In this week's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled "F.Z.Z.T.," Marvel Studios and ABC offered fans more periods than any other episode title in recent memory--but did all that punctuation lead to action? Read on...
The episode opened on the camping scene that the network teased early this week; a group of scouts in Pennsylvania are telling spooky stories around a campfire when their scout leader heads into the woods to investigate a real-life bump in the night.
Soon, there's a flurry of activity that leaves the troop and their junior leader to run to the truck, where they can't get it started. A blast of lightning comes from nowhere, striking the trunk and hurling the car battery into the air.
In the air, the Bus is headed in the direction (presumably) of this case, while Coulson works out on a treadmill and Simmons looks on. He's wearing a handheld phone around his chest, which should give the conspiracy theorists something to work with. Simmons tells him that he's in great shape, but that she wasn't sure why he's getting a physical since he's not due for one yet.
Back in the lab, Fitz and Skye are working with Ward, where Fitz has provided him with a gun that's apparently not weighted quite right. Fitz has some clumsy chemistry with Skye, but Skye mistakes his flirtations toward her for talk about Simmons.
Ward briefly leaves, and during that time, Skye bonds with Fitz and then, when she arrives, Simmons about being in his dog house. Each of the English "twins" have an unflattering impression of Ward, so that the group are all giggling when he shows up to tell them there's a mission. They tell him that the weight issue in the gun has been resolved (in spite of no work having been done to it) and he tries it, agrees, and leaves.
At the site, Coulson and May are looking at the wreckage from the camping attack when Ward and Skye find where the battery landed, saying it would take a lot of force to do so. Skye is unconcerned about the lightning strike, but understand why they were called when she sees the corpse floating in midair. Fitz and Simmons don't have any idea how it might have happened. Coulson says he'll look into a metahuman index to see whether there's anyone they aren't thinking of who could do this. When Simmons gets close to the body to examine it, she gets a quick, minor electric shock and the body falls to the ground.
Back at the Bus, Ward and Coulson are taking a presentation on the victim by Skye. She hasn't found anything suspicious. Both Ward and Coulson want her to keep digging.
She leaves, and Coulson suggests that Ward is too tough on her. Coulson wants May to look over Skye's work to see if she can see anything the rest of them missed.
In the interrogation room, May is spooking the kids.
In the lab, Fitz and Simmons have the body on the table, and she says that the molecular density of the body was disrupted temporarily. As they're talking over the body, Fitz finds another electrostatic event about to take place. Moments later, Coulson and May are in the car with Ward and Skye. Back in the lab, the twins are tracking the signal, which gives out abruptly. They find themselves at a barn where the signal was originating; May kicks in the barn door and inside, there's a farmer hanging in midair.
Coulson thought that the farmer may have barricaded himself inside and gone for his gun--that he was scared. He, like the previous victim, has a mark on his forehead. Skye finds out that both of the victims were firefighters who responded when aliens attacked New York in The Avengers. They deduce that since the victims seemed to know each other, they're likely looking for a killer.
Back at the barn, they bring the body down and are checking out the wounds. Skye says the fire station sent a dozen people to New York during the Chitauri invasion. The team sets out to find the rest of the firefighters. They arrive at the station, present credentials, and all of the firefighters are odd and awkward.
Back at the lab on the bus, Skye says that the wounds on their foreheads are exit wounds, not entry wounds.
Back at the fire station, a firefighter named Diaz is acting very suspicious. Coulson locks the place down.
Skye notices in the lab that there's another reading--this one in the firehouse.
Coulson asks Diaz, who's worried about a buzzing noise, whether he was in New York, too. Coulson starts to get panicked when electrical stuff starts to happen in the building. Diaz says that he and the two dead men had cleaned the helmet, which had been gathering rust. Simmons tells him over the communicator that the man is starting to build up a massive charge and that he's carrying an alien virus.
That's when we get the next scene we've already seen--where Coulson sits down with the man and tells him that he knows what it's like to be dead, and that if death is inevitable, there are good things on the other side.
