Gimmick builds are usually about optimizing characters in certain ways. The builds I’m writing about here are going to be about optimizing certain aspects of characters. They’re going to be pretty simple and emphasize one specific trait.
The first build I’m writing about here is going to be one I’m actually playing. It’s a build to optimize initiative. There aren’t a lot of things in 5e which manipulate initiative. In Adventurer’s League, there are a few items which raise initiative. There are both Rings and Cloaks of Protection, as well as Staves of Withering, all of which give +2 to initiative. There are also Whips and Tridents of Warning. Outside of that, most characters are simply at the mercy of their dexterity for their initiative modifier. A few of the only exceptions I know of are the rogue archetype Swashbuckler, which gives you a bonus to initiative equal to your charisma modifier, the Jack of All Trades feature of bards, and the Alert feat. Fortunately, these work pretty well with each other.
The minimum level to get all of these is level 5, with 3 levels of rogue and 2 levels of bard. At level 5, assuming 16 DEX and 16 CHA, you’d have +12 initiative. At level 20, with 20 DEX and 20 CHA, you’d have a total of +18. Assuming all AL-legal items, that would put you at +24 to initiative. Chances are, you’re going first.
The next build is even simpler. It’s a build that emphasizes maximizing hit points. Most hit points are purely based on hit die and constitution, but there are a couple of ways that this can be manipulated slightly. The most obvious method is the feat Toughness, which simply gives you 2 HP for every level. The second one is the hill dwarf subrace, which gives you an additional 1 HP per level. As far as the hit dice themselves, you would maximize it by becoming a barbarian, which is the sole owner of the d12 hit die. In addition, at level 20, the barbarian gets +4 to STR and CON, for a total possible 24, increasing HP by another 2 points per level over any other class.
Since this build is fairly pure, it is achievable as early as level 4. However, due to how hill dwarves’ stat bonuses work out, the true peak of the build happens around level 12 or level 20. At level 4, you’d have 57 HP. At level 12, you’d have 185 HP. At level 20, you’d top off at 345 HP, not even mentioning that this 345 HP is effectively 690 since the character would likely be a Bear Totem barbarian, giving you resistance to almost all damage.
There are a couple more tricks, but they venture into a different territory I’m not exactly prepared to talk about at the moment. Just keep in mind that in theory, Heavy Armor Mastery could potentially shave off a couple of points.
The next build is a little more involved, and that revolves around a DEX-based paladin. Now, the one thing to keep in mind is that a DEX-based paladin is normally unable to multiclass. So in order to multiclass, a version of this character would have to do something special, such as acquire Gauntlets of Ogre Power. The reason why the paladin has to be DEX-based is that the point of the build in question is to be a different kind of tank to the dwarf barbarian. It would be a character with high save values and high AC.
The most important part of the character, and probably the one aspect that takes the most interesting route, is the stat array. You’d start with an array of 8, 15, 13, 8, 12, 15 as a variant human. You put +1 into DEX and CHA, as well as taking the feat Resilient – CON, putting you at 8, 16, 14, 8, 12, 16, but giving you +3 to DEX saves, +4 to CON saves and +3 to WIS saves, all at level 1. DEX, CON and WIS being the most important saves. As DEX would be your primary stat, you’d put your points into it at higher levels, leaving your saves at +5 DEX, +5 CON and +4 WIS baseline at level 8, just based on stat increases. However, that’s not all. As a paladin, at level 6, you begin to add your CHA to saves. That gives you an additional +3 to all saves at level 8, and you’d end up with +8 DEX, +8 CON, +7 WIS. Starting at level 17, assuming you put the rest of your points into CHA, you end up with +10 DEX, +11 CON, +10 WIS. In addition, if you choose to be an Oath of the Ancients paladin, you can give yourself and your party resistance to damage from spells.
The other half of this equation is the AC. Without magic items, for this build, the highest possible achievable AC would be 20. With studded leather, +5 from DEX, +2 from the shield and +1 from the Defense fighting style. In AL, there are a variety of increasing that number a little higher. The Wall of Teeth gives an additional +2 on top of the shield’s bonus, and is not an attuned item. +1 studded leather can be traded for with a rare item and is also unattuned. There are also a variety of attuned items which provide AC, such as the Ioun Stone of Protection, Cloaks and Rings of Protection, the Glasstaff, Staves of Power. Some of those are able to be attuned by a character with this build, though some are not.
