Since Agents first season we have been peeling back the layers of the T.A.H.I.T.I. project. We know that Coulson was the Agent overseeing the project that former Director Fury ultimately used to bring Coulson back to life after Loki drove a septre through his chest. Tonight we learn that T.A.H.I.T.I was a really bad idea ( if we didn’t already know), and that Nick Fury is probably an idiot.
T.A.H.I.T.I is a horrible, scary place
The show has been on a two week vacation, and the last episode (A Fractured House) was probably the best yet. However, Agents returns with a weak offering. We were left, two weeks ago, being introduced to a seemingly-psycho getnleman, who had those mysterious alien markings etched all over his body, and we all knew he would be trouble. This week we learn that he was a former T.A.H.I.T.I subject (Go figure!) and that, just like anyone else ever injected with GH-23, he’s gone batshit crazy. There were six subjects that participated in the trials and tattooed guy (Sebastian Derrick) is going after all of them. Just like Coulson, their memories were re-mapped, so they’re not supposed to remember anything. Of course, they do, sort of, and all have been obsessively jotting done the markings in their own way. At the episodes opening we are introduced to an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D participant that paints them. Derrick gets his obsession out via the tattoos, and carving the markings into the flesh of the other five T.A.H.I.T.I. participants. He believes that pain will help them remember. Thankfully, Phil Coulson just likes to etch them into a wall!
Coulson’s carving-crazy episodes are becoming more frequent, and every episode presents more questions with no answers. We all love Phil Coulson, but how is it that Fury (knowing that Coulson was injected with alien blood and had his brain remapped, and witnessed Garrett go crazy) feels comfortable with Coulson being the new head of a rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D? How can Agents May and Skye not go full on mutiny? They all know that he’s a ticking time bomb. Whew! It’s amazing where loyalty and sentiment will get you in this group. He becomes so obssessed with uncovering the connections to T.A.H.I.T.I that he decides to go back into the memory machine, the same memory machine that Raina put him under and nearly killed him. Coulson’s gang of agents allows him to do so, with Mac being the only one who doesn’t know what the hell is going on. Sure, it gives all the answers they need to locate the subjects, and catch Sebastian Derrick, but with Agent Mac seeing how unstable Coulson has become, that should make for some intersting water cooler chatter.
“The compulsion is gone.”
Now, lets discuss the “big reveal”, which had been referred to as a “game changer” through out the week on Twitter. The Winter Soldier connection was a big reveal, this is just another crumb on a longer journey. Coulson goes off on his own, after confining Skye to The Basement, and tracks down the last living T.A.H.I.T.I subject. Derrick has beat him to it and the subject AND Coulson end up being tied up. It turns out that the last subject, Hank Thompson, has erected a 3D model of the alien markings. Coulson realizes that they’ve been looking at them all wrong, and that they were meant to be three dimensional. Derek stops being crazy, as does Coulson, because now they know it’s not a map, it’s a blueprint … it’s a city!
Okay, so it’s a city. Where? No one knows yet, but apparently just knowing that it’s a city has made Coulson totally cool. He addresses his inner circle and basically says, “Yeah, sorry about me being crazy, but now that we know that these alien markings are the blueprints of a city, I’m totally cool. My bad, guys.” I feel that this will cause further family dysfunction for Coulson & Co.
We got another answer, but not THE answer. How long can Agents stretch this until we no longer care what it all means? We learned about T.A.H.I.T.I, how Coulson was revived, and at what cost. We learned about GH-23, and we know it comes from an alien species, and that Skye may share genes with this species. We know that Skye’s father knows a lot about an obelisk that bares the markings, we know that there’s a city, but that is where it ends. Will we know by the end of Season 2?
Two weeks ago we also saw Agent Ward escape. This is another story line that leaves me feeling like it’s not going to end anytime soon. I don’t care to go on about it, because there’s not much to say. Ward traveled via the bus to Philadelphia and Atlanta, he showed us that he’s a highly skilled agent by knowing he was being followed, and by blowing Agent Morse’s cover. He meets up with HYDRA people and then leaves Whitehall’s right-hand man as a gift marked “For Coulson.” And lastly, we see him shaving off his bad-guy beard. To me, this is the show runners trying to stir the feelings of trust again. Oh, and he’s definetly going to kill his Senator brother. Is Ward trying to redeem himself? Will he, once again, be an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Who knows how long we’ll have to watch this unfold.
Daniel J is a writer living in Baltimore, Maryland. He’s spent a lifetime compiling an impressive backlog of pop culture knowledge. He comes in handy at bar trivia.