Violet recaps Season 2 Episode 7 of Agents of SHIELD, titled The Writing on the Wall, where the SHIELD team finds out more about the mysterious writing, and also tries to track down Ward! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts on the episode.
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Episode Recap of Agents of SHIELD, Season 2 Episode 7: The Writing on the Wall
This episode begins in Rhinebeck, New York, where a woman returns home from a bar with a man, trying to figure out where she knows him from. He says that they share so many memories and so much pain, then opens his shirt to reveal tattoos that look like the carvings that Coulson does. He takes out a knife and tells the woman he’ll help her remember.
Meanwhile, Coulson is working on a new set of carvings, when his knife breaks. Skye comes in to supervise. She hasn’t had any luck figuring out what the writing means. Coulson says the writing is coming more frequently, every day and night, and he can’t turn it off. May won’t be coming back until they find Ward. Apparently Senator Ward covered up the escape, and they’re the only ones looking for him.
Trip locates Ward at a bus station in Philadelphia. May tells him to stand by and wait for orders. Ward retrieves a bag from a locker, then goes into the bathroom and changes his clothes. The Senator wants him alive, but Coulson says to bring Ward in by any means necessary. Trip, still hidden, goes for his gun, but just then, Ward nonchalantly lifts up his shirt, revealing that he has C-4 strapped to his waist, thus letting Trip know that he knows they’re onto him. Coulson tells Trip not to engage, and to have Hunter and Morse in position at the next stop.
Skye shows Coulson photos of the woman who was killed by being carved up with the writing. Her name is Janice Robbins, and Coulson identifies her as a SHIELD agent. The two of them go to New York and investigate the crime scene. Coulson finds a room filled with paintings of the writing, one of which has “A magical place” written on it.
Back at SHIELD, Coulson has taken pictures of all of Janice’s paintings, and has found that there’s a lot of overlap with his own carvings. Skye finds Janice’s SHIELD records, which say that her real name was Rebecca Stevens, that she was Level 6, and died 5 years ago from cancer. Mac and Fitz bring in Agent Stevens’s body for an autopsy, which Simmons performs.
Ward arrives in Atlanta, and helps out a mother and her young son with their luggage. He gets on their bus with them, which is headed to Dallas. He takes the seat next to Bobbi. He has already figured out that she’s working for Coulson. He warns her not to do anything, or he’ll hit the dead man switch, killing everyone on the bus. Then he tells the driver he’s on the wrong bus, and gets on a bus to Boston instead — where Hunter is already boarded.
Simmons reports the results of her autopsy – Agent Stevens died from cardiac arrest as a result of the shock from the pain. She also recognizes the carvings as the same ones Garrett was making. Stevens had the blood of her attacker under her fingernails, so they ran an analysis of that as well. They determine that both Stevens and her attacker had GH-325 in their blood, so they were both TAHITI patients. Coulson realizes there’s someone out there targeting other TAHITI patients. He goes down to a secret room, revealing the memory unlocking machine that Raina used on him last season.
Simmons and Skye try to talk Coulson out of using the machine, but he insists that they have to use it to find the killer. With the help of the machine, Coulson remembers that there were 6 patients, including Stevens, all well-adjusted — then suddenly they started the writings and going crazy. He recalls a conversation with someone in charge of the project, where he insists that the project be shut down, and the alien host destroyed. However, the woman refuses, and says that instead they can give the subjects new names and new memories. He sees one of the subjects screaming in pain, while the memory re-writer works on his brain. Back in real life, Coulson isn’t doing so well, but Skye insists that he tell them the subjects’ new names before they pull him out of the machine.
In Boston, Hunter follows Ward to a bar, and waits outside in his car. The bartender tells Ward, “Welcome back.” Then Mr. Bakshi and two other HYDRA agents show up and enter the bar. Ward asks Bakshi for a meeting with Whitehall in exchange for getting Bakshi a face to face with Coulson.
