|"The Only Light in the Darkness"|
|Series:||Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|Original airdate:||April 22, 2014|
|Next Episode:||"Nothing Personal"|
"The Only Light in the Darkness" is the ninteenth episode of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Marcus Daniels, recently freed from his imprisonment in the Fridge by John Garrett and Hydra, walks along the docks in an unidentified city, and asks a bystander for a ride to Portland. When he refuses, Daniels shows off his abilities to drain the energy out of anything around him before killing him and stealing his truck.
At Providence, Simmons tends to Ward's wounds while he lies to the rest of the team about the situation at the Fridge and with Garrett. He lets them know that the prisoners stationed at the Fridge escaped, including Marcus Daniels, who Coulson takes a particular interest in. He orders Skye to cross-check the list of inmates at the Fridge with crime reports, and announces he will take teams out to recapture the escaped prisoners. Koenig, who still doesn't trust anyone but Coulson, disagress, and won't let anyone leave until they undergo "orientation," a high-powered lie-detector to test each of their loyalty. May, Skye, Fitz, Simmons, and Triplett pass with flying colors, but Ward nearly fails the test when Koenig asks him about his true purpose at the base. Just as Koenig is about to execute him as a Hydra infiltrator, Ward recovers by telling him he's at Providence for Skye, although he doesn't reveal that Garrett also wants her.
Coulson takes Fitz, Simmons, and Trip to Portland, where he believes Daniels will go after Audrey Nathan, a woman he was obsessed with before he was locked up in the Fridge. Meanwhile, Daniels is chasing Audrey through a park before she's rescued by Coulson's team. Fitz and Coulson attempt to arrest him, but Daniels escapes after knocking them back with a blast of his heightened abilities. The next day, the team hides out with Audrey at the auditorium where she'll have a concert that night, and she tells Triplett and Simmons, Fitz and Coulson are in a separate room tracking Daniels about her previous history with Daniels. He repeatedly showed up at her cello concerts, which soon evolved into stalking. Daniels was eventually apprehended by a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and Audrey started a relationship with the team's leader: Phil Coulson.
Back at Providence, Skye and Koenig are trying to track down the escaped prisoners. Frustrated with a lack of progress, Skye suggests they hack into the NSA satellites to get footage of the prisoners escaping the prison that S.H.I.E.L.D. satellites couldn't capture. Despite Koenig's objection to hacking into such a powerful organization, Ward pushes Skye into doing it. Meanwhile, Agent May has packed up her things and leaves Providence, tired of Coulson not trusting her. Ward runs into her before she leaves, and then heads to Koenig's office. Koenig updates him on Skye's hack before Ward ominously shuts the door.
Meanwhile, in Portland, Audrey performs her concert to an empty audience to lure out Daniels. The ruse works, and Trip, Simmons and Fitz fire high-energy beams of light at him. Although Daniels puts up a fight and even attacks Audrey, the light is too powerful for him and his body explodes into a cloud of Darkforce (the energy that gave Daniels his powers). Coulson, who has kept himself hidden from Audrey until now, rushes to her side. He comforts her as she wakes up, so the first thing she sees is the boyfriend she thought was dead. He soon withdraws, making Audrey assume she hallucinated Simmons as Coulson. On the plane ride back, Coulson confides in Fitz that he plans on telling Audrey the truth someday, when she's ready to accept it.
At Providence, Skye looks unsuccessfully for Koenig to celebrate her successful hack into the NSA satellites. She finds Ward instead, and the two soon end up making out. Ward freaks out, however, when Skye reaches behind his head and finds blood, and leaves the room. Using a tablet tracking their lanyards, Skye keeps looking for Koenig, and tracks him to a closet, where she finds a penny perched above the door which drops to the floor before finding his corpse stuffed in the vent. Figuring out that Ward must be with HYDRA, she gets out of the closet and evades Ward by keeping an eye on his tracker before hiding in the restroom. She panics before looking towards one of the base screens. Ward returns to the closet to find the penny in its rightful place before Skye appears behind him, pretending to be none the wiser about his secret. The two of them leave on the Bus, Ward secretly taking her to Garrett before Coulson and the team arrive back at Providence. When Ward mentions the hard drive which she backed up all of the technology schematics the team had gathered, she realizes his true mission.
