If you attempted to watch this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without first seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I feel sorry for you. I have no idea how anyone who didn’t see the latest Captain America installment was able to puzzle his or her way through this most recent S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. I did see the movie and I’m still not certain even I understood everything.
Oh boy, where to start? Still reeling from the knowledge that Hydra has infiltrated the highest levels of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson et al. don’t know whom they can trust. The jury is out on Agent May, who has been communicating with Director Fury behind everyone’s back; we also can’t be certain of Ward considering he summarily shot the only lead the team had on the Clairvoyant. And in the first minutes of this latest episode, Bill Paxton’s Agent Garrett is almost shot out of the sky by S.H.I.E.L.D. drones.
Once Skye and the team discover that the looped message being sent from S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ is a rallying cry for Hydra, they realize their backs now have giant targets. Complicating matters is the fact that Simmons is back at the Hub, under the watch of Agent Hand, the suspected Clairvoyant. With Agent Garrett now on board, Coulson decides a frontal assault on The Hub is the only way to get Simmons back and truly find out how deep the conspiracy goes.
Soon cornered by Agent Hand, Simmons and Agent Triplett are ordered to demand allegiance to Hyrdra or face certain death. When they both refuse, we’re treated to our first big surprise of the episode: Hand isn’t the Clairvoyant. She and her trusted inner circle are the only S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists left. Oh, and she believes that Coulson and his team is Hydra. What?
Now, Simmons must try and convince Hand that Coulson is one of the good guys, even as our favorite agent plans an attack on The Hub. Infiltrating The Hub, with Ward and May in tow despite their questionable actions, Coulson, Fitz and Garrett find Gemma and Agent Hand. In a scene rife with finger pointing, Coulson and Hand no longer have to worry about each other, because surprise, Garrett is in fact, the Clairvoyant and a member of Hydra.
While Garrett threatens them, Skye and Ward are in the process of destroying The Hub’s computers – I’m still not 100% sure why. However, their objective is not important. What’s important is that Ward and Skye kiss! Yes, you read that right. In an adorable scene in which Ward tells Skye he’d like to get a drink with her when all of this is over, the couple finally admits in a roundabout way that they’re interested in each other. Then, Ward goes badass, taking out twelve agents so Skye can get a clear shot to the server room.
However, it’s the last few minutes of the episode that truly turn every preconceived notion you may have about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on its ear. Managing to capture Garrett, Hand wants to escort him to the Freezer and bury him in a hole. Ward asks to go with her as Garrett was his supervising officer and he wants to see it through to the end.
Then sh*t gets crazy. During transport, Hand offers Ward the chance to kill Garrett, and what does he do? Ward shoots Hand and frees Garrett. So now it appears our suspicions of Ward were right all along.
Say it ain’t so.
On any other show, this would probably be the mother of all season finales, but no, we’ve got six more episodes to go. The completionist in me is glad, because on the off chance we don’t get a season two, the writers and producers should have plenty of time to wrap this up in the episodes that are left.
Now, the producers have been telling us that knowing the entire game was going to change with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier has handicapped them for much of the season. There were things they could and couldn’t do because they knew that everything would change. However, I’m not sure this excuse can absolve all the sins of the season up to this point. Was Turn, Turn, Turn the best episode so far? It was certainly the most jaw dropping. However, shock factor does not equal dramatic quality.
I feel that as with most episodes this season, I keep waiting for the next episode to see if the show gets better. I want to believe that the last six episodes will take this newfound momentum and build on it. They certainly have a ton of different options to choose from and if the Marvel Universe has proven anything it’s that the possibilities are pretty limitless. I think the most frustrating thing about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is that there is so much potential and the show just consistently falls short.
However, now that the game has truly changed, I’m really hoping they stick the landing.