A truly tricked out character would have at least 1 level of sorcerer, using Gauntlets of Ogre Power to qualify to multiclass out of paladin, then have the Wall of Teeth as well as +1 studded leather, then have the Ring of Protection and Staff of Power as remaining attuned items. That would give the character +11 DEX, +12 CON, +11 WIS, 26 AC and access to the Shield spell. Barring a no-save situation, bad luck or one of the few save spells outside of those main save attributes, that’s one hell of a wall.
As of my writing this, Adventurer’s League is currently in Season 4. To the uninitiated, that means this set of adventures takes place in a place called Barovia, a land ruled by a powerful vampire named Strahd von Zarovich. Practically, this means two things: the first is that adventurers that become trapped in Barovia are stuck there until they somehow find their way out. The second is that everything is 5x-10x more expensive, and that potions are much more rare and practically impossible to buy while in-game. That creates somewhat of a shortage of potions in Barovia, but fear not, Dr Feelgood is here to help.
The requirements for crafting a Potion of Healing are somewhat vague. In the Downtime Activities rules, it lists that you can craft a Potion of Healing with 25g and 10 downtime days. The requirement for crafting items in general requires a character to be a spellcaster and at least of 3rd level. Specific to crafting a Potion of Healing, the text for the Herbalism Kit states that a character must be proficient with the Herbalism Kit to craft Potions of Healing.
So those requirements are pretty low. The first order of business would be to get proficiency in Herbalism Kits and to be a spellcaster. So, to fulfill both those requirements, the easiest way is to just become a druid. We’re done, right? We can just go home now. Well, wait. We still need 2 more levels to be able to craft. They could be any levels, even druid levels. But, what would be better for someone whose job is delivering potions than to have Fast Hands? With 3 levels of rogue, you can choose the oft-ignored archetype, thief. As far as I can tell, there aren’t a ton of benefits to being a thief, but one of them is the ability to Use an Object as a bonus action. What better way to deliver a potion(or Goodberry, for that matter) than to use it as a bonus action? This is a much smaller writeup because this is a much less ambitious gimmick build than the others I’ve posted.
However, for bonus points, you could put a level into Life Cleric so that each of your Goodberries(which, again, you deliver at bonus action speed) heals 4 points. That’s 40 points total from a level 1 spell. Sure, it doesn’t scale and you’d have to spend actions and bonus actions eating them or feeding them to people, but it’s just one more element to make your allies Feel Good.
So I was telling someone the other day that I wanted a different kind of show out of the MCU TV slate. Sure, Agents of SHIELD is a thing, and the Netflix shows are great, and I know they’re doing Damage Control and Cloak and Dagger, but what I really want is the Avengers Initiative. So, I started to type this out, and then it got more fun, so I started typing more of it out, and now I have a full, episode-by-episode, full season synopsis, which I think is fun. No one really has to read this, but I thought it was fun to make up and type, so I’m putting this here because where else am I going to put this?
The tl;dr version of this is that this is a team of young heroes who, for one reason or another, become part of a government-controlled team. They are training to, in essence, become the next Avengers, should the Avengers fall or perhaps become criminals in the eyes of the world’s government. They get involved in a plot with a certain criminal organization and have to deal with their own personal problems of being young people with this sort of a lifestyle.
So, without further ado, here is my take on a MCU TV Avengers Initiative show:
Episode 1 – The first episode centers on Kate Bishop. She’s a rich former socialite who moved from New York to LA after the Battle of New York. Because of her traumatic experiences and constantly feeling like she wasn’t in control, she learned martial arts, fencing, swordfighting, archery. She is taking out thugs in LA, trying to track down a drug ring supplying a new drug, which is actually Inhuman Growth Hormone. She runs into a bit of trouble, but at the same time, she runs into a “retired” Hawkeye. She decides to reject his help and tries to go off on her own. She eventually tracks down one of the suppliers, but that supplier takes a large amount of the drug and she can’t handle him. She’s saved by Hawkeye and he invites her to be part of the Avengers Initiative, which is a group of kids being trained to become the next wave of the Avengers, if they are ever needed.
