It would seem that the people at Marvel sure know how to bring us a cliffhanger. This week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is nothing if not intense. Most of us never saw the end coming. Now, thanks to the Winter Holiday, we will have to wait until January to see how this all ends up. In the meantime, let’s take a look at this week’s Winter Finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. entitled ‘The Bridge.’
This week’s episode starts off with a bang…quite literally.
We begin our journey at Havenworth Federal Penitentiary. An inmate named Edison Po is sitting at the table eating his lunch peacefully. A fellow inmate tries to sit at the table with him, not ever saying a word to Po. Po politely looks up at him and tells him that seat is taken.
With no disturbance, the inmate simply gets his tray and leaves.
However, this is where the real disturbance begins. Three men come crashing through the ceiling of the prison. People are running everywhere, it is chaos. The guards are trying to contain the situation, but not with much success.
All the while, Po is just sitting at his table, minding his own business, and eating his food. I guess I would be calm and collected as well if I knew that the people crashing the prison were here to break me out.
One of the Centipede soldiers yells to Po that it is time to go. Without even looking up from his meal, Po says the word sir. When the soldier asks him what he means, he has quite the unexpected answer.
Time to go, sir.” He says in an admonishing voice.
The soldier repeats the words, and Po gets up from his seat, straps into one of the cable lines hanging from the ceiling, and off he went; simple as that.
The Search for the Truth
Skye is still trying vigorously to find her birth mother. She is looking through some files on the computer when Coulson comes in to tell her about the mission briefing coming up in five minutes.
He recognizes the woman on her screen. Her name is Katherine Shane. Skye asks Coulson if he knew hr. He tells her that the two of them ran a few ops together back in the day. Skye thinks that there is a possibility that she is her mother.
Coulson tells her that even if she was the agent that dropped her off at the orphanage that does not make Katherine her mother. Skye says that she has been looking at all the active agents around the time that she was born. She says she also factored in age and marital status, and then she created a program to narrow down the possibilities. Obsess much?
She tells him that she could cover more ground if she had more access. She asked him if he would remove her internet nanny. Of course, he tells her no. Coulson tells Skye that he asked May to look into some more of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s more restricted files. She tells him that she was kind of hoping to keep this situation private. He tells her that Agent May specializes in private.
The Mission Briefing
When they head downstairs, Agents Ward and May are training together. You can tell that they have both been in the business for quite some time. Their fighting skills are of an expert level. Ultimately, it would be May who would win the day.
There is something about their newfound relationship that has helped May open up a little bit. Something she hasn’t really done since joining the team. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long.
The two of them share a quick banter, until Ward makes a smart remark that references their recent sexual relationship. Suddenly, she is all clammed up again. She shuts him down rather quickly with a “Not here.”
Before the conversation could go any further, Agent Coulson comes out and tells them that he needs them in the conference room for the mission briefing.
In the conference room, Coulson plays the video of the soldiers breaking into Havenworth Federal Penitentiary. He tells them that they were able to get in and out in about 2 minutes time.
He tells them that the man they broke out is named Edison Po. He is a highly trained tactician, who just a few months back carved out his friend’s eyeballs in a diner and then proceeded to finish his meal.
They also realize that the men who broke Po out are members of Centipede, as they have the telltale device on their arms. Simmons seems just a little bit too excited that she and Fitz had devised a way to control their combustion problem, opening the door for them to manufacture more super soldiers.
Coulson tells them that two of Centipede’s labs have been destroyed, but they keep popping up. Coulson tells them that finding Po and the other members of Centipede are their new priority.
He tells them that they will be running point, but that they will not be working alone. Ward asks what team that HQ is sending as backup. Coulson tells him that it is not a team, but a person. Skye asks if it is someone who they have worked with before. Well…not exactly.
The New Teammate
It would turn out that their new teammate is Mike Peterson. You will remember Peterson from the very first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He was one of the first Centipede people that S.H.I.E.L.D. came in contact with, and the one who ultimately brought Skye to the team.
