(Nerd) Newsday Tuesday

Freddie Prinze Jr says Kiefer Sutherland is unprofessional… and nearly everyone replies “Who is Freddie Prinze Jr?” Kiefer’s people address the situation the most obvious way: by pointing out that he has a lucrative career, and that Fox wouldn’t have brought “24” back after 5 years if he were.

While those stars are squabbling, “Walking Dead” actor Steven Yeun addresses racism in Hollywood. He discusses that he has trouble getting roles because there simply aren’t roles for Asian men -and worse, many roles meant for Asian men a whitewashed. You can read more on that here.

Geeks Of Doom gave fans the low down on blu-ray special features for “Agents of SHIELD” they link up a pretty rad blooper real, too.

Quentin Tarantino, now making his foray into comics with Dynamite’s Django Unchained/Zorro crossover series announces that he’ll be directing 2 flicks due out in 2015, one called “The Hateful Eight” and the other? A superlength version of Kill Bill with a 30 minute anime scene.

Also straight out of Comic-Con: Jensen Ackles talks about “Demon Dean” in the season 10 storyline. & Sam Raimi announces an Evil Dead TV series made for Groovy Bruce himself!

In the world of non-entertainment news from San Diego ComicCon: A man plowed into a “Zombie Walk” He started edging out trying to get through the crowd. People/zombies upset about his dangerous driving started banging on the car and sitting on the hood. The man freaked out and drove into the paraders and also injured an 84 year old woman who was not part of the walk.

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For the record, I like Wonder Woman’s get up, it’s serious + powerful. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and it’s just one Amazon emulating another after all. I’ll count it as a nod to Xena and hope that Gal Gadot can hurl and insult or deliver a battle cry half as fiercely as Lucy Lawless.

Agents of SHIELD- Season Finale

May grabs the Berserker staff and get herself, Coulson, Tripp and Skye away from Centipede soldiers. Elsewhere, Garrett is in good health, but Ian Quinn is not amused that they have no more “miracle drug”

FitzSimmons are at the bottom of the ocean. “I broke my arm in the same 2 places I did in second grade.” Simmons has been out cold. Fitz has done the math, no one is looking for them, they’re sinking and low on supplies. There is no way out. …According to Fitz, but there is a way out, it involves glass and ethanol and a defibrillator. Gemma figures it out. The Fitz tries to give her the only remaining air and confesses his love to her. She drags him to the water’s surface where they are saved by Nick Fury! (Turns out the antenna that Fitz had rigged alerted Fury who was looking for Coulson. So while Fitz was being irrational and pessimistic and assuming that he was the only one who could save them, Gemma did have an idea of her own and someone was looking for them. The exchange goes, Gemma: “They told us you were dead.” Fury: “Good I want that to get around.”

Skye and May break in to Cybertek some they can lead Coulson to Garrett, find Mike Peterson’s son and lure Ward out. They do of course and the ensuing fight scenes are amazing. Melinda chased Ward around with a table saw and a nail gun, they tossed each other through plaster walls. She wins.

Skye finds Mike’s son and hacks into Deathlok’s eyeball direction giver thingy (I don’t know what to call it). And Deathlok turns on Garrett knowing that his son is now safe. Garrett who had just been showing off his new strength while fighting Coulson and Fury (which was a wealth of badassery and wonderfully delivered Sam Jackson lines, “Don’t call me sir, I’m dressed like I live under a bridge.”) gets easily handled by Deathlok. (Sort of, Garrett’s down then gets back up- who left him near the tech?! when Coulson comes around the corner with a blaster. It was freaking hilarious)

Then they all tell Ward off. Then they reconnect with Simmons, Fitz is in critical condition and he “might never be the same”. Fury asks Phil to rebuild SHIELD, right after Phil confronts him about TAHITI, “This was in case of emergency break glass sort of thing” “Yeah, like the death of an Avenger.” “That was the death of an Avenger.” And Phil’s face lights up. It’s cute. Patton Oswald comes back (though as Billy Koeing instead of Eric)

Deathlok becomes a hero on the redemption train. 

And then Raina goes to see Skye’s… father, I’m assuming, could be mother. Something with blood dripping from it’s hand.

