Previously, on Agents of SHIELD: “0-8-4”
This week on BJ and the Bear, BJ is up to his old hijinx, and Bear…
Sorry. That was the best trucking reference I had as we start this episode with Fat Trucker hauling his cargo down the highway, sing-talking his best Johnny Cash. Some radio chatter quickly makes it evident that Fat Trucker has a convoy, and we see a couple of standard government-issue black SUVs, as one passes the rig. Just as it settles in front of the 18-wheeler, the SUV is violently launched into the air by an unseen force. It’s at this point we discover that Fat Trucker is actually Fat SHIELD Trucker, as he starts madly tapping at the colorful HUD that pops up on his windshield. SUV number 2 is dispatched in similar fashion to SUV 1, and the rig closely follows suit.
A team of commandos quickly arrive on the scene, and rip the trailer open with some handy construction equipment that was just lying around, and after plasma torching their way into the vault inside, find a particularly nonplussed (given that he just survived a 50-foot drop inside a trailer) science-y looking fellow, Dr. Franklin Hall (played by Ian Hart, or Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter 1), whom they quickly abscond with.
Meanwhile, back in the Big Black Plane, which has has all its motherfuckin’ holes filled since last ep, we’re treated to Skye halfheartedly accepting fighting training from Agent Booth. There’s some yadda-yadda about “every agent has a defining moment”, from which we can discern that Skye will have hers before the episode is up. Everyone is shortly called to a debrief by Agent Coulson, who lays out the situation for them, and they immediately change course for the site of the attack.
Fat SHIELD Trucker managed to survive the fall, and suggests to the team that due to the secrecy with which they were transporting the good doctor, only a mole inside SHIELD could explain the ambush. Fitz and Simmons start poking around and discover some tiny devices that had been positioned in the road. One of their robots accidentally sets one off, and we see a smaller version of the effect that smashed all the trucks earlier. Upon further inspection back at the lab, the nerds detemine that the devices are powered by an until-now-only-theoretical element, gravitonium. (Guess what that does.)
In the interest of rooting out the mole, Skye is given “every communication in and out of SHIELD since it was decided Dr. Hall would be moved” (which seems to me not the smartest thing to hand to a hacker for WikiLeaks, but who am I to judge?). Coulson and Booth use the backhoe’s tire tread to track it back to a person who they believe might have sold the equipment to the kidnappers. They then continue to play detective, by tracking the gold he was paid with to a mine owned by one Ian Quinn, a multibillionaire chemical engineering mogul who was once very close with our dear professor. He now resides in Malta, using their preferential tax laws and nonexistent extradition policy to get away with all manner of shady dealings safely out of the reach of SHIELD.
Quick cut behind Maltese lines, to a reunion of old friends. Hall and Quinn bicker about money and thievery, the issues that doomed their friendship, until Quinn lights Dr. Hall’s eyes up with the mention of gravitonium. When he further shows him the full-size generator (for harnessing gravitonium) that he’s built, Hall’s eyes go wide, and he’s sold.
Once more in the Big Black Plane, the agents brainstorm a plan to get around the extradition laws and laser fences that are keeping them from their rescue mission. After rejecting weeks of reconnaissance and monkey-spies as options, Skye saves the day by offering to go in using the invitation to Quinn’s shareholders party, using her Rising Tide connections. This makes Agent Ward uneasy, as he senses she’s not fully on board with them, nor is she prepared to act as an operative, but the plan is settled. Skye will go in and plant a device that will allow them access to the computer systems; Fitz and Simmons will override said systems, and Coulson and Booth will extract Skye and Dr. Hall once the laser fence is down. May argues with Coulson about his combat ability, not wanting him to go into the field. Ward takes another swing at getting Skye to buy into training, spending some time teaching her the how-to-steal-a-gun move that she will obviously use to save her bacon later.
So, Skye puts on her red dress and walks her hot little booty smack up into Quinn’s compound. She proves to be rather adept at schmoozing, but she is taken off guard and seemingly swayed when Quinn admits he invited her to offer her a job, claiming to be a fan of her work with the Rising Tide. Quinn then steps off to give a presentation to the shareholders. Back on task, Skye uses the distraction to enter the house and attempt to plant her device. Quinn’s presentation is apparently brief, as he immediately catches her snooping. Quinn attempts to contact security, but Skye stops him by narcing out SHIELD and frying her communications device in a glass of champagne. We are unconvincingly led to believe that Skye intends to swap sides, but she plays Quinn like a champ and plants her device. The laser shield comes down, and Coulson and Booth pop in. Word of this reaches Quinn rather quickly, and he puts a gun in her face. Lo and behold, she snatches it and runs away! The guard catch up to her, but not before Agent Ward does. He proceeds with his episodic bout of fisticuffs and all is well.
Coulson finds Dr. Hall with a quickness reserved only for immediate plot advancement, but Dr. Hall has no interest in leaving. Agent May, in the meantime, traces the leaked message, and we discover that Dr. Hall leaked his own transfer. He figured out that Quinn had discovered the gravitonium, and knowing what he would do with it, he arranged to let Quinn kidnap him in order to gain access to the device to destroy it. He proceeds to overload the generator causing some fun topsy-turvy action for Coulson. Not willing to let his team die, even if it is supposedly to save millions, he fights with Dr. Hall as gravity in the room goes haywire. The gravity in the room shifts so that Hall is standing on the glass partition between the lab and the generator. Coulson shoots the glass from under his feet and Hall falls into the pulsating electrified blob of gravitonium, disrupting the reaction, causing it to shut down.
May confronts Coulson about his habit of close calls, and then, in the second coolest thing to happen this episode, she informs him that she can’t watch him do that sort of thing anymore. Thusly, The Cavalry reports officially for combat duty, and all is right with the world. Except…
Coulson heeds Hall’s dying wish to not let anyone, even SHIELD, move forward with the technology, and has the gravitonium generator stashed in the deepest unmarked vault SHIELD has, and has all video record erased of it ever being put there. But we are treated to one last peek, as the vault door shuts, of the undulating globule of gravitonium. We zoom slowly in, and a hand shoots out, and is quickly pulled back in!!! What you’ve just witnessed, folks, is the origin story of Agents of SHIELD‘s first honest to god supervillain, Graviton!!!