Po (Cullen Douglas:Â Scandal) and his assistant, Raina (Ruth Negga:Â World War Z;Â 12 Years a Slave) in exchange for the safety of his son, Ace, Mike, and thereby the episode, effectively illustrates that families, and by extension all loved ones, are nothing but a liability in this on-going war that SHIELD is waging with the Big Bads of the world.
It’s a lesson worth learning: Getting to someone through their spouse, parents, children or that scrappy orphan they took in who won their heart, is a strategy as old as time.
And that’s because it’s effective. It works. Mike was so proud to be a SHIELD agent, yet he turned on a dime when his son was endangered. And Mike had wanted nothing more than to make up for the damage he caused in New York and prove to his son that he isn’t the monster Ace saw that day in Grand Central Station. That he, like Captain America, could be a hero. He didn’t realize that when you’re a good parent, and you love your children and do your best by them, you’re already their hero.
So now Coulson is gone; Ward is shot and the Super-Soldier wannabe is most probably blown up. If Skye knows what’s good for her and any remaining family she may have left, she’ll shut her laptop, bash it against a tree a few times, and toss it through an open window on the Bus the next time they’re above the ocean. It’s not worth it, honey. It’s just not.
Fall finale means a few weeks off. When we come back, we’ll know what happened to Coulson in ‘Tahiti’* since the Centipede people are really interested in what happened the day after he was shot. I’m betting it’s not that he raided the hotel mini-bar (SHIELD’s dime, yo!) and went skinny-dipping with a hot German tourist. But wouldn’t that be grand?
*SHIELD lab where they transferred his consciousness to a robot body: CALLING IT
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