Episode 2 – The second episode introduces the team. Michael Van Patrick is the leader of the team, he has abilities which have been compared to a young Captain America. Alex Wilder is the brains of the group, primarily in the planning and strategic departments. He controls the flow of information on the team. Eli Bradley is a strong young man who feels he has a lot to prove and is often a bit brash about it. Jeanne Fouccault is an extremely capable lady whose abilities seem almost supernatural. In addition to these folks, who are being trained for combat situations, there are also Humberto Lopez, Karolina Dean, Kamala Khan and Molly Hayes at the facility. Those four and Alex Wilder were all rescued from what was ostensibly a Hydra base and aside from Wilder, they all seem to be exhibiting signs of powers. It turns out that they are all Inhumans whose powers were being trained so that they could be used as soldiers. The team of Van Patrick, Bradley, Fouccault and Wilder train and show Bishop around the facility and explain what the Initiative is all about. In their training, Wilder commands the team from a separate room while the others carry out the plan. Bradley strays from the plan, saying he would be a better leader, but Van Patrick chides him, saying that his defiance will get someone killed. Wilder lets slip to Bishop that he knows where there might be a facility that is related to the drug ring she was trying to bust and suggests that it might also have ties to the people that took him and the others, presumably Hydra. She convinces Van Patrick to take a team there, ostensibly to scout. The team runs in to trouble, but they manage to take out the base, though not without some trouble. Because of Bradley’s defiance and hard-headedness, the folks at the base are able to destroy their data and Van Patrick has to step in at the last moment to save everyone. He chides Bradley again and says that he won’t always be there to save him.
Episode 3 – The third episode more closely follows Bradley. In this episode, it is revealed that Bradley’s grandfather was meant to be a super soldier, but with Erskine’s death, that never happened. As an angry teenager, after learning this, Bradley blamed this on racism, saying that the only reason his grandfather wasn’t Captain America was because of racism. This is the reason Bradley is so eager to prove that he has the capability of leading the team, ahead of Van Patrick. Wilder secretly tells Bradley that he actually was able to get some of the data that from the enemy base and had leads on where to get the next clues about this drug. Meanwhile, the non-combatants are going stir-crazy, especially with Lopez and Hayes wanting to go out into the field. Bradley goes off on his own to investigate Wilder’s clue, but it turns out to be a trap. What is presumably a Hydra scientist manages to inject Bradley with some IGH and tortures him for a bit to test his limits. Fortunately, Bishop figures out where Bradley went and then Wilder confesses that he sent him on that mission. Then they convince Van Patrick and Fouccault to go and save Bradley. However, when they get there, Bradley is out of his mind drugged up, and the scientist has outfitted him with a weapon. In trying to subdue Bradley, the scientist escapes and Van Patrick has to sacrifice himself to save everyone. The end of the episode ends on a sour note and Hawkeye, whom we have not seen since the end of episode 1, comes back to tell everyone at the compound what happened.
Episode 4 – This episode opens with the non-combatants, centering primarily on Lopez. They are discussing what happened with Van Patrick, mainly if their presence would have made a difference. Hayes cries. Kahn believes in the system, that if they just trust the higher-ups at the compound, things would be made clear. However, Lopez insists that they are being misused. As the ones with the powers, they should be the ones in the field. Dean says she doesn’t want to be in the field. She just wants to go back to being a regular California girl. Bishop approaches them to get their take. She brings their plight to Wilder, who is the de facto leader of the group in Van Patrick’s absence. He agrees that they should at least be trained. Lopez, Kahn and Hayes get their chance to train. Dean abstains. Meanwhile, Bradley is alone in his room, trying to recover from the drugs and having nightmares about killing Van Patrick. He regrets his decisions and wants to quit. At the end of the episode, the team watches a news broadcast about what happened in Lagos. Then the team is briefed about the Sokovia Accords and how that affects them. They are also told that Hawkeye has gone missing and is a fugitive.
