Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward in the Winter Premiere of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Photo Credit: ABC/Ron Tom

‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Winter Premiere Recap: What is Waiting for Coulson in ‘The Magical Place?’

The day we have been waiting for weeks for has finally come. This week’s all-new episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the show’s official Winter Premiere. Let’s take a look at what happened and what we can expect from next week.

Collecting Information

In the beginning of the episode, we see Agents May and Ward being their usual awesome selves. They have been sent to acquire a man by the name of Vanchat. When they catch up to him, he is in the middle of attempting to sell a Chitauri artifact to a woman who seems to be offering him quite a bit of money.

In fact, I believe the words “Name your price,” were tossed around a few times.

Suddenly, a black disc slides across the floor. The woman asks if it is a Roomba. If by Roomba you mean highly powerful flash bang explosive bright enough to blind even the most skilled soldier, then sure…it’s a Roomba.

Once the chaos erupts, May and Ward fight their way through all of the guards in the room as Vanchat escapes through the side. May chases after him while Ward finishes up with the last soldier.

It seems like everyone is in on the action in this one. While May and Ward pursued Vanchat on foot, Fitzsimmons sent in the drones to push him in a particular direction. Unfortunately, it would seem as if he was able to locate he elevator before the drones or Ward could get to him.

Fortunately, what he didn’t know is that this is right where S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted him. When he presses the button to take him away, the elevator didn’t move.

Just then, Skye hacked into the system and forced the elevator to take Vanchat to the roof. When the doors open, he takes off running. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get very far before he sees that there is an entire team of armed guards, a helicopter, and worst of all, Agent Victoria Hand waiting on him.

Needless to say, he was taken into custody without incident.


Back on the bus, we see a very frustrated Fitz. He is complaining at the amount of agents that they have crammed onto the plane since Coulson went missing, and how they are impeding his work. Agent Ward, who is being tended to by Simmons, tells him that it is only going to get worse as they are to make a stop in order to pick up some more of Hand’s guys.

Oh, and come to find out, he was indeed shot during the firestorm the night that Coulson was abducted. The wound that Simmons is working on is re-stitching the gunshot wound that he tore open during the first earlier.

Fitz notices on the monitor that Agent Hand is giving another briefing. To say that he sounds less than excited is quite a bit of an understatement. However, like good little team members they make their way to the briefing room.

The Briefing

When they get there, the briefing is already in full swing. Agent Ward asks Hand if there has been any progress with Vanchat. She tells him that there has not been anything new, but that her best interrogator is in there with him, and that he will talk. She assures Ward that once Vanchat talks, not a single stone will remain unturned until they bring down Centipede. Not a single mention of finding Coulson.

It seems like everyone else is concerned about Coulson. Of course, by everyone I mean anyone who is not Victoria Hand or one of her men.

Just then, the computer goes into Lockdown and alarms start to sound. Hand says that someone is hacking the system.

Immediately, she knows who it is. This brings us to the point in the story that was covered by the clip we shared earlier.

Agent Hands immediately opens the door to Skye’s room. Skye is sitting with her computer in front of her. She tells Hand that’s he needs her to override her lockout so that she can trace Vanchat’s money back to the source. She says that this will give them the best chance to find Coulson.

Without hesitation, Agent Hand demands that Skye be removed from the plane. Agent Ward tells her that even though Skye’s methods may be unorthodox that she can help and that she is a member of their team. Hand turns to May and asks her point blank, in her professional opinion, will Skye do them any good on the plane. Without missing a beat, she tells her no.

Agent Hand orders that they confiscate her phone and her computer and deliver her for debriefing. Ward tells Hand that he will do it as he is her S.O.

Saying Goodbye…or is she?

After she gathers her things, Ward walks her to the entrance to the plane. Skye tells him that what May did was way out of line. He swiftly deflects the discussion away from May. He tells her that Coulson will make all of this right when he returns. Skye claims that she can find him.

Ward tells her that he believes her. Before she goes, Fitzsimmons walks up to her and hands her a sandwich. Well, at least that is what it looks like. It is actually a satellite phone that is damp resistant and will give her one shot to make one call before her bracelet will shut it down. Skye is wondering what she is supposed to do with that as she’ll be spending the next few days locked in a hole being debriefed.

