‘Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D.’ Reveals T.A.H.I.T.I. & Tony Stark’s Takeover?

Published 12 months ago by

agents of shield season 1 episode 20 coulson hill Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D. Reveals T.A.H.I.T.I. & Tony Starks Takeover?

[This is a REVIEW of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 20. There WILL be SPOILERS.]


As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. closes in on its first season finale, Maria Hill drops by and provides everyone with some much needed information, while Ward and Skye’s relationship becomes even more complicated. You want to know about T.A.H.I.T.I.? Ask Coulson.

In this week’s episode, “Nothing Personal”, written by Paul Zbyszewski & DJ Doyle, Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) successfully tracks down Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) who – after S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fall – is now part of Tony Stark’s new privatized security force. Elsewhere, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) discover Ward’s (Brett Dalton) allegiance to HYDRA, while Skye (Chloe Bennet) is whisked away by the traitor and coerced to decrypt the team’s hard drive. When Deathlok (J. August Richards) threatens the life of someone Skye may (or may not) care about, it’s up to Coulson (Clark Gregg) to save the day before HYDRA obtains the information contained on the drive. Meanwhile, May robs a familiar grave, and Coulson finds out the truth about T.A.H.I.T.I.

Agent Ward has been the series’ superstar ever since the Captain America: The Winter Solider tie-in episode, and in this week’s episode the double-agent goes above and beyond and now has viewers confused as to his allegiance. At times he’s cold, angry and aggressive, pushing Skye to decrypt the hard drive – while other times he decides to waste precious time to reassure Skye of how he feels, even after he’s been discovered to be HYDRA. If one were keeping score, Ward still likely falls on the villainous side; however, with the status of Victoria Hand still unknown, there’s a very good chance that she could still be Ward’s chance at redemption. Even so, at this point, is it worth bringing Ward back to the “good” side? And if he does, who will ever trust him again?

agents of shield season 1 episode 20 ward deathlok skye Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D. Reveals T.A.H.I.T.I. & Tony Starks Takeover?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may have set up Ward to be a strong nemesis for season 2, yet the series has always been more than a TV show, and as such Ward’s rank – or anyone’s, really – in HYDRA can only go so high, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe will need to be able to seamlessly takeover the story without having to think about how ABC’s Grant Ward is going to step into their expensive productions. Even so, this week’s episode does a terrific job at progressing the MCU post-Captain America 2, going as far as (perhaps) revealing Tony Stark’s future role in S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0 which, if anything, may be a clue as to how Marvel will keep Robert Downey Jr. around after his Iron Man days have come to an end.

Right now, it’s absolutely clear that the producers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are attempting to close the gap between their theatrical counterparts as much as possible. Agent Maria Hill may not be Nick Fury, at least in the theatrical sense; however, on TV, she’s an exposition machine, and her appearance, while perhaps not carrying as much weight as Fury’s, is able to delve into the mechanics of this ever-growing universe without having to worry about coming off calm, cool and collected while wearing an eye patch. When Fury does finally make an appearance in one of this season’s final episodes, it’ll be interesting to see how much his broad strokes to the story help propel a series which has put in much work to right itself.

This week’s tale is very much a Skye and Ward episode, and next week’s episode will largely be Ward-only – so it makes sense for them to attempt to build up the relationship of the series’ (formerly) weak characters by toying with their emotions, allegiances and generally making what is known – Ward’s betrayal – now not so clear. If anything, Ward and Skye’s heavy-handed pairing helps create enough doubt in the character of Grant Ward that viewers will now be interested in seeing the past of the used-to-be Boy Scout. Of course, like anything on TV, one episode can change everything – for better or worse.
agents of shield season 1 episode 20 skye coulson Agents of S.H.I.E.l.D. Reveals T.A.H.I.T.I. & Tony Starks Takeover?

The big reveal in this week’s episode is Coulson’s Total Recall moment with T.A.H.I.T.I., where “former” Coulson reveals to “new” Coulson that it was he was behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. experiment. More so, the “former” Coulson reveals that T.A.H.I.T.I. – originally created to heal mortally-wounded Avengers – is too dangerous to use and that the side-effects of its use can cause you to go insane, especially if you are aware of the tampering. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now has quite a bit to play with, thanks to this bit of information.

Is Coulson justified or insane? Both? What about Skye? This week’s episode poses as many questions as it asks, and it won’t be until the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 finale that viewers will know whether what all being showed is actually important to the overall story, or what direction they’ll take in season 2. No matter what, Nick Fury has much explaining to do.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next Tuesday with “Ragtag” @8pm on ABC. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below:

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  1. I have a feeling that black widow is going to be a double agent in Avengers 2 and that’s what will make the story compelling. Each Avenger not being able to trust another Avenger. Also, it seems like Stark is trying to recruit a bunch of skilled people into is industry. I wonder what he’s up to? (no sarcasm)

    • Going to go out on a limb and say your feeling is probably not correct.