Episode 5 – This episode centers on Wilder. As the leader of the group, he struggles to get the control and respect he feels he deserves. We see flashes into his past, about his strained relationship with his parents and his escapism into a virtual world. He talks with Dean and Hayes, whom he knew personally as children, and about how the Initiative brought them together. They talk about not knowing where their parents are. Fouccault overhears and decides to put forth a plan to steal information from their own people about their parents’ whereabouts. Fouccault also does not know where her parents are, but for different reasons. Fouccault finds nothing on her own parents, but Wilder, Dean and Hayes find out that their parents are suspected to be part of Hydra, but that their current whereabouts are unknown. This comes as a shock to all of them, except Fouccault, who is completely unphased. The three hatch a plan to launch a raid on a facility mentioned in some of the files as a possible location of a Hydra base. This plan is found out by Bishop, who invites herself along, as well as Lopez and Kahn. The group goes and raids the Hydra base and take it out, but finds no more clues of their parents’ whereabouts. Bradley decides to quit the team and the episode ends on a flashback of Wilder’s father saying he is a disappointment.
Episode 6 – This episode revolves around Fouccault. Her flashbacks of her parents, her childhood, everything are fuzzy. However, in her training montage, she does every move perfectly. Bishop approaches her and asks why she isn’t leading the team. Fouccault flatly shrugs it off, saying she isn’t interested in all that. Then she does more cool kung fu moves. The episode continues the plot threads of the previous episodes. Lopez wants himself and the other powered folks to be more of a presence on the team, Dean doesn’t want any part of that, and Wilder struggles to hold the team together. Fouccault decides that since she is the most adept at fighting, she will train the powered folks. We get to a training montage, where in each of the clips, Fouccault dispatches them easily despite their powers. She demonstrates that they can’t rely on their powers too much, but they shouldn’t be afraid to use them, either. Dean still refuses to participate. Fouccault and Dean share a moment. Dean reveals that she spent a lot of her time trying to be what people wanted, trying to get people to like her. And she feels the weight of this new life differently than anyone else. It’s heavier for her. Fouccault reveals that she can’t even remember her past, before she was here. It’s hard for her to feel like Dean feels. She almost envies Dean. They share significant glances. The episode ends with the two sharing a kiss, then being interrupted by klaxons and red warning lights.
Episode 7 – A new character is introduced. The first thing that happens is all the members of the team are sent to their rooms. Naturally, Bishop sneaks out and goes to spy on what’s going on. It turns out, their servers are being hacked and a lot of the data about the Avengers is being erased. Bishop gets caught and the administrators of the facility decide to tell the team about what’s going on. Wilder tries to fight back the hack, but is unable to, the hacker is better than he is. Fouccault is distraught because she thinks whomever is hacking the server now may have hacked the server before and deleted all the data about her parents. However, Wilder recognizes the signature of the hack as someone who cheated against him long ago in his virtual world game. He suspects it’s someone with the username AwesomePoPInc. They get help from SHIELD agent Daisy Johnson, who, with the help of Wilder’s experience with the hacker, track him down. They get a location and the team is dispatched to find the hacker. They come to the small town of Broxton and spread out to try and flush out the hacker. Meanwhile, Johnson talks to the Inhumans of the group, giving them advice about the way that being an Inhuman can change them, but how that shouldn’t let it change them. Bishop ends up in a diner populated by old folks who don’t seem to know anything about computers and an Asian kid sitting in a booth by himself, with a puppy, who seems to be playing a gameboy. She sits down in the booth opposite him and they share a few moments. He introduces himself as Amadeus Cho and says he’s the smartest boy in his class. She introduces herself and asks how he hacked a secure server with a game boy. Cho asks her what she thinks of the Sokovia Accords and General Ross. He asks her why SHIELD and the other government organizations keep meddling in the affairs of the Avengers, especially ones they can’t possibly contain, like Thor and the Hulk. He says that when he lived in New Mexico, the Hulk saved him once. That even though a lot of people blame the Avengers for a lot of the world’s problems, he knows better. She says she knows and that she also looks up to the Avengers. That’s why she’s joined the Initiative. Cho wishes her good luck with that. Bishop leaves without ratting him out. No one else comes upon him.
