We finally get our answers as to what the alien writings mean and it all starts with our SHIELD agents investigating a murder of Janice Robbins of Rhinebeck, NY whose body had the alien writings carved all over her body.
How she got that way is how we began the episode. The stranger, who we saw in the last new episode getting the alien symbols tattooed on his body, coming back from a date with Janice. Janice swears she knows the stranger from somewhere. To help illuminate her, the stranger pulls out a knife and Janice screams.
Back at the SHIELD base, Coulson is carving more alien writings with Skye watching. Coulson tells her it is getting worse as he is now carving everyday. Skye says she is getting nowhere with her map theory as the carvings are not matching any kind of map from space to genes. The team gets the alert about Janice’s murder and Coulson thinks she is a SHIELD agent but Skye says he records say she is an art teacher. Skye and Coulson investigate Janice’s apartment and do find that she’s been painting the alien symbols. On one of these paintings are “A Magical Place”
With the pictures of the paintings, his own carvings, and the painting they recovered, Coulson believes they are getting really close to finding the answers he has been desperately seeking. Skye confirms that Janice was a level 6 SHIELD agent who real name is Rebecca Shepherd (I think). Simmons performs an autopsy on Rebecca (Mack and Fitz managed to get her body). Simmons discovers that Rebecca has GH325 in her and her killer too.
To help jog his memory, Coulson decides to put himself in the memory machine to help job his memory of Rebecca and who else could have been part of project TAHITI. Once inside, we learn that there were 6 people a part of it, all of whom were in ill health but now very healthy. But soon, they start to scribble the alien symbols and go a bit crazy. Coulson wants to shut TAHITI down and destroy the alien, but one of the doctors doesn’t want to lose the alien. So it was decided that they will erase everyone’s memories and replace them with others and give them new identities. We see some have the same reaction that Coulson did when he had his memories extracted and one put up a big fight to not let his memories get taking away from him. This is the stranger.
Coulson remembers all six names and we learn that 4 out of the 6 are dead, most likely killed by one of them. Coulson starts to react violently in the machine so Skye pulls him out of it while Mack holds him down. Coulson believes that Hank Thompson is in danger from the stranger, whose name is Sebastian Derrick. To protect Coulson, May asks Skye to put him custody. As Skye walks Coulson to Ward’s cell, she tells Coulson that she will send agents to protect Thompson, but Coulson said there is no needs and pushes Skye away into Ward’s cell and turns it on.
As Mack and Fitz play video games discussing Coulson condition, Simmons notices Skye in Ward’s cell and spring her free. Skye lets the team know where Coulson is headed.
Coulson arrives at Thompson’s doorstep, who is a family man who is in his garage as his son plays with the train set in there. When his wife says an old friend comes to visit, it is Coulson. Coulson pulls the night nght gun on Thompson demanding what he knows about the symbols. Apparently, Thompson knows nothing and has not been writing anything either and told the other man the same thing. This is when Derrick approaches and knocks out Coulson.
When Coulson comes through, we Derrick hold Thompson family captive in another room in the garage, while Thompson and Coulson are tied up. Derrick tells Coulson that what got his memories back was pain that every time he cut himself he remembered and he needs to know what the symbols mean. That is why Derrick sought out the others and started to cut them to get them to remember but they didn’t. So Derrick starts to cut Coulson but nothing is coming to him. When Coulson takes a look at the tracks for the train, a light bulb hits Coulson. Around this time, Thompson breaks free and goes to free his family. When Derrick throws a knife at Thompson, he catches with ease and Coulson tells him to take his family and run. A chase between Coulson and Derrick ensues
Mack and Skye are on their way to the Thompsons’. Skye explains that TAHITI was all about saving a fallen Avengers and Mack wouldn’t like the idea of the boss man having alien blood in him. The Thompsons flag them down and the two said they will take care of the situation. When the two arrive, Coulson has Derrick in a choke hold with Skye and Mack warning him to stand down. Coulson won’t as he wants Derrick to take a look at the structure below as it will give the answers he was looking for. Derrick does and he becomes at peace. We get a peek at the structure and we see from the top that it actually is a blueprint to a city.
Back at SHIELD HQ, Coulson tells May and Skye that ever since seeing the alien writing in 3D he is fine now. Coulson then assembles his team to let them know the situation about him acting a bit crazy seeking alien artifacts and alien writings but that there was a purpose and shows a 3D rendering of the city and that their mission is to find it.
The Coulson stuff was a lot but the show hasn’t forgotten about Ward. May, Tripp, Hunter and Morse are on the mission to bring him back in. In Philadelphia, Tripp finds him and is about to bring him in when he notices that Ward has strapped himself with explosives so he has to stand down. When Ward arrives by bus to Atlanta, he boards a bus to Dallas and sits next to Morse. Ward starts asking questions about why she is going by bus to Dallas, it is obvious that Ward knows that Morse is a SHIELD agent especially after noticing she hasn’t moved beyond a certain page in a book. Ward once again flashes the bomb to Morse and disembarks the bus to board one to Boston.
But Morse tells May that she was right that Ward would see right through her so now it is up to Hunter to continue on their mission. In Boston, Hunter follows Ward to an Irish bar where the bar keep pours him a drink called Bullet to the Head. Hunter sees Bakshi and other HYDRA agents arrive. Ward called this meeting as he wants to meet Whitehall. Bakshi says that Whitehall is a busy man but Ward promises that he can have an up and close meeting with Coulson, close enough to get a bullet in the head. When our SHIELD agents arrive at the bar, Ward is not there but the bartender and the HYDRA agents there are dead from a bullet to the head. In the supply closet is Baksi wearing Ward’s close and duct tape on his mouth with the words “For Coulson” on it. Coulson believes that they can use Bakshi for information and asks to see what is on his cell phone.
In the post credit scene, we see Ward get all clean shaven and a shorter haircut. Looking nice in a suit, he calls Skye on Bakshi’s cell phone. Ward tells her that Coulson can expect more gifts from him and when Skye wants to know what he is up to, he doesn’t say but we know that it involves his brother.
I am wondering if this is the end of the alien writing plot, I sure hope it does. And I am not sure about Ward. Is he capturing Bakshi and the promise of other gifts, a redemption arc for him and that he will soon rejoin SHIELD as an agent again? Not quite sure. What do you think?