I really love this poster for a couple reasons:

  • Coulson and his team (Ward and Fitz are both in the poster, which is telling) juxtaposed with Peggy by herself. Peggy stands alone literally but also symbolically because in that time period, being a tough female agent was pretty rare. Meanwhile on Coulson’s side, half of his team is made of women, which is a nice way of showing how far we, as a society, have come. It’s also interesting that on Peggy’s side, there’s a wounded man, potentially a criminal she took down. On Coulson’s side, even though he has a whole team of strong men and women, there’s no visual of a defeated bad guy. Peggy may be just one woman, but she’s as tough as a whole team and the fact that her pose mirrors Coulson’s exactly is a great way of really driving that point home. 
  • The placement of the team is kind of a remix of the first batch of group photos - Coulson, May, FitzSimmons, Skye, and Ward. Of course, Ward is almost completely in black because of his betrayal, but the fact that his face, at least half of it, is in the light, is a good indication that he’s not completely lost. The way that Fitz and Simmons are looking at each other is interesting, because in all of the other promos, they’ve been looking forward, never at each other. I’m hoping this means we’ll see their bond get stronger next season, especially since Fitz presumably will need to lean on Simmons more as he recovers. 
  • From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I love the blue and sepia - Peggy’s side is appropriately vintage, with those brown tones that you usually see in old timey photographs, while Coulson’s side has that futuristic blue. It’s striking to me that Peggy is on the right side, because typically, when you visualize time, the past would be on the left with the future on the right - it’s reversed here and that’s a really cool way of tying the two shows to each other. SHIELD’s past is just as important as its future, and even though the timelines of these two shows may be separated by years and years and years, they’re both important to understanding SHIELD as an organization.
  • The Hydra logo behind the SHIELD logo is perfect, as always. I like how especially menacing it looks with just the eyes, lurking in the background, waiting for the moment to strike. 

Ugh, is it fall yet??


Skye + Sugar Packets: A few theories

It’s a signal.  Skye told Mike in the pilot that her van is parked in the lot behind the diner.  She’s probably very familiar with the people who work there.  When she’s with Mike, she arranges three splenda packets, facing towards Mike.  When she’s with Ward, the packets sit facing away from Ward, at the edge of the table.  This could be a signal to the people who work at the diner, letting them know that everything is okay or that everything is not okay

It’s a con trick.  Skye moving the sugar packets around calls back to the “cup and ball” trick.  The cup and ball trick is about fast hands and being able to sneak a ball out from under the cup quickly, before the person notices that they’re being conned.  This could be an indicator of her true intentions; when she met Mike, she might not’ve had his best interests at heart (she might’ve been more interested in sticking it to SHIELD.) With Ward, she’s playing him, and the sugar packets call back to the idea that she is a con woman by nature.

She doesn’t realize she’s doing it. Skye once said to Ward that ‘CS comes naturally to [her]’ in the same episode that she informed FitzSimmons that she’s a high school dropout.  The implication might be that she’s some kind of closet genius, but there’s also an idea that something in her brain processes CS better than a normal, human brain might.  If she is an alien, it’s possible that she comes from a society that is more technologically advanced or naturally intelligent.  Arranging the sugar packets is like organizing an algorithm.  It comes naturally to her.  It shows us that her brain works in patterns and series of numbers, but she’s not aware that it does.


Iain’s acting appreciation post

I’ve stared at this shot for a long time now, just studying the way Iain manages to portray Fitz’s thoughts so transparently without using any words. the amount of emotion expressed in Fitz’s response here is just astounding. his face in that first gif is almost daring the stone to take him - ‘c’mon then, here I am.’ he waits - and nothing happens. as silence reigns, his expression fades into disgust and then horror. the stone isn’t moving; his presence hasn’t triggered the same aggressive absorption that Jemma’s presence did. this can’t be happening - he can’t still be here. then in the last gif he switches to anger and despair - this was his last shot of being with Jemma again, even in death. he’d tried everything else, but when he finally went forward with his last-ditch effort it didn’t work. immediately after this, he explodes in rage and grief; he couldn’t even sacrifice himself properly. and still the stone sits there, unmoving and silent. 

but it’s the build up to that explosion that I find so magnetic, the way that the audience can read his thought process in the expressions on his face. it’s so much more powerful than padding the moment with dialogue, and it wouldn’t have worked with someone who isn’t as talented an actor as Iain de Caestecker.


Ward has a very specific way of talking about his physical injuries - namely, he doesn’t. 