When Coulson approaches him, he is at a S.H.I.E.L.D. training facility. He is in the process of pushing a bulldozer across a field at record speeds.
Coulson tells him that if he would like to put that bulldozer back where he found it, he needs him to suit up.
When they get back to the plane, May is not exactly excited about the prospect of working with Peterson. She tells Coulson that this is a very bad idea. Speaking of bad ideas, Coulson tells her that Skye has been digging into the situation with her birth mother and that he told her that she was looking into it, so there is a possibility that she will come to her.
One mistake at a time,” May says.
When Peterson makes his way onto the plane, he greets both Coulson and May. May gives him the cold shoulder and walks away.
Coulson diffuses the situation by mentioning that the last time she saw him, he through her into a wall. Peterson understands.
He thanks Agent Coulson for the opportunity. Coulson tells him that he believes that everyone deserves a second chance; however, he is quite clear that there will not be a third one.
It would seem that the rest of the team, with the exception of a few, shares May’s sentiment about Peterson joining the team.
Ward is telling them that the last time they saw him; he was a ticking time bomb. Fitz points out that HQ must have gotten that under control or they would not have sent him. Simmons also says that this is not the first time that they have brought on someone new with a “questionable” track record. Skye is slightly offended by the remark, but she ultimately agrees.
Skye tells them not to worry about Mike, and that he is a good guy. Simmons points out that he has been in the Centipede program, and could provide valuable insight into their operation and therefore be a valuable asset to the team.
Just as Agent Ward starts to go on a monologue about how easily this entire operation could go sideways, Agent Coulson and Peterson walk in behind him.
Coulson breaks the ice rather quickly. He introduces Ward as the man who shot him back at the station, Fitzsimmons as the team that created the weapon, and well…he already knows Skye.
He seemed a little shocked that she was working with S.H.I.E.L.D. now.
Peterson addresses the team by telling them that he understands that the situation at Union Station could have gone another way, and that some other team may not have let him out of there alive. He thanks them for that and tells them that he owes all of them.
Skye asks him how his son is. He tells her that he is still with his sister. Peterson tells Skye that his son still thinks that he is working construction, but that he is good.
The team starts to break down what they know. They have tried to look into his past, but they have come up with nothing. Coulson tells them to start looking into his life on the inside and see if any of his contacts while inside could lead them somewhere.
Coulson asks for an update on the Centipede soldiers. They got a partial facial match on one of the soldiers. His name is Brian Hayward. He is military, and just recently returned from deployment. He has dropped off of the radar ever since. His only known relative is his sister Laura.
Coulson says that this is their best opportunity to find out more about Hayward’s whereabouts. Coulson says that he and Ward will go and talk to her.
Finding His Place
Peterson heads up to Coulson’s office and asks him where he needs him. Coulson tells him that he needs him right there on the plane. Peterson seems confused and asks him if he should be out in the field. Coulson tells him that while PsyOps may have already tested him, he also knows that using his abilities takes a toll on his body and that he needs to understand how that works, not only for his safety, but that of the team as well.
Michael heads downstairs and Simmons starts to do the work up on him. He tells her that he has to take in 4 times what he used to in order to keep going. After he uses his strength, he usually has to put in ten times the food, and then he usually crashes. He tells her that it is really hard on his body.
Fitz finds himself staring at the structure stuck on his arm. Peterson says that they tried to remove it at the PsyOps facility, but soon realized that they could not do it without killing him.
Fitzsimmons then asks him how they were able to stabilize him. He tells them it wasn’t PsyOps, that it was them. He says that it was something in the weapon that they created, in which Ward shot him with. He says that it ultimately saved his life.
It is quite apparent that Simmons has some sort of physical attraction to him. Of course, this makes Fitz uneasy as he has his own little crush on Simmons.
