Warning: this review contains spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So don't delay, see it today.
It may have took 17 episodes to get us to this point, but that signal flare is finally going up. I hope you’re looking eastward, Josie.
Remember how I used to go on about how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suffered from being too predictable and that nothing the show ever did really shocked or surprised? Well, I guess someone running the show must've read my reviews and others like it and thought "Ha, we'll show them" because HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. That is what I call a game changer. In the space of two episodes the entire series has been turned upside down, given a good shake and stuffed into a blender. This is what the show has been building to all along. The Winter Soldier was already shooting when production of this series started so the writers and producers would’ve known going in what would happen.
The big question now is where does the show go from here? How can it continue to call itself Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when there is no long a S.H.I.E.L.D. for anyone to be an agent of? Will this mark the beginning of a newer, smaller, better S.H.I.E.L.D. consisting of just Coulson and his team? Whatever happens, this is exactly the sort of kick up the backside format change the show needed. The old “roaming the earth investigating shit” one just wasn’t working out too well. Far better to have a small team of rogue agents, with limited resources and some serious trust issues (it’ll be a long time before Coulson trusts May again), roaming the globe, battling HYDRA operatives, many of whom were once friends and co-workers (even lovers in the case of Ward and May).
What impressed me most about this episode (and there was a lot to be impressed about) was how easy it was to follow. What we're basically seeing here is the ripple effects of much larger event taking place in theatres near you. References to the events of the film are smartly kept to a minimum. The episode is constructed in such a way that you don’t need to have seen The Winter Soldier to understand what is happening, although it does enhance the experience if you have. The focus was always on the team and how they all reacted to this revelation and how it tied in with everything else that has happened in the series so far.
After last week I was kind of expecting Agent Garret to be the Clairvoyant. The more they tried to make it look like Hand (R.I.P. Vic) was guilty the more obvious it became that Garrett was the real culprit. What I didn’t see coming was Ward also being HYDRA and then killing Hand and her men. I was expecting something bad to happen. He and Skye had just kissed and this is a Whedon show so tragedy was soon to follow. I really hope this isn't some kind of ploy and he is in fact a traitor. It would make Ward a far more interesting character than he has been so far. I doubt he’s undercover. He shot both those guards in the head and Hand three times. It is possible he's being controlled. He did look pretty cold and robotic during those final scenes. Well, more than usual. Maybe the writers just want him to appear ambiguous so we keep guessing as to where his true loyalties really lie.
But I really want him to be evil. Hail HYDRA.
Intel and Assets
--Skye gave the drive with all the information they didn’t want to fall into HYDRA’s hands to Ward. D’oh.
--Tying the action in with The Winter Soldier didn’t give the show the ratings boost the network was no doubt hoping for. Interestingly, if you take DVRs into account, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a rather healthy audience of around 9 million. I hope networks are slowly starting to wake up to the fact that Nielsen ratings are no longer a clear representation of a show’s popularity.
--Next weeks episode will be on an hour later so ABC can see how well the series does against the lesser NCIS.
--Loved Coulson just shooting May and Skye and Fitz’s shocked expressions.
--Garrett may be a psycho, but he has great taste in classic rock music.
--We must all be vigilant, HYDRA agents are everywhere.
--Ward taking down all those agents was damn impressive.
Hand: "They hide in plain sight. They earn our trust, our sympathy. They make us like them."
Coulson: "So we fly in there and face the music, even if it is the HYDRA theme song."
--What is the HYDRA theme song and did Alan Menken help write it?
Coulson: "No, John. This is you being a psychopath..."
Triplett: "You're a surprisingly bad liar, Agent Simmons."
Simmons: "I know, but I'm getting better at it."
Four out of four Hail HYDRAs.
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