Apologies are due to everyone who have been clamoring for some commentary on Agents of SHIELD the past couple of weeks. My absence has been noted. Be that as it may, the past is the past, so lets dive right in again shall we?
HOLY COW!!! YAAAY! We finally got to see the first kiss between Fitz/Simmons! It’s a tough decision to make, but that moment was second best in episode eight. Before I get to the best, let me just squeal in excitement for a little bit longer. Fitz was starting to hit some dead ends on the “open the portal and save Will” front so he went to Simmons to explain. Her reaction was to release all the emotion and surprise behind Fitz’s willingness to help her free the man she fell in love with when Fitz himself loves her too. Kudos to Fitz here, he just let it all out on the line asking Simmons’ point blank, “do you love him?”. Her response was yes of course, but that didn’t stop these two to (FINALLY!) admit their own feelings for one another, hence the tender moment above. It was a really great moment in an overall excellent episode that continued to attack away at our curious minds.
The best part of episode eight for me though featured the majority of the main team. After Coulson and Rosalind Price slept together, signifying some sort of relationship, he gets a little suspicious of the continued operations of the ATCU, as Coulson still is not being allowed to see their main facility in person. So he sets up an operation, Coulson will bring Price to SHIELD headquarters so she can see what is going on there, while Daisy, Mack, Bobbi, and Hunter infiltrate the ATCU. What they find is not particularly pleasant. The so called cure that Rosalind promised was being developed for all Inhumans, including Lash/Dr. Andrew Garner, does not exist. In actuality the ATCU is exposing the terrigen mist to anyone they can find, without witnesses. As Bobbi finds, it has caused some casualties along the way.
Coulson’s approach to finding out if he can trust Rosalind is why this storyline was my favourite. The character has appeared so unhinged this season and it is now starting to come to the forefront. He still is the old lovable Coulson, but there is this added edge I haven’t seen attached to him before and I am absolutely impressed by it. Thankfully we find out that Rosalind has nothing to do with this level of exposure of the terrigen mist, so yaaay! We have a new love interest, as I hoped, for Phil…
…and well, I guess I spoke too soon. I was SHOCKED when that bullet came through to kill Rosalind. Less surprised that it was Ward that took the shot, but stunned for her getting booted off the show so quickly. It’s really too bad because I was really starting to love Rosalind both as an individual character and in her relationship with Phil. However, and this is the best part, her death sparked Phil to take action in a HUGE way! This was the last straw, he needed to get Ward out of the picture once and for all. Phil’s first act was to interview each of the members from our original Season 1 team about their interactions with Ward when he was deceiving them as their ally. Not much more information was learned, but it was kind of nice to get a refresher of information without it feeling completely expositiony. Even if it was the same information, it was nice to see how the team was feeling about Ward now that a larger amount of time has gone by.
Coulson’s quest to make Ward pay for all of the death he has caused, including Rosalind’s, leads him to kidnap Ward’s brother Thomas, the one that Ward pushed down a well as a kid; remember that story from season 1? In order to go off and do that, Coulson leaves Mack in charge. I very much approve of that decision. Not only has Mack been working more closely with Coulson this season, but he just seems ready to be in the leadership role. Henry Simmon’s has always done well in his role, and I have really come to appreciate how his Mack has come to fit into the greater team dynamic, but I had a feeling he would thrive in the new role. Based on the events of the mid-season finale, my feelings were correct. More on that a little later.
Back to Coulson being completely unhinged. He is reckless and throwing caution to the wind when it comes to the consequences and I must say that I absolutely love this side of Coulson! I’ve said in past weeks how the show is continually getting better at pacing out the overall plotlines, often going for the straight course of demonstration rather than dragging out something for weeks on end. I’ve been lately feeling they’ve been taking somewhat of the latter approach with Coulson’s characterization this season. Yes, we had the brief relationship with Rosalind that kind of brought him out of his shell, but he was kind of acting more of like the mascot of SHIELD while everyone else was out there getting things done. This Coulson however is to my liking. Especially when he jumped out of the Jet to dive into the portal! The entirety of episode nine had me on edge the whole way through, but Coulson’s jump took it to a whole new level. I was actually questioning to myself whether or not Fitz, Ward, and Coulson would be on the planet for a much longer duration. Thankfully we got our answer in the mid-season finale.
