S.H.I.E.L.D. Winter Finale Recap: Transformers, More than Meets the Eye

Agents of SHIELD Skye Daisy Johnson

Much knowledge was dropped on Tuesday night in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason finale, including significant details about Skye’s identity. Yet as the thrilling hour drew to a close with one character emerging triumphant, another’s life came to a tragic end.

BOMBS, AWAY! | The action picked up with May using some aerial razzle-dazzle to dupe HYDRA into thinking its squadron had landed direct hits on the Bus. The team then prepared to return to the alien city in Puerto Rico to plant old-timey, EMP-resistant bombs.

Meanwhile, Ward endeavored to explain to Skye that while his official target was Raina, bringing Skye in was his own idea, to make good on his promise to introduce her to her father. The family reunion, however, is less than warm-and-fuzzy, as Skye kicks things off by noting that “a trail of death” follows Daddy Dearest. The Doctor, however, is visibly moved to see his daughter before him. Introducing himself as Cal, he explains how his world fell apart the day she was stolen from him, how sorry he was that he couldn’t be there for her, to “teach you about the stars.”

Skye writes Cal off as crazy and creepy, even more so given his alliance with Whitehall. Cal contends that he merely used the ageless Nazi to find his little girl. “Your mother came from a line of people who had gifts. I brought you here to receive yours, your birthright,” he says. Then, quoting from Are You There, God? It’s Me, the Obelisk, he adds: “There’s a change that has to happen.” Cal details how he worked with her mother at a clinic, until one day men came to take her. By the time he tracked down his love, Whitehall had “cut her to pieces” for experiments, leaving the leftovers in a ditch.  Now, having met his daughter, all that’s left on his to-do list is “to kill the man who destroyed my life” — aka “Best. Day. Ever!”

Back on the Bus, Coulson directs Agent Koenig (not that one, the shorter one) to initiate the (gulp!) “theta protocol” if need be, while the team discovers that HYDRA is on site just above the alien city’s entrance, using a (very cool) plasma drill. The plan: Bobbi and Lance (who have a fleeting chat about her mysterious thumb drive) will derail the drillers while Tripp and FitzSimmons plant the old-timey bombs throughout the tunnels.

OOPSY, DAISY | Cal’s bloodthirst for Whitehall is interrupted when the HYDRA baddie rounds everyone up, questioning Skye’s usefulness to their cause. Skye lays hands on the obelisk, unharmed, then swiftly uses it to incinerate one of Whitehall’s goons. “I hope you are as special as your mother,” Whitehall purrs. When he then questions Ward and the mixed messages he’s been sending regarding his loyalties, Raina explains that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s black sheep is operating from a place of “love,” for Skye. Still, Whitehall has the entire lot of ’em detained. Volatile Cal eventually overrides the neutering implant in his neck, KO’s the guard and squares off with Whitehall — but before he can tear him limb from limb (which could have been some great TV!), Coulson guns down the HYDRA honcho. Cal is livid to be cheated out of delivering a long-brewing comeuppance, so he begins whaling on Coulson.

After Ward himself wrests free, he releases Skye — who turns around and shoots him, several times: (“Never turn your back on the enemy,” she reminds.) Skye arrives in time to stop Cal’s bloody pummeling of Coulson, then offers “Dad” this one chance to walk away alive. “I’m not going to ‘transform’ or whatever,” she declares. He begs to differ. “I’ll wait for you,” he says. “I will always love you, Daisy.” :-O

‘WHAT DO WE BECOME?’ | The rest of the finale takes place in the tunnels, where Coulson is chasing after Skye (…who is chasing after Raina and the obeslisk), while Tripp scrambles to undo all the bombs he planted, lest the team get killed in the implosion. Skye ultimately finds Raina inside a special chamber with a mystical pedestal at its center. “I knew you’d come,” Raina smiles. “Our whole lives have been leading to this moment.” As she spins it, “Whitehall had it all wrong — [the obelisk] doesn’t destroy. It gives new life. Let’s find out: Who do we become?” The obelisk then levitates out of Raina’s hand and onto the pedestal. Tripp races inside the chamber just before the giant stone doors seal closed. As the obelisk folds open and eventually unleashes a pulse of energy, a seemingly organic material quickly envelops each of the women. Tripp fears the worst… until Skye begins to wiggle free from her “cocoon.” Then in a swift moment, she triumphantly burst out of her shell, seemingly renewed… or something. Alas, the otherworldy mojo cannot be sustained by an obelisk shard had hit Tripp, who is reduced to a pile of dust.