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I like Raina, she went from random woman with a gimmicky wardrobe to a true believer with an insatiable curiosity about evolution… she thinks Skye is the next step. And next season the team (now with Tripplett) is set to seek out and batter Hydra. Cool. Ward could still bust out and be a villain, I don’t think anyone will actually forgive him. I hope. They’d better not.

So everything rounds itself out but we’re still ready to roll for more, Season 2: this fall!

With Ward out and Fitz possibly disabled, Coulsons team is now 1 white woman, 1 woman, 1 mixed race woman and 1 black man. And possibly a differently abled Fitz. Never mind regularly appearing side characters who are PoC and decidedly not evil. Well that’s inclusive. Hearts and flowers for Marvel. 

The finale certainly lived up to anything I could have expected. High hopes for next season.

Agents of SHIELD -Episode 21

We’re treated to a flash back 15 years in the past of when Ward met Garret. Ward was in juvie after busting out of military school to burn down his father’s house. They’re playing up this traumatic childhood angle. They kind of already jumped the shark with that with Skye’s background.

The remaining Agents of SHIELD… well, Agents of Nothing, are regrouping. Skye reveals that she implanted tracking software into the hard drive that Ward took from her (which also has the info on the alien DNA that Garrett desperately wants). But there’s another step. A flash drive to activate it needs to be inserted into one of their computers. 

Coulson shows how it’s all connected

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Triplett shows up with some antique gadgets. Spy gear borrowed from his Grandpa. The rest geek out, Fitz lights the drapes on fire and May worries about their capability to function as a team. Fitz is wondering what drove Ward to betray them, he hypothesizes that Ward has a killswitch in his eye, or something. Skye says that “he’s evil” that’s it. Which seems odd. She began as a double agent after all, she knows life is more complicated. People have all sorts of reasons. Even if they aren’t good ones.

15 years ago: “Speak up son, I’m not a mind reader” Garrett left Ward in the woods to forage for himself. So this is going to be a “he taught me how to be a man” story.

Coulson and May working together undercover is awesome. They get in to Cybertech and they find that Garrett was the first Deathlok. They throw the whole filing cabinet out a window and they escape. And then have pizza.

Garrett collapses. His organs are failing around the biomechanics. 

Coulson tells Skye that she did the right thing not letting Deathlok kill Ward. Skye still thinks that May has “no feelings” but she opens up that she’s furious, she’s just saving it to take Ward down.

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But Fitz still thinks Ward is the victim, and is looking for a reason why. It makes sense for his character. Young, naive, few close friends, good natured: he doesn’t understand why ANYONE would choose to be dishonest when they have a great job and great friends. But seriously… Ward was such an asshole to him. You all hate Ward now, but I’ve hated Ward since he threw Fitz’s sandwich. Since he rubbed it in Fitz’s face that he saved Gemma when Fitz couldn’t. Showoff. Weak and self aggrandizing.

15 years ago: Garrett goes back to the mountains 6 months later with tacos and finds a more capable Ward. Then he shoots all Ward’s stuff. Dude’s a dick.

Gemma and Fitz find Garrett and Ward, Coulson tells them DNE. Gemma wants to throw down. Ward finds them.

10 Years Ago: Garrett and Ward are still in the damn woods. Garrett tells Ward about how SHIELD wasn’t loyal to him when he was blown up by an IED in Sarajevo. How Garrett became HYDRA.

On the plane Fitz pulls out the “buzzer” and electrifies the plane. Garrett collapses. “Ward. Let him die.” Dying Garrett orders Ward to kill Fitz and Gemma, and then we flash to the “final test” of younger Ward in the woods being told to shoot Buddy, the dog who has lived with him in the woods for 5 years. Garrett leads him to believe that compassion is a weakness (the opposite of what Coulson related to Skye earlier “Compassion is harder”). It shows Fitz and Gemma in between Ward not being able to shoot the dog. He shoots into the air and the dog takes off.  But then we see the dog through a scope and it’s implied that Garrett shot Buddy anyway.

“It’s not a weakness, is it.” 