Episode 8 – This episode starts with a flashback of Dean. It shows her life as a rich Southern California socialite. Going to parties, going to Coachella, trying as hard as she could to gain popularity. But somehow, she always kept her kindness. The flashbacks have her standing up to bullies, making friends with the less popular, but always keep her own secrets. We see Dean at her most vulnerable. Alone, in her dark room at night, how she really feels. Despite everything going right in her life, she feels empty. Dark. Then we flash forward to her life at the facility. She’s being pulled into a life she doesn’t want. She can’t control her powers of projecting light from all parts of her body. Most of the time, it doesn’t show, but she is having a hard time controlling it. Everyone else, powered and non-powered, is training, trying to control their abilities. Dean spends her time pining for simpler times. The way she remembers her life makes her think they were brighter days than they were. She is approached by Fouccault. The two share some moments, but avoid talking about their kiss. Fouccault tells Dean that she is the only one with as much darkness inside her. Dean’s mind flashes back to her secret life. The way she used to think of some of the girls who were her friends. Dirty thoughts. Things she wasn’t sure of. The way she thought she’d be judged. When one of the girls she had a crush on came out to all their friends, and was accepted, Dean had decided to tell everyone as well. But when that girl also announced she had found a girlfriend, Dean changed her mind, choosing instead to bury that secret deeper still. Meanwhile, Wilder’s extracurricular activities finds a new clue in the search for his, Dean’s and Hayes’ parents. He convinces most of the team to check out the lead, but Dean feels conflicted. Fouccault convinces her it would be a good idea to come, even if just to see the outcome. She promises Dean that she’d protect her. They go check out this lead and it leads to a Hydra base. The team do not find their missing parents, but they do get into a fight with Hydra soldiers. However, some of these soldiers have used IGH on themselves and are fighting back with powers. With the team in a tough spot, Dean uses her powers brilliantly and saves the day. The team return with a partial victory, but hurt. When Dean gets back to her room, also dark and alone, she starts to cry. She regrets even hurting those men with her power. Fouccault comes into the room eventually and consoles her. This episode also ends with them kissing.
Episode 9 – This episode starts off with Hayes’ dream. In her dream she is one of the Avengers and they are fighting Fin Fang Foom and she knocks it out in a single punch. Everyone cheers for her. She and the Hulk share a high five. She wakes up, excited. She goes through some training where she does really well. We get to see how much Hayes wants to be an active part of the team, though the others tell her that she and Kahn are too young to take part in the more dangerous missions. The episode continues with her discussing her frustrations with Kahn about being left out. Kahn feels that the responsible thing is to let the more trained members of the team use their best judgment, but Hayes disagrees. In pursuit of this, she sneaks into Wilder’s room so that she can hear what his plans are and go take care of the next mission on her own. She overhears Wilder talking to someone on his computer about plans regarding a facility in New York. Excited by the possibility of taking on a mission on her own, and possibly finding out what happened to her parents, she sneaks back out to steal a Quinjet. However, Kahn catches her in the act and tries to stop her. Hayes pleads to Kahn, saying that they are too important to keep leaving on the bench and convinces her to take part in the plan, if only for a scouting mission. They program the Quinjet’s autopilot to take them to the facility in New York. However, upon arriving there, Hayes rushes forward and they come upon enemies who have taken IGH. Despite their powers being quite strong, Hayes and Kahn are fought back and get injured. They fall back somewhere in the facility and hide to recover a bit. This being the first time her powers hadn’t been enough to overwhelm her opponents, the realization kicks in to Hayes that she’s not invulnerable and that her actions have put Kahn in trouble. Meanwhile, Bishop has noticed that the girls have disappeared and when she brings it to Wilder’s attention, he tells her not to worry about it. That causes Bishop to suspect that Wilder might know something. The episode ends with the girls hiding, trying to recover and then someone opening the door to their hiding spot.
