First things first, I want to send a big thank you out to Special Agent J.P. Fallavollita for filling in reviewing “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” while I was on secret assignment last week. I was sad to hear I missed the live-action television debut of Mockingbird and some very interesting theories regarding the Inhumans. I wonder how the announcement of a 2018 Inhumans feature film affects those ideas? In the meantime, we have a whole new episode this week. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “A Fractured House.”
The opening sequence is an eye opener. General Talbot is addressing the UN about S.H.I.E.L.D. and eloquently giving a nice history of their known public existence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He even mentioned the attack on New York and the Avengers (as seen in the film of the same name). Talbot pointed out how they were a threat and just before he got to that old chestnut about absolute power corrupting (you knew it was coming), S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks.
At least they said they were S.H.I.E.L.D., though it was no S.H.I.E.L.D. agents I’d ever seen before. They killed at least six delegates using what looked like alien weaponry, LED rings that turned its targets to dust, called splinter bombs. Nasty piece of work. Obviously it’s Hydra trying to keep our agents busy. Funny that everyone had to ask Coulson to be sure it wasn’t really S.H.I.E.L.D.
The leader of the ‘S.H.I.E.L.D. agents’ who attacked the UN is identified as Marcus Scarlotti. Now this is going to get tricky. In the comics, Mark Scarlotti is a member of the Maggia (that’s Marvelspeak for the Mafia, folks) and one of the men to go by the name Whiplash, an enemy of Iron Man’s. He later got some high tech upgrades and went by the name Blacklash.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, another Whiplash appeared, Ivan Vanko played by Mickey Roarke, in Iron Man 2. Other than choice of weapon, there’s no connection between these characters in this continuity. At least I don’t think so. Also notable is that it’s mentioned Agent Barton (Hawkeye) had a run-in with Scarlotti. And nothing is mentioned of a connection between Morse and Barton, who were married in the comics.
It’s All Relative
After the assault on the UN and Talbot, Senator Christian Ward pulls out all the stops to get S.H.I.E.L.D.. Does that name sound familiar? Yeah, he’s former Agent Grant Ward’s brother, that’s right, the sadist from “The Well.” I guess that’s what you have to do to be a senator. Grant says Christian is a liar, and vice versa.
When Skye tries to pump Ward for info on him, he turns it around on her and her father. She’s not going there, he taught her well. When his first ploy doesn’t work, Ward tells Skye exactly how dangerous Christian is. Coulson visits Christian, and in dual scenes it appears that both brothers are liars and evil. Killing two birds with one stone, Coulson offers Christian what he wants – his brother Grant.
Out in the field, there is much espionage action and female kickassery. In my additional thoughts on last week’s episode on my blog, I worried that Mockingbird’s (the name still hasn’t been used) presence on the team would dilute how cool Agent May was. I shouldn’t have worried. May and Morse share the spotlight easily, and the chemistry with them and Bobbi’s ex-husband Hunter is classic. I want to see more of this team.
Connecting the dots as to where the splinter bombs came from and where they are going to, the three agents walk into a trap, and are ambushed by Hydra. My fears about being outbadassed are put quickly aside as Morse and Hunter take on the traditional Hydra thugs while May goes one on one with the civilian guised super-villain Blacklash. May rocks. Her fight scenes are always awesome, putting the now blonde and slightly costumed Mockingbird to shame. Yeah, I said it.
Almost too easily (although not too easily, the end scenes of this episodes may have been deliberately vague) Senator Ward speaks to the nation about S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra and who was really responsible for the attack on the UN. Whether the organization has been completely cleared is unclear. Talbot shakes hands and makes nice with May. On the bad side, Fitz and Simmons come to a mutual decision they are not good for each other since Fitz’ accident, which is a damn shame.
And in even worse news, while being transported to his brother’s custody, Grant Ward escapes. One wonders where he will go, where he will run. Perhaps it’s like Coulson’s ploy with Raina last episode and he wants to see where Ward runs. Will he come back for Skye? Will he go right to Hydra? To Skye’s dad? And what is this doctor played by Kyle MacLachlan anyway? A Kree? A Skrull trying to hold on to his human form? Mister Hyde? Or something completely different? And what is up with the dude with the tattoos??
In between the show and the commercials we viewers got two treats this evening. First we got a sneak peek at “Agent Carter,” described as an eight-part special series. It looks really cool. I can’t wait. And then there was the preview everyone was waiting for – Avengers: Age of Ultron. It began as a party where the Avengers cheerfully each try to lift Thor’s hammer. Then it gets bad. Ultron. And we swing into the trailer we’ve all seen.
Next: The Writing on the Wall!