Gemma and Fitz are thrown into the ocean. Coulson, May, Trip and Skye are surrounded by centipede supersoldiers and Ian Quinn pedals his tech to the US gov. Garrett gets juiced up by Flowers and he’ll live to see the finale (Samuel L Jackson will be there)

Somewhere in there Deathlok reminded us that he’s still good dad Mike Peterson under the shiny weaponry, Raina (Flowers) reveals she’s involved out of curiosity. That she can’t resist “special people” (can’t say mutants) and that she feels connected to Skye. She also found out that Skye’s parents were “Monsters” (can’t say mutants)

Agents of SHIELD- episode 18

Brett Dalton goes to see the Girl In The Flower Dress in prison (and brings her a flower dress, from the Clairvoyant) she didn’t know he was a double agent. Garrett is officially the Clairvoyant, but he is not clairvoyant. A con artist, but an artist all the same. Ward looks more handsome beat to shit. Raina AKA Flowers is not amused to find that she’s been mislead. 

Our (former?) SHIELD team still thinks that Fury is dead. Skye sets to work scrubbing their identities while Fitz and Triplett fix the bus. Triplett says that Garrett had him fooled, but Coulson doesn’t trust him. Simmons whose life he saved goes to bat for him and says he’s on the level. Coulson is leery, but lets him aboard the plane with Gemma in charge of him. Fitz is so sad to see Gemma stick up for Trip who easily shows him up at everything from fixing the plane to classic lit. I have no tears for Fitz. I am so glad that brainy chick Simmons is getting a love triangle I give no fucks.

Skye calls Ward to see what’s taking him but she thinks that nothing is amiss while Garrett has Raina trying to crack the hard drive and Ward just got done explaining how he was able to fool everyone. He used Agent May but he really fell for Skye. Now… what?! now that he’s the bad guy and it’s revealed that everything was a lie what could he really have in common with Skye? People need things that they can appreciate about each other to fall for each other. Not just that they like looking at each other. That’s not enough. He conned Coulson with his attitude, Fitz and Simmons were easy, blah blah woof woof. And Agent Garrett says, “Even Romanoff couldn’t have pulled that off.” SHUT UP. 

There’s actually another insult to Natasha later in the ep when Patton Oswalt tells the team that fury is dead, but privately says that Fury is alive but was limiting this knowledge to Coulson, Maria Hill, Cap “And a couple of others” yeah, Natasha and Falcon are “a couple of others” Admittedly, Coulson didn’t know about Falcon, but he sure as shit knows Black Widow. “A couple of others” GO HOME.

Oh yeah, and they meet Patton Oswalt after Coulson’s badge lights up with coordinates that Coulson believes to be from Fury, May tries to take his weapon because he’s being irrational, and they fly until the jet is out of fuel (unbeknownst to the team) to the middle of Canada (somewhere. Hollywood acts like Canada is all snowy wilderness) and upon finding nothing Coulson has a total breakdown. But then tada, secret SHIELD facility. So Coulson’s impulsiveness is validated while the rift between Coulson and May gets greater.

Garrett and Ward let some soon to be villains out of “the Fridge” but Raina can’t crack the hard drive, so Ward has to go back and meet up with Skye. Which no one has any reason to be suspicious about apparently, even though they knew Ward was at the Fridge and said facility was compromised. He shows up beat up and Skye rushes to his side. 

It looks as if next episode she will find out the truth about him. 

BJ Britt as Agent Triplett got some great lines and Raina got more morally ambiguous, I think eventually she’ll be on the same side as Coulson and crew. So that’s undoing a lot of the race fail that was earlier eps. 

This one was good. Not as good as the last two, but I’ll take it. At the very end Ian Quinn comes out of the fridge and gets the case full of gravitonium. That’s from wayy back. Graviton. Time for more villains. But Deathlok was notably absent this episode!

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Secret Avengers #2

Best Buddies Coulson and Fury are drifting through space. Widow, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are on their way to save their butts. There’s a lot of bickering. Spider-Woman is not ready for space. “But we’re in a car and we’re flying to space and cars don’t fly in space unless they are miracle cars and is this a miracle car we clearly need a –” “No. we don’t need a miracle. All we need is will… imagination.. …a dependable team of scientists. ..and a big red button.”