Episode 10 – The first image of the episode echoes the last image from the previous week. The girls are hiding, someone’s opening the door, the girls are steeling themselves. It goes close on Kahn’s face. Then we flash back to her youth. She is bullied constantly at school for being Middle Eastern and being a Muslim. She wants desperately to fight back, to stand up to these bullies, but her parents tell her that it would only makes things worse. So she swallows her feelings, is obedient and just takes it in. She tries to repay hatred with kindness, even when it results in things like her father’s store being graffiti’d and rocks being thrown in their windows. We flash to her taking a fish oil pill and her transformation, which happens at home. She shows her parents, telling them that it is some sort of miracle. Her mother begs her not to show anyone. According to her mother, that would only make things worse. Already an outsider, with this change in her, it would only make things worse. But then we flash forward to a time where she couldn’t help herself. She used her power to save someone from being beaten in an alleyway on her way home from school. The next thing that flashes into her mind is her being taken away from her home by government folks. Except they weren’t government folks, this was likely Hydra. They experimented on her and Lopez and Hayes and Dean and she even remembered seeing Wilder at that facility. There were others, though some did not make it. She remembered the girl from the cell next to hers, an Asian girl named Jennifer Takeda. She remembered how that girl was experimented so heavily upon that she wasted away and died. Then, the door opens and standing is Spiderman. He had been tracking this organization for some time as well, and figured out where they were hiding to help them. Kahn and Spiderman share a few moments and stories about how they looked up to the Avengers for helping. How the power that they had meant they had these responsibilities to do the right thing with them. Spiderman helps them take out the rest of the enemies just in time to intercept a call from Wilder. Wilder sees the kids there instead of his men and then starts to enact his contingency plans. The lights go out at the team’s facility and Wilder disappears. Bishop, who had been tailing him, is not caught in the blasts that he causes. Several members of the team are hurt, but Wilder escapes. Spiderman takes the girls to Stark Tower as they try to figure out the status of the team.
Episode 11 – This episode shows us more of Wilder’s journey. He was this slacker genius who had disappointed his parents. His parents were these highly successful science-minded business people whom he held little admiration of. Then he found out his parents were part of Hydra. They were trying to advance science in ways that they believed would benefit all of humanity. When Captain America took down the contingent of Hydra in SHIELD, his parents withdrew from Hydra somewhat. They still believed in their mission, but they were biding their time. When Inhumans became public knowledge, they couldn’t help themselves any longer and started up their operation. When Wilder saw that they were experimenting on children, whose potential for power they believed was greater than that in adults, he hatched a plan to destroy his parents’ facility. When he saw that Hayes’ and Dean’s parents, whom he recognized, were willing to volunteer their own children to the cause, he became so angry that he decided that there was a problem inherent with the system and that he would need to start his own society. So with his friends from the internet and by manipulating some of the unknowing Hydra agents, he took control of a sect of Hydra and they disrupted the facility and killed all the leaders. Then he sent a tip to SHIELD about the weakened facility and they rescued Lopez, Kahn, Hayes, Dean and himself, as well as others. However, while the others had parents to go back to, none of these folks did. But when Wilder realized they were being put on the Initiative team, and while fundamentally mistrusting any authority other than his own, Wilder created an organization. The organization consisted of what he considered to be low lives and other criminals, who would blindly follow his orders, given some money. He used that organization and the Initiative team to slowly weed out Hydra and carve out power from the powers that be, though he had to create an infrastructure of a drug ring that created superpowers to do it. We find out that Wilder created IGH with his parents’ research and kept many of his loyalists addicted to the drug to control them. Though Wilder’s intentions may once have been pure, his mistrust of anyone but himself has led him to do terrible things, which need to be stopped. The episode ends with the team trying to come together, many of them hurt, but both SHIELD and the Avengers unsure of what to next and unwilling to make a move on Wilder.
Episode 12 – The episode starts in a hospital room shared by Fouccault and Lopez. They both seem quite hurt. Kahn and Hayes are also recovering from their own injuries. While Bishop and Dean are both fine, Dean isn’t much of a combatant and Bishop can’t handle this on her own. Bishop feels they need to take down Wilder themselves. None of them have any idea why he did what he did or which missions they were sent on were just his manipulations. Fouccault and Kahn both argue that they should stay put and let the grown-ups handle it. For once, Hayes somewhat agrees. She’s seen what rushing ahead can do. Lopez and Bishop, however, think they’re the only ones who can appeal to Wilder. Whatever he has done, they can talk to him to smooth things out. However, they can’t do it by themselves. Bishop decides to try to get help. She goes to Bradley, who hasn’t been seen in a while. He’s gone back to his old life, though decidedly less enthusiastically. Instead of being the ambitious leader, he hasn’t gone back to any of his old extracurricular activities, instead becoming quiet and reclusive. Bishop interrupts this routine of his, saying the team needs his help. He says he doesn’t do that anymore. She tells him about what happened. He says he wants to help, but he can’t. He has nightmares about what happened. He was so eager to be the leader that he got Van Patrick killed. He bears the weight of that. She says that the only way to get over the guilt and the nightmares is to do something about it, and there are friends that still need his help. As she leaves, he doesn’t seem convinced. Unable to get Bradley’s help, Bishop decides to try to take Wilder on by herself. However, while she is trying to find Wilder’s trail, she gets a message from AwesomePoPInc. He has also been tracking Wilder’s activity on the web, and says he has been making some shady movements. He offers to help her, and she agrees on the condition that they meet up and work together. Cho hits on her a bit and then agrees. As Bishop and Cho go to try and steal yet another Quinjet, they are approached by the rest of the team, including Bradley. Even Dean comes along, saying that she’ll help even though she doesn’t want to be part of the fight. Bishop first tries to convince them not to come, saying that many of them are too damaged to come, but they insist.
