Agents of SHIELD Midseason Finale Recap

After Coulson bailed from the plane, SHIELD regroups to figure out what they are going to do. Infrared shows that Hydra is bringing the captured Inhumans to the castle. Mac leads the team in setting up a sneak-attack infiltration of the Hydra outpost at the castle. They will slip in through ancient aqueducts, then split into two teams: one will find Fitz or Simmons (whichever one is currently being held captive) while the other team will secure the portal chamber.

Fitz and Ward’s team have less than six hours until the next portal opens. Fitz gives Ward lip, causing Ward to knock him down a small incline with the warning that if Ward doesn’t make it back, Simmons will be killed. Their squabble is cut short when, off in the distance, they see a massive Hydra insignia carved into rock. The team continues until Fitz finds the hatch for Will’s cave. Without a thought, he jumps in and wakes Will, who recognizes Fitz from Simmons’ photos. Ward and his goons quickly follow and threaten to kill Will, but Fitz insists that he will be their guide – he is the only one who can get them to the portal in time. Ward backs off and Will joins the group, albeit slowly – he was attacked by “it” some time after Simmons left. The death march continues and Fitz surreptitiously asks Will if he can run. Both are bleeding, and “it” can smell blood. Fitz wants to lose Ward before they find the extraction point, so Will takes lead and directs the team through a treacherous-looking canyon.

Back on Earth, Simmons has gotten her hands on a knife and works on her binds. She frees herself just as Lincoln shorts out the power, allowing her to escape the command center. She sees rows and rows of Inhuman holding chambers and hides as guards pass. One draws her attention: a SHIELD module. The one with Andrew in it. She turns on the light and he appears, begging to be let out. He offers to help her beat back Hydra, and swears he would never hurt her. With more agents advancing on her, Simmons relents and unlocks the chamber. The agents are distracted by Andrew and move in on him, who is in the process of morphing into Lash. Simmons runs.

Coulson wakes from a wonderful dream/hallucination about Rosalind to discover he is on the barren planet. He sees the two moons. “I’ll be damned – Tatooine.” He soon finds Fitz’s jacket, left where he and Ward fought, and follows their tracks through the desert. Ward’s team is beset by a vicious sandstorm, forcing them to hunker in place for a bit. They are in the “no fly” zone, so Will recommends Fitz stay close. With two guards on them, but distracted by the sand, Will smashes one guard’s head into the rock and takes his knife. A nod to Fitz causes him to distract the second guard, allowing Will to stab him and the two run off. Ward and the remaining soldiers don’t see them leave. When the sand thins a bit, Ward goes looking and finds all of his soldiers dead. The other two were killed by Coulson, who now has a gun on Ward. But he’s not going to kill Ward; for whatever reason, Coulson needs him to find Fitz. Off they go, with Ward spouting non-poetic nonsense along the way.

Daisy uses her powers to knock out a couple Hydra agents and allowing her access to some computers. Giyera steps in and shoots at her, but Joey uses his special metal-melting power to turn the bullets to liquid. They keep moving, fearing that the bullets will draw more Hydra agents to them. Elsewhere, May finds a soldier and takes him out before he can take out Simmons. The ladies hug and Simmons admits she let out Andrew, but the two must hurry to meet up with the rest of the team. SHIELD converges on the portal chamber. They are moderately protected there, and Joey works on reinforcing the doors. Simmons explains that there is not really anything they can do – the portal is scheduled to open in under an hour, and it is up to Fitz to find the extraction point. It is then that they realize May is gone. She has gone back for Andrew, but all she finds is bits and pieces of other Inhumans. He released and killed all of them, and is now in the wind. May reports back, and Lincoln, already on edge, wants to destroy the entire portal before the evil can escape. 

Malick is alerted to SHIELD’s presence and his goon squad suggests they evacuate. Malick refuses, and instructs them to breach the barricades and regain control of the portal chamber. SHIELD hears them coming and they start planning which entrances to blockade, but Mac puts his foot down. The rest of them will go wait in the plane while Mac remains in the portal chamber to give Fitz and Coulson as much time as possible to make it to the portal. He agrees to let Daisy stay because she can keep the portal open. If Mac dies, May is the new director.

Will and Fitz are nearly at the extraction point. It will be close, but they should make it. Over the horizon, Fitz sees the remnants of a lost civilization and starts snapping photos. Simmons never mentioned it because Simmons never saw it – they are still in the “no fly” zone. Will explains that there used to be nine different cities that were fairly advanced but despised change. They warred amongst themselves and were destroyed. Fitz is suspicious after seeing his wound is nothing but skeleton, and Will admits he knows this because he was there. This isn’t Will. Will died saving Simmons. The evil has taken over Will’s body. Fitz and Will fight, with Fitz landing a few good punches, but Will ultimately getting the upper hand.

Coulson and Ward see Fitz and Will and move faster. Coulson sees Will raising a boulder over his head, about to smash Fitz, and acts quickly, shooting “Will.” Will is down, but Ward uses this opportunity to knock down Coulson.

Hydra is getting closer to the portal chamber. May commands all weapon systems go online. And the portal starts to open… 

Fitz sees the portal open, but he also sees Will stand and move towards it. He shoots him, and it takes an entire magazine to bring him down. But not for long – he soon stands, so Fitz shoots him with a flare. This sets him on fire and takes him out for good. Coulson is still fighting Ward, and Fitz screams for him to hurry. “Just leave him!” he insists. Coulson just can’t do that, so he crushes Ward’s chest with his bionic hand, looking him in the eyes the whole time. Coulson leaves behind his hand and rushes with Fitz towards the portal.

On Earth, Daisy announces they are out of time. Mac instructs May to fire, and she hesitates, but only for a moment. She deploys the missiles and blows the castle to rubble. The SHIELD is sad… but only for a moment. They see a tiny rescue module fly out of the wreckage and dock with the ship. Mac, Daisy, Fitz, and Coulson have returned. Simmons is disappointed to see Will isn’t with them, but soon turns to hug Fitz. She is crying; this is clearly as much a hug of condolence as it is welcoming. Coulson shares a strangely-knowing look with Fitz. Maybe he is telling Fitz not to mention that he killed Ward in what would be defined as murder; maybe he thinks Fitz did the same to Will in order to get the girl. Either way, it is a bittersweet ending.

Well, near-ending. Malick is being taken to the airport when the car suddenly stops. “Ward” is back and standing in the middle of the road. He is holding Coulson’s hand, and the evil is clearly writhing beneath his skin.

Not too shabby of a mid-season finale cliffhanger! You can watch a promo for the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on March 8 and the premiere of Agent Carter on January 19 using the player below.