It took long enough, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally has some energy behind it going into the finale. Even though it doesn’t quite have the courage of its convictions in a few respects.
This episode has two prongs. The first is Coulson and team chasing down Garrett and Ward, and largely managing to get ahead before a major setback. And the second is the dreaded-by-some “Ward Begins” storyline.
Truthfully, the latter could have used some more set-up. We first learn about how terrible Ward’s childhood was waaaaaaay back in the first set of episodes last year, and it hasn’t come up since. So having Garrett walk into a Massachusetts juvie and pull Ward out is a bit jarring.
But the story itself explains a lot as Ward goes camping and shows some adaptability. It also rather forcefully underlines that Ward is not a triple agent. Maybe he’s got a soft spot for the good guys, but that soft spot only goes so far: In the end, he’s a bad guy.
The rest of the story is preoccupied with Coulson and May breaking into Cybertech. Honestly, the show offers up a taste for humor here that’s been somewhat missing from some episodes, especially with Coulson and May hilariously blowing a job interview. It helps that it’s all plot momentum, with the show briskly going from plot point to plot point and action scene to action scene. They even give Coulson a hilariously cheesy Bond one-liner before he chucks a file cabinet out a window.
The episode ends on a rather pointed note: Garrett is pumped full of Coulson’s magic healing drugs, Fitz and Simmons are dumped into the ocean, and the rest of the team is cornered by a rather disturbingly large squad of Deathloks. One of whom has Ward’s giant Viking rage stick. Oh, and HYDRA is trying to sell supersoldiers to the US government. That’ll end well!
Some more thoughts:
- Buddy the dog is a shameless attempt to manipulate our emotions and what happens to him is obvious from the first frame he’s in. It still works, because I own a dog. Come on, Ward, not even an insane serial killer in a beast suit would kill a dog. You monster.
- Is the show on a mission to make Fitz as irritating as possible? First there was the whole “Gemma doesn’t want to be my special friend” “arc” and now his whining about Ward. If you can’t figure out anything to do with the character, shoot him.
- That said, Fitz handing Garrett his ass with a button click was pretty entertaining. Sucks to be you, Tin Man!
- Also, Skye’s parents are werewolves or something. It’s kind of hilarious how the show tries to shoehorn this plot it summarily dropped into the episode just to tie up that loose end. Somehow we think Skye’s going to Hulk out in next week’s finale. Either that or she’ll turn out to be connected to the High Evolutionary.
- So, wait, SHIELD techs are just going into the private sector? Wouldn’t world governments have something to say about that?
The season finale is next week, and should be interesting. Excelsior!