I’m not usually one to get noticeably emotional while watching movies or TV shows. The last time I cried during a movie was ‘Toy Story 3’, but before that, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I was so moved by film or television. However, last night’s episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came incredibly close to evoking such emotion from me. It vey well could be that I’m getting soft in my old age, but I’ll just chalk this one up to great characters and the excellent writers behind them.

When we last left Agent Coulson and his team, they had just stumbled upon one of Nick Fury’s secret bases after embarking on what some team members viewed as a wild goose chase. But through Coulson’s unwavering loyalty to his work and his commanding officer, they found Providence and Agent Eric Koenig, played by the delightful Patton Owalt, who debriefed Fury’s right hand man about what really happened to their resourceful leader after the rise of HYDRA. Although their security is compromised when Agent Ward returns to the group after helping Agent Garrett and his HYDRA goons ransack the Fridge and set all the prisoners in that facility free.

Now, Coulson gets word about this jailbreak and he’s quick to learn that a psychopath from his past named Marcus Daniels AKA Blackout is on the loose and likely on his way to terrorize someone close to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent’s heart: The cellist. While Coulson takes a team to protect Audrey Nathan, Skye and Koenig utilize some sneaky tactics to try and track down the escapees from the Fridge by hacking NSA satellites. However, Ward gets sneakier as he furthers his mission to get Skye to decode the encryption on the Bus’ hard drive by any means necessary.

Agent Coulson’s cellist, Audrey Nathan

First, I want to talk about how this episode was put together. After each team was dispatched with their missions, the two main storylines went on different paths. Yet, they paralleled each other in interesting ways and converged once again when Blackout and Agent Ward were about to get caught. I liked how the episode was put together in that the suspense was built in a really engaging way in both storylines at the same time. Sometimes, that doesn’t always work in some shows, but I felt that it really worked here.

Next, I was definitely into the way that they revealed exposition and more information about the team’s past. With the lie detector tests issued by Agent Koenig, we learned that Agent May was once married, Skye’s given name was Mary Sue Poots, Agent Triplett’s grandfather was a Howling Commando with Captain America in World War II, and ‘Doctor Who’ exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because Agent Simmons mentioned the TARDIS when asked what she’d find in a box that washes up on the beach of a deserted island. Besides unearthing that Jemma is a Whovian, that scene revealed a lot of fun information that could come back later on, especially since everything is all connected on this show.

The other interesting way that exposition was shared in this episode was through Agent Fitz showing off in front of Simmons to make Triplett look dumb. Of course, he is a very intelligent and capable agent, so he’s in the know, but it was a fun way to show that Fitz is jealous of the budding relationship between Simmons and Trip.

Finally, my favorite part of the whole episode is how they handled Coulson and Audrey. For starters, Amy Acker was a great choice to play the infamous cellist, but the writing is what stood out to me the most about the character. The things she said about Coulson were so heart-breaking because she was not yet made aware that he is still alive. UGH even thinking about their love story right now is making me emotional. And then when it looked like Blackout was gaining the upper hand and Phil came out to save Audrey one more time was such a great moment, especially when she “thinks” she sees him. The film major in me loved the cinematography of that whole scene, but the romantic in me was very touched by that moment they shared before Coulson disappeared once again.

I could honestly keep talking about the things that I enjoyed about this episode. Some may see this reverting back to the “villain of the week” dynamic of the show prior to the midpoint of the season, but I feel like this was a considerably personal story for Coulson that needed to be told. It just turns out that the HYDRA business and Ward’s mission happened to mesh really well with it. And to bring back the parallel idea, Skye’s development mirrors Coulson’s in a way as they both learn very important lessons from individuals that they care deeply for. It just turns out that in Skye’s case, that person could very well kill her if he learns that she’s playing him.

With only three weeks until the season finale of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, there are still a ton of questions to be answered. But ever since a breath of fresh air has been breathed into this series, business has really picked up and fans should be excited for this show more than ever, especially since two big names from Marvel’s big screen mythology are set to appear before the season wraps up. At this point, anything can happen, so I know that I’ll be glued to that TV set (or computer screen) to catch the remaining episodes of this show.

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‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 8:00pm on ABC.