Just as many of the factions and plotlines collided in the last episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” they continue to in this episode. The lines of good and evil and the area in between blur further, we get some real exciting espionage action, Coulson gets the old band back together, and there’s a hint of upcoming Avengers movie as well. For all this and more, meet me after the jump and read my review of “The Dirty Half Dozen.”
Avengers Vs. Agents
There’s been a bit of a fustercluck in the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. this past week that I should probably address. One of the patron saints of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Joss Whedon, has attacked “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on the eve of the release of his much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron. Joss thinks that Agent Coulson being alive on TV invalidates the events of the first Avengers movie. I gotta say, he does have a point.
Coulson’s death is the catharsis that brings the team together. If he didn’t die, why are the Avengers still together? The tragedy is the glue of the team. With no tragedy, that bond is a farce. He also pushes it further by pointing out they started a show when they knew S.H.I.E.L.D. would be destroyed in a later movie. Another good point, but you know where my head was at reading about all this? Seeing how one of the “S.H.I.E.L.D.” showrunners is Joss’ brother Jed, I have to wonder what family get-togethers are like. I guess they just don’t talk about work.
When last we left our heroes, after a clusterfluck trying to retrieve Skye, where all the forces in play collided, there are serious trust issues. Lockjaw, I mean Gordon, returned to Lai Shi with Skye and Mister Hyde, with the latter very much aware he was going to be stranded. Hydra captured both Deathlok and Lincoln, and Bakshi is now seemingly allied with Doctor List. And Coulson surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0, as the showrunners call it, or the ‘real’ S.H.I.E.L.D.
Coulson has a plan, one that could save Deathlok and other prisoners in an Arctic Hydra base, but it requires serious realignment of not just forces, but trust. Ward and Agent 33 must be watched and/or trusted, and relationships between May and Coulson, and Fitz and Simmons are renewed. It’s done quickly, and done well. I must admit however, as good and as exciting as this build toward a major play is, I am hesitant to go along. This show has burned me once too often.
The episode opened on a quick cut fever dream of Raina’s, demonstrating her Inhuman gift of prophetic dreaming, sort of like Dream Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes, only without the great complexion, star-shaped mole, and platinum hair. In the dream she sees Gordon and Lincoln hurt, but also Skye saving Lincoln. Like Ward, she’s another villain given a second chance. But can she be trusted?
These TV Inhumans are not the nicest folk. They’re not keen on letting anyone but Gordon leave. They want to imprison or exile Mister Hyde, which overall is not a bad idea, but we have been shown a decent side of him here too. They appear to be uncomfortably annoyed at or jealous of those who have gone through terrigenesis, or are loud. And I don’t think they’re ever going to let Skye go. Their rules keep them alive, but they also make them a-holes.
The Dirty Half-Dozen
Coulson’s plan brings together a small team for the mission, ironically the six original members of his team at the start – Coulson, May, Fitz, Simmons, Ward, and… Skye. She just appears out of nowhere, with no details, so I of course assumed she was Agent 33 immediately. Ward, in giving a mission briefing, insists on addressing ‘the elephant on the plane,’ and apologizes for his behavior, as bizarre as that sounds. Even more bizarre, this group uncomfortably moves on.
The mission itself, with these six individuals working as a team, is impressive and exciting. Their teamwork is better than anything the animated Avengers have proven capable of. This kind of action is exactly what I have wanted in this show, whether it spins on a espionage vibe or a superhuman groove, I want more of this. And I loved seeing Skye use her Quake powers. The mission was run with little spotlights on the members, little subplots, and lots of action, and most of all, no deus ex machina.
Resolutions and Avengers
This was not as big a tie-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron as we had last year to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but it was fairly important. At the Hydra base, Coulson learned that they had Loki’s scepter – the one that had killed him – and were sending it to Baron Strucker in Segovia, where ‘the twins,’ obviously Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, also are. Coulson reports this to Maria Hill, a sign to Gonzales that Coulson is still the real Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In Afterlife, Raina seems to be making a power play for leadership of the Inhumans, but suddenly she is overcome by a prophetic vision. She sees Loki’s scepter, and talks about their cities under siege by men made of metal. Hmmm… sounds like a commercial for the Avengers movie…
Next: Finally face to face with the Inhumans!