May’s mother picks her up by the side of an Ontario highway, handing over an envelope May requested. The mother questions if May intends to kill the target, though May only wants to talk with them, as the mother admits to always having liked Maria Hill.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine Triplett
- Patton Oswalt as Agent Eric Koenig
- Patrick Brennan as Marcus Daniels
- Bill Paxton as John Garrett
- Amy Acker as Audrey Nathan
- Tsai Chin as Lian May
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Antoine Triplett returns.
- Agent Eric Koenig returns.
- The Cellist, Audrey Nathan is introduced. She was mentioned twice in The Avengers and several times in various Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes.
- Marcus Daniels/Blackout is introduced.
- The Fridge is mentioned and appears in recycled footage from previous episode.
- John Garrett appears in recycled footage from previous episode.
- HYDRA is mentioned and appears in recycled footage from previous episode.
- The Plasma Particle Beam is mentioned and appears in recycled footage from previous episode.
- The Berserker Staff appears in recycled footage from previous episode.
- President Ellis is mentioned on the radio as "The President".
- The Providence appears.
- Ian Quinn and his shooting Skye in a stomach from "T.R.A.C.K.S. episode" are mentioned.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Jump Jet appears.
- Nick Fury is mentioned.
- Natasha Romanoff is mentioned.
- Project Insight is mentioned.
- Alexander Pierce is mentioned.
- It is revealed that Antoine Triplett is grandson of one of Howling Commandos, presumably Gabe Jones, notable for being the sole African-American member of the squad during a time prior to the desegregation of the United States Military.
- Maynard Ward is mentioned as Grant Ward's brother.
- Darkforce appears.
- Project T.A.H.I.T.I. is mentioned.
- Steve Rogers and his shield are mentioned.
- Coulson's "death" is mentioned.
- Bruce Banner is mentioned.
- Melinda May's Mother is introduced.
- Maria Hill is mentioned as "Maria".
- Simmons mentions The Tardis from Doctor Who.
- In The Avengers, Pepper Potts mentions to Coulson that she wants to hear about the cellist and if it was still a thing. Phil tells her she moved back to Portland. This is of course a reference to Audrey Nathan who appears in this episode.
Clark Gregg and Amy Acker previously played uncle and niece in Much Ado About Nothing.
- In the end scene in which Melinda May gets into the car with her mother, actresses Ming-Na Wen and Tsai Chin were also both in "Joy Luck Club" together. The film portrayed the struggles and relationships of four Chinese women and their American-born daughters. Tsai Chin played the "auntie" of Ming-Na Wen's character.
- Amy Acker ("Audrey Nathan") and J. August Richards ("Mike Peterson") once starred together in the Joss Whedon TV series "Angel".
- Coulson can be seen loading a Smith & Wesson M&P "Shield" model carry pistol.
- This episode marks the second time that Tsai Chin and Ming-Na Wen portrayed mother and daughter. They both played these roles in The Joy Luck Club. However, they were not each other's relations in this film.
- During the lie detector test Agent Koenig tells Triplett that if his grandfather were a member of the howling commandos he would have it tattooed across his chest. This is a reference to the comic that takes place "Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos" which had a character named private Eric Koenig.
- Guest star Tsai Chin, who plays May's mother, is one of a rare few actresses who have played a Bond girl more than once. She appeared for the first time in the Bond franchise as Ling; a Chinese agent in Hong Kong who sets up Sean Connery's Bond to be killed at the beginning of You Only Live Twice. She returned nearly 40 years later to appear opposite Daniel Craig's Bond as poker player Madame Wu in Casino Royale. The ABC television network has had a long standing TV broadcast arrangement with the Bond franchise in the past.