Agents Coulson and Ward are heading to the University of Ohio to try to track down Hayward’s sister.
In the car ride, they somehow start talking about on of Coulson’s previous relationships. When Ward asks him what happened to split them up Coulson’s answer is simple. He died.
Coulson goes on about how the Avengers thought him to be dead, so under S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol; he had to keep that up, making it difficult for him to resume his past life; especially with someone outside of the organization.
Ward asks him why he didn’t bring her into the program. Coulson tells him that is just asking for trouble. I think we all know what this means about Ward and May.
Just as Coulson assumed, Skye approaches May about the situation with her birth mother and the woman that dropped her off at the orphanage.
Skye thanks her for being in on this with her and that is means a lot to her. May stone faces her. Sky tries to update her on what she has found, but May shuts her down. May tells her that they are on a mission and asks her if this is why she called her here.
She says that she was just working on this while she was waiting for her. Skye tells her that she called her because she found something about Po.
He shows her a video of the one visitor that Po had while he was in prison; the girl with the flower dress. I would think that she would look awfully familiar to them.
They don’t have any audio of the conversation, but their lip reading software was able to pick up one valuable piece of information; something about “the clairvoyant.” Agent May doesn’t know what that means right now, but it obviously means something to them and whoever the woman is.
Peterson tells them that her name is Raina. He says that she is the one that recruited him into Centipede. He says that she approached him at the hospital and told him that she could change his life.
At some abandoned warehouse, we see Raina as she approaches Po, who is currently eating. After a short exchange, she tells him that they have stabilized the serum and now they need the clairvoyant’s help in unlocking stage 3.
Po tells her that the clairvoyant is having trouble seeing the man that they are looking for.
She tells him that their biggest issue has been the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. She says that they have already destroyed two of their facilities. She says that the soldiers need constant upkeep, as they are totally drained after every mission. They also need constant injections and other forms of upkeep. She explains that this is very difficult when S.H.I.E.L.D. constantly has them on the run.
He tells her that it is time to stop running.
When one of the soldiers gets up from his seat, we see that he has quite a few more nodes than the rest of them. Rather than having the simple centipede on his arm, he has them all over his shoulders and back, much like an intricate tattoo. Have they really made these kinds of advances, all while running from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team?
Catching Up With the Sister
While they sit outside of the school waiting on Hayward’s sister, Skye updates Coulson on their findings.
Coulson is pretty sure that “the clairvoyant” is a myth as there is nothing in the index about them. He tells Skye that there is a possibility that it is an alias. He tells her to run the name through the database and see if anything comes up.
Ward approaches Hayward’s sister. He introduces himself and tells her that he is looking for her brother Brian. He gives her one of the fake business cards that Coulson gave him. He tells her that he is Dan Filch from the Ohio State Gaming Commission and that he wants to give him some good news. He tells her that he has “won” $50k.
He tells her that the “prize” expires in 6 days and that they have to find him before that or he will lose out. She tells him that she doesn’t know where he is, and that they have not spoken since he returned home from Afghanistan. He tells her to get in contact with them if she does run into him.
Ward heads back to the car questioning Coulson about the angle that they’re taking. Wad calls it a tough sell. Coulson says that nothing makes people more suspicious than a handsome man offering to hand them free money. Coulson tells him that she is already making the call.
They use her phone call to track Hayward to Oakland, California.
The One Weakness
Skye comes to see Peterson. It seems as if they have converted the interrogation room into a bedroom of sorts for him.
When she comes inside, he is looking at a picture of his son. She asks him to see it. She compliments him on how cute he is. He tells her that while it is difficult not being able to tell him the full truth, he says that he still keeps in contact with him, that he called him on his birthday, and was able to send him all of the heroes of New York action figures for his special day.
She tells him that it has to be the best feeling to have someone who looks up to you and wants to grow up to be just like you. Mike seems sad that he is missing out on so much with his son.