  2. Awesome Episode! one of the best! if not the best. but it was the best comical.
    I mean, A lil bit of everything we saw tonight.

    Great show. I want season 2.

  3. Okay so the CGI in the Lola scene was just really REALLY bad. And that’s my only complaint with this episode really. Everyone was on top of their game, even Chloe Bennett who acting-wise, is the weakest link in the ensemble. At this point I would absolutely LOVE the “Ward is Taskmaster” theory (I love that character in his comic-book incarnations). I still love Trip even if he didn’t get to do much this ep. He’s just cool that way. Cobie Smulders was more or less Miss Exposition this ep, which is not a complaint when Exposition is that easy on the eyes, but given Mariah Hill’s background from the comics, she is underutilised a bit. Here’s hoping she becomes recurring next season and given more to do.

    And to those complaining that Whedon is playing nepotism and giving his favourites more work, please remember that many of his favourites are fans’ favourites too and complaining about it amounts to a whole lot of Much Ado About Nothing…

  4. Hey… you have a typho in the title. SHIEID? Not SHIELD?

    • I don’t know why, but that cracks me up.

    • The first rule of being a Grammar Hydra is not make a mistake yourself when you call someone else out on theirs.

    • The first rule of being a Grammar Hydra is to not make a mistake yourself when you call someone else out on theirs.

  5. I recall Stark taking over as the Director of SHIELD in the comics so I’m surprised at the new arc the story is exploring. Certainly SHIELD can’t end, it will simply be reinvented under Stark’s management. Also, why the emphasis on the insanity that TAHITI causes? Who did they work on before that suffered this side effect? Sounds like a hint towards a super villain origin…. Anyone else agree? Did TAHITI spark the creation of a new villain? If so, who do you think?

    • I considered that as well. This new reveal opens up so many new questions, which I guess is how a good mystery works. Who did they experiment with before? Did the operation affect his personality, because why would he be so upset about this being done to him when he seemed to have been okay with trying it with others? Why was the drive put in Coulson’s coffin? Did May put it there in case Coulson got wise? If so, wouldn’t a safety deposit box have been a little more secure than a grave that anyone could dig up? Most importantly, what’s so important about Coulson that he deserved to be resurrected? Surely other SHIELD agents have died. Seemingly curing death can be kind of a problem, story-wise. Comics have always strained credulity when a dead character is brought back; if you give the impression that you can simply take dead people down to the shop and have them rebooted, it takes all of the drama out of any future life and death set-ups. I like that they’re not giving anything up too easily; I just hope they don’t drag it out so long that it gets too convoluted to follow (or worse, to care), like the whole conspiracy arc did in “The X-Files”.

      • To answer why the drive was buried you have to go back to What Maria Hill Said when she and Agent May were talking, she said, Fury Would Bury the Information before burying Coulson, apparently Agent may figured out that little riddle. Coulson was saved By Fury because of his service and dedication to Fury as his Go To guy as i understand it.

        Also during Coulsons and Fitzs First meeting with Black Out, Black out mentioned they “Did Things” to him, so i wonder if they un-intentionally enhanced his powers in that manner. Considering this was done in a Secret base where Red Skull Scientist ARNIM ZOLA was working, i think they only supervised Arnims Work and tested on prisoners/Enemies of shield.

        thats just my take on it all.

        And Yes in the Marvel universe, Tony Stark does take over Shield after Fury vanishes but i wonder if the last episode with Fury will re-establish Shield in some way. Obviously you cant change the Title of your Show after one season so Shield must go on if it gets a second season?

  6. american special forces just fly into a secret base in Canada, that also happens to be in the north to take over an international/now maybe terrorist security agency? LOL TV

    • Though MCU S.H.I.E.L.D. is heavily American in membership (of what we see) it is (or should I say was?) an international organization, Maria Hill herself being an obvious example. Its composition seems to be like an espionage NATO, so one would imagine Canada authorizing the raid on the base.

    • Stark Hydra Infiltration Extraction Division (™!)

      • S.H.E.D. ?

    • SHIELD reports to World Council and implies an interpol or NATO alliance.

      P.S. it’s fiction

  7. After not watching the show given the painfully bad start I watched the last two episodes last night based on the glowing reports here.

    two hours I won’t get back.