Ward tells her that there are a few Agents coming to take her to her debriefing…in exactly 12 minutes.

I think she just got the point. On her way out, she sees one of the lesser agents about to mess with Coulson’s car.

“Don’t touch Lola.” She says as she passes him.

Now, the real mission begins.

Catching Up With Agent Coulson

Well, Agent Coulson is alive, but he is not very well. When we catch up to him, he is being held in a secure Centipede facility. They are using this machine on him that enables Coulson to see beyond the memory that he had and discover the truth.

When we first see him, he sees himself back in Tahiti getting a massage. When the waiter comes in bearing drinks, Coulson is suddenly awakened and brought back into the real world.

Po is sitting there waiting for him. He tells him that he passed out, and that maybe he is ready to tell him what really happened. Coulson makes a smart remark about him seeing Jordan hit a jump shot. Needless to say, Po is not amused as much as Coulson is.

Coulson is determined that his team is going to rescue him before Centipede will be able to crack him. He says that he will never give any information to them.

In fact, Coulson says that he would rather let them kill him before he gives them anything. He says that Po already has a taste for that, mentioning Mike Peterson. Po claims that Peterson put himself into this situation. He says that Centipede gave him everything that he asked for.

Po continues to dig into Coulson’s past in an attempt to break him. Coulson tells him that the clairvoyant is a fraud because if he could see, then Coulson wouldn’t be there.

Po demands that there is something different about Coulson. He says that the clairvoyant can see him die, but he cannot see how it is that S.H.I.E.L.D. brought him back to life.

When Coulson continues to refuse to tell him anything, Po tells him that they will have to do this the hard way.

Finding the Trail

When we catch back up with Skye, she is in an internet café trying to use their system in order to get the information that she needs. Unfortunately, the second she tries to search something, every computer in the entire place, even ones held by customers, goes down with the same S.H.I.E.L.D. lockdown screen.

She heads out to the street and finds a newsstand. She starts digging through a financial magazine and finds an article about a man by the name of Lloyd Rathman. The article has to deal with some questions the Government has about his offshore accounts. I think Skye just found her way in.

In the window of a shop across the street, she sees a jacket that she would look amazing in. More so, she would look more like a certain S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in.

She finally gets to Rathman’s office. She sees him get out of his car and leave his keys for the valet. Just like she belongs there, Skye comes strolling out with a shopping bag in her hand. I guess she bought the jacket.

She walks right up to the vehicle and gets in, and drives off.

The Interrogation

When we head back to the lab, we see Fitzsimmons in the lab. Simmons is working with one of the agents that they brought on board. When the agent is attempting to fill a plunger, she tells him that they are trying to incapacitate people, not kill them.

Of course, Fitz couldn’t care either which way. Simmons tries to explain to him that those soldiers are more than just killing machines. She reminds him that they are people as well. He tells her that the only thing that matters is getting Coulson back.

Ward is starting to get annoyed with how little progress Agent Hand’s “best interrogator” is making. He decides that he is going to go in and take care of this himself.

He walks into the interrogation room and tells the other Agent that Agent Hand needs him, and that it is urgent. Without a word, the other agent leaves the room and Ward takes over.

He heads straight to the back of the room and sits in a chair against the wall. Ward tells him that he wants the name of all of his buyers, preferably alphabetically. Vanchat tells him that he isn’t telling him anything.

Ward straps himself into the chair and nods to the camera. Suddenly, the roof begins to open, and Vanchat is being sucked out of it. Of course, he is able to hold on, but before Ward would close it off and give him some solace, Vanchat agrees to tell him everything.

Have I ever mentioned that Ward is amazing?

Thanks to Ward’s intel, they are preparing to launch a full on strike on Centipede. Hand sees this as their opportunity to take down the organization. Ward want to know what the plan about Coulson is. She tells him that hopefully they will find him in Sydney. She quickly dismisses the meeting. Everyone files out, except for Ward, whom she asked to stay behind.

She tells him that Skye left the plane and never arrived for her interrogation, and then Vanchat almost flew out of the interrogation room. She wants to know if there is a problem. Of course, he tells her no.

He tells her that her Agent wasn’t getting results, so he had to step in.

