Agents Of SHIELD Recap: Patton Oswalt, We Hardly Knew You

It’s been a grim couple weeks for our Agents of SHIELD, what with the whole SHIELD being destroyed and John Garrett and Grant Ward being the root of all evil. Let’s see what’s up with these crazy kids this week.

Weird Terminator type fellow just comes up and demands a ride from a stranger in a deadpan way but then oh wait he just sucks the lifeforce out of the guy he wanted to drive him and takes his truck anyway. Why ask, dude? As he starts the truck, we see he’s sporting some sort of hospital-esque bracelet that says he is Marcus Daniels.

Nerds, tell us who Marcus Daniels is in the Marvelverse, please.

Meanwhile, everyone is gathered around Ward, unaware of his super evilness, stitching him up and just staring at his battered de-shirted self.

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Ward recounts his heroism in killing John Garrett WHICH IS A DIRTY LIE WARD. So Ward is like a double agent now? Or he is a triple agent??

Ward’s got that handy hard drive that is the only record of all SHIELD technology, basically, but he can’t decrypt it by himself, which is why he’s back sniffing around Skye and urging her to back that ass hard drive up.

Coulson and Skye are running down the big list of baddies that Ward and pals let loose, and one of them is Marcus Daniels. Coulson is going to run off and look for Daniels and fight some crime. Oh wait, Patton Oswalt is having none of it, son. Oswalt aka Koenig isn’t even happy that Coulson brought his own agents to the top-secret base, much less mustering any enthusiasm about letting him run off with a team. Coulson gives a big speech about solving crime and saving the world, but Koenig says no one gets to leave until they go through orientation.

Ooh, orientation is basically a ginormous super-fueled lie detector, designed by Nick Fury.

Agents Of SHIELD Recap: Patton Oswalt, We Hardly Knew You

Let’s show brief questions to everybody with closeups! We’ll start with dumb questions and then move on to secrets and then to absurdities along the lines of “if you were a tree what kind of tree would you be?”

Now it’s time to put Ward in the big machine. He’s gaming the machine right away by mentioning how much pain he’s in and Koenig tells him that can skew the results. Don’t be fooled, Koenig!!

Coulson is briefing FitzSimmons and Tripp on Marcus Daniels, who was working in a lab and absorbed a whole bunch of Dark Force, which now means he can absorb any energy he wants. But it will all work out because FitzSimmons will design some sort of light box and he will absorb too much energy, or something.

Ward gets run through the same questions as everyone else, but when Koenig asks why he’s here since SHIELD is all bye-bye, Ward grimly, dutifully, woodenly says that he is an agent. This causes something on the big machine to be sad, so Koenig asks him again, but this time with gun in hand, and throws in “oh yeah, are you HYDRA?”

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Ward stumbles through another answer about how they were all infiltrated by HYDRA that still makes the machine mad and keeps Koenig’s pistol cocked. Finally, Koenig asks him again if he has another agenda besides just SHIELD bonding, and Ward says his real agenda is to spend time with Skye. WHICH IS KINDA SORTA TRUE. So that neatly defeats the machine, apparently. Koenig says “cool” and lowers the gun, and Ward strides off.

Really, show? Really? This is when this show is at its very worst. That was a lot of tension-ratcheting for a really stupid non-payoff. Also, we see Ward duck around the corner and pull out some sort of nail or screw or whatever out of his thumb, which was what he was doing to alter the machine response, looks like. And then Ward runs into Fitz and gives him one of those “don’t wait too long to tell Simmons you love her” speeches and oh lord we do not want another inter-team romance thingy.

May is mad that she doesn’t get to go on the Dark Force Daniels mission, but Coulson is having none of it. That man is going to nurse this betrayal for as long as possible.

Coulson and company, a company that does not include May or Ward, are winging their way across the skies in a plane that is a different, much less comfy plane, to go to Portland and find Marcus Daniels.

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They know where he’ll be, because he’s obsessed with Portland-dwelling Audrey Nathan. He finds her right away and stalks her, making all the lights go out as he walks, like Dumbledore’s Deluminator, but way creepier. But our intrepid SHIELD folks get there just in time and scoop Nathan into a car while deploying some sort of doohickeys that will trap Daniels with light or whatever. We’re still unclear on that part of the plan.

What we are clear on is that the plan is super bad because Daniels underwent experiments in The Fridge that make him way stronger, so he basically puny humans everyone out of the way and bounces. Uh-oh.

