Agents of SHIELD -Season 2, Episode 7 – The Writing on the Wall – Recap

We open on scenic Rhinebeck, NY. A brownstone. Nay, a scenic brownstone. A giddy couple walks in. Hey, the guy is the tattooed dude from the end of last week’s episode…and his girllfriend? Nope, just some girl he picked up at the bar. Go on, player. It’s her place. She pours some wine. She knows him from somewhere but can’t figure out how. “I do some carving every now and then.” What kind of answer is that? She seems ready to marry this dude after just meeting him. Watch that aggression girl; you’re just going to drive him off. He shows her his tattoo. Then he pulls out a knife. Lesson learned: don’t bring strange men home from bars. When he shows her his tattoos,  she recognizes the shapes. Huh. Interesting.

 Back at his secret SHIELD base, Coulson is listening to hot jazz and carving in the wall. Actually, I’m not sure if the jazz is hot. It definitely is uptempo. What makes jazz hot? Skye’s not a jazz fan, hot or otherwise. Skye and May are tagteaming watching Coulson as he carves. It’s Skye’s turn. I know Skye said the carvings form a map, but it looks like a decision tree to me. Coulson is carving more and more. He’s not in control of it. He can’t sleep. It’s just carve, carve, carve. It’s definitely taking a toll on him.
May is hunting Ward. She’s airborne. Ward is in Philly. Trip spotted him. They’re in the bus terminal. Ward takes a bag full of passports, phone and cash from a locker. If Hollywood would have you believe anything, it’s that almost every bus station locker is a vault of hidden treasure and homeless mens’ underwear. Coulson orders Trip to bring Ward in by any means necessary. One problem: Ward’s already made Trip and flashes the C4 strapped to his waist. They’re going to keep their distance and follow the bus.
One of Skye’s hacker pals found something. It’s the dead body of Tattooed Guy’s girl. He carved into her body. She’s a SHIELD agent. Well, she was a SHIELD agent. Huh. Janice Robbins. Art teacher by day, SHIELD agent by night. Well, dead SHIED agent by night.
Coulson and Skye sneak into Jancie’s apartment like they’re on Dr. House’s team looking for clues. Skye doesn’t buy that this lady was an agent. She says this lady and Coulson have nothing in common, until they go into her studio. It’s filled with paintings of the carvings. Dun dun dun!
agents of shield the writing on the wall symbol paintings
Coulson lays out all the paintings. There is a lot of overlap with what he was carving. She was Agent Rebecca Stevens, Level 6 SHIELD agent at the Trisklellion…except she died 5 years ago of cancer. Dun dun dun!
Mac and Fitz retrieve Stevens’s body by walking into the morgue and grabbing it. They basically used the “walk in and act like you own the place approach.” Apparently it works in morgues just as well as it does weddings and private dinner parties. Good to know…I guess. Simmons does the autopsy. Side note: I’m so happy Simmons is back.
agents of shield the writing on the wall ward on a bus
Bobbie is at the next buys stop, which is Atlanta. Ward offers to help a mom and her kid with their bags. They’re both on his bus to Dallas. Ward doesn’t sit with them, but does sit with Bobbie in the back of the bus. She gets flirty with him. Ward makes her immediately. She plays the denial game well until he pulls out his deadman switch and threaten to blow the bus if she tries anything. Ward jumps on the bus to Boston. He doesn’t spot Hunter in Garth Brooks hat. Ha, take that Ward.
Simmons talks about the murder. It’s grisly. There was GH325 in Stevens’s blood, and it was in the killer’s as well. Coulson denies suffering from hypographia, which is the need to write incessantly. Coulson opens up a secret chamber. He wants Skye and Simmons to torture the secrets of the serum out of him…huh…wha? Simmons straps an iPhone to Coulson’s chest and plugs him into the memory machine from last season. For those of you who missed the tail end of last season, the machine helps Coulson retrieve his memories. Mac is there to hold Coulson down while he’s using the machine. It’s not a pleasant experience, this memory machine.
Coulson remembers….he’s at the guest house, in the interview room. He’s alone. In front of him is Stevens’s file folder. She appears before him. This is some Twin Peaks type shit. She’s post-TAHITI. She feels great. Whoa, there were others, including the Tattooed Guy. They all say they fell great. There are six TAHITI test subjects altogether.  He recommends the immediate release of all 6 patients. And then Stevens starts maniacally carving. They’re all going crazy in front of him….except the Tattooed Guy. He’s normal. If I know anything, the most normal looking guy is always the craziest…oh right, we already saw him carve up a woman earlier this episode. Coulson wants to shut down the program and destroy the dead alien. The dead alien is thousands of years old. The doctor in charge doesn’t want to stop. She thinks the alien host is inserting memories in them. She suggests wiping all their memories, saying that the subjects will be able to live normal lives. Tattooed Guy gets the Coulson brain surgery.
Up in Boston, and back in the present, Ward stop by pub. The bartender offers him a columbian necktie or a bullet in the head. Ward chooses a bullet in the head on the rocks. It surprisingly does not involve Bulliet Bourbon. Bakshi and some Hydra agents show up. They’re there for Ward. So this is a Hydra bar? Ward says, “Since Strucker is overseas, I assume you report to someone else.” For those of you who don’t know, Baron Von Strucker is a classic Nick Fury and SHIELD villain. He’s one of bad guys in the comics most associated with Hydra. AND, he’s the guy who had Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver held captive at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Ward tells Bakshi that he will kill Coulson if Bakshi introduce him to Whitehall.
