The midseason finale gets ride of almost all character development and decides to slam all the hanging plot threads together with a guest star that manages to outshine everyone.
The episode opens with Edison Po enjoying his dinner in prison, when the ceiling collapses and three soldiers rope down. The guards are quickly smacked away into nearby walls; Centipede has perfected their Extremis formula.
Our team gets the call that they’re helping out to find Po and Centipede. We shift to a SHIELD training facility, where Mike Peterson from Episode 1 pushes a bulldozer, quite a bit below Captain America’s record. Coulson recruits Mike to help out against any Extremis powered Centipede soldiers. The team is a bit hesitant to put a man who was literally a super-powered time bomb on their airplane, but Mike is apologetic and thankful for the mercy he received from the team. Apparently Ftiz/Simmons’ magic bullet stabilized him.
Coulson informs May he told Skye that she’ll help her find the SHIELD agents who dropped her off at the orphanage. However, they’re both in on keeping her from the truth, so she’s brusque. Raina, the girl in the flower dress, and Po, meet in a warehouse, where their soldiers are being maintained. They’re on the run from SHIELD, and every time the soldiers are deployed, they have a lengthy recuperation process. Po decides they need to put down roots once they talk to "The Clairvoyant."
Ward and Coulson go visit one of the soldier’s sister, Laura, at University of Ohio. Unfortunately, they’re not close, but he leaves a fake gambling commission card to contact him. She instead calls her brother immediately, and they track him to Oakland, CA.
Coulson gives Mike his super-suit, and they head down to an old Centipede base, finding it abandoned...until the Centipede soldiers attack. The magic bullet that stabilized Mike isn't effective against this batch, and the Coulson, Ward, and May are dispatched, but Mike manages to hold his own until he gets shanked by ribar. He hangs in there, though, and two soldiers bug out. They try questioning the third, but his (apparently cybernetic) eyeball detonates. Po and Raina, watching a feed through the eye, notice that Mike is still alive and decide he's the key to Phase 3.
Coulson and Mike talk, and he mentions he hasn’t seen his son in months. He’s avoiding him since he was freaking out on super-drugs the last time he saw him. He gives Ace a call and tells him he’ll be home shortly, but Raina takes the phone from him.
A dropoff is arranged, with Raina and a soldier accompanying Mike. Coulson and Mike approach while Ward watches with a sniper rifle, but Raina hides behind a cement truck. It turns out that Centipede would rather have Coulson than Mike though. Mike grabs Raina’s throat and threatens to snap her neck, but she reveals her superiors will kill Ace anyway. Ace is released when Coulson agrees to go, Mike leaves him with Skye as he runs after Centipede. Just then, however, cement trucks on either side go up in explosions, as well as the car Centipede came in. A helicopter buzzes off, not before tagging Ward. In the heli, Raina reveals they want to know what happened the day after Coulson died.
If Mike is dead, I'll be sad. Ironically, because his character was probably the most developed and most likable of anyone besides Coulson on this show. He was just a guy who went through some hard times and wanted to do good. The team could use an actual superhuman, instead of constantly referencing the Avengers every episode. It will honestly be to the show's detriment if they got rid of a unique, interesting character.
Which seems to be the threat in having Coulson taken by Centipede. Everything that had been building so far came together in this episode, from Mike's return to Raina and Centipede finally striking, and more info on Skye's parents. The final result being a cilffhanger where we might finally find out why Coulson is still alive/alive again. Hopefully the big reveal turns out to be worth it, because we've been waiting most of the series to find out what happened.
This particular episode of the series was light on character development and mostly plot, but since they fit so many in, it worked. There was little romantic tension or people forgetting to call their parents; honestly if the show was always at this pace, it might be better for it. They wouldn't be able to drag out mysteries, but they'd have to develop characters and new plots because of it.
"Agents of SHIELD" returns on January 7th, potentially with a reveal and more Marvel craziness.