Episode 13 – In every previous instance, Wilder had been directing the team to targets he had chosen. He was careful to choose things which could help him but would not risk exposing himself. Cho saw through all that. He tracked the signal and activity to a specific location where they would find Wilder, but he would likely be ready for them. So the team gets ready for a fight, including Cho, who, unlike Wilder, is coming into the field with them. They sneak through his base until they get to him, getting past a bunch of guards and taking them out stealthily, mostly because of the skills of Bishop, Fouccault and Cho. When they get to Wilder, he is ready for them. He has outfitted many of his men with weapons and IGH-enabled powers. He tries to appeal to their logic. He says that the institution is fundamentally flawed and that he needs to build the infrastructure of the world’s power back up himself. He appeals to Cho, who also has a fundamental mistrust of the powers that be, who have come up with a plan to curtain the good that can be done. He appeals to Bradley, whose issues of favoritism, racism and hero worship are his downfall. He appeals to Fouccault’s logic about the most pragmatic way to create a just new world. He appeals to the Inhumans, whose treatment by Hydra and by SHIELD has been one of fear and wariness. Then he tries to appeal to Bishop, who has only ever wanted to do what was right, despite what anyone else might think. The team all take some time to ponder what Wilder has said. Then Bishop says that there might be flaws with the system, but they should try to make those changes from the inside. She says that the methods he has chosen of manipulation and lies will only end in sorrow. She says that the team has become a family and they can work things out, that they don’t have to resort to such extreme measures like Wilder’s plans to make a difference. Wilder says it’s too late. Then they have a big fight. The team looks like they’re losing, as several of the members are hurt and they are severely outgunned and outnumbered. Then Dean decides to unleash her power, which damages a lot of their enemies but also damages the foundation of the building they are in. The team manages to get out, but as they are doing so, they see parts of the building fall on top of Wilder. The IGH manufacturing facility is destroyed, but so too, it would seem, is Wilder. On the flight back, there is a somber mood. Most of them feel like they failed their mission. The end of the episode is each member of the team having their own reaction to what happened. Dean feels bad that she hurt people, and that she may have inadvertently killed Wilder. Fouccault tells her that she has killed people, before she came to be a part of the team, and that it never gets easier. They comfort each other physically. Lopez wonders why he ever wanted to be a bigger part of the team. He considers this by himself and then is visited by Kahn and Hayes. They all talk about what they thought being a hero was, and how this didn’t feel at all like that. They are then joined by Bradley and Bishop, who tell them that being a hero doesn’t always feel good, but it’s standing up for what they believe is right. They talk about the versions of Wilder they knew and conclude that he was kind of a hero in his own right, though his actions were misguided. This discussion continues. The next scene is Cho trying to sneak out, but Bishop stopping him. Bishop says he should stay and join the team. Cho says that he is pretty fundamentally opposed to being part of a government-controlled team, though he believes the team’s hearts are in the right place. He gives Bishop his number and says to call him if she ever needs him, suggesting that even if it’s just for his body. The two laugh it off and Cho leaves. Then Bishop is left alone to ponder what Wilder was thinking. His methods may have been extreme, but Wilder wasn’t wrong. There was something poisoned about the well he was drawing from, but justice needed to be served, and if it was something the Avengers weren’t around for, she and her team would just have to take it on themselves.