Then, in the post-credits tag…. we see a mysterious figure in a strange room with a different, pulsing obelisk. “Are you seeing this? There’s someone new. Tell the others I’m on it,” he says on the phone,  a swath of featureless skin where his eyes should be

You’ve got questions, and I’ll have some semblance of answers — at 10 pm PT, when I publish my winter finale post mortem Q&A with S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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73 Comments
  1. lori says:

    So is Tripp really dead? I liked his character.

  2. Kat says:

    glad to see a SHIELD recap on here again…

    i was tense for the entire episode. i knew something tragic was going to happen. very sad to see Tripp go. at least he died a hero.

    this episode all but explicitly said that Skye is an Inhuman. i wonder when they’ll actually introduce that word in the series. i’m more curious what Raina turned into.

    • Bill says:

      Supposedly, Skye turning into Quake (and her vibrating powers) caused the shard to fly into Tripp. too bad. He was a neat character. Good show last night.

  3. Carrie says:

    Why would they kill off Tripp?! They are now sorely lacking in good male agents.

  4. StephonJS says:

    I loved the episode until Trip was killed. Is he dead? He was one of my favorite characters. I was hoping he would transform into something. :(
    Daisy Johnson and Mr Hyde finally revealed.
    I dont know every single person in MARVEL, maybe someone can tell me who the man was at the end of the episode..

  5. Jason says:

    Skye is Daisy Johnson & her father is Calvin Zabo (MisterHyde). So much sense!!!

  6. Skittles&Bits says:

    First Mack, then Tripp. WTF SHIELD??? I really, really liked Tripp. He was funny and useful. You could’ve dusted useless Hunter or one of the Koenig minions (because Lord knows there’s enough of them!) or even annoyingly smug Raina (someone please take her and her stupid “I know everything and I’m not going to tell you diddly squat” therapy voice and toss it off the Bus) but you take Tripp? I’m seriously let down by this.

    • Quinn Mallory says:

      Mack revert back by the end of the episode, if I’m not mistaken.

      • Jonathan says:

        Yep, Mack is fine, but I was more invested in Tripp as a character and am bummed to see him go, although I expected as much since he was not added to the main cast credits unlike Hunter. Fortunately Morse has injected some life into the cast so I don’t mind having Hunter around, and Mack had some chemistry with Fitz but just didn’t seem to have much of a personality of his own. We’ll see how it goes. Now if they could just wake up Agent May…

    • Meg says:

      Age of ultron is going to tie into shield. Tripp is listed as a rumored cast member in age of ultron. Maybe he isn’t going to be gone. Is it possible Daisy / Skye may be able to bring him back?

      • Rae says:

        I doubt Skye (Daisy….and thats gonna be wierd!) will bring him back. Daisy’s powers have to do with earthquakes and forces.

  7. rip Tripp, welcome inhumans!!!

  8. Stanley says:

    What happen to Raina?????

  9. kelly says:

    I really hope Tripp isn’t dead somehow, he was one of my favorites. Otherwise, great episode though, had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

  10. jmcg says:

    Trip better not be dead! If gross Raina and psycho Ward are still alive, they better find someway to bring Trip back.

  11. David m says:

    So Skye seems to be normal… But did anyone catch Reyna looking like she had dark spots and possible thorns or thick whisker type things on her body… What did she become ?

  12. Kate Sullivan says:

    I just read who Daisy Johnson is…ugh..did she accidentally kill Tripp? Like broke the mold before he could finish…

    • MikeD says:

      No. I think Trip got hit with a piece of the diviner when he smashed it. He was already dead when Skye had her power surge.

    • Karen MT says:

      No, he looked visibly different than Skye and Raina. They looked like they had a dark covering. Tripp looked like he’d been turned to charcoal. He was already dead.

