Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Changes Gears

4/09/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Finally, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D episode we've been promised.  I don't know if they've been holding out on us and stalling for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to come out, or if they've just finally gotten it right.  This episode proves the viability of the show model.  It's coming off a string of good episodes, it ups the ante of existing plot elements, it ties into a recent Marvel movie installment, it has some big twists, and it strengthens all the characters.

It wasn't perfect, but I'm not demanding perfection.  I'm willing to let all the flaws of this episode go if this is representative of what the remainder of this season and any future seasons could look like.  It also finally fulfills the repeated promises of the show-runners that it's all connected.

Definitely watch Captain America before you watch this episode.  There are definitely hardcore spoilers for a significant chunk of plot for the movie.  That's really the only question about this model.  Is the timing right?  As someone that is up to date on the show and saw Captain America this weekend, everything flowed great.  That's not the case for everyone and most people in international markets didn't even have the option.  This is a strong argument for a Netflix model show.

So, watch last week's episode, watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and watch this this week's episode (Turn, Turn, Turn).  [Spoilers to follow]

Following on the fallout of Captain America 2, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D effectively pulls almost everyone's loyalty into question throughout the course of the episode.  May swears up and down that she's not with the Clairvoyant and was under orders to report to Fury.

After saving Agent Garrett from a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D drones, the team continues to get pulled in to the hub by the hijacked auto pilot.

Meanwhile, Simmons and Triplett are already at the HUB and get caught by Agent Hand, who demands they swear allegiance to Hydra, but reveals it is only a test (and they passed) when they refuse.  Hand appears to still be loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D, but is under the impression that Coulson is a Hydra agent due to his excessive secrecy and general disregard for the law and S.H.I.E.L.D regulations.

From here on out, the episode plays out fairly similarly to Star Wars: A New Hope.  The team splits up to try to rescue Simmons/Triplett and find a way to release the Millennium Falcon, er, The Bus, so they can escape.  In the process, they managed to fit in some useful exposition about various S.H.I.E.L.D agent levels (which was also addressed in Cap 2) and add some understanding as to why there's such a stark difference between the likes of Black Widow and Hawkeye vs Agent May, Agent Ward and on down to other Level 5 agents.

Skye and Ward share a weird moment where he awkwardly asks her out for a drink and to "talk" because apparently there was supposed to be a good amount of tension between them?  Brett Dalton was exceptionally weak in this scene, but Chloe Bennet actually stepped up to the plate in a good way.

Anyway, Garret basically slips up while talking to Coulson and reveals that he is the Clairvoyant.  He wasn't exactly on my list, but whatever.  The show is clearly headed in a different direction and the Clairvoyant was mostly a MacGuffin to get them to this point without spoiling Captain America plot elements.  It's a little disappointing, but it makes sense and I'm ready to move on.  There are more interesting things to worry about at this point anyway.

Fitz is probably the most likable character in the show at this point by the way.  Not only is his character the most interesting and developed, but Iain De Caestecker has really upped his game, breathing a lot of life into the character.  I could easily see him showing up in future Marvel movies now that they've killed off Agent Sitwell, who was the biggest tie in other than Coulson up to this point.

So Fitz takes down Garrett as he's about to stab Coulson and Agent Hand conveniently overheard everything and now trusts Coulson.  Garrett is apprehended and we see another montage intended to convey emotion from all the agents over the betrayal by their friend and especially Triplett and Ward, who were trained by him.

However, Ward is obviously totally full of it, because he volunteers to help transport Garrett to the Fridge for confinement, but when Hand offers him a gun to just shoot Garrett with, he kills her and the other agents on the plane.  Looks like he's being cycled off the team and replaced by Triplett?  I'm down with that move.

It's possible he's just going into deep cover to infiltrate Hydra, but that would be sort of extreme.  I'd be down with that, though.  It'd go a long way to add a darker edge to the show if he's willing to kill loyal S.H.I.E.L.D agents to enforce his cover.  I'm not sure how well that would be received by Coulson and the rest of the team, but that sort of makes that angle even more interesting.  He's already somewhat of a rogue agent after killing the Clairvoyant decoy.  The question to watch for in the next episodes is whether he's been Hydra all along and killed the decoy to cover Garrett's tracks, or if he's really just willing to push the line that much.

At this point, the show could really go anywhere.  They will likely take the battle to Hydra, which could lead to some more great tie-ins, especially since the post credits scene from The Winter Soldier links Hydra to Avengers: The Age of Ultron via Baron Von Strucker, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and Loki's staff/spear (with the mind gem?).

I'm no longer holding my breath for this show, though.  I'm in full on anticipation for next week and have full faith that they will finish the season strong, as promised.  Hail Hydra.

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