After Coulson comes up with the names, Skye presses him for more clues. We see that he remembers one guy that had carved into his own skin — then that guy turns into Coulson. But he starts convulsing, and they pull him out of the machine. Skye calls May, who is upset that she let Coulson go into the memory machine. She tells her to lock Coulson up and keep him under observation. Coulson comes out of the machine acting violent. Mac tries to hold him down, but he struggles — until he sees Skye pointing a gun at him. He agrees with being locked up. Then he tells Skye the killer’s name: Sebastian Derrick.
Skye tells Coulson that only 1 patient is still alive, Hank Thompson, who is only a couple hours away, so she’ll send some agents to protect him. Coulson shoves Skye into Ward’s old cell, and puts up the sound proof barrier. He says he needs to take care of him personally.
Mac and Fitz play video games and discuss Coulson’s memory replacement. Simmons figures out that Skye is trapped downstairs. She releases her, and Skye tells them that Coulson is going after Hank Thompson.
Coulson shows up on Thompson’s doorstep and warns him that his life is in danger. Then he pulls a gun on him and tells him he needs to pick his brain. He shows Thompson pictures of the writings and asks if he has been doing these writings in any way. However, Thompson doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It turns out that Derrick had already previously questioned Thompson — and he shows up just then and knocks Coulson out.
May, Trip, Hunter, and Bobbi enter the bar, and find some dead bodies inside. They also find Bakshi tied to a chair with his mouth taped shut, and on the tape is written “for Coulson.”
Back at Thompson’s house, Derrick has tied up both Thompson and Coulson. Derrick cuts Coulson’s arm and tells him that pain made him remember everything. Meanwhile, Thomspon works on untying himself. Derrick removes his shirt and shows Coulson the writing tattooed on his body. He says that none of the others had answers, and holds his knife to Coulson’s throat – but Coulson says he doesn’t know what the writing means. Coulson looks over at the train set that Thompson has built, and says that the answer is not two-dimensional. He tells Derrick that they can find the answer together.
Meanwhile, Thompson has untied himself and sneaks off to rescue his family – but the door creaks, and Derrick turns around and flings his knife at Thompson, which Thompson catches between his hands. Thompson then throws his knife above Coulson, severing the rope that has been suspending him in the air. Coulson tells Thompson to take his family and go, while Coulson takes on Derrick and knocks him out, disrupts the electricity, and runs off.
While Mac and Skye drive to Thompson’s place, she tells Mac about TAHITI. Thompson flags Skye and Mac down, and directs them to his house down the road.
Coulson uses the darkness to hide from Derrick, and lure him upstairs. As Coulson begins to strangle Derrick, Skye and Mac come in and threaten to shoot Coulson if he doesn’t stop, though Coulson insists he is fine and knows what he’s doing. Then Derrick sees Thompson’s train set from above, and understands what the writing means, as Coulson releases him. Thompson has made the writing three dimensional with his train set, and Coulson explains that the writing is a blueprint for a city.
Later, Coulson shows Thompson his SHIELD file, and asks him to join them, but he declines, opting instead to return that the life he knows with his family. Coulson informs the others that Sebastian Derrick has been turned over to the authorities for past crimes. Coulson also reveals that his compulsion to do the carvings is gone, now that they have figured out what the writings mean. There’s no sign of Ward, but they are holding Mr. Bakshi in their cell downstairs. Coulson gives Skye Bakshi’s phone for analysis.
Coulson calls the entire SHIELD team to a meeting, and says he’s not crazy. The bad news is that HYDRA is trying to solve the same puzzle that they are, but the good news is that SHIELD has a piece that HYDRA doesn’t. He shows them a 3D hologram of the writing blueprints. Their job is to find the city before anyone else.