Coulson comes in, and Peterson quickly gets to his feet. Coulson tells him that he wanted his shot, and here it is. Peterson assures him that he will not let him down.
Finally, he suits up in the outfit Fitzsimmons designed for him. They tell him that it will monitor all of his vitals while in the field all while providing state of the art ballistic protection. He thanks them for the suit.
Coulson tells them that the cell phone has been traced to a building about 8 miles from there. Peterson says it is probably Centipede’s new lab.
It seems like every time they destroy one of their labs, another one goes up. This time, Coulson wants answers. May tells them that this means that they are going in quietly with minimal damage to the facility.
Coulson explains to them how the plan is going to play out. Skye is a little bit concerned that they are running this op by themselves. She says that they have been playing whack a mole with the organization ever since Ward plucked her out of her van, and asks if S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ should be sending in back up. He tells her that they already have, as he looks up at Peterson.
The Mission: Infiltrate Centipede
Coulson and Peterson are on one team; Ward and May are on the other. Skye and Fitzsimmons are monitoring things from a remote location. Coulson asks if they are alone. Skye tells him that the only heat signatures that they are detecting are theirs; however, there is a strange electrical signal from nearby.
Coulson tells them to call Hayward’s call phone number to see if he is nearby.
Coulson and Peterson hear the ringing from a nearby container. As they start to approach it, the door burst off of it, and Hayward explodes from inside. Hayward flings the large metal container at the two of them. Peterson jumps in front of it and stops it from hitting Coulson.
It would seem like Centipede has the whole crew involved as another one of the super soldiers jumps out of a container near May and Ward.
Coulson uses his weapon to shoot the one near him and Peterson. This strange blue substance starts to course through their veins. Within seconds, his body counteracts it, and he sits up ready to go again.
The super soldiers seem to have overpowered everyone but Peterson. Simmons tells Coulson that with the physical exertion from using his powers, and the wound he is sustaining, that his vitals are very low. When Hayward attempts to attack Coulson while he is down, Peterson steps in and incapacitates him. For some reason, the rest of the soldiers just leave.
Hayward is lying down on the ground unable to move. Coulson demands to know who is behind Centipede. All of a sudden, it is like he is talking to himself. He is telling someone that he won’t tell them anything. Suddenly, there is a spark behind his eye and he is gone. His eye begins to fill with blood. It would seem as if he has the same technology embedded in him that Akela Amador had implanted in her when the S.H.I.E.L.D. team recovered her. Who was the person behind the switch; that would be Raina and Po.
Raina uses her tablet to clear up the last photographic image taken from his eye implant. She recognizes Mike Peterson. She tells Po that he was one of their first subjects. She doesn’t understand how he still has his powers. Po tells her that what he has is their key to stage 3.
Dissecting the Issue
Back at the lab, Fitz is comparing the two implants; the one inside Hayward, and the one inside Akela Amador. He says that other than a few slight adjustments, the two models are identical.
Michael is starting to ask questions about the past. Coulson explains to him who Akela Amador is and what she was forced to do. Coulson tells him that when the tide turned into their favor, Centipede flipped Hayward’s kill switch and told the others to run.
Coulson asks Skye if she can track the eye feed like she did last time. She tells him that they have upgraded since last time, and that the feed is now untraceable.
Coulson points out that their technology is advancing at an alarming rate. They know that Raina is the recruiter and Po is the strategist. They conclude that it is possible that the “clairvoyant” is the money.
Coulson says that they must have endless manpower to be moving so quickly. He tells them that he is going to update S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, and that this is much bigger than they initially anticipated.
Raina and Po are sitting in the car down a dark street. He tells her that he spoke with the clairvoyant, and that he will share the information with her when the time is right.
She tells him that she wants much more than information. She asks him if he will tell her what the clairvoyant is like. He tells her never. He also tells her that the last person to try to learn these things ended up with a knife for it. He tells her that he doesn’t want to have to do that again. He tells her that she has such pretty eyes.
