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Spoilers if you haven’t watched tonight’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (“The Bridge”)!

Agents of SHIELD is really starting to hit its stride. After setting up the Centipede plot earlier in the series, the show took a step away from that for a bit and focused on some stand-alone episodes, which have given us time to get to know the characters. The series is on better footing now, and the winter finale seems like the right time to go back to the overall arc, which could prove to be the driving force of the second half of the first season.

“The Bridge” brought Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) back, along with Raina (AKA the woman in the flower dress) and introduced a creepy guy named Edison Po, who was broken out of prison at the start of the episode and acts like the kind of guy who might have someone tied up in his basement at any given moment… or the kind of guy who gauges people’s eyes out with a knife, assuming that’s what he was alluding to when he warned Raina not to ask about The Clairvoyant. Who is the Clairvoyant? We don’t know yet, but they might be the money behind this operation. And it’s worth noting that Marvel has a number of characters with clairvoyant abilities, assuming this person’s nickname is to be taken literally. My husband tossed out the theory that it’s Mike Peterson. This, after I spent most of the episode pointing out how very possible it was that Mike was infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. with the intent on double-crossing them. I began to grow suspicious the moment he told FitzSimmons it was their technology that stabilized him. It seemed intended to be gratitude, but I can't help but wonder if maybe he was there to mine for more technology to help him and other people using the serum.

My theory was/is that Mike and Raina are working together. On the surface, that might not add up. Raina seems to be following along after Po through their efforts to tend to their army of super-soldiers and attempt to attack S.H.I.E.L.D. They eventually bailed on that effort, after eye-zapping one of their own guys even though he begged for his life. That was an indication that some, if not all of these soldiers have eye implants and are being forced to fight against their will. Raina has been playing it kind of timid, though eager to charm some information out of Po, which kind of made her look like she feels inferior to him, but what if she has her own bigger plan? And what if that plan involves Mike, who hasn’t seen his child since the incident at Union Station. Mike’s explanation for that is shame, but the skeptic in me thinks maybe he was using that as an excuse to get Coulson and his team to warm up to him. I could be over-thinking this, and his sincere apologies, mixed with the way he ran to his kid did cause me to doubt my instincts there. And then he turned back after leaving Ace with Skye and ran right into an explosion. Well, the explosion happened around him, but it seems far too unlikely that Mike would meet his demise accidentally getting blown up while running. What if that was part of the escape plan? Now he’s presumed dead, which means he could go anywhere. And Centipede has Coulson.

All signs point to Raina and Po wanting to know how Coulson is still alive after he supposedly died. Don’t we all. Will they get the answers even Coulson has yet to uncover? It seems like that’s a good possibility. Meanwhile, the team will be put the ultimate test, which is to work together without their leader there for support. Coulson’s the string that links these people together. Without him, they could very well drift apart. Especially when we factor in the tension between Skye and Melinda. Skye approached Melinda about helping her track down information about her parents and Melinda’s response was to sternly remind Skye that they were on a mission. She has a point, but I have to wonder if her harshness is coming from a more personal place. Something about the comment she made about putting aside personal issues really stood out to me. Sure, Melinda could have been semi-referencing her own personal feelings about Ward. But maybe she’s more closely connected to Skye than we think. Is it possible she’s her mother? Or is that way too much of a stretch to even toss out there?

Speaking of Melinda, as mentioned, she was kind of short with Ward. But they need to stop talking about their situation at work. At one point, Coulson walked in on them having a tense, albeit vague discussion about mixing work with play, and later Skye walked in on another conversation. Whether or not Skye or Coulson have figured anything out is unclear, but based on the conversation Coulson had with Ward about the cellist, I have to wonder if he’s trying to drop subtle hints to discourage whatever’s going on between them, hoping they’ll break it off before he has to intervene.

And related to the cellist conversation, did anyone else get so distracted watching Coulson turn the wheel back and forth while driving straight the whole time? I also spotted a stop sign that wasn’t acknowledged. And between Ward’s hair and the vintage car, the scene reminded me of something out of the 50s, which I kind of loved. All of that combined resulted in me having to rewind to actually listen to what they were saying.

So we’re left to wonder Coulson’s fate, and speculate over the fate of Mike Peterson. The show wants us to believe he’s been blown up, and that he’s a good guy whose top priority is his son and making amends for what he did at Union Station. I realize I could be way off in looking at him with narrowed eyes, but I also won’t be surprised if it turns out he’s alive and secretly evil. We have a month to wait to find out as the series will return in January.

Photo Credit: ©ABC

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