She is perplexed as to why the agency is putting so much effort into finding someone who is just a level 8. She tells him that the use of this much manpower is simply unprecedented, and that Director Fury and Commander Hill are all concerned. She tells Ward that no one Agent is worth all this. He disagrees and tells her that Coulson is.

Executing the Plan

Skye is still in Mr. Rathman’s car. As soon as she touches a button on his navigation system, the computer locks down just like everything else. She pauses for a moment to consider plan B. She looks up and sees an OnStar button. Then, all of a sudden, it clicks in her head.

She throws the car into gear and slams into a barricade of barrels. Suddenly, a voice comes on the speaker. Skye asks if they can send someone to tow her to her house. They tell her they will dispatch someone immediately.

Once she arrives at Rathman’s house, the tow truck driver asks if she is sure that she doesn’t want him to take it to the dealership. She assures him that she “has a guy.”

She uses his garage door opener to get into the house. She finds his desk and uses a golf club to dial his office so that her bracelet doesn’t deactivate the phone.

She claims to be with the L.A.P.D. and tells the woman on the phone that she has recovered a stolen vehicle at his house. She tells the woman that there are two officers at his home waiting to take his statement. She asked how long it would take for him to get there.

When Rathman walks into the house, he demands to know who she is. Dressed in her snazzy new outfit, she tells him that she is Melinda May. She doesn’t make a very convincing May, but at least she looks more like a Field Agent now.

Apparenly, she did her homework on this guy, as she knows a lot of personal information about him. She tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. is prepared to freeze all of his (and his company’s) accounts should they find that he made any money off of his dirty dealings. Immediately,  he moves to call his lawyer.

She tells him that if he does that, then her deal is off the table. She tells him that they will offer him full immunity for his help. Needless to say, he decides not to call.

However, while they are on their way back into his office, he hits the button for the silent alarm. Looks like Skye doesn’t have a lot of time to get this under control.

Once they get into his office, she tells him that she needs him to put in his private corporate ID to get her in the door so she can hack Vanchat’s Swiss Bank account. He tells her that letting her in that door is a crime. Furthermore, he wants to know how he knows that she is actually with S.H.I.E.L.D. I mean, normally Federal Agents show a badge, right?

She takes his phone and says “S.H.I.E.L.D. Protocol Six Alpha Victor” and suddenly his phone goes into Lockdown. Little does he know it is because of her bracelet and not the code, but who needs details anyway?

He buys the S.H.I.E.L.D. thing, but still isn’t sure on why he should help her. She starts using his personal life again. She mentions everything from his financial woes to his troubles with his sons. Just as she almost has him convinced, his private home security shows up with weapons drawn. Skye quickly takes one of them down and secures his weapon, pulling it on the other officer.

I think he is convinced now.

Once she has the security under control, she starts spouting tech talk to him; something he wholeheartedly does not understand. For a financial wiz, he sure knows nothing of the software. He tells her that he has assistants to do this sort of thing for him.

Ironically enough, one of the security guards does know what she is talking about. He takes Rathman’s seat and does as Skye asks.

In just a matter of minutes, she has all the information she needs. Rathman asks her if they are done there. She tells him that she needs one more thing.

Just as I guessed, she drives out of his garage with the black sports car with the $BLSYAL tag on it.

Centipede’s Plan Not Going…According to Plan

When Coulson still refuses to give them the information they seek, they take him back to his room and secure him to the bed. Apparently, they forgot who they were dealing with. Coulson slips a pair of tweezers out of his sleeve and quickly makes his way out of his handcuffs.

One of Po’s men comes in to bring him his food, and notices that Coulson isn’t in bed. Just as the realization clicks in the man’s head, Coulson leg sweeps him and brings him down o the floor where he proceeds to choke him out.

As soon as Coulson makes it out the door, he notices Po standing there waiting for him.

Po reveals to him that they are at the “town that the bomb forgot.” He tells Coulson that there is nothing but desert for hundreds of miles. Po tells him that he likes it there.

Coulson attempts to make a run at Po, but he is caught in the throat by one of the Centipede recruits.

Once back inside, they continue to torture him with what looks like a super-powered taser. Po continues to lay into him, but he is making no progress.

Raina walks in during their little session. He tells her that her powers of persuasion would have been better served there with him rather than interrogating their other prisoner.

