Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Dirty Half Dozen

Even S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have time to pose for
awkward family photos
Can we just address the elephant on the plane?"

The original six are together again. Let's see how long before they kill Ward.

I've seen some say the decision to send just Coulson's original team was somewhat contrived, but I feel the episode did a good job of explaining why it was just those six and no one else. Gonzales said himself that he didn't want to risk his own people on the mission. He had his doubts that it would succeed and thus was more than happy to allow Coulson and those loyal to him (plus Ward) to go. If the mission failed then he would be rid of every S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who isn't 100% on his team in one go.

And if the mission was a success, which it was, then he would have some enhanced humans to play around with. Jan Brady doesn’t sound much different than HYDRA when it comes to how to treat enhanced people. He and the other non-awesome leaders of H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. see enhanced humans, either biologically or technologically, as nothing more than things and threats, something to be contained or studied. Coulson and co doesn't agree with that and it looks like Bobbi doesn't either. She’s moving closer and closer to Coulson’s point of view when it comes to these people. How much longer until she decide to switches houses?

Ward was the only one who was excited about the original team being together again. He was all "hey, the band's back together" and "I know I've made some mistakes, but I had a shit childhood so I think we can all agree that that entitles me to at least a minimum amount of forgiveness and understanding". Everyone's reactions to his pathetic attempt to absolve himself of any real blame for the seriously bad things he'd done (like, you know, all the killing) were just beyond perfect and preserved for all time in gif form:


Once again Ward deluded himself into thinking that his bullshit excuses were going to get him a free pass. He thought it would just be like old times again. Wake up and smell the resentment and betrayal, Grant, you and the team are never ever ever getting back together. Like, ever. The good old days he was nostalgic for are gone and they are never coming back, which was made abundantly clear by the complete and utter destruction of the Bus.

With all the Quinjets the team has now it makes sense to get rid of the Bus once and for all. It is a large and expensive set that the show hasn't really been using much this season. I've been actually expecting its destruction for a while now. I originally thought it would be destroyed at the end of season one. It was a surprise to see it go down with hardly any fanfare. This was the team's home, the place they first came together, the place they were a family and they left it without so much as one teary eyed "farewell, old friend". I guess Ward's betrayal has killed off every trace of sentimentality they might've had for the good old days.

Jemma Simmons proved herself to be a woman of her word. She said if she ever saw Ward again she'd kill him and damn, if she didn’t try (RIP Bakshi). It was kind shocking how matter of factly Simmons was about killing Ward. She talked about vaporizing him as if she was baking a cake. The Jemma Simmons of season one is well and truly gone. All that remains of her is the way she smiles when she see Skye again, it's a smile so bright I'm amazed everyone present wasn't left blind.

Marvel is really cornering the market in awesome one shot action sequences. Did the production team hear about Daredevil's now legendary hallway fight and try to match it? This was a more frantic sequence as the camera followed Skye around the room as she took down HYDRA agent after HYDRA agent. Somewhere Melinda May is smirking with pride. Props to the director, stunt team and Chloe Bennett. Unless she used a stunt double, that is. I really couldn't tell. Would it kill someone to switch a light on?

I sense another potential spin-off - Charlie's Angels of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Intel and Assets

--Mack is patching things up with Hunter, who was still recovering from being shot last week. How long before the inevitable Huntingbird reconciliation?

--Kara, who is now mercifully free of Ward (even he knew their relationship wasn't healthy), has been getting a lot of screentime lately. This episode established a prior history between her and Bobbi which makes me think that she's being groomed to join the Huntingbird spin-off?

--If the show is renewed for a third season can Sharon Carter joined the cast? Emily VanCamp could use the work now that Revenge has been cancelled.

--Fitz was as shocked by Simmons’ cold ruthlessness as I was, but he still didn't try to stop her.

--What is Jan Brady keeping secret in the hold of his ship?

--The finale scenes were all just set up for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Best of all, Cobie Smoulders put in a brief appearance as Maria Hill, which doubled as Age of Ultron set up and a chance for Fury's Mean Girls to scoff at H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.’s democratic system of leadership. They really need to get Maria on the show more often.

--Are Raina’s visions coming directly from Marvel’s promo department?

Skye: "I'm still happy I shot you."
Fitz: "Yeah, me too."
Simmons: "You should've aimed for the face."
May: "Yeah."

Coulson: "Go nuts. At least until Fury shows up and asks for it back. Oops. Spoiler alert."

Skye: "No, Ward is here. I don’t want to talk about anything personal in case he’s…"
Ward: "Did I hear my name?"
Skye: "He's like Candyman."

Ward: "Mistakes were made."
Fitz: "By you."
Ward: "And people got hurt."
Fitz: "By you."

Skye: "I thought your power was spinning really fast to collect gold rings?"

Three out of four elephants on the plane.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

10 comments:

sunbunny said...

I could be wrong (certainly wouldn't be the first time) but I think what Gonzalez is keeping in his hold is the nuclear weapon Fury sent Bobbi to destroy before it could get into HYDRA's hands.