Back on Helicarrier Iliad, where Maria Hill has taken a bullet to the hand and is being held hostage by the Latverian assassin who has just told her that his parents died because of SHIELD’s actions. Collateral murder. She’s defenseless. Meanwhile, MODOK is watching SHIELD satellites fall from the sky. Another scientist (with an exposed brain) asks MODOK what they should do about the more pressing and nearby issue with Director Hill. MODOK decides to save her, because he’s an ego maniac.

Coulson + Fury = bro time in outerspace/drifting toward the sun. MODOK = watching satellites. Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make it the the smash up space station that Coulson and Fury fell out of and assess the situation. And fix things, and it turns out they needed Hawkeye after all! The satellites stop falling and MODOK saves Maria Hill by taking down the assassin with a trained lab rat and a syringe. It’s super cute and silly. “CLAP FOR MODOK!” 

Maria’s not impressed.

Then Coulson and Fury, who are resigned to death but still cracking jokes are scooped up by Widow, Spider Woman and Hawkeye (of all people) in a nanobot blanket that MODOK designed. MODOK is genuinely surprised that Maria spied on him and copied his work.

“This is the secret Avengers, there are no rules.” -Maria Hill

This series kicks so much ass. It’s witty and zany. Ales Kot arms everyone with witty but distinct dialogue, I get to read Coulson lines in Clark Gregg’s voice, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson do and excellent job of keeping the art clear, crisp, colorful and expressive. The bright colors and Hawkeye’s dopey facial expressions really emphasize the fun feel of this one. Everyone has really expressive eyes, a feat since it’s very cartoony. 

Black Widow is a total bad ass, I like her as a mentor for the new Secret Avenger: Spider-Woman. I like the 50-50 female/male split. Ummm… + MODOK. 

 

Movie Review- Captain America: the Winter Soldier

I’ll put this at the top: 5 out of 5- One of those rare and awesome occasions where the sequel is far better than the original. Ridiculous action sequences, character emotional development for Both Captain America and Black Widow, girl power galore, a few thought provoking moments about government reach and friendship. 

Don’t read past this if you don’t want spoilers!

At the beginning of the film Steve Rogers meets Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and they bond over their military service and fitness routine. As the trailer gave away, Wilson comes to play an important role (for both the action and Cap’s character development). 

Soon after Captain America and Black Widow out on a mission, only, they aren’t exactly on the *same* mission. Romanoff is not perturbed by this, but Rogers: America’s hero, golden boy and symbol of freedom, is not feeling it. He confronts Fury, who reveals a detailed plot about how they created these helicarriers to detect threats before they become threats. Meaning that people are being punished before crimes are committed. Logically, people change their minds or there are 1000 variables about why someone considering committing a crime might change their minds. But people in the US HAVE been arrested and charged with “thought crimes” and some of them have been orchestrated to create perceived threats by government agencies SO none of this is even far fetched. I always post this same information abou Eric McDavid who was entrapped by an FBI informant and then charged with conspiring to commit eco-terrorism. He didn’t actually do anything, and most of the planning and prepping was single handedly done by the informant who was heavily pressured by the FBI to not be wasting their time -which meant planning a crime involving property destruction of a logging company. He was sentenced to 22 years because the government wants “Green” to be the new Red Scare (this movie is still playing up the Red Scare, though). This theme re-emerges again later with Dr. Arnim Zola and the Hydra plot to orchestrate crimes and tragedies so that people will just hand over their freedom and say “protect us at all costs” …I live 45 minutes from Boston and we’re coming up on the year anniversary of the Marathon Bombing. When they searched for the suspect the entire city and neighboring suburbs SHUT DOWN more extreme people said we were under Marshall Law (we weren’t), it was voluntary, but how voluntary is it really when you’re being told that an armed fanatic is in your backyard and these people with the big guns are here to handle it… can you let us in your basement? People have very divisive opinions about it and I understand that. The ensuing high fiving “This is our fucking city” mentality was alarming. I thought that shutting down all businesses sent the wrong message. But no one asked me, either. But that’s part of the problem. We have no choice but to trust the people who make these choices for us.