Two of the six TAHITI patients are still alive.
In Coulson’s mind, we find out that Tattooed Guy was carving into himself when he was locked up. Coulson imagines Tattooed Guy becoming Coulson. Coulson is losing it. They finally pull Coulson out. He’s screaming “I need to know.” Me too, Phil. Me too.
May is pissed that Coulson went int he machine. Coulson is a maniac. Skye pulls a gun on him after he shoves Simmons. May wants Coulson locked up. Coulson agreees. Skye takes Coulson down to Ward’s old cell, but Coulson gets the drop on her, throws her in the cell and runs out. Oh Skye…
The other alive TAHITI guy is living in the burbs. He has made a very elaborate train set for his son in his basement. It is awesome, and I’m guessing looks like the symbols when seen from above. His wife says he has a visitor. Uh oh.
Mac and Fitz are plaing some first person shooters. Mac wants Fitz to play to help Fitz’s hand-eye coordination. Fitz says brains don’t delete files, just connections. This means that good ol’ Fitz is somewhere in there! Hook him up to Coulson’s memory machine! Wait, don’t do that.
Apparently the guys didn’t notice that Skye is on the video monitor waving to them from the jail.
Back in the burbs, the guy at the door is Coulson. Coulson pulls a gun on the dude. Oh, Coulson, that’s not how you make a first impression. When asked, the guy says he’s never seen the symbols. He says’ I told you both, you’ve go the wrong guy. Wait, what other guy? Then Tattooed Guy smacks Coulson the head.
May, Bobbie, Hunter and Trip are gearing up in the back of a van. They storm the bar. Everyone in the bar is dead. Ward isn’t there, neither is Bakshi. Someone is strapped to a chair int he back room, covered in  a head towel. May pulls the hood off. It’s Bakshi, in Ward’s clothes. Wait, then what is Ward wearing? It would be funny if Ward chose this moment to become a streaker. Bakshi’s mouth is taped closed. On the tape is written “For Coulson.” This is why you make a Christmas list, people! Who wants a Bakshi as a gift?
agents of shield the writing on the wall bakshi for coulson
Tattoed Guy has everyone bound. He’s ready to carve into Coulson. He’s pissed at Coulson for erasing his memories. Keep talking and Coulson can work his way free. Then TG tells Coulson that pain helped him remember. He slices both of Coulson’s arms. He says he came for Coulson first, but Coulson was already dead. TG works out that Coulson is resurrected the same way he was…the TAHITI method. Tattooed Guy shows off his tattoo. “What does it mean?” he asks Coulson, but Coulson says he doesn’t know, and that’ he’s trying to find out too. Coulson looks at the train set and realizes the symbols aren’t a 2D drawing. Now if only he could untie himself and do something with that information.
Oh wait, it’s the other guy, not Coulson, who has been working his way free. TG slices Coulson’s chest as the other guy frees his family. TG throws the knife at that dude’s head. He catches it. Maybe you can’t fully erase memories. He throws the knife at Coulson’s rope, freeing him.
Skye explains Tahitti to Mac, and anyone who missed the end of last season, as they drive to Coulson. The other TAHITI survivor flags them down. He says two guys are trying to kill each other at his place. TG chases Coulson up a flight of stairs. He’s totally looney toons. Coulson tries strangling him. He forces TG to look at the train set. Mac is going to shoot Coulson if she doesn’t let TG go. Coulson needs him to look. As Mac counts three, Coulson lets go, and TG opens his eyes. He’s relieved. They all are. From above, the train set is a huge blueprint of a city. Attilan?
For those of you who didn’t grow up reading Marvel comics, Attilan is the home of the Inhumans, a superpowered offshoot of humanity created by the alien Kree. The Kree are blue skinned, just like the dead TAHITI alien.
Coulson gives Hank Thompson/Cameron Klein (the other TAHITI survivor) his file and offers him a spot in SHIELD. Thompson declines. He likes his family too much to give them up.
Tattooed Guy, aka Sebastian Derrick, is turned over to the authorities. Oh right, he’s a murderer.
Coulson says he has no compulsion to carve anymore. Now he needs to figure out where this city is. Oo, oo, check the Himalyas!
On the plus side, Coulson and company have Batshi in their cell and access to Bakshi’s cell phone.
Coulson briefs the team about the carvings and his freak outs. Coulson has a 3D map of the symbols. He tells them, “Our job, find it before anyone else.”
Ward puts on a  record and checks himself out in the mirror. He shaves the evilness off his face. His beard that is. And gives himself a haircut. Bill Withers Who is He? (And what is He to You)” plays on the radio. Skye is listening to the same record. Side note: you should all listen to Bill Withers. The man is amazing. Bakshi’s phone gets a call. Skye answers “Hail Hydra.” It’s Ward. He wanted to make sure Coulson got his gift. Ward is in a suit. He cleans up nice. He’s in DC. Washington, that is, not Marvel’s competition and home to Batman and Superman. Ward off to visit his brother Christian.
agents of shield the writing on the wall shaved ward