He tells her that he did however; speak to the clairvoyant about her many virtues.
Ward is sitting down and having a drink, recovering from the beating they took earlier. When May comes downstairs, he offers to pour her a glass of scotch. She is pretty pissed at him.
Don’t ever do that again.” She says with a pretty aggravated tone.
She tells him that when they are out in the field, his head needs to be on the op and not on her. He asks her what she is talking about. She tells him that she doesn’t need his protection.
He says that taking the punch for her was a tactical move. He says that she is faster on her feet, and it was better for the op that she remains on her feet. He tells her that he is not some new recruit who can’t separate church and state. He knows what do to when he is out in the field.
She apologizes to him.
Don’t flatter yourself.” Ward says.
As Ward us walking away, Skye inadvertently walks in on the awkward moment. May is pretty rude to her, and asks her what she wants. She asks her if this is about the thumb drive again. Skye tells her no.
Skye says that she understands that she doesn’t want to be working on this, she’s got that loud and clear. May interrupts her and tells her that she needs to decide why she is here. She tells her that they are on a mission, and that they should be concentrating on that, and if she can’t put her personal business aside, then she shouldn’t be there.
Before Skye has a chance to say anything at all, May walks away.
She heads back to her room and begins destroying all the research that she has done. She is really hurt by the reception that she has gotten from May. I understand that May has got her reasons, but there are times that I really think that woman needs to take a sensitivity training class and maybe learn some people skills.
Coulson is coming down the stairs as all this is happening. Just as he is about to knock on her door, he can hear her begin to cry. Coulson stops himself and walks away, leaving their conversation for another day.
Later, we see Mike walk into Coulson’s office. He tells him that he won’t be much use to him for the next couple of days. Coulson tells him that it’s understandable. He tells Peterson that he went above and beyond in the warehouse.
Coulson says that Peterson’s SO tells him that he trains 24/7. Peterson tells him that he wants to be the best. Coulson says that he was told that Mike hasn’t left the training facility since he got there, which means that he hasn’t seen his son since the events at Union Station.
He tells Coulson that Ace is fine and that they talk all the time. Coulson asks why he hasn’t been to see him. After a short flashback to that day, Peterson says that the last time Ace saw him, he was a monster.
Coulson tells him that he can’t fix that from here. Peterson says that his son may be better off without him.
Coulson tells him that there are a lot of things to consider, but the one thing that he needs to think about before he makes his choice is his son.
Back in his room, Michael pulls out his phone and calls his son. Ace is so excited to hear his father’s voice. Michael tells him that it is very good to hear his voice. He tells him that he is going to get to come home to see him real soon. Ace is excited. He tells his Dad that maybe he can meet his new friend. He tells Michael that he says that she knows him.
All of a sudden, Peterson is worried. He asks him who is there with him, and asks him where his Aunt is. Suddenly Raina takes the phone from Ace.
Hello, Mike. Remember when I said that I could change your life?” She says to him menacingly.
Suddenly, the realization sets in.
Peterson tells Coulson what is going on. Coulson tells the group that Centipede wants to trade Ace for his father. The team is trying to come up with another way for this to go down, but Coulson shuts them down. He says that the instructions Mike was given were very specific.
Mike tells them that they will murder his son if they make one wrong move.
Coulson says that if there is any sign of surveillance, Centipede will terminate the deal. Skye says that he is still recovering and can’t just turn himself over to them. Fitz explains to them that Simmons has detected a non-electronic method of tracking, and that they have a way to monitor him.
Coulson says that after the trade, they have a way to track him. This will allow him some time to get his strength back. Mike says that he doesn’t care what happens to him as long as his boy is ok.
Coulson promises him that they will get him back.
The team heads out to make the exchange. May tells Coulson that he should allow her to accompany Peterson for the exchange. Coulson tells her that Peterson requested him, and that he is good with that.