None of this sits well with Captain America and he goes to discuss it with Peggy Carter, who unlike Steve has aged, she tells him he has to adjust to the way things have become. Then in a moment that almost turned me into a crying child (I was hung over, don’t judge me) she forgets that she was just talking to him, and starts crying because she’s so happy that he’s alive. Chris Evans is a better actor than he’s gotten credit for, because it was really his reaction that turned me into mush. It seems like a brief moment along with a joke to Black Widow that “everyone in his barbershop quartet is dead” so he has no plans this weekend, yeah Cap has next to no one. 

But that all changes when he finds out that he’s not the only WWII soldier to be made super. 

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In an explosive scene, Fury is targeted by “The Winter Soldier” who is thought to be responsible for decades of assassinations, he even shot Romanoff once. Fury “dies’ (come on, no one thought he was dead) at Steves house and it’s revealed that his cute neighbor is really Agent 13 who has been watching out for him (Fury always has people watching each other, just happened on Agents of SHIELD where Melinda May was watching Coulson). And Steve and Natasha are sent off on this journey together to find who killed Fury, what’s on the drive that Natasha uploaded in the earlier mission and find out who can be trusted, all the while dodging Hydra agents and the Winter Soldier in intense fight scenes and car chases. With no idea who to turn to, Steve chooses to trust Natasha and Sam Wilson. While they recoup at Sam’s, after they are exploded in a bunker, Black Widow confesses that she has the same sense of betrayal as Steve, She thought she stopped working for the KGB to be one of the good guys. There wasn’t as much character development for Widow in this go around, just a glimpse, she was also sans-catsuit most of the time. She got to do a ton of standard bad ass stuff, like nurse bullet wounds while getting the drop on the Winter Soldier.

In a lengthy and interesting fight scene with the Winter Soldier, Captain realises that he’s Bucky. “Who the hell is Bucky?” the villain replies. Captain America’s best friend from when he was still Skinny Steve, he’s being manipulated and brainwashed by Hydra to take out those that they want taken out. Soon they will have the Helicarriers for that. But seeing Steve brings back some of Bucky’s memory. and at the final fight scene, Bucky pulls Steve out of the water. And it was really nicely done. In a flash back to after the death of his mother we seen Steve trying to go through it alone, so he doesn’t dissolve into a puddle over the fact that his best friend is a brainwashed assassin who doesn’t remember him. But he can’t kill him either. Sam recognizes this early and goes along (with his project Falcon suit) to make sure what has to happen does. But in the end it’s down to Cap and Bucky. Captain America orders Maria Hill to destroy the helicarrier (that he is on) and continues fighting with Bucky. And Steve says, “I’m not going to kill you. You’ll have to finish the job, because I’m with you til the end of the line.” And it wasn’t played up very emotionally, and it didn’t need to be. But it speaks volumes about what Cap is willing to live with and what he’s willing to live without. So couple the fact that this was borderline suicidal with the fact that he doesn’t want to work for SHIELD, he doesn’t believe in the path the government is taking and he’s losing Peggy? Ouch.

Meanwhile, Black Widow is taking out Redford’s character, Alexander Pierce -top brass who is really Hydra. And she has to electrocute herself to do it (she was also shot in pretty much that same spot). She’s going to put up all the info about Hydra, but in the process she could be putting out all her deep dark secrets. Since one of her main points in Avengers as well is her legacy in comics was atoning for her past, this is a sore spot. But she does it. 

Then, they all have to find new jobs. Fury lets his identity stay dead (but probably not for long), Romanoff goes to find a new identity, Agent 13 joins the CIA, Maria Hill interviews for Stark Industries and Falcon goes back to what he was doing before he got embroiled in this.

At the end credits we see Bucky in the Smithsonian watching the feature about himself and Captain America. Bucky’s resurrection in comics was always controversial, he was killed off in 1948, but revived periodically, before 1968 where his death became official. He was then used as a symbol of why superheroes shouldn’t have young sidekicks. It stayed this way, as angst and a cautionary tale, until 2005 when Ed Brubaker decided to bring back Bucky. And retcon all that wherein Bucky was really a 16 year old trained operative who was trained to conduct covert assassinations. Co-creator Jack Kirby wasn’t opposed. Anyway, so he’s the Winter Soldier but in the books Cap gets him his memories back via the cosmic cube and Bucky becomes a good guy… and then he becomes Captain America. So it’ll be interesting to see the next time Sebastian Stan reprises the role again (be it for May 6th, 2016’s Cap3 or before that) and what phase it will take. 

