In this penultimate episode of season one, we learned the story of Ward's unorthodox recruitment into S.H.I.E.L.D (and HYDRA) by John Garrett through a series of flashbacks that broke up the main story of Coulson's crew infiltrating Cybertek to unearth their connection to HYDRA's schemes.
Without the resources of S.H.I.E.L.D. to call upon, the team turned to Trip who dug up his grandfather's Howling Commandos' spy kit of wonderful retro toys for the team to use.
This helped interject some great comedy in the episode before things got really dark towards the end.
We learned some secrets about Garrett and got another (major) clue about the truth of Skye's "secret origin" - which I'm strongly suspecting has some alien connotation (please let her be a skrull, please, please... my geeky grin would be visible from the moon if that turns out to be the case).
And I think we got the final proof - if it was needed - that Ward is beyond saving; although I felt very sorry for Fitz who refused to believe that his friend was really a bad guy.
The episode's ending left us with some major cliffhangers going into next week's season closer as well as an insight into HYDRA's plans for the future, and Ian Quinn's role in them.
Ragtag was a solid pre-finale episode, gearing all the major players up for the epic final confrontation... and I can't wait.
After it's initial hic-cup with The Magical Place (and a lot of that came from the interminable wait and the overhyping, during that wait, of what to expect), the second half of this season has really shown what Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is capable of when it breaks away from a "freak-of-week" format, and draws upon the mythology it has created as well as the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It took its time to find its feet, and shake off a lot of people's misconceptions about what form the show was going to take, but those of us who have loyally stuck with it have been rewarded with a magnificent slice of live-action comic book adventure.