In 1x02, Skye notices the blood on his shirt and realizes that he’s been injured. As someone who has never seen combat, she’s shocked to see not just his injury, but how little it phases him. And it really doesn’t phase him. Ward barely responds, giving a sort of nonchalant shrug. He’s not just acting macho, he truly doesn’t believe it’s a big deal. As a specialist, physical injury is part of his job and he accepts it as a necessity.

In 1x18, she sees his bloodied face and turns his head towards her so she can get a better look at his injuries. By this point, Skye has seen plenty of combat and she’s been in the field, but his physical pain is no easier for her to stomach. It’s not something she’ll ever get used to, even if he is used to it. And just like before, we see how he shrugs off her concern, saying that it’s nothing. There is blood streaked down the side of his face and still, he says it doesn’t bother him. Again, we see how he considers pain to be part of his job description, and this specific injury - his beating at the hands of Garrett for the sake of maintaining his cover - truly is part of his job.

But in 2x01, we see a change in both of them. Skye sees the scar on his arm and does a little double take. She’s careful not to let the surprise show on her face, but the way she turns away at the end is very telling. She has always been keenly observant when it comes to him being injured, and this time is no different. But what is different is that this time, she actually looks away. This is the first time she has been unable to face his injury. It’s not just because she’s angry at him for his betrayal. Seeing his scar makes her genuinely uncomfortable because she knows it’s self-inflicted. She may believe that she hates him, but she still can’t turn off her empathy, and it’s difficult for her to see how low he’s fallen. And for the first time, instead of hiding his injury or discounting it, Ward tells her the truth. For the first time, he acknowledges his injury and recognizes it. And more than that, he explains to her very plainly what he’s been through and how he got his scars.  It’s not an attempt at playing her or manipulating her - it’s a demonstration of his newfound resolve to be honest with her, no matter how it makes him look in her eyes. It doesn’t matter to him if the truth makes her pity him or see him as weak or hate him even more. When he promised to be honest, he meant it. And this is how he begins, by showing her the darkest, most vulnerable parts of himself. 

Ward’s indifference to physical pain throughout the course of season one showed us the inhuman side of him. It showed us a man who was tough as nails, a man made of steel and kevlar. It showed us a man who lived up to Skye’s many nicknames - robot, T-1000, Tin-Man.

But now, we see a different side of him. We see his weaknesses and his vulnerabilities. We see how he is tormented by his demons. Now, we see that he’s only human. 


Funny thing about this scene that recently occured to me (thanks to thelatenightstoryteller). From what people working in biological, chemistry or pharmacy labs told me, there’s a strong rule about not bringing food in there because that would be a safety violation. On the other hand in our mechanics and electrotechnics labs there’s a strong rule not to drink anything (since liquid and electricity doesn’t go well), but the “no eating” one is more of a guidance, since the food can’t really mess anything up. It’s more of a “don’t eat during class, it’s rude” than “you mustn’t eat in the lab”. Also you can bring food there, as long as it stays out of the working area.

And if we look at “cat liver” scene now, we have Simmons working her whole life in chemistry labs with strong “you mustn’t bring food for safety reasons” rule, who was not expecting food in the lab, so who cares where she puts her samples? And then we have Fitz, who worked in mechanics labs that are more like workshops, where eating is not such a big deal, but it’s very important where you put things (or at least that’s how it works in my labs- you don’t mess with someone’s else desk, you don’t put anything in there. No rules needed for this, you just don’t).

I bet the first thing Simmons though back then was “why did he even bring FOOD into the lab, it’s agains rules” while Fitz was more like “Why did she put HER samples on MY table, that’s agains rules”.

Add to this the fact that in the lab Simmons is the messy one and Fitz is the well-organised one. (x) (x)


look at this tiny knife, she’s probably been holding onto it for months. it doesn’t even look like it could do any serious damage let’s be honest. but she kept it, she always had it with her, because she felt safe with it. it gave her some sense of security. but after she wakes up terrified, she looks over at fitz, and puts the knife down, because she realizes that she doesn’t need the knife to be safe. she is safe now, now that she is back home and with fitz. she knows fitz will protect her. she’s safe now. 

Honestly, I don’t know if Jemma and Fitz would have been able to pull that one over like they did if Bobbi and Mack hadn’t been so involved in their problems for so long. Like, the two of them have been the #1 Fitzsimmons drama exposition device for most of the season. So when they started fighting melodrama and all, Bobbi and Mack were both just kind of like, “Oh, this again,” and took it completely at face-value.

Because they’ve never seen Fitzsimmons at their finest. They’ve only ever witnessed them at odds. They don’t understand the strength of their ‘psychic link’. And Fitzsimmons used that to their advantage. Jemma’s plan counted on Bobbi and Mack’s preconceived ideas of their relationship blinding them to Fitzsimmons’ less than perfect espionage skills.