Raina tells him that she would never use violence to bend someone to her wishes. He tells her that he is doing as the clairvoyant asked. Just then, his phone rings.

It is the clairvoyant. Apparently, he doesn’t agree with his methods so much anymore. He asks to speak to Raina. We are unsure of what he actually says to her, but apparently, it is a brand new plan. She hands the phone back to Po, who is suddenly shocked, his face changes color, and he falls to the ground dead.

I guess Raina is the one in charge now. Oh, how far the Girl in the Flower Dress has come.

She is taking a completely different route with Coulson. She is trying to befriend him; something I am not entirely sure is going to work either. He points out that nasty things seem to happen to her friends. She tells him that Po was a murderer. He tells her that he was more so referencing people like Mike Peterson. Everyone seems to be giving him the same answer, they gave him what he wanted.

She tells him that Centipede is new to the business of what S.H.I.E.L.D. has been doing for years. He says now they have soldiers, she can make them stronger, she can control them, and when they get out of hand, she can kill them. She tells him that the one thing they can’t do is bring them back to life. Something that S.H.I.E.L.D. has obviously been able to do with Coulson.

She plays on his desire to know the information of his past. She tells him that she would like to turn the machine on again. Raina says that it induces theta brain waves, and will allow him to see past the memories that S.H.I.E.L.D. implanted in him.

She tells him that she doesn’t want his classified information, she just wants to know what happened to him; the information that S.H.I.E.L.D. is keeping from him.

Raina continues to plug at Coulson. She is giving it everything she has. She asks him why S.H.I.E.L.D. would hold details of his own death from him. She tells him that they are supposed to be his family. She even presses him about the woman he lost as a result of his “death.”

She mentions dates that they used to go on, and him listening to hearing her play. Raina tells him that she cried for days after S.H.I.E.L.D. told her he died, all over a lie. Now they are lying to him. Finally, he agrees to do it.

Searching for Coulson

As the team is about to disembark on their mission, Agents Ward and May are in the cockpit of the ship. She asks him if there is a problem. He wants to know why she hung Skye out to dry.

She tells him that she told Hand the truth. She is no use to them on the plane. She says that with all these agents over her shoulder, she would never get anything done. She needed to be outside the system, where she works best.

She tells Ward that he doesn’t always have to assume the worst out of her.

It is good to know that she had a legitimate plan and wasn’t just being stone cold with her. I can’t lie to you, I was a little worried there for a minute.

Just then, Agent Hand comes over the radio and tells Agent May that they have new coordinates, and that she was transmitting them immediately. May gets them and reverses course.

Later on, while Fitzsimmons is showing Ward the new piece of technology that they have created to neutralize the Centipede soldiers, Simmons’ phone rings. It’s Skye on the sat phone. As you may remember, Simmons is a horrible liar. Right away, May knows that it’s Skye on the other line. She orders the new agents out of the lab, and takes the phone from Simmons. She asks Skye what she found.

Just as Agent Hand is about to deploy her strike force on another mission, Ward and the rest of the team tell her about Skye’s lead. Hand tells them that they have a hunch, while she has confirmed activity. She says that she is leading her team into the lab, and that’s it.

The team decides that they are going to split this mission up; Hand and her team can go to the lab, and Coulson’s team will head to the desert to see if Coulson is there. Hand looks at May and says that it was her opinion that got Skye kicked off of the plane. She finally realizes that May played her.

However, the important thing right now is finding Coulson. Ward tells her that this is where he is taking his team, and that she can send back up if she so desires. I am glad to see him take charge like this.

Launching The Assault

Back in the desert, Coulson wants to know what makes her think that the machine is actually going to work. Rather surprisingly, she tells him that it worked on her.

Before they start, Coulson asks her one final question; the question that many people have been asking. What is with the flowers?

“Who doesn’t like flowers?” she simply says.

Once she turns the machine on, Coulson starts to travel back to Tahiti in his mind. Everything is so calm and peaceful. She tells him to focus on the details.

This time, when the waiter walks in, he transforms into Dr. Streiten who is yelling things like “Listen to him,” and “Who ordered this.”

The woman giving him the massage, while she doesn’t transform like he did, says “Director Fury himself.”

Finally, the team is starting to arrive.