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Falcon first appeared in Captain America in 1969, he was from Harlem and was a community volunteer. Tones of that definitely showed through in the film where he was counselling PTSD sufferers, I like the way they applied those traits to modern and personal purposes and I’m glad they left out his affinity for birds.  

And after after the credits we get our first glimpse at Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver *squeeee*

Agents of SHIELD- episode 17

This episode begins with so much tension between our team. Coulson still thinks May is reporting to the Clairvoyant, she says the line goes directly to Fury who Coulson hasn’t been able to reach in months, why would May try to shoot Fitz and why was Fitz snooping around there anyway?!

Fitz confesses that he wanted to talk to Simmons who has been trying to uncover what Coulson and Skye have been hiding. Fitz looks like he’s going to cry the whole time. Everyone is defensive and tense and confused. They’re also taking fire and Coulson ends up icing May and dumping her with Ward in the holding cell while Coulson saves Agent Garrett and figures out that HYDRA is behind all this. Oh snap, But we saw Cap 2, right? So y’all knew that. And you weren’t surprised when Fitz fixed May’s line and the person on the other end said that Fury was dead. 

There are so many twists that my head hurts even trying to recount them. 

“I assembled this team!” -Agent May

Agent May and Coulson are still at odds, but they end up getting closer with the secrets out. It really breaks her out of her ice-queen persona.  Also enjoyed her calling out Ward for shooting the wrong man. Coulson chooses to trust her and she walks around looking extra bad-ass with her sleeve ripped off and a bandaged up arm. Ward and Skye make out in a closet because, unlike May, she thinks that him shooting an innocent man was romantic. 

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The action scenes are intense. 

Triplett and Simmons spend some quality time. They’re distrustful of each other, though. Trip makes a move that saves both their hides. But at the end of the episode his Hydra status is unknown.

Agent Garrett is revealed to be the Clairvoyant, he slips up and says something that wasn’t in Coulson’s file, his exchange with Coulson is overheard by Agent Hand (who was never Hydra- she just thought Coulson was Hydra). So Hand and Coulson get back to being buds. For a moment. That scene was awesome, Garrett is being brought in, armed agents arrive, the Hydra aligned over take the true SHIELD agents and it all seems bad. Fitz cries. Then they all kick some serious ass before Hand busts in.

As Garrett is walked out Triplett and Ward appear shocked this scene has music playing over it rather than dialogue. Then Hand takes Ward as well, he will face charges rather than it being dismissed as a romantic gesture. AND I SAID “GOOD!”

But on the plane, Hand arms Ward, asks him if he wants to kill the real Clairvoyant. And he shoots everyone except his Supervising Officer. So… he killed Hand. Well then. So Ward is Hydra. Which is good, because I hate him. He can leave and Agent Triplett can join the team. The Simmons can have a love triangle and Skye can think about her poor taste in men. Yeah, yeah, May didn’t know either. And I’m extra concerned since she assembled the team after all. I’m not saying this is trying to show female incompetence, no one knew. Even Fury didn’t know. 

It was great to see the way they worked in everything Agents of SHIELD being at the Hub while Cap was at the Triskelion. The continuity! #itsallconnected Anyway, certainly adding to the fun but still either worked on it’s own (but why not do both if you have the option). This show has certainly hit it’s stride. Red herrings everywhere these past two episodes. Except… I did call Ward as Hydra. That’s why he shot out the fake Clairvoyant so that it would be all “problem solved” …not because of Skye. Garrett’s smack talk about Skye was just a motive. So how much of his backstory is a lie? And how hard is Melinda May going to fucking kick him.

I bet there’s some sappy reason why he stayed around with Garrett. Hydra has his brother and he ends up confiding in Skye. There’s still 5 more this season. It could happen.

Fury’s back in the finale!