WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!!
Austria, 1945—At a H.Y.D.R.A., a group of mercenaries storm the base, taking several H.Y.D.R.A. soldiers into custody and securing several artifacts. In the present, a rogue agent attempts to sell to information about an artifact until someone ambushes the operation and steals the file. Agent May and Skye return to the secret base known as the Playground with Agent Isabelle Hartley and a band of mercenaries. Fitz and Simmons examine the strange fragment Skye brought them. The fragment then turns to flesh. After examination, they determine that the flesh belonged to a gifted man named Carl Creel who was supposed to be put down by S.H.I.E.L.D. but he was recruited by John Garret for H.Y.D.R.A. Coulson talks to Skye about gathering more information about the gifted man. Skye heads to the holding cell where Ward is being kept. Ward tells Skye about the hidden channel H.Y.D.R.A. uses to contact their operatives. At a park, General Talbot encounters Carl Creel. May and Skye save Talbot and subdue Creel. US soldiers move in on Creel while Talbot is taking to a waiting car for safety. He is taken by May and Skye back to the Playground. Coulson tries to convince Talbot to help them deal with H.Y.D.R.A. rather than hinder them. Talbot refuses his offer. Coulson uses a stun bullet to knock Talbot out. Talbot is dropped off at disclosed location. He calls in orders to the facility where Creel is being held to give orders to tighten security. Meanwhile, his secret access code are recorded and later used to get Coulson’s team into the base. They used Talbot’s finger prints which were gathered during his stay at the Playground to enter the storage hanger full of S.H.I.E.L.D. property. Hartley soon finds the first 0-8-4. She is attacked by Creel before being rescued by her team and May. Unfortunately, she touches to object and it slowly begins killing her. Skye calls Coulson who orders them to follow through with the operation. However, Lance Hunter ignores Coulson’s orders and leaves with her. May, Tripplet and Skye secure a S.H.I.E.L.D. plane with cloaking capabilities meanwhile Creel manages to take possession of the artifact.
Wow, how can so much happen in one episode? Well, that how you start off with a bang. Coulson was made Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Nick Fury in the first season finale. During the five months that have passed since the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson has been slowly trying to rebuild the agency by gathering refugee agents. Like Fury, Coulson has remained in the dark about his motives, isolating himself from the team. So far, he has done well in his new role, managing to gain the trust of Agent Isabelle Hartley and her band of mercenaries except for Lance Hunter who is not a “rules” kind of guy. Nevertheless, Coulson still believes in his team as always. However, he must also decide what is best for his team as well. Fitz has recovered from his ordeal when he and Simmons were sent to the bottom of the ocean inside an escape hatch by Ward. Sadly, he has brain damage and is struggling with being the tech genius he once was. Fitz has memory lapses and looks to Simmons for help whenever he has one. Only one thing—Simmons left not long after the incident. Her departure leaves Fitz traumatized and broken, talking to himself often as if Simmons is still next to him. This worries Coulson. He believes Fitz can repair the Bus’s cloaking device but he sees that Fitz’s condition is hindering his progress and sends the team to recover a S.H.I.E.L.D. jet from an Army base. No doubt this is a difficult choice for Coulson to make but as director he must make decisions that benefit the operation, even it means cutting off any liabilities.
As with the series premiere last year, the second season premiere introduces a character from the Marvel Universe. This episode introduces Carl Creel, better known as “Thor” baddie Absorbing Man. Creel has been recruited by H.Y.D.R.A. and given the task of collecting a 0-8-4 artifact that was taken from a H.Y.D.R.A. base in 1945. Like the comics, Creel can absorb any substance through physical contact. This is a villain that will definitely keep Coulson and his team on their toes as they fight to dismantle H.Y.D.R.A. and rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D.
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