May tells him that she doesn’t like any of this.
“There’d be something wrong with you if you did.” Coulson says.
Coulson gets out of the van and prepares for the exchange.
Mike tells them not to do anything that endangers his son. They tell him they wouldn’t do that. Coulson tells him it is time to go.
The two of them head off together to make the exchange. Raina and one of the soldiers are waiting for them. Peterson tells him that it wasn’t supposed to go down like this, and that he swears that he is going to make it right.
Due to the positioning of the vehicles, Ward doesn’t have a clean shot on them.
Pretty soon, Coulson and Peterson are out of sight as well.
Raina greets them. She says that his son is adorable and looks just like him. She says that she hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting Coulson.
Lucky for you,” Coulson says.
She thanks Mike for holding up his end of the deal. Coulson pretty much tells her to cut the chatter. He tells her to release Ace and that she can have him. She tells him that this was never the deal. What they really want is Coulson. Mike tells him that he is so sorry. Coulson asks him what is happening. She tells him that in exchange for his son, they asked Mike to deliver him.
Mike attempts to ambush them, but in his weakened state, he is not very successful. Coulson moves forward out of the view of Ward.
Mike tells Raina that he may not be at full strength, but he can still crush her throat. He tells her that they will exchange his son for her life. She tells him that sadly, her employer cares as much for her life as he does for his son’s.
Coulson tells him to let her go. Peterson tells him that he tried to give himself up, but they want him. He asks Coulson why they want him. Coulson tells him that he doesn’t know, but that if he kills Raina that he will never see his son again.
Mike asks Coulson how he will explain to his son what he has done when he looks him in the eye. Coulson tells him that they talked about this. Peterson apologizes again and lets Raina go.
Raina calls for Ace. He comes running to his father.
As Mike takes his son in his arms, he turns to Coulson. He tells him if there had been any other way. Coulson stops him and tells him that he made the only choice he had.
Peterson starts running away from them with his son in his hands.
They inject something into Coulson which incapacitates him. They start to drag him away towards the vehicles. The team is starting to panic now. The order is given to call in for back up. Skye gets out of the car and starts running towards them.
Ward tells May that he has a shot. May tells him not to engage and that they will kill Coulson. She tells them to stand down and that she is contacting HQ. Agent May tells HQ that they need immediate satellite support.
Mike hands Ace to Skye. He tells him to stay with Skye and that he needs to make something right. He tells Ace that he loves him so much. He tells Skye to take care of his boy.
Just as Mike gets to the point where the vehicles were, everything explodes. Skye screams in terror as she shields Ace from the blast. Everyone looks on in horror. Just as they ask where Coulson is, the cars explode as well.
Thankfully, they see a helicopter overhead speeding away, which means that Coulson is still alive. The helicopter opens fire on Ward, striking him down. May looks on with serious discontent.
In the helicopter, Coulson tells Raina that whatever she thinks she is doing, it won’t work. He says that he won’t give them what they want. She says that he will. She says that what they want is simple. They want him to tell them about the day after he died. That will be kind of difficult considering he doesn’t even know much about that.
Things are definitely starting to get intense. Is Agent Ward going to be ok? What is going to happen to Agent Coulson? How is he supposed to tell him information that he doesn’t even know himself?
There are so many questions to be answered and so many loose ends to tie up. One of those loose ends is the identity of Skye’s mother and/or the person who dropped her off at the orphanage. However, the biggest one of them is the truth about Agent Phil Coulson. This is something that Marvel has promised to reveal by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, as this week’s episode was the Winter Finale, we will have to wait until after the New Year to find answers to our many new questions.
When S.H.I.E.L.D. does return from its Winter Break, there will only be three more episodes left in the season. This means that they are sure to hit the ground running, and not stop until the very end.
While we wait, here is a look at what is up ahead for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team this January.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is scheduled to return on Tuesday, January 7th at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.