So, the mid-season finale mostly satisfied me. Fitz and Ward’s partnering worked fairly well as both characters, particularly Fitz now, don’t care about what the other is going to do them. Fitz has just stopped caring about Ward and I love seeing how much growth he has shown in personal character, resolve, and bravery. Coulson never really cared about anybody so that hasn’t changed much, but its that fact that allows him to be so menacing.
As I mentioned about Mack, his acclimation to this (temporary?) new position is serving him well. And it wasn’t just a dynamic shift for him as the rest of the team was having a hard time coming to understand Mack is the one calling the shots now in Coulson’s absence. When the team had locked themselves into the portal room of the castle in England and were trying to decide on a plan, Mack’s outspoken claim on the situation made me do a double take. Damn, he took control and he put forth a great plan worthy of SHIELD leadership. I think so anyway. What I’m trying to get at here is that I love Coulson, he is the glue that keeps this show together. However, this show typically does best when it decides to shift the pieces of the playing field in a dramatic and surprising way. So my great hope here is that Mack stays on as director of SHIELD when we return to this show. (I think its in March after Agent Carter’s Season 2). Coulson has had a great run as director for sure, and its not that he deserves to be removed, I’m just kind of playing hunch and theory right now. Coulson is a great spy, no question, but even with Ward dead, I think Coulson is better suited to be the one out in the field with Daisy and May, and the others. Call me crazy.
Okay so here are the things that bugged me about the mid-season finale. First off, Will is dead for good. This entity that Hydra is trying to obtain from this planet killed him apparently in Simmons’ escape with Fitz earlier this season. Okay, yeah I know, it was always probably going to end with Will being dead or something, because honestly we love the Fitz/Simmons’ relationship too much, and well the writers did need to find a way to have this “being” transfer bodies. On that note…
What is this thing? Did I miss something or has there been no mention in the show about what this thing actually is or if it even has a name? It looks like some form of a snake being, but that is a blind guess. My roommates who don’t watch the show at this point might be able to make a better guess. Does anyone know what this thing is? I’m seriously asking because I can’t remember any mention of this in the comics, so is it there or is this just being created for the show?
Also, Ward is now dead. Don’t know why but I did not see that coming. Even when Coulson was able to get a hold of Ward and make him his prisoner, I felt like that goal was to bring him back through portal for something else. Not imprisonment because that did not turn out so well during season 2. I guess what I don’t like about Ward’s death here is that it felt rushed. I think this stems from Gideon Malick’s insistence that Ward go through the portal to lure the “being” back to earth. That decision for me felt out of no where as well. That said, I did like Coulson’s use of his metal hand to crush Ward’s chest in. That method felt like poetic justice, but the overall death felt cheapened to me.
This has been an absolute amazing half season of Agents of SHIELD. The show has continually improved on a week to week basis, with last week’s episode nine being the highlight episode for me of this half season. Daisy and the Inhuman team are shaping up nicely, kudos to Joey for being able to melt bullets!! Lash is a pretty great villain with a very emotional story at his center and I appreciate the adaptation the show has gone with by placing the persona on Dr. Garner. It’ll be very interesting to see how Lash affects the show moving forward now that he is free again. Gideon Malick is another figure that served this show well. Powers Boothe is an incredible actor and I have loved every moment with him on screen. I remember him most fondly from 24 and I see the same level of subtle devilishness and hidden cunning in this show as I did in the prior. His leadership of Hydra now that Ward is dead will be intriguing to see develop. Any excuse to see more Powers Boothe is okay in my book so lets bring it on!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone! I’ll see you in March!
Ratings: 3×08: 8.5/10 – 3×09: 10/10 – 3×10: 7.5/10
Season 3 First Half Rating: 9.5/10