This week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD is the strongest in quite a while, and it’s not solely because of a light building to Avengers: Age of Ultron crossover in a search for Baron Von Strucker, but because it re-involves Hydra schemes for the first time (pretty much) since December, and I still feel that this is where Coulson as a character, and SHIELD as an organization, belongs: Fighting secret nazis.
All this time spent without Ward on the show has made me realize how Brett Dalton actually brings a lot of life, albeit hatable life, to the series, and his moral ambiguity has been one of the strongest dynamics throughout SHIELD’s second season.
After a kind of whoopee-cushion-feeling rescue for Fitz in one of Coulson’s not so convincing Quinjet circa PlayStation 2, Fitz’s pursuers casually give up in the background.
After a proper Deathlock shakedown on Ward, Coulson sits down with him to strike an offer to get to Strucker. Convinced there’s desire to be good in his willingness to protect Agent 33, Coulson offers Ward’s memory to be wiped with the TAHITI program as a chance to start his life fresh.
What follows is one of the best, and most intense, plots to an episode SHIELD has seen recently. From using a captive Bakshi to infiltrate into Hydra’s flight, to the threat of Deathlock being hypnotized, the sequence in progressing to both parties landing in Milwaukee in an encounter with Inhumans is a constant bout of trump cards, and the fact that Hydra is hunting powered people in much the same way Coulson is on his search for Skye, in addition to his being on camera with Ward The Traitor, doesn’t bode well for his reputation with the current management of SHIELD.
This week Skye tries to make a decision for the greater good, and now that she has the answers she’s been looking for, it’s clear to her where her loyalties lie, and that remains to be Coulson and SHIELD, especially when her mother intends to leave Cal out to dry with the bat of an eye. Skye, assured of Cal’s volatile reaction to come as a result of feeling abandoned, goes with him to soften the blow as he tries to desperately cling to the idea of quality “father-daughter time.” Eventually, she nabs a guy’s phone to call May for backup, and Cal takes her to his old office to gain his weird surgeon tools that frankly kind of make me uncomfortable hearing him talk about. At this point I’m not sure if Cal is a character to enjoy or completely detest based on his over the top anger problems, but it’s so over the top, even for this show, that I feel like I’m teetering more to the latter feeling.
May really begins to follow through with her growing distrust of Coulson’s plan this week in giving the knowledge of Simmons’ switch-aroo with Fury’s toolbox to Bobbi. Simmons brings the sass once May reveals the truth of the fake box, and is asked if she can tap into Deathlock’s network feed, and she’s not happy about the position she’s been put in as a result.
Is it possible that May revealed the Box to keep something else under wraps considering Bobbi and Mac suspicions?
All points in this episode converge here, and it works better than that last Hobbit movie. The deteriorating building in Milwaukee functions as a set piece for all the moving gears that have been churning the last few weeks, and begin to smoothly crank along, providing appropriately dramatic results from Coulson just barely having Skye slip from her grasp, the sneaky business of the Inhumans and their masked goals, and Ward apparently still having enough of a shred of humanity to save Coulson’s life in the middle of a fight.
With both Mike and Lincoln captured by Bakshi and Hydra, and as powered individuals on two different points of a many-sided-table, it will be interesting to see what will come as a result of Coulson’s private SHIELD and the Inhumans of Afterlife will do to retrieve their fellow man from the enemy. I hope this plot is what we will be seeing through the rest of the season, because this is certainly the best laid plans of the show since the discovery of the Kree temple’s existence.
Why are you turning yourself in?? What are you doing?! You’re not making sense right now, and you made complete sense the entire rest of the episode! What kind of sleeves do you wear tonight and what is up them?
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 2.18 “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (7/10)