And it worked. Which is both impressive and terrifying, because it shows how deep a rift has been driven between these two this season. That Bobbi freaking Morse believed without hesitation that their argument was real. Because all she’s seen of their relationship is hurt feelings, angry words, miscommunication and mistrust. All she’s seen is two people completely out of sync.

I don’t know guys, I just have a lot of feelings about this.

ok i just got really emotional because in skye’s dream, may is the one pushing to leave skye; coulson is the one who is hesitant and affectionate

and while may and skye have made such great strides in their relationship

skye has huge huge mom/maternal authority figure issues

and even after learning that shield moved her

there is still a part of her that is that little girl who called mrs. brady mom and then was taken away

who for years and years felt abandoned by her parents, by mrs. brady, unloved by the nuns, too, perhaps

and so she worries, even after all this time, that may will leave her one day, too

but may

may will drag herself down to hell to save people

may who got back into the field for coulson

may who told fitz she’d stay and help him in the lab

may who endured bahrain because she would not leave anyone behind

may who was so relieved to see jemma alive

may who calls herself skye’s so in this ep

may who loves skye so much, who has poured herself out for this girl

loved her trained her held her back let her go

will not abandon skye

she will never abandon skye


I feel like this scene often gets overlooked among the many other “moments where Leo Fitz is so clearly in love with Jemma Simmons that it offends me.” In his mind for these few seconds, Fitz has failed to protect Jemma - whatever the mystery grenade was went off, and for all he knows he’s just watched her die in front of him without being able to stop it. Skye sees this and automatically runs over to assess Jemma’s health, but Fitz’s reaction is very different and interesting. In the previous 12 episodes of season 1 he’s been shown to be fairly proactive in catastrophic situations, including in FZZT when he watches her jump out of the plane. In that situation, he sees what might be to others an insurmountable problem (her falling out of a plane 30,000 feet in the air) and goes straight for the parachute - there’s no way he’s letting her go that easily. 

In TRACKS, however, he freezes - the probably deadly weapon has already gone off and he doesn’t think he has any recourse to fix it (without her medical assistance & biochemical expertise). Rather than behave as he normally might (by working to find a solution), Fitz can barely move. It’s as if all his muscles have spontaneously atrophied, as if the slower he moves the longer he has before he learns that Jemma really is dead. It isn’t just his legs either - even his arms move jerkily. Thanks to Skye keeping her head about her, it isn’t more than a few seconds before Fitz learns that Jemma’s just unconscious and not dead. But his complete and utter paralysis in the face of having possibly watched Jemma die is I think very indicative of how his feelings for her have progressed since the last time he saw her in immediate danger. This time, he stops functioning almost instantly, and you can practically hear him thinking “no, no, no, no” as he stares at Jemma’s body. He almost collapses when he learns that she’s alive and he bends in half, leaning on a box and needing support as he forces himself to let go of that complete and utter horror. 

Later in the episode, we see Fitz comforting Jemma after she fights so desperately to save Skye’s life, but I think to some degree in that scene he’s comforting himself as well. He thought he watched her try to sacrifice herself for a second time earlier that day, and that particular fear isn’t something that’s easy for him to forget. 

there’s something so beautifully childlike and yet also utterly defiant about jemma and fitz sitting together on the floor of the lab that i’m really struggling to articulate here, but it’s something about how they’ve planted themselves in the place they believe in, by the ideals they believe in, by the person they believe in, and they refuse to move. sitting side by side, a united front in their lab, their place, and showing that they will not be forced into doing anything they don’t want to do. 

it reminds me of that steve rogers quote:

‘when the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world: no. YOU move.’

jemma and fitz sit there, shoulder to shoulder, hands clasped together tightly, and they watch their lab being taken over with terrified, fiery eyes that hold a single challenge: YOU move.


1x02 // 2x06

Ward breaking his hand to get out of the cuffs is not just his own personal indifference to pain, it’s also his training. May does the exact same thing in season one and this parallel us that specialists are trained to be human weapons, to do whatever it takes to complete their mission. They are, in a sense, expendable - any physical pain they may experience is of little concern when they are trying to do their job. 

Later in season one, in 1x17, when Coulson believes May has betrayed him, he slaps a set of fancy handcuffs on her - with a long bar in the middle and a tight hold on her wrist so that she can’t squeeze out of it. It’s curious, then, that Ward is allowed to leave, restrained only with a pair of regular, police-issue handcuffs.