    Taking out a super villain with stage lights. If A car came skidding up in front of you a door opens and a 15 year old girl told you she was CIA you would not take it seriously but that is not supposed to matter. Even Coulson’s line when told the tech for the new lights had been developed by Bruce Banner “then i’m sure they will work without a hitch” is just awful fan boy tummy rubbing.

    I’m all for comic relief, if done well but this show needs story telling, better dialogue and adults in serious roles.

    Marvel needs’ to stop trying to polish this one (they say you can’t) and ditch it. Totally incongruent from the rest of it’s fine work.

    • Marvel should bring Chloe Bennett over to the movie world for the next Avengers movie keep Coulson and ditch the show and everything else associated.

      It’s not too late.

    • First of all, you didn’t go back far enough. You should have started at least with the Winter Soldier tie-in episode.

      Secondly, if you’ve been reading all the spoilers then watching the episodes: a-durrrr. Wow, you haven’t enjoyed them as much as other people? No kidding.

      Finally, the super-powered stage light scene doesn’t cancel out everything else the show has started doing right over the past few months. If that’s your biggest takeaway, you’re just looking for reasons to hate on the show. Yeah, it was terrible for the first ten episodes or so and there’s still no guarantee the end result will be satisfying, but it is at least interesting to watch right now. Credit where credit’s due.

    • Some of the writing still leaves a lot of loose ends hanging and plot holes. The stage light gimmick aside my question was what did they do with Blackout after they caught him?

  8. I think Ward is gonna have to die to make things right. I don’t see any way around that. If this turns into something where his “love for Skye” flips him to the good guy side, it’ll be incredibly weak. Likewise if it turns out he was mind controlled or brainwashed all along. Could be interesting if he turns into a villain like Taskmaster, but I don’t want it to become some Red John from the Mentalist thing where it drags on for seven years.

    Speaking of Skye & Ward, the story took a step back when the threat of Ward’s death was enough to compel her to unlock the hard drive. I mean, really? WTF? She seemed ready to sacrifice her own life to prevent them from gaining access, but suddenly saving Ward is more important? Even though she told him to rot in hell a few minutes beforehand?

    Otherwise, solid episode. Good use of Deathlok to keep Skye from getting away easily. Great acting from Skye, aside from the stupid saving Ward thing. Coulson has been surprisingly effective at selling his emotions the past few episodes without any over-acting, like when hearing the cellist speak about him. And in this episode, he seemed genuinely pissed about Ward through only the glare in his eyes. Even Fitz & Simmons are continuing to develop as characters. They’ve been described as “children” before and I think that’s true: they are like little kids in way over their heads and having to grow up fast to keep up. If any cast member dies by the end of the season, though, my money’s on one of them.

    TL;DR – The show is continuing its turnaround despite a speed bump here & there.

    • Doesn’t Deathlok insinuate that if Skye lets Ward die when she has the power to prevent it that, technically, makers her complicit and therefore a murderer even though it’s Deathlok that does the deed.

      I’m sure it’s that implication not any conflicting emotions regarding Ward that makes her cave. It’s easy to sacrifice oneself, it’s a bit harder feed someone else to the lions.

      Besides this is US network television, there’s no way that you’ll get a character calm standing by going “who gives a f**k, don’t like him anyway” just aint gonna happen, maybe on cable… Games of Thrones (don’t watch it) is rumoured to go to some dark places, but not on a network.

      At least by giving Skye some small moral dilemma takes a way from the lovey dovey mush.

      • @Jonathan:

        Letting Ward die doesn’t make Skye a murderer, it makes her a hero. He betrayed SHIELD, Coulson’s team and Skye… he killed “good” guys.

        Giving up the encryption on that hard disk could end up killing many more innocents, that would be something to be guilty about.

        But, obviously, the writers can’t let that happen so of course she complies. I thought it was a strange premise because bad guys usually threaten innocents to get what they want, in this case, he threatened another bad guy. Bleh.

        • Plus, I can’t remember the quote now, but didn’t Skye tell Coulson at the end that she’d left them “a little surprise” for when they opened the drive? It could be that this is how they’re ultimately going to track down Ward and Hydra. If that’s the case, they’d need to come up with a convincing reason for Skye to give in. The whole “if killing you won’t work, then how about if I kill him (or her) because of you” thing has been around forever.

        • To me, Skye feels more like a justice rather than a vengeance type of person. Yes, she told Ward to go to hell, which implies that she’d be happy to see him dead for everything that he’s done. Yes, she’s aware of a few of the people that Ward has killed and the fact that he assisted in the break-in of the Fridge. So she has reasons for wanting him dead. However, there’s a difference between wanting someone dead and watching someone die. Skye would have been an accessory to murder had Ward died from Deathlok’s cardiac inducing device, and I don’t think she could have lived with herself knowing that.

