The Dirty Half Dozen is the nineteenth episode of the second season of the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the forty-first episode overall. The episode serves as a tie-in prequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron.
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Upon returning to Afterlife, an angry Calvin Zabo confronts Jiaying and an injured Gordon reports that HYDRA has taken Lincoln Campbell. This is something Raina has seen in her dreams. Any thoughts of a rescue effort to save Lincoln are put on hold. He is being held prisoner with Michael Peterson. Doctor List hopes to isolate the genetic component between the two of them.
On the Bus, Phil Coulson lets Robert Gonzales know that HYDRA leaders Wolfgang von Strucker and List have been running experiments on enhanced people. They have set up a base in the Arctic. Coulson wants to send in a small infiltration unit to rescue Mike. Gonzales asks why he should trust him. Coulson states that they all have their secrets and Gonzales has one sitting in the cargo hold of his ship. This gives Gonzales pause as he asks how Coulson knows that. Coulson explains that his information came from the Toolbox and he offers to unlock it for Gonzales if he trusts him. Once he and Gonzales come to an understanding, Coulson signals the rest of his team to board the plane. The bullet wound Hunter suffered is not as painful as watching Ward and Agent 33 get along like a couple of school kids in love. Once they return to the Playground, naturally everyone is not to happy to see Ward, so Gonzales has a pair of guards watching him at all times, ordered to shoot him if he tries anything.
Ward claims that Bakshi is still working for him. The plan is to rescue the enhanced prisoners, disable HYDRA's defenses and ultimately bomb the facility. May is the deciding vote on this plan. She asks for a private chat with Coulson. It is not a pleasant one. May is ticked that Coulson was working with her ex. Coulson explains that he only went to Andrew for counseling on his alien writing compulsions. They push aside their differences for the time being until the rescue mission is over.
Simmons believes Ward is a threat to everyone. It is best to remain armed with protective measures and, if need be, take the guy out altogether. She convinces Coulson to let her join in the rescue. Bobbi is unable do the same with Gonzales, who insinuates that this is a suicide mission. At Afterlife, Raina claims that she had a vision of Skye rescuing Lincoln. She is the only one who can save him. So Skye joins Coulson and the others. Ward exclaims, “This is great. We finally got the team back together!”
Ward is about to bring everyone up to speed on Bakshi's intel when he pauses to address the “elephant on the plane.” He regrets that his actions destroyed the old team. His speech does not really fly. Coulson orders Ward basically stop talking to people. Elsewhere, Hunter forgives Mack, but he still has not ironed things out with Bobbi, who is keeping an eye on Agent 33.
Doctor List reveals that nobody has made it past a certain level of their testing with the exception of the twins that Strucker has elsewhere. He gives the order to shoot the approaching S.H.I.E.L.D. team out of the sky. That is exactly what happens. Gonzales tells everyone back at the base to sit tight. This was always part of the plan. The team lands a smaller plane safely amidst the exploding debris. They easily infiltrate the Hydra base.
Part of the team finds Mike. Skye leaves them to search for Lincoln. She takes down a slew of Hydra agents along the way. Lincoln is close to death. Skye uses her powers to jump start his heart. Elsewhere, Simmons makes her way into the area where Ward is. She attempts to kill him. Bakshi stops her by sacrificing his own life. Ward lets Simmons know that she has changed. He is disappointed in her.
May tells a busy Coulson that it is time to go. The team, minus Ward and Bakshi, brings the wounded prisoners back to headquarters. Mike Peterson will need extensive repair work done. The now-free Ward calls Coulson to ask him to take care of Agent 33. She deserves a second chance and he cannot give it to her. As for the Hydra base, it was destroyed. Doctor List likely escaped.
Gonzales watches as Skye keeps vigil over Lincoln. He believes she is still dangerous. Still, he is glad to have enhanced people on the base. Coulson gives Gonzales the toolbox. That was their deal. The toolbox is fair game until Fury shows up to reclaim it. Coulson cannot stick around to soak in the shocked look on Gonzalez's face. He has an incoming call from Maria Hill.
At Afterlife, a calmer Cal lets Jiaying know that Raina is deceitful. She needs to be watched. Raina is in the middle of giving Jiaying a piece of her mind when she has a vision. It is of Loki's scepter. She claims that men made of metal will rip our cities apart. The world will be changed forever. Coulson is also discussing the scepter with Agent Maria Hill. He says it has the ability to control minds. He believes List is on his way to find it. It is time to enact Theta Protocol. It is time to bring in the Avengers.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Nick Blood as Lance Hunter
- Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse
- Kyle MacLachlan as Calvin Zabo
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- J. August Richards as Michael Peterson/Deathlok
- Dichen Lachman as Jiaying
- Ruth Negga as Raina
- Jamie Harris as Gordon
- Maya Stojan as Kara/Agent 33
- Simon Kassianides as Sunil Bakshi
- Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell
- Henry Goodman as Doctor List
- Christine Adams as Anne Weaver
- Edward James Olmos as Robert Gonzales
- Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
- Mark Allan Stewart as Agent Oliver
- Chad Cleven as HYDRA Tactical Agent
- Brendan Wayne as Jiaying's Assistant
- New York City, New York
- Kauai, Hawaii (mentioned)
- Mykonos, Greece (mentioned)
- Sokovia (mentioned)
- Puerto Rico (mentioned)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Safe House (mentioned)
- War on HYDRA
- Attack on the Playground (mentioned)
- Ultron Offensive (prophesied)
- Forearm Rocket Launcher
- Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant
- Cybertek Prosthetic Leg
- Photostatic Veil
- Splinter Bomb
- Scepter (pictured)
- Ultron Sentries (mentioned)
- Monolith (mentioned as cargo)
- Coulson's Team (mentioned)
- Stark Industries
- Strategic Scientific Reserve (logo)
- Avengers (mentioned)
- Theta Protocol
- Words of Creation
- Wolfgang von Strucker
- Daniel Whitehall
- Andrew Garner
- Christian Ward
- Grant Ward's Mother
- Grant Ward's Father
- Pietro Maximoff
- Wanda Maximoff
- Nick Fury
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Hot Pockets
- The title of this episode is an allusion to the World War II film The Dirty Dozen.
- The scene on the Bus was the first time in Season Two that all of Coulson's Team from Season One was together in one place; in an interview, actor Brett Dalton said that was one of his favorite scenes.
- Similar to End of the Beginning and Failed Experiments, this episode did not have an after-commercial epilogue.