Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Nothing Personal

“Buckle up.”

If you had told me a month ago that Ward and Skye would end becoming the most interesting couple on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I would’ve laughed in your face and then backed away slowly so that people wouldn’t see me with the crazy person.

And yet, against all the odds, it's happened. By making Ward a HYDRA agent, while still retaining his feelings for Skye, their coma inducing romance has now become interestingly twisted. There are definite shades of Buffy/Angel circa season two, although Ward isn’t nearly as villainous as Angelus. Ward doesn’t see himself as the bad guy. As far as he is concerned he is just a soldier following orders. Which is the weakest justification of all time and Skye was quick to throw that back in his face, reminding him of other individuals in history (*cough* Nazis *cough*) who claimed to just be following orders.

How long is Ward going to keep following his orders? Deathlok was willing to kill him to get Skye to decrypt the drive, supposedly on Garrett’s order. I say supposedly because we don’t know for certain that the order came directly from Garrett. Unless he's started referring to himself in the third person, Garrett wasn’t the one sending Deathlok his orders. If, however, it was him that means Garrett sees Ward as disposable, which gives Ward a pretty good reason to turn against his mentor at a possibly crucial moment in the not too distant future.

Skye was great in this episode. It's not often that I say that. I don't think that I ever expected to say that. For much of the season it didn’t feel like Skye really belonged on the bus. Sure, she’s always had those too good to be true hacking skills, but it always felt like she was only there because Coulson treated every day like it was bring your surrogate daughter to work day. But lately Skye has started to feel like a credible member of the team. Ever since she was shot they've been fixing a lot of the problems I had with the character, such as completely toning down her almost obnoxious adorkableness. She's a lot more likeable now that they've stopped trying so hard to make her likeable.

Why haven't I talked about Maria Hill yet? I just love Maria Hill, I really do. We need to see more of her, but not too much. I'm one of the few people who doesn’t want to her to become a regular. Far better to keep her as a recurring ally who pops up every now and again to help out and kick ass. Maybe next season we can have an episode where she, May, Pepper and Romanoff get together for a girls night out that will be everything that episode of Person of Interest promised to be but wasn't.

It now looks like S.H.I.E.L.D. is well and truly finished. Hill made it clear to Coulson that there is nothing left of the agency, not even unofficially. The band is most definitely not getting back together for a reunion tour. She advised him to finish off Garrett and Ward and then disband the team. I loved that shot of them all, sans May, sitting by the motel pool, unsure of what they are going to do next. Over the last few episodes we’ve seen the team stripped down to the very basics. They’ve got no allies, no base, no resources, and now no plane. All they have left is each other. And a pool.

After a little bit of grave robbing (does it count as grave robbing when there technically isn’t a grave?), May found out who was in charge of the T.A.H.I.T.I. project. Hint, his name is Phil. This all makes perfect sense. If an alien came crashing down to Earth, Coulson is exactly the man Fury would’ve sent to investigate. That’s what happened in Thor. According to pre-death Coulson, those treated with the T.A.H.I.T.I. serum later began to suffer from serious mental problems, the only treatment for which was a complete memory wipe. Because of this Coulson recommended that the serum never be used. Nick Fury obviously didn’t listen to that part.

What does this mean for Skye? She was treated by the serum. So far she showing no sign of mental detrition. If she does, what do they do? The facility where Coulson was treated has been destroyed. We still don’t really know what Skye is. Her origins remain the only major unsolved mystery at this point. The side effects for her could be completely different. I don’t think there’s time to explore that now, what with everything else that going on, more than likely they’re saving this for season two. If there is a season two.

Intel and Assets

--I love that Coulson actually got his wallet out to pay the valet. Forever following Steven Rogers' example.

--Why is it Hill is more Robin-ish when she’s on this show? Is it just that she has so little screen time in the movies that her Robin-ness easily goes by unnoticed?

--I hope Skye learned a valuable lesson about the importance of seatbelts.

