Agents of SHIELD Episode 314 Recap: Let Slip the Watchdogs of War

Mack is taking the week off, spending time building motorcycles with his brother, Ruben. Ruben was recently laid off, so when he sees a news report about a domestic terror group called Watchdogs implode an ATCU facility, he thinks it is awesome. Of course, that means that Mack is being called in to work. Ruben thinks he is an insurance adjuster.

Daisy has been following the Watchdogs online. It is mostly hate speech about inhumans, or “freaks” as they call them. Until this point, there has never been any suggestion of violence. She and Fitz go meet Mack at the site of the implosion in the hopes of picking up evidence before the local authorities can get to it. At the site, Fitz identifies the explosive material as nitromene, something that was created by Howard Stark. His formula was too unstable to be made into a jelly explosive, so the Watchdogs must have tinkered with it.

Since nitromene was behind the implosion, Coulson thinks this was an inside job. There is only one SHIELD agent who went off the grid: Felix Blake. He takes Lincoln with him to check out Blake’s safe houses. Lincoln didn’t do well on his field assessment, so he wants to check him out in the field himself. Lincoln’s commitment is in question, which Coulson understands: he is there for Daisy, not for the mission. Coulson thinks he could be a good agent, but doesn’t know if Lincoln even wants that.

Daisy knows some of the Watchdogs members are local. She wants to go pick one up, and use her powers to get information out of them if need be. Mack doesn’t like her “gestapo” tactics. Though Daisy insists she will only use her powers to get information to save lives, Mack doesn’t believe her powers should be used to sidestep civil liberties. He is not going along with this and goes back to Ruben. Daisy still has Fitz, who doesn’t appear to want to go along with her tactics. Back at home with Ruben, Mack finds out that Ruben has been reading some of Watchdogs’ websites and warns his brother to stay away.

A Watchdog named Dallas is driving along when his car screeches to a stop. Daisy is standing there; she stopped his car. She gets in, introduces herself as one of the “freaks,” and breaks the driver side window. Fitz is there with a gun, and Daisy asks where the Watchdogs meets. Dallas won’t answer, so Daisy breaks the rear window. He is scared and talks. With the situation under control, Fitz backs away, looking uncomfortable with what just went down.

The Watchdogs meets someplace called Easterling Farms. Daisy, Mack and Fitz regroup there. They zap a few guards, then Fitz flies his drone into the barn. Daisy gets audio confirmation that it is Blake leading them; she is just trying to get visual confirmation. Coulson (who is now at one of Blake’s safe houses in Atlanta with Lincoln) tells Daisy to observe, don’t attack.

Ruben arrives at the farm and everything goes to sh*t. Mack tries to wave his brother off, but several more Watchdogs have come out of the barn. Mac shoots one; Daisy uses her powers on another. The others get scared and run. Mack tells Daisy and Fitz to fall back while he chases after his freaked out brother. Daisy doesn’t want to fall back. She wants visual confirmation, so she moves in. Fitz gets shot in the neck with a blob of the jelly explosive. Daisy tries to neutralize it, but whatever the Watchdogs did to stabilize it means that her trick didn’t work. If they don’t figure out something fast, Fitz will implode.

In the basement of the Atlanta safe house, Coulson and Lincoln find Blake. Blake is a little disappointed that it wasn’t ATCU proper who found him. He tells Coulson that he signed up to protect the world from alien freaks; he is offended that SHIELD is now using them. Coulson is suspicious of his long-winded speech. That is not a tactic Blake normally employs. He is stalling. Blake continues with his speech. Indiana is just one cell; The Watchdogs are nationwide. Blake thinks that Coulson’s team got the cell’s location through coercion, and defends the Watchdogs by saying that people are scared of tactics like that; they just want the truth. Coulson says this is about hate. Lincoln is an inhuman and Coulson just knows he hates Blake, wants to kill Blake, but is following Coulson’s orders. So Coulson gives the order Lincoln wants: kill Blake. Lincoln doesn’t actually like this order and questions Coulson. “Sometimes we do the wrong thing for the right reason,” Coulson says, and again gives the order. Lincoln blasts him and Blake disappears – he was just a hologram. Coulson knew this, and he knew Lincoln didn’t give him a kill shot. He is proud of the way Lincoln handled himself: he offered dissent but ultimately followed the order he was given.

Daisy and Fitz have taken a Watchdog hostage in a containment cell. Daisy tries to intimidate answers out of the Watchdog, but he insists he is not a scientist; he doesn’t know what Blake did to “suspend it.” This triggers something in Fitz, and he tells Daisy to get some liquid nitrogen to freeze the compound. She does, and the glowy splat turns into a hard black lump. It is inert. Daisy informs the Watchdog he is being turned over to the ATCU.

At the safe house, Lincoln goes through Blake’s computers and realizes the Watchdogs wanted a second target, but they didn’t have one yet. A chilling realization falls over the men: they brought him a second target: Daisy. Of course, the “hostage” Watchdog thought it was all talk, until he got to see a “real-live powered person use her powers.” The thing is, they didn’t realize it was just a tiny little girl who was the “freak.” They assumed Mack was the inhuman.

Mack finally catches up with Ruben at home. He is mad at his brother for helping “those freaks.” “They are humans and they are being hunted!” Mack insists. Their argument is cut short by a car parking outside, and footsteps of men moving into the house. Mack counts five, and they ignited their bikes to prevent escape. Mack grabs a shotgun, filled with buckshot, and the brothers move from the garage to the house. Mack turns off the power and shoots one Watchdog. He goes down and hands his assault rifle to Ruben. They move through the house, firing and fighting. But there were only three men in the house. Where are the other two? Mack finds them keeping guard outside the back door – the door Mack and Ruben were planning on escaping through. One of the inside Watchdogs comes in and shoots Mack; the two guards come running. A down and dirty fight takes place, but in the end Mack and Ruben win. Ruben is proud of his brother. “You beat them! You did that!” When the dust has settled, the paramedics take Mack to the hospital, and Daisy assures Ruben he will be fine.

Daisy found a surveillance video of a van pulling into the ATCU compound about an hour before it imploded. The car traces back to Malick. He was “firing up” the Watchdogs, and this implosion was all a distraction.

That van goes into a nondescript warehouse, where Mr. Giyera is waiting for it. Blake is there too, the real Blake, wheelchair-bound. He wants weapons to hunt down the “freaks,” as he was promised. Giyera tries not to wince and promises that if everything goes as planned, they will all get what they want. Inside the van is a nuclear bomb.

Also: In an attempt to abate the guilt Simmons feels over releasing Lash, she helps May track him. May plans on killing him when she finds him – he left her no choice – but Simmons suggests that, since Andrew hasn’t finished his transition, the vaccine may work on him.

You can watch a preview for the next episode, titled “Spacetime” and airing on April 5, in the player below.