Skye is staring over Koenig’s shoulder at the big wall o’ teevees that all super secret SHIELD places get to have. You can feel her practically oozing desire, wanting to just bat tiny Patton Oswalt out of the way and get her mitts on the computer. She also figures out that the lanyard pass thingies they’ve all been given upon successful completion of their lie detector test actually have little tracking devices in them. Should this really be terribly surprising to SHIELD people?

Skye really wants to get her mitts on satellite data so she can see what actually happened at The Fridge, but SHIELD satellites are sorta incommunicado at the moment. So, her plan is to hack the NSA’s satellites and get the data that way. Patton Oswalt does not think this is a good idea, so she mocks him for being a video game playing coward, basically. She wants Ward to help her lean on Koenig (god, it is really hard to think of Patton Oswalt as anyone but Patton Oswalt, isn’t it?), and Ward agrees, verbally lunging forward to say that while they’re doing that he could decrypt the hard drive.

Oop, sorry Wardo. The hard drive’s encryption is also location based, and you are not in the right location. Koenig gives Skye the keys to the castle and tells her to get hacking. WHAT WILL WARD DO NOW YOU GUYS??

Trip and Simmons are trying to convince Audrey Nathan they can keep her safe but they’ve left Simmons in charge of lying to her about who they are. It takes Nathan about two seconds to figure out they’re SHIELD, but she’s cool with it, because Marcus Daniels is fucking scary.

Oh, also too Audrey Nathan fell in love with the SHIELD person that rescued her from Daniels back in the day…fellow you might know by the name of Phil Coulson. But he died in the line of duty she tells Simmons and Trip. Coulson is, of course, listening to all this, but isn’t going to go reveal himself, because why on earth would anyone tell the truth on this show?

Fitz’s best plan to trap Daniels requires that they use Nathan, but Coulson isn’t a fan of that plan, but of course that is the plan. She’s a musician, so they have to go to her rehearsal, where Daniels always shows, and Fitz will capture Daniels with some sort of giant light beam that may or may not work.

May is going to bail out on secret SHIELD base, because Coulson doesn’t want her there anymore. We see her stride out into the show and then she’s Audi.

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At the same time, Skye has hacked her way into the NSA satellite data, because that’s super easy, so Ward only has a few minutes to figure something out and save his own ass.

Skye comes looking for Koenig post-hack, but finds only Ward and some static images on the big teevee screens. Ward tells her that Koenig has shuffled off to take the data to Interpol and their ilk. WARD DID YOU KILL PATTON OSWALT?

Ward tells Skye that May is gone and uses it as his entry point to talk about how he and Skye are now an “us.” He offers her a drink and a smirk and because Skye is dumb, she’s totally buying it. We still hate Skye so much, even though we now hate Ward. Ward is going on and on about how he has to train to keep his emotions in check, but after Skye was shot he was so focused on her and had feels. This is the worst conversation on earth. Ward the Liar and Skye the Dumb, flirting while the world goes to hell.

Ward spins some story about how his parents were mean, or his brothers were mean, or they were both mean, and he is not a good man but of course Skye tells him he is a good man and then they are making out except that Ward does not get to make any further moves because he is, awkwardly, covered in blood. He tells Skye one of his cuts has opened but is is probably Koenig’s blood, right? RIGHT?

Coulson’s ex is going to play the cello and we are going to intercut between the soaring drama of her music and the boring drama of Ward fooling Skye.

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Did you know, teevee showrunners, that this is the hardest fucking thing on earth to recap? You can’t just keep jerking the reader back and forth, but cutting the two stories into separate pieces ends up dumb as well. Your flair for drama is killing us, directors.

OK, so let’s go with Tragic Cellist Lady Audrey Nathan first. She is rehearsing some sad music in an empty auditorium and oh hello here is Marcus Daniels to lurch around and tell her that she can save him with her cello. The plan, of course, has to have him get close to her, and as he does, Fitz and Simmons and Trip hit him with the lightbox thing, but he is still too strong and brushes them all aside with cheesy special effects dark matter swooshes.

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The only way to save the cellist lady now is for Coulson to come out of hiding and add his own little light machine to the mix. After much brightness from all four of them, Daniels sort of explodes into some dark pieces. If someone was made of dark matter, basically, is blowing them up a good idea? That seems like it would cause some sort of rift in the fabric of reality. Coulson leans down to tell knocked-out cellist lady that she’s OK but then disappears because Coulson cannot be happy.

Here is Ward, walking around the secret SHIELD land washing blood off his hands and generally being menacing. Here is Skye. Skye has found Koenig’s little iPad program that has the glowing dots that are the geolocators for each of them, so she goes off to find Koenig. And oh, find him she does. After some tense wandering around a storeroom, she realizes that the little geolocator dots for her and Koenig are right atop one another, and that is because Koenig is literally on top of her, dead on a shelf. WARD HOW COULD YOU??

