Agents of SHIELD – S1E20 – Nothing Personal – Recap

I have to say, I really like the synergy that Agents of SHIELD and Captain America: The Winter Soldier have together. Having the story from Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie in so much with the last quarter season of Agents of SHIELD has been wonderful.

nothing personal art of level 7

Nothing Personal by Stephanie Hans (Art of Level 7)

Colbie Smulders guest stars in this episode, reprising her role as Fury’s second-in-command Maria Hill, who when we saw her last at the end of Winter Soldier was taking a job with Tony Stark. Hill is still at Stark. When we catch up to her this episode, she’s heading to her car, and making every agent trailing her along the way. She soon realizes that those agents she made have all been waylaid. For a moment, I thought Blackout had returned from last episode, but it’s quickly revealed to May whose behind the agents being taken out. May quickly explains what’s going on with Coulson and company.

maria hill s1e20

Speaking of Coulson, FitSimmons and Triplett, they’re very surprised when they return to Fury’s secret base only to find everyone gone. They review the tapes and see that May left first heading one way and then Skye and Ward left with the Bus heading the other way. But where is Koenig? FitzSimmons discover the answer to that question, as Fitz finds the “WARD IS HYDRA” scrawled on one of Koenig’s exterior mood photos just as Simmons finds Koenig’s body.

Fitz cannot bring himself to believe that Ward is Hyrdra. He bonded with Ward a lot when they went in the field together. He wants to believe Ward is still a good guy, to the point of questioning what they know about Triplett when Triplett tries calming Fitz down. Fitz makes his way through all five stages of grief fairly quickly, and focuses his anger at Ward in a positive direction, namely getting Skye back.

Speaking of Skye, she and Ward head to the diner where she first met Mike Peterson in the pilot episode. Skye claims that’s where the geolock on the drive can be opened. It’s interesting watching their conversations. On the one hand, it feels like it should be painfully obvious to Ward that Skye is onto her and to Skye that Ward knows she’s onto him, so the diner scene comes off like neither of them wanting to acknowledge it, though Skye sure does get close.

Up north at Fury’s base, Nathan from Heroes , Talbot arrives to arrest Coulson and company just as they’re about to take off to rescue Skye. Coulson gets the best line when he asks Talbot if his men are going to shoot him, because if they are, he’s not going to come out. How’d Talbot and the army find Coulson? Maria Hill led them there as part of her deal. Nice job, Hill. To Hill’s credit, once it’s revealed that Talbot is not going to go lightly on Coulson and his agents, Hill helps them escape. Man, Colbie Smulders is really good at fight scenes. Now that How I Met Your Mother has ended, I hope she becomes a regular fixture on this show.

In LA, Skye makes her move. The diner is filling up with cops, fast. Ward notices. Skye plays dumb, but then reveals that she alerted them to Ward’s presence and fugitive status on her laptop. Skye’s been playing Ward the whole time, as the geolock for the drive wasn’t this diner. I really liked when Skye called Ward a Nazi, and then backed it up by pointing out that Hydra was founded by the Red Skull, a Nazi. In the ensuing melee with the police, Skye bolts. Now hold on a second. Aren’t the LAPD a little more trigger happy than the cops shown here? Ward is taking out a room full of cops and none of them shoot him in even the leg? Come on…

Skye steals a police car. Just when she thinks she’s free, Deathlok literally drops in her. Ward and Deathlok return Skye to the Bus. Skye is ready to not tell them anything, until Deathlok induces a heart attack in Ward. Seeing Ward dying gets Skye to talk. Skye tells them that geolock has nothing to do with latitude or longitude, it’s all about altitude. I feel a Jimmy Buffet song coming on…

Actually, can we talk about Deathlok for a minute? I can’t figure this guy out. I get that Garrett is giving him commands in his eyeball all day, but he talks like he’s really into what he’s doing. I just don’t get Mike Peterson these days. There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation in him going along with the villains. I get that he wants to keep his son safe from harm, but you’d like there would be more internal dilemma here. Sure, Garrett is giving Mike commands, and sees through Mike’s eyes, but he can’t see if Mike were to gesture frantically at people or mouth something to them. I’d really love to get an episode told solely from Deathlok’s POV one day, or half told from the Agents’ POV and the other half showing the same events from Deathlok’s POV.


Hill, Coulson and company block their take-off, sort of. The bus can take off vertically, but Hill does threaten to blow them out of the sky if they take off. It’s a Mexican standoff, but Ward gets Hill to blink first, or so Ward thinks. Hill lets him take off, but this was all a distraction so that Coulson could sneak onto the Bus through the landing gear.

Once on the Bus, Coulson finds Skye, who ask him what his plan is for dealing with Deathlok. Coulson’s reaction? “Deathlok’s here?” Deathlok’s here. Coulson and Skye flee to the hanger and jump in Lola. Ward and Deathlok catch up to them and start firing. Ward is definitely trying to take off Coulson’s head. Coulson manages to open the cargo bay door and drop Lola from the Bus. Unfortunately, Lola’s thrusters are all out of whack from being shot at by Coulson and Deathlok. Skye almost goes flying out. Coulson: “I told you to buckle up!” Coulson is the best. Coulson manages to right Lola enough to drop it perfectly in a tight parallel parking spot near the valet outside the Ritz Carlton. Skye’s hair is hilarious, as is the valet nonchalantly asking them for $20. I really wish Rob Huebel played the valet in this scene, even if it was just for one line. Yes, yes, I know we already saw Huebel in the series in a previous episode. I just like the guy so much.

Skye’s free. Coulson has the team back together…yeah, minus Ward, but what can you do? Unfortunately, Maria Hill goes back to Stark. Coulson tells her to say hi for him, but then remembers that Stark still thinks Coulson is dead.

At the end of the episode, May lets a bombshell drop. She shows Coulson the video of who was in charge of TAHITI. It was Coulson! Coulson obviously has no recollection of this, but in the video, he advises Fury to shut down TAHITI. The program was initially devised for bringing back any of the Avengers if they should fall, but Coulson warned that the test subjects are too unstable. Huh, Coulson was in charge of TAHITI, and Fury used it to bring back Coulson even though Coulson warned him against using it. I feel like Coulson can still be mad at Fury if he wants to be.

Comic Book Connection:

Early in the episode, Maria Hill says, “I don’t know even know what a Man-Thing is.” Lucky for you, I do! Man-Thing is a Marvel comic book character created int he 1970s. It lives in the swamps of the Florida Everglades. Think Swamp Thing, but creepier looking…and less interesting. Unlike Swamp Thing, Man-Thing never speaks, making his stories a bit on the dull side in my opinion. Also unlike Swamp Thing, anything that knows fear burns at Man-Thing’s touch, like literally bursts into flames. There aren’t many things that don’t freak out when a giant swamp creature ambles in their direction.

man thing 1 cover