Ironically enough, Skye is the first one to show up. She is looking around, and quite creeped out by all the dolls just standing there motionless. Suddenly, she is spotted by one of the guards. She starts to run from him, and just as you think he is about to catch up with her, the cavalry shows up and hits him with the SUV. Talk about your good timing.

Raina hears the commotion outside, and sends one of her men to investigate.

Just then, something starts to happen to Coulson. The memories inside his head are starting to break through and it is having an adverse effect on his body.

We jump back into Coulson’s dream sequence. Now, the masseuse has transformed into one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. surgeons. He is in a cold, dark surgical suite.

Outside, Ward sees Raina’s guard. He tells the rest of the team that he will deal with him, and they should go find Coulson. He runs off with Fitzsimmons’ new technology at the ready while the rest of the team searches for Coulson.

Ward uses his James Bond like fighting skills to quickly incapacitate the one he is fighting. Despite having a car door thrown at him, he is able to incapacitate him by shoving the serum into the soldier’s mouth.

Finally, we find out what really happened to Coulson. We flash into the hospital. There is a robot that is poking and prodding him with all sorts of needles. He is screaming and crying for them to let him die.

Back in the real world, Skye has finally located him. Raina stands to approach her and tells Skye that it is for his own good. Skye cold cocks her and unlocks Coulson. She tells him to come back to them. As Coulson is starting to come to, he recognizes Skye.

Finally, they get back to the plane, they have Raina in custody. Just like any good S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, Coulson is right back to work. As Agent Hand is about to exit the plane, Coulson comes down the stairs, suit and all. After a short exchange, he thanks her for everything.

Once she is gone, the team surrounds Coulson. He thanks the entire team for what they did for him; followed up by a “Get back to work.”

He tells Skye that he knows what she did for him. He tells her that he thinks it’s time that they took her bracelet off.

“Disengage bracelet.” He says into the mic on her bracelet.

She is a little amused by this. He tells her that he thought she’d like that.

She asks him if they learned anything. He tells her no. She asks him if he did. He tells her that it wasn’t real and they were messing with his head.

The Confrontation

Later that night, Dr. Streiten gets into his vehicle. Coulson is in the back seat. It almost looks like something out of a horror movie.

Coulson wants answers for what happened. He tells Streiten that he knows about Tahiti. He tells Coulson that he was dead for days. He tells him that Director Fury moved heaven and earth, with a team working 24 hours a day to bring him back. Dr. Streiten tells him that it wasn’t until the seventh surgery that Fury brought him in.

Dr. Streiten tells Coulson that they kept him awake during the procedure to monitor brain activity, but the neurological damage was catastrophic. He tells him that the amount of pain he was in was ungodly. Coulson says that he wanted to die.

“And we should have let you.” Dr. Streiten said.

Dr. Streiten tells him that after what he had been through, they wanted to restore the man he had once been. They didn’t want him to be that “thing”. Dr. Streiten tells him that he had lost his will to live, and that they tried to give it back to him. He tells Coulson that he is sorry.

Before he can even turn around, Coulson is gone.

Missing Pieces

When the show comes back from its final break of the night, we find out the fate of Mike Peterson.

Peterson wakes up in a dark, drab room. I have a distinct feeling that he was Raina’s “other subject.” He is laying in a bed, having definitely seen better days. He has burns over a lot of his body, and is in pretty intense pain.

When he draws back the covers, he realizes that he only has one leg. He calls out for anyone to answer him. He looks at himself in the mirror, and that is when he finds out what really happened to him.

They implanted the same technology in him that they placed into Akela Amador.

This week’s episode was definitely one of the most interesting of the season. While I am glad on some level that Coulson is finally starting to learn the truth about what happened to him, there are things in this world that you just cannot unsee. The things that happened to Coulson were so catastrophic that the resurgence of those memories is sure to mess with Coulson’s head.

The question now is how long can he hold it together before he starts to snap. It is clear that he is losing at least a small amount of his trust in the system; however, we all know that what starts as a crack can turn into a gaping chasm when the right pressure is applied.

Here is a look at what is coming on next week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Make sure to check back with us next week as we take a look at the all-new episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. entitled “Seeds.”

What did you think of tonight’s episode? How long do you think it is going to take before the effects on Coulson start to show on the outside? Let us know what you think.

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