  13. Kappa says:

    Amazing episode. One of the best TV hours I’ve ever had. This cast is so great – I loved every scene between Skye and her crazy dad. Papa Coulson is the best. Tripp’s death was heartbreaking, I really liked him, he was the big bro of the team! The way he ran off to help Skye and Coulson… he died a hero. Can’t we make a little deal and get back Tripp in exchange for Ward? As much as I love Brett Dalton, I can’t stand his character. And what about Raina? Is she dead too?
    I really hope AoS will get a bit more of recognition. In Italy we have only stupid stuff, like priest who plays detective, big cliché italian families and idiotic drama. Cool shows like Agents of Shield is literally gold for us!

  14. Greg Alayon says:

    Who is the man without eyes, does any know?

    • Ronnie says:

      There is a new Inhuman character in the comics named Reader, and he is missing his eyes. The Inhumans removed them because they thought he was too powerful. He could make anything he read become reality.

  15. Steph says:

    Pissed they killed Tripp. He was a great asset to the team and the show.

  16. Ben says:

    I’ve been worried for Tripp ever since he wasn’t a series regular, which he should have been. A real shame, because he was a fantastic addition to the show. But I guess this is the kind of show where people you like need to die sometimes.

  17. TTY says:

    I’m pretty sure part of the Diviner shard hit Tripp in the chest, turning him to stone.

  18. Quinn Mallory says:

    Was so hoping that Tripp gains some super power…well, this is a comic book world, so maybe he can come back in the future when the actor has more free time.

  19. sladewilson says:

    I had a bad feeling Tripp would buy it and Mac would live. I had hoped Tripp would make it though. Great episode. Daisy Johnson. Oh boy. I want to see Raina’s transformation. March can’t get here fast enough…

  20. LEP says:

    First my son and I watched Flash, and then we watched AOS. What a night for WOW.

  21. Margreete says:

    A piece of the Diviner flew into Tripp’s midsection. He was already dying when the Diviner turned him into stone. Then when Skye/Daisy “quaked,” it blew stone-Tripp apart. Raina’s transformation included very sharp claws as well as spiny things on her face. There is a Raina in Marvel comics who is a Saurid – a humanoid descendant of dinosaurs who lives in the Savage Lands. It could be hat the MCU is translating that character into an Inhuman (Quake/Daisy is not an Inhuman in the comics, she has mutated due to experiments by her father Cal, but the MCU has translated her into an Inhuman, so the same could be true of the Raina from the comics.)

  22. Alex says:

    Really, really bummed that Tripp died. You can never trust a Joss Whedon affiliated show, lol! The last time I was this down about a character’s death was Wash.

  23. Elaine says:

    I think killing Tripp off is a terrible idea I liked his strength and honesty coupled with his incredible loyalty it is a refreshing change for a black male character. Skye needs to heal him…

  24. Ashley says:

    I’ve been dreading the moment that they’d inevitably see Tripp as expendable and ugh. So much wasted potential there given how ingrained into mythology his family is. Plus he was one of the best on here. Hopefully they find a way to undo it? I don’t know. I just refuse to believe this is the last we’ll see of Tripp.

  25. Eric M says:

    Tripp is in the Avengers movie so i’m banking that they bring him back to life somehow.

  26. I’m convinced that Trip is alive. BJ was seen on the set of Age of Ultron, a week ago the makeup artist took a picture of the decorations in her trailer, which included a stocking for BJ (why would he get one if he wasn’t on the show still). Also, when researching in humans I saw that humans can gain powers if they were “mutated by the Terrigen crystal” which it looked like Trip was when he inhaled the mist and was impaled with it.
    What power he has, how he comes back, and any other details I’m not sure of, but I need more proof before I believe he’s dead.

  27. Bru says:

    Why did you kill off Tripp? Loved it until then. Not sure if I will feel the same about the show now.

  28. Nicole says:

    Skye a.k.a Daisy Johnson a.k.a Quake a.k.a Avenger?!?!?

  29. James D says:

    Fantastic. it sucks to see Tripp go but I figured someone was going to bite it the bus was getting a wee bit crowded. This whole first half of the season has been phenomenal the writers have really righted the ship and I count this among my favorite shows now so kudos to them. I honestly have no idea what Sky is and as a pretty major comic book lover i feel i should but I just can’t place it. can’t wait for it to come back, but Agent Carter will be a good substitute until then.