--Hill mentioned ‘Man-Thing’ when she was venting on the phone to Pepper.

--While Fitz was in denial at first about Ward, Simmons went straight to acceptance without passing go or collecting £200. Of the two of them, she has matured the most since the series started.

--Ward shot Lola. He is so never getting back on the team.

Coulson: “Trust me, I’m gonna have a major freakout later.”

Coulson: “If I come out, will you shoot me? ‘Cause… then I won’t come out.”

Coulson: “May walked away ‘cause I told her to. I was mad, and I was mean."
Triplett: “Then we don’t need her sorry ass.”
Coulson: “Excuse me?”
--No one talks shit about May.

Ward: "If Fury needed eye candy around, he could have at least picked Romanoff."
Hill: "That's funny. I'll tell her you said that."
--That's Hill code for "We're gonna fuck up you up, buster".

Hill: “I swear, I need a cocktail and a lobotomy.”

Three out of four Huhs.


sunbunny said...

Your reviews always make me laugh out loud at least once.

I agree that SkyeWard is now the most interesting relationship on the show. It definitely has the Buffy/Angel/Angelus thing going for it. I love that Skye didn't kill Ward when she had the chance. Was it just not wanting to be a murderer or is there hope for these two crazy kids (one of which is an actual, legitimate murderer).

"She's a lot more likable now that they've stopped trying so hard to make her likable."

Damn straight.

Adam Klawitter said...

I'm glad you mentioned that last line, because after the not coming out bit, it was my favorite part of the episode.

drnanamom said...

I am just loving this show and can't wait for your reviews Mark. I don't think that Ward and Skye's relationship is the only thing that has been ramped up - the whole show is just better. May, grave robbing, Coulson and Hill kicking the army's ass, Skye calling out Ward, Coulson saving Skye and the quips just keep on coming. Can't wait for next week!

CrazyCris said...

Brilliant episode! And fun review! :o)

I've always liked the series, but I think part of it was "wishful thinking", as in hoping the Whedon-team behind it would eventually fulfill its promise and make it become something more. Ever since the Hydra reveal, that promise has been fulfilled a little more each day. Yay! And now I'm really hoping we get a season 2, 'cause there aren't enough episodes left in this season to do the characters (and situation) justice! More please!!!

And yeah, Ward and Skye have become the most interesting characters there! Weird!!! :p

Als: Skye is supposed to be some kind of alien-thing herself, right? An 0-1-4? (I don't remember the code). Maybe that's why the serum hasn't affected her. Or it could be due to the fact that she wasn't as bad off as Coulson when he received. After all, he was dead.

Jess Lynde said...

Love the review, Mark. So many laughs. I particularly loved your caption for the Hill-Coulson photo. WTF, indeed. :)

I'm more concerned about Coulson re: the serum, than Skye. She's an 0-8-4, so they have a handy "get out of jail free" card in their back pockets for her. But Coulson is all-too-human (except for the alien-serum parts), and now that he knows what's been done to him, is he going to start deteriorating like the test subjects? Ack! At least May is back to keep an eye on him.

I like the way Ward started seeming kind of pyscho and desperate this hour. The last couple episodes he's just seemed hardass and maybe a bit conflicted, but this week he began to seem genuinely unstable. Cool!

Anonymous said...

Maria Hill just pulls me out from the episode now since she reminds me of the enormous fuck up that was the ending of HYMYM.

Oh, god. They broke Cobie Smulders for me.

Marianna said...

I haven't watched the last season of HIMYM yet. Thanks.

Scott Riggan said...


Man, am I glad I slogged through the first half of this season. AoS has turned into a really great show, and those early episodes - while problematic, predictable, (and frankly) boring - set everything up really well. I've struggled to tolerate the bland Ward and boring Skye, and now (as stated above), I'm totally invested in those characters and their relationship.

And the effortless humor and charm of Clark Gregg is the glue that holds it all together.

I wouldn't have stuck with this if not for the Agents of D.O.U.X. So thanks, y'all.