Great review, Mark, loved the gifs.

migmit said...

May should be careful with this movement on the gif. She might accidentally kill someone with it.

Gemma Simmons going after Ward was the sweetest thing she ever did. I only hope she can go on living, while knowing about his disappointment.

And yes, Skye did much better than the Daredevil. That was cool and believable.

But I didn't like Coulson in this fancy-shmancy uniform. I understand that it's more practical, but Coulson needs to be in a suit. Always. Like old days James Bond.

migmit said...

Sorry, Jemma, of course.

rebecca_s921 said...

I can't help but to feel Ward might've left Kara in SHIELD as a sleeper agent. Maybe I watched Dollhouse too many times.

Absolutely loved Skye's action scene, especially the part where she shot the pipe to blind a Hydra agent, then circled around the table to shoot him.

When Jemma went after Ward, I was seized with fear that she'd die from the attempt. I wonder if anyone else felt the same.

sunbunny said...

migmit - BIG yes on keeping Coulson in a suit. He just looks wrong in anything else :)

rebecca - I had the same thought about Kara. But that might just be paranoia I don't know. She keeps changing personalities on us so it's hard to judge.

It didn't even occur to me that it was contrived to put the original six back together. Gonzalez as much as told Bobbi was the only reason he was okay with Coulson's mission was that he was fine with Coulson's people dying. Ward's presence last week made perfect sense because Coulson was backed into a corner and he was a last resort and this week was really a continuation of that mission. Skye...okay maybe Skye. But I missed her being with her REAL family so whatever.

Lamounier said...

I think this was the best episode of the second half of the season.

I agree with you, Mark, the reunion of the original team was not contrived, the writers came up with a very solid scenario for that reunion to happen. It was a hoot to have all of them together, and I liked how Ward’s presence made everyone feel uncomfortable. That scene when he tried to debrief the mission had Whedonesque vibes all over it. I started laughing at the very beginning, just because of the way May and Fitz stared at him. It was *very* twisted that Ward regretted the destruction of the team more than killing people and trying to kill Fitzsimmons (which he phrased with a convenient euphemism), so Skye’s response quoted on the review was perfect.

Skye a.k.a. Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake was the big star of this episode. She’s come a long way from who she was when the series started, and now she’s a powerhouse. She used her quake powers to take down Hydra agents, she totally kicked ass on that one shot action scene (the director of the episode and the stunt coordinator confirmed it was all Chloe Bennet, major kudos to her and everyone involved on that scene) and combined her powers with Lincoln’s to save his life. Great stuff all around.

Simmons going for Ward the way she did shocked me. I wanted her to live up to her promise, but I thought it would be something more in the heat of the moment, instead of cold planning. Apart from using her as the spokesperson of the Aliens Haters Club on the middle portion of the season, the writers have made interesting choices for her character, and now they delved further on how darkened Simmons became since last season’s events. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it sure is thought-provoking. Bakshi’s death was a waste, though. He had so much potential as a villain.

- I might dislike Gonzales, but his presence cements the S.H.I.E.L.D. vs S.H.I.E.L.D. conflict.

- Elizabeth Henstridge delivery of “should’ve aimed for the face” was very Sarah Michelle Gellar-y. That was a funny line, but also very dark considering what she was planning to do.

- Agreed on Kara being Ward’s sleeper agent.

- I watched Age of Ultron today. The movie is great, I liked all the connections to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and even though people who don’t watch the series will be able to understand the movie just as well, knowing what came before on AoS gives you a nice background on a couple of moments. Will it be okay to talk about the tie-ins on next week’s episode comment section?

- Coulson was a hoot, and Clark Gregg’s line deliveries are always spot on. I enjoyed him asking Ward not to talk to people, the “go nuts” and “spoiler alert” lines to Gonzales, and him mocking Gonzales with Maria Hill.

- I initially wrote “Mark Gregg” above. Now I have realized Clark Gregg and Mark Greig sound alike.

Lamounier said...

When Jemma went after Ward, I was seized with fear that she'd die from the attempt. I wonder if anyone else felt the same.

Yes. I started fearing she would die the moment Fitz said "be careful, Jemma".

TJ said...

Yes, the last scenes with the setup for Age of Ultron was great. I saw the movie just after this episode, and the continuity was really nice.

I wonder if the movie will have some effects on the last couple of episodes this season?

Patrick said...

The episode was all kinds of awesome, but there were two definite highlights:

a) Skye's bad-ass action sequence. Kudos to Chloe Bennet, because from what I've been reading online, that was one take, and it was all her. Lots of people have been comparing it to the Daredevil hallway fight, but the first thing I thought when I saw it was "Clearly Skye's new favorite movie is John Wick, damn!"(Seriously, if you haven't seen John Wick, remedy that asap.)

b) Coulson handing over the Toolbox to Gonzalez, while revealing that he is in fact the Chosen One to succeed Fury as Director Of SHIELD. I don't know what made me grin more: Coulson's smarmy look, Gonzalez's deadpan reaction knowing he'd just been one-upped, or the look on Bