S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Maria Hill's Kick-Ass Return, a Dash of Pepper (Potts) and a New T.A.H.I.T.I. Truth

COBIE SMULDERSAnd that, kids, is how your Aunt Robin kicked some serious ass on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Former S.H.I.E.L.D. bigwig Maria Hill resurfaced on the ABC series this Tuesday, and though things were frosty between her and Coulson at first — seeing as she led General Talbot to Fury’s Providence bunker — the two ultimately wound up again on the same side, fending off the troops so that they could hunt down Ward, who’s absconded with Skye.

RELATED | May Sweeps Scoopapalooza: 99+ Spoilers on Your Favorite Series’ Season-Ending Episodes

Skye meanwhile played along with her Hydra hunk’s ruse, claiming she could geo-unlock the encrypted drive at the same diner where she first met Mike Peterson. But that was her own trap, where she sicced the cops on Ward — only to get stopped in her fleeing tracks by Deathlok.

Back abroad the Bus, Ward insisted to Skye that he’d never hurt her, but there are other ways to make her talk — namely, by having Deathlok put Ward’s life in danger with some heart attack gizmo. Skye gives in, ‘fessing that the Bus needs to hit a certain altitude for her to decrypt the drive, which she does — though not without, we later learn, leaving Ward and Deathlok a “little present” on said drive, before she escaped the Bus midflight with Coulson via Lola.

As word spread of Ward’s true agenda, Fitz took it hardest. Later, he even found himself asking Simmons — for the record — if she was Hydra, because he simply wouldn’t be able to take it if she was.

PHOTOS | Quotes of the Week: Best Zingers From Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Castle and More

Toward hour’s end, Coulson had two illuminating conversations. First, Maria Hill  broke the bad news that despite his most fervent wishes, S.H.I.E.L.D. is not intact, not even in an unofficial capacity. Her advice to him: Wrap up the unsanctioned personal mission against Ward and Garrett, and then call it a day, letting his team go their separate ways — or, you know, come work with her at Tony Stark’s place. (At the top of the episode, we heard Maria’s side of an amusing phone conversation with Pepper Potts.)

Then in the tag, Coulson found May in his motel room. She came bearing fresh hell intel — the truth about who was behind T.A.H.I.T.I.. It came in the form of a video message Coulson had left for Fury some time ago, declaring the program to be “too extreme.” Coulson cites degraded mental health and such as the side effects, and how they only can be stemmed by memory wipes. Thus, he recommended the termination of the tests ASAP, the costs being “far too great.” Coulson’s shell-shocked response upon realizing his onetime role in shepherding that which one day would save him: “Huh.”

What did you think of this week’s S.H.I.E.L.D.?