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Skye knows it is Ward because there isn’t anyone else at the secret SHIELD base. Time to whip up some scary dramatic music while Skye sits on the ground hyperventilating and whispering “he’s HYDRA” as Ward stomps around looking for her. She’s clever enough to have covered her tracks so he doesn’t know she’s found poor dead Patton Oswalt yet. By the time Ward finds her, she’s calm, cool, and collected, kissing him and telling him she wants him. He wants her too, but he’s just gotten word that Fitz and company need them, so they’re off. Skye stalls for time, saying they should tell Koenig, but Ward just smoothly lies and hustles her down the hallway.

When FitzSimmons and Trip and Coulson get back to secret SHIELD base, the beloved plane — and the rest of the team — is gone. Did you guys want to see the plane fly again? Of course you did!

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Ward is taking Skye on a very special trip to decrypt the hard drive. So romantic!

As our final scene, we get May trudging along a road in Canada. She’s picked up by her mother. You are instantly sure it is her mother because she starts shaming her right away for not saying thanks. Mom also drily reminds May that HER agency hasn’t fallen apart. WHO DOES MOM WORK FOR? Mom also has some contact info that she hands over to May, asking if May is going to take her out, and we do not mean on a date. May tells Mom that no, she just wants to talk to Maria.

We’re going to engage in some completely unwarranted and fact-free speculation here that “Maria” is Maria Hill, most recently of the Winter Soldier, because our teevee Marvelverse and our movie Marvelverse are coming together quite nicely right now and also because the teaser scenes for next week show a bunch of Maria Hill. We’re so smart.

TV Show: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

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  • mondojohnson

    Marcus Daniels is “Blackout” in the Marvelverse. The Marvel Universe Wiki is an indispensable resource while trying to keep up with all this fun nonsense: http://marvel.com/universe/

  • BMW

    Marcus Daniels is known as “Blackout” in the comics. He once encased Avengers Mansion in that dark matter stuff so Baron Zemo could torture Capt. America in a classic storyline from the 1980s.

    • JMP

      Since they ended with a very comic-y apparent death of the villain in a way it should be easy to bring him back, I’m kind of hoping their use of Blackout means they’re thinking of using Moonstone next season; for those who don’t read Marvel, she’s a great villain, a very manipulative psychiatrist who managed to convince a supervillain under her care to give up the source of his powers (a magic rock from the moon, thus the name) so they she could take it for herself, and for a time managed to convince Blackout, who is seriously crazy, to pretty much be her puppet.

  • johnetic

    I would be that May’s mom works for Department H, which is the Canadian version of Shield and home of Alpha Flight, a Canadian superhero team. That would be my guess.

    • Vienna Woods

      Except that was not an Ontario license plate. Not sure what it was, but definitely not Ontario.

      • johnetic

        It was a PA license plate. Not sure what supersecret superhero or spy organizations are based in Pennsylvania.

  • JaaaaaCeeeee

    It’s easier to think of Patton Oswalt as Koenig, than to think of Amy Aker as “Tragic Cellist Lady Audrey Nathan”. Especially since she got to reprise her deadlier-than-Mrs.-O’s-side-eye ‘wistful-eye’ that slays when working for Wheedon (which JJ Abrams likes to flip with psychopathic, since Illyria). Seen it from Winfred Burkle/Illyria (Angel), Dr. Claire Saunders/Whiskey (Dollhouse), Samantha “Root” Groves ([the only] Person of Interest), Wendy Lin (The Cabin in the Woods), or Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)?

    • andreamd

      DId you see her as the Spinnatod on Grimm? or the Fairy on Once Upon a Time? Just showing how I am a fan

      • JaaaaaCeeeee

        wow, she’s been working pretty regularly since JCrew catalog days! I liked that looking her up told me that Willow married Wesley Wyndham-Pryce in real life, who helped Amy Acker develop her deadly wistful eye, from Angel to Much Ado.

        • Vienna Woods

          I did not know that about Willow and Wesley!

    • JMP

      It is kind of weird to see her as Coulson’s former girlfriend, since they were father/daughter in Whedon’s adaptation of Much Ado. I do hope they get her to meet Deathlok at some point, for a mini Angel reunion.

      • JaaaaaCeeeee

        It’s almost entertaining to get trolled by Wheedon-related vehicles’ rehires (and note dumpees), even though it’s monetizing fandom, isn’t it!

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