  30. Marvelfan99 says:

    what did raina become????????? OMG !!! Watching every episode gives me such an adrenaline rush hahahaha xD

  31. murley says:

    Thanks for the recap! Great episode. Everyone was fantastic and at the end, Skye watching Tripp crumble? Just, wow. I can’t wait for it to come back!

  32. wendie says:

    Sadly, rules of tv finale episodes, one good guy dies, one bad guy dies, one good guy almost dies, one bad guy almost dies. Something weird and unexplainable happens. So pretty much covered all the bases.

    Got my Xmas wish that Whitehall was wasted, altho I am not convinced he really is dead due to his weird genetic alteration. Just Raina and Ward to go, but damn it felt good to see Skye shoot him! Wish she’d hit him in the face.

    Didn’t want to see Tripp die! however, from his first appearance, I felt he was most likely to be offed in future episodes

    great episode, except for Raina surviving. Hate the two faced bitch

  33. Joey Padron says:

    Great, shocking, and sad winter finale. Sad Tripp died in temple. Glad Mack is back to normal. I wonder what new powers Skye will have and so as Raina. Surprised Ward will be teaming up with May’s evil twin. Can’t wait to see what happens next in March!

  34. ANNA says:

    1.) I like how quickly this hidden city plot developed. I thought they were going to drag it out. And that for once the team was using real bullets and actually hitting their targets when they infiltrated Whitehall’s operation- almost like a real team of super spies. although towards the end everyone was just running around with no thought of cooperation- not very sophisticated.
    2.) Ward 3.0 is the most interesting character on the show, glad to see that. I definitely want to see more of him as a third party antagonist. Hopefully now that she shot him, he’s over Skye and can get on with being a complex bad guy.
    3.) I see no reason why Tripp had to die, other than they wanted this episode to have more gravity. He could have easily been on the other side of the door with coulson.
    4.) I’m still not that excited about Skye’s transformation. I’m just not.
    5.) This show gets more and more like x-files and less of a spy show with each episode.
    6.) I wouldn’t be surprised if Whitehall isn’t really dead.

    • Anesu says:

      To be honest you should pick up a shield comic book and tell me what you think after , most have superheroes and powers heavily involved.
      I think what happened in season 1 necessitates Shield getting superpowered allies and agents more than ever , Hydra is currently creating superpowered individuals ,
      As for Skyes transformation , it makes complete and utter sense because her character is also an avenger in the comics so the show now has two including Bobby. Plus this definitely increases the shows chances of not getting cancelled because we now know marvels serious about the show.
      Tripp was so useless this season and lm starting to think his fans like him more for his looks , I like him too but he was basically Ward 2.0 in season 1 and this season sidelined him too much to an extent were l feel it event affected the impact of his death.
      The producers said watching Tripp die is going to affect Skye a lot in the second half ,he was her friend and l think the easiest death in a way they couldn’t really kill Fitz and Simmons. If they had to kill someone l guess hes the choice lm most okay with even though l will miss Tripp to mostly because l like the actor but Tripps characterization needed work.
      Maybe they are to to turn Tripp into a Koenig and bring him back.

  35. DonnaMaMa says:

    Has anyone on this show referred or even called Bobbi Morse Mockingbird yet?

  36. Kenkra says:

    I know it is probably a long shot but is anyone hoping Mack is gonna be Luke Cage? he is someone who looks alot like him plus the powers he had during the finale(although was in a trance) resembles those of cage, I may be looking more into it than is probably there but we don’t know if he retains the powers yet or not.

  37. julsieb says:

    What if Trip didn’t die and his power is invisibility — so it only looked like he wasn’t there when the ashes scattered, but he actually is alive — that’d be a good twist cause I liked his character and wanted to learn more about him…

  38. Thanh says:

    This was an entertaining midseason finale. But I am so bummed that Tripp died. I really liked him. I actually prefer him over Mack, so I’m disappointed that Mack survived, while Tripp died.

    So, it seems the obelisk changes certain people into different forms/species. Raina seems to have become some kind of porcupine person. The ending credits has a dude with no eyes, but apparently some kind of ability to sense in other ways, since he didn’t fumble, and knew exactly where stuff was, on his desk. By comparison, it was almost disappointing to see Skype burst out as…Skye again. Unless she can do awesome stuff now, like be immortal, or have superhuman abilities, etc.