When the man's hands start to crackle with energy, a knife rises into the air and he tells Coulson to get going before something happens.
Once Coulson gets outside to join May, there's a flash of energy.
Back at the Bus, Simmons is checking out the team for infection; a S.H.I.E.L.D. biohazard team has the helmet in a protective cooler and packing it into the Bus for transport to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s biohazard lab codenamed The Sandbox. Coulson tells Simmons that if she's right, and this is a virus, they need to develop a cure in case other firefighters are infected.
Coulson comes ot May to ask when the ETA is, and that he wants the alien thing off the jet as quickly as possible. She asks about his physical, but he says there's nothing to tell. He's called down to the lab, and before he leaves May assures him that he did everything he could for Diaz.
Simmons has figured out that the virus is like nothing they've ever seen--that it was activated by friction that generated a static charge because it travels by electrostatic shock. As she's talking, a metal item behind her is lifted into the air. Coulson, wondering whether it's he or she that's infected, starts to walk away and the item is unaffected. He tells her he's sorry and locks down the lab.
Outside the lab, Fitz is working on some kind of item. The team determines that there's about two hours before Simmons goes critical and three hours before they can get the plane on the ground, since they're over the Atlantic en route to the Sandbox. Coulson says he's willing to bet his life that Simmons will figure it out.
Fitz sends something through the wall into the lab, an antiserum for the virus. She shoots it into a lab rat, who immediately blows up in a flash of energy and begins to float.
At the living area, Ward is waiting silently when Skye comes to check on him. He invites her to stay with him since the scientists don't need an audience. The pair agree they feel helpless, and Ward says he wanted it to be some super-powered psychopath he could take out, not something beyond his control.
Coulson gets on the monitor with Agent Blake, who tells Coulson that they can't afford to lose the sample and that if they have infected cargo, it's their responsibility to dump it so that the Bus isn't compromised. In the lab, Simmons continues to try and find a fix; Fitz tells her that his device is clearly working, and it's the antiviral that's not right. The two begin to scream at each other, then have their emotional moment. She says there's no one to create an antiserum from, because there's no one who's survived the virus is the Chitauri. They figure that if they can scrape skin cells from inside the helmet, they can create an antiserum using it.
Fitz rushes into the lab carrying the sample box with the helmet in it, telling her that they're going to fix it together. They synthesize another vaccine using the alien DNA and when he gives it to hte lab rat, it seems to work. After a longer-than-usual pause, though, the rat dies anyway.
Simmons tells Coulson that she knows what has to happen, and that she wants him to tell her father first that she died. Coulson tells her that they "aren't there yet," and she tells him that she wants time alone with Fitz.
When everyone else leaves, she knocks out Fitz with a fire extinguisher and goes to throw herself out the back of the cargo hold. He wakes up and sees that the rat was just unconscious, not actually dead, but since he's locked in the lab, he can't tell her before she falls out.
Grabbing the antiserum and heading for the door, Fitz is grabbed by Ward, who throws himself out the back of the jet with a parachute and the serum. He points himself at Simmons and stops her in midair, injecting her before he lets go of the chute.
Back on the Bus, Coulson tells the Simmons that what she did wasn't her call, and not to ever do anything like that again, then dismisses her. Ward tells her he thinks she's brave; she admits to having misled him about the gun and he repeats her impression of him, showing that he's aware. Skye comes and hugs Simmons.
May joins Coulson in his office, where his bloodwork has finally come back. He's perfectly normal, with elevated iron levels. He admits the doctors never requested any tests, that he ordered them himself. He tells her that he doesn't feel fine; he feels different. She tells him to take off his shirt.
She opens his shirt and tells him that however long he was dead, he was dead and you don't come out of that unchanged. She starts to ask if he knows how long it's taken her, but he cuts her off. She says that there's no going back, only moving forward. She tells him that he feels different because he is different.
In their room, Fitz is telling Simmons that he would have done what Ward did; she cuts him off to tell him that he's the hero for having been there in the lab when she was infectious. She thanks him and kisses him.