          Those Skyeward fangirls (and boys too I guess) who want to believe Skye saved him because she does love him, well… I won’t call them idiots. I’m thinking it, but I won’t call them that… There is no way Skye has any other feelings except contempt for Ward. If she ends up having feelings for Ward, I’m going to find an AoS writer and throw large objects at them until they cry, because that’s just terrible writing and a copout. They’re telling a really good story right now and Ward’s descent into the Dark Side has been great character development for him. It’d be a shame for them to ruin two characters with a sappy love story after all the treachery and betrayal.

      • @ Jonathan

        I agree with BigNerd’s comment. It felt too much like a primetime network show thing: “I am a good guy, therefore I must save everyone indiscriminately regardless of the larger repercussions. Because that’s what good guys do.”

        Then again, maybe Skye had an ulterior motive along the lines of what gebrown suggested. Could be she figured Deathlok would have moved on to torturing her after killing Ward and she would have broken. Perhaps she thought the “surprise” she left would be better in the long run for making a difference. Possibly.

    • My question was if Ward died who was going to land the plane ?

      • In a universe where an Artificial Intelligence are capable to control over three dozens of metal armors and driving around a busy metropolitan, I’m pretty sure landing an airbus won’t be much of stretch…

  9. Can they just please kill off one of the characters. Please! preferably Ward or Skye

  10. @ Slayer

    Remember that using the stage lights wasn’t THAT nutty because Blackout’s weakness was getting exposed to more light than he could absorb at one time. The Banner tech to amplify the lights came out of nowhere, granted, but it’s not as if they were taking down Thanos or Juggernaut with the stage lights.

    And Blackout appeared to blow up at the end of the episode. I don’t think he was recaptured. If you’re referring to when he was locked up at the Fridge, obviously Hydra was experimenting on him (and probably others) to make him more powerful.

    I disagree about the writing. It’s not perfect but has gotten much, much better. The dialogue is sharper, stories are more interesting, and character interactions have come up a lot from where they were. FYI, I gave up on this show around episode 10 or 11 but am rooting for it now and hoping this good stretch continues.

  11. I love SHIELD than Arrow… Arrow for me is goofy and dumb I mean how they can’t recognize Black Canary and Arrow with just one eye-mask? really? That’s dumb and IMBECILE. Very Illogical. In Green Lantern movie Carol Ferris recognized Hal bcos he is just wearing an eye-mask but in Arrow they can’t identify his identity. WTF. Well I think DC comics is very dumb. Clark Kent only wearing eyeglasses and yet they don’t know that is Supes. More Power to Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I love it, it’s fun, lots of science fiction, lil bit mystery, characters are lovable (especially the Fitz Simmons team), tie-in in MCU, yeah lots of adventure like in the comics. God Bless! and to the haters, you are all childish and insensible being. Nuff said. (I know my grammar is not fluent but still it’s understandable, english is not my first language though deal with it)

    • The “not being able to recognise someone while they wear a domino mask” trope is as old as the medium itself.

      Superman (technically glasses as Kent), Zorro, The Lone Ranger, Robin, Nightwing, Miss America, The Phantom, Black Cat, Kato, The Spirit, The Comedian, Wonder Woman (again, it’s glasses for the alter-ego rather than a mask for the hero, but the principle is the same), The Winter Soldier, The Riddler and countless others have worn a simple mask to disguise themselves in either their hero persona or their alter-ego persona.

      To take issue with that when you have people who can fly, lift planets, bend reality to their will, etc, etc, seems petty at best.

      Suspension of disbelief is everything and as for Arrow, you have to remember that the Oliver Queen everyone knew was a playboy shirker who only looked out for himself. So the idea that this ego-centric individual would be jumping around rooftops in a hood as the best archer in history would be ridiculous to them. Plus Oliver normally hid his face under the hood / in shadow AND disguised his voice.

  12. Just watching episode 20 on demand and it was very, very good. This show has really improved. But AoS is not better than Arrow, Oliver Queen switches back and forth between two hot sisters – one of which is in a bisexual relationship with another hot chic (Could we see network TV’s first threesome in season 3). Coulson is a good lead but he’s no Oliver Queen.

  13. So, my wife came up with an interesting theory…

    She said, “I wonder if it will be revealed that Steve Rogers went through the TAHITI program. Maybe that’s why Coulson was so excited about it and why he was heading it up… it was to bring Rogers back and in tact.”

    To me, this made total sense. I’d been racking my brain to try and figure out a viable reason that Couslon would be doing such a project.

    Any thoughts?