Coulson must know how easily specialists can break out of cuffs, so is this just an oversight on his part? That seems unlikely, as Coulson, since becoming Director, is nothing if not precise and prepared and meticulous and I find it hard to believe that he would’ve gotten bested by Ward, no matter how angry and emotional he is. Did they run out of the fancy cuffs after SHIELD downgraded and went dark? Possibly, but considering they still have a healthy supply of ICERs and an invisible jet, you’d think they would’ve been able to spare some storage space for handcuff. Or perhaps he was expecting it to happen and this is all part of some long con. And considering how high-value an asset/prisoner Ward is, his escape came a little too easily, a little too conveniently. Coulson definitely has some cards up his sleeve - only time will tell what they are.

What I absolutely love about Fitzsimmons pairing is that between them it’s not about lust and getting into the other’s pants (like so many other pairings in tv shows and movies), it’s all about how they can’t live without the other. They didn’t even mentioned words “love”, “like”, “going out” anything like that, they rarely even hold hands, they just want to be together and they don’t try to define it or put labels on it. 

Even when Simmons came to Fitz in the finale of season 2, it wasn’t about “he looks hot in tactical gear, let’s snog” it was about “don’t get hurt and don’t leave me alone, because looking at that other pair made me realise that I want the same with you”.

Rewatching the Fitz and Ward scene

Ward literally does not tell Fitz to stop depriving him of oxygen at any point. He asks once “what are you doing?” and when Fitz shows him, Grant resigns himself to sitting on the bed. He doesn’t say “Fitz you’re killing me” or “Fitz you’re hurting me,” because Grant will gladly suffer at Fitz’s hand, until he realizes that Skye is in danger.

At no point does Ward try to argue once Fitz cuts off his oxygen. He just accepts it, like he did when Skye hit him, like he always does when the people he love attack him.  He just takes it.


7 years ago vs now

I know I’ve been fixated on the hug in “Melinda,” but I just honestly think it’s one of the most important moments for May in the episode because it shows her growth during those seven intervening years. The moment with the hands in the immediate aftermath of Bahrain is incredibly significant as a visual demonstration of the trauma that she suffered because of that mission, and it explains a lot of what we generally interpreted as her being “prickly” in season one. In fact, all those times that she shied away from physical contact (initially wanting to stitch herself up in “T.R.A.C.K.S.,” for example) were lingering effects of Bahrain’s emotional and psychological impact on her. 

But here we have the present day, when she doesn’t initiate the hug with Jemma but allows it to happen without visibly flinching away. She’s a little uncomfortable, sure, but she smiles at Jemma’s reaction - at long last, she’s allowing herself to move on from that trauma. I believe that letting herself get close to the team and form strong bonds with people like Jemma is helping her move past her pain, and, although she will never be able to leave Bahrain behind, perhaps she’s finally allowing herself to heal.

“I’ll put you through the TAHITI protocol.”

This made me so angry. I probably give Coulson a lot more lee-way than most pro-Ward people do, but this? This was not okay.

I am the last person to pretend that Grant Ward is an innocent puppy who never hurt anyone. I am the last person to deny the validity of the team’s animosity towards him. Grant Ward has done some real bad shit, and nobody is obligated to forgive or accept him back into their lives.

But what Coulson was saying here was completely wrong. It was, “Hey, you are such a terrible person that the only way you could ever redeem yourself is by erasing your identity. The only way we’ll ever let you live in peace is if you let us wipe your mind so you don’t cause us trouble anymore.”  It was basically the SHIELD equivalent of Hydra’s brainwashing and Coulson, who knows firsthand what it’s like, presented it as a boon . 

There’s a reason Hydra thrived in the very midst of SHIELD.


“I’m tired of seeing our friends ripped apart from each other. That can’t happen to us again, I won’t let it.”

Because even when they’re facing death, it’s always better if they’re facing it together. Their souls are so intricately linked together that, even though they would sacrifice themselves so that the other can live, anytime, they can’t help their inner desire to be with one another even in the direst times.
And sure, as soon as she realized her words, Jemma corrects herself (“Actually, no, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”) but it’s stronger than her reason. This ache for him to be near her is etched so deep in her bones that it even surpasses her sensibleness.
And Jemma Simmons is nothing if not sensible. She is the most rational, even when it comes to the people she loves (see season 2 with Skye).
Except for Fitz.

Fitz is the exception. Jemma Simmons doesn’t believe in magic, or the cosmos but she believes in them. In him. In their remarkable, almost mythical bond. When everything falls apart and even when they’re separated, she still believes in them. That they can defeat anything in order to find each other again.