Previously on Agents of SHIELD, ‘Closure’
Staring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennett, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adrianne Palicki, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell | Directed By: Vincent Misiano
LONG STORY SHORT
Acting Director Mackenzie orders an assault on the HYDRA camp in Gloucestershire. Fitz finds Will and the two conspire to leave Ward in the dust. The Secret Warriors are finally activated. Simmons takes a calculated risk in trusting Dr. Garner. Coulson’s turn to the Dark Side is complete. Somewhere out there, in a galaxy far far away, the Emperor cackles. Also, the Ancient Evil is on Earth. Fan-friggin’-tastic.
SECRET WARRIORS, CONGREGATE!
Playing it by ear and with absolutely no time to spare, Mack decides to engage HYDRA stealthily in small teams. Daisy finally has her wish granted as Lincoln and Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) are thrown into the field as a last-ditch effort to stop HYDRA in its tracks. Along with Agent May, the three are tasked to find FitzSimmons, neutralize Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) and his forces, and secure the portal before it closes.
Lincoln and Joey proved themselves capable of holding their own, however both remain unaware of the full potential of their powers. Thankfully for Joey, who dived in front of Daisy to save her from gunfire, the bullets melted before splattering harmfully on his tac vest. Involuntary defensive powers? Niiiiiiiice!
SO… THIS ISN’T AWKWARD
Silly, confident Fitz tried to get the upper hand on Ward physically at the start of “Maveth”. Did anyone expect him to actually gank his piece? NO. C’mon now, son. Clearly he’s been watching too many Bourne movies in his spare time.
Leo switches gears by leading Grant and his squad to Will’s coordinates, hoping to find the only man on the barren hellhole that can ensure his survival. Fourteen years on an alien planet pretty much makes one a master of its terrain. Will and Leo get along amazingly well – to Fitz’s surprise – and lead Ward’s group into the No Fly Zone where they manage to escape during a rather timely sandstorm. Conveniently, Coulson makes up for lost time and easily dispatches the HYDRA goons before disarming Ward.
It doesn’t always work on SHIELD, but when their actors have a considerable amount of screen time to flex their muscles, they usually go all out. The exchange between Coulson and Ward may have possessed a veneer of civility and suavity, yet one could feel the rage Phil was emanating through the television. No matter what bullshit Grant was spouting about finding a higher path, his alleged enlightenment was at the cost of numerous lives in the last three seasons.
No matter what, Price would be the last victim by Grant’s hand, even if Coulson had to lose a part of his soul to fulfill that promise. A compromise Phil would willingly accede 10 times out of 10, given the cold, hard look in his eyes.
BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
My, how Jemma Simmons has grown.
It wasn’t so long ago that she was a plucky yet passionate scientist who preferred the simplicity and sterility of her lab over chaotic fieldwork. Now look at her! Sneaking all about a HYDRA encampment, armed only with a sharp wooden stick she fashioned while stuck on an alien planet for roughly six months. If that isn’t the paradigm of toughness, what is? Her time on the planet wasn’t without its dire moments, however Jemma drew from a strength deep within her. Few would be able to do that, especially during such perilous times.
Her sessions with Dr. Garner (Blair Underwood) were helpful in her acclimation to life back on Earth, so it’s understandable why Simmons contemplated releasing Andrew. He never wanted to become Inhuman, although once he discovered his power, Garner wasn’t the most stellar example of restraint and mercy. Sadly, Jemma’s gamble on Andrew reining in Lash was costly; he easily killed the guards that were searching for Simmons… along with all the Inhumans in cold storage.
HELLO DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND
Coulson, Fitz and Ward certainly had their moments in “Maveth” that culminate in a startling sequence of events that results in one not but two deaths. Only a dozen or so meters from the portal, Fitz tends to the wound on Will’s leg only to discover there isn’t much of a leg to patch up. The fiend with the rotting leg is It/The Master/Lil’ H the Based God himself, hitching a ride inside Will’s long dead corpse.
Leo gets the job done by popping a few caps at Fake Will then lights him up for good measure with a flare. If he was on board the Sulaco, Fitz probably would have nuked him from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
Coulson, looking around Maveth: “I’ll be damned. Tatooine.”
Ward is dead. Long live Ward.
It isn’t sensible to be in awe of one so villainous, however seeing Grant (in physical form, at least) standing proudly in front of Malick was a moment worthy of a slow clap. His death has been intensely justified since “Turn, Turn, Turn”. The sole reason Grant Ward has avoided a gruesome death until now is thanks to the oddly beguiling, yet demented charisma achieved by the talented Brett Dalton.
Someone was bound to take Grant out eventually, but Coulson turning Ward into a human accordion was damn unexpected. It’s a good thing Leo managed to torch ‘It’ only a few feet away. Let’s see, a god-tier Inhuman capable of jumping bodies and a recently deceased beefcake with a caved-in chest nearby. hmm… sounds like a match made in outer space Hell.
To put it succinctly, SHIELD’s winter finale did not disappoint. All that we expected to occur did and it was satisfying nonetheless. Still, the writers managed to embed a few surprises here and there to make the three month break (UGH) all the more agonizing of us SHIELD fans.
So far Marvel is batting close to 1.000 in 2015, with the premieres of Agent Carter, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Combined with their flagship series that has grown in narrative and scope to prodigious levels, Marvel programming has subtly become the gold standard of genre programming. I know all of us cannot wait to see how this season will conclude (and how it could affect the Cinematic Universe instead of the other way around).