Somewhere, Ward shaves off his beard, and cuts his hair short. Meanwhile, Skye starts to research the data on Bakshi’s phone. Just then, Bakshi’s phone rings. Skye answers it, saying, “Hail HYDRA.” It’s Ward. He tells Skye he’ll be sending a few presents her way every now and then. He also says he doesn’t think the new recruits should stay around that much longer, and that Coulson could do better. He ends the call telling Skye he’ll see her soon. We then see a newspaper in Ward’s bag with the front page story about Senator Ward vowing to bring his brother to justice.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 2 Episode 7 of Agents of SHIELD: The Writing on the Wall
Agents of SHIELD continues to maintain its awesomeness! After all this time of wondering what the writing means, we finally get an answer — and it’s a very interesting one! Not only do we find out that the writing is a blueprint for a city, but that there were others who shared Coulson’s obsession of doing these writings, and that they each contributed pieces to the puzzle. Now that they have discovered the meaning of the writings, Coulson says that he no longer has the compulsion to do the carvings. That’s good, because it will allow Coulson to get back to normal. Lately, we’ve mostly just seen him crippled by this obsession, especially this episode, where Skye of all people somehow becomes the one in charge?? Okay, so she wasn’t officially in charge, but it sure felt like it, the way she was calling the shots. It’s not like she’s even the senior member of the team, I think Simmons would be.
While it is true that Skye knew more about Coulson’s situation than Simmons, I still think Simmons should have been brought in much sooner, especially with her scientific expertise, and not to mention, she was a much higher ranking SHIELD agent than Skye, who never went to SHIELD academy, ever was. And they were still trying to keep Simmons in the dark, even as she was figuring what was going on! Considering how well she performed as an undercover agent at HYDRA, I think Simmons should have been given more credit. But, no matter, now everyone knows what’s going on.
I also enjoyed seeing Bobbi and Hunter working undercover trying to catch Ward. Unfortunately, Ward was just a little too good for them. I don’t agree with what Ward said though — or threatened, if you want to look at it that way — I like the new recruits. Interestingly, Ward told Skye that he gave SHIELD Mr. Bakshi as a present, and that he would be sending more “presents” their way. What kind of presents? Mr. Bakshi is actually quite valuable to SHIELD’s cause. Why would Ward want to help SHIELD? Or maybe it’s not that he’s helping SHIELD, it’s more that he’s helping Skye, who I assume is still the object of Ward’s affections. I’m quite curious to see what Ward is up to…
But what I’m more curious about is finding this mysterious alien city! Though I have a feeling they might not actually get around to that for a little while…
Josh’s Thoughts: Agents of SHIELD, Season 2 Episode 7: The Writing on the Wall
This episode gets into the dark under belly S.H.I.E.L.D. had in its “hey day”, and particularly Coulson’s involvement. It was pretty dark seeing it involved in “dealing” with these people. Then even worse, having to memory wipe them. Then add to that, the villain of this episode is carving into the flesh of other ex-SHIELD agents, made for kind of a creepy episode. Luckily the guy from The 4400 made it out alive!
Speaking of him, I was hoping he would stick around and rejoin SHIELD. I liked him a lot in The 4400, and it is kind of a funny nod to that show—considering he played an agent who investigated people with superhuman abilities. It is too bad he returned to “normal” life.
But Ward is up to something shady it seems. On the one hand, Ward seems to be helping out SHIELD, as potentially a way to get back in their good graces, particularly Skye’s. On the other hand, Ward did promise the HYDRA agent a sit down with Coulson, so the whole thing could be a set up to get HYDRA into SHIELD’s base. I do not know what to make of it yet, but I like Ward a lot more in this capacity than I did first season.
I am disappointed in the viewership of the show, as it means it could be on the chopping block if that doesn’t increase soon. The one thing the show has going for it, is it is a connector between all of the Marvel movies, so that might give it a little extended life over any other show, but eventually the low viewership could mean the end. That would be very disappointing considering I am liking the show more than I ever did in season 1.
Scenes from Agents of SHIELD, Season 2 Episode 8: The Things We Bury
Here are scenes from the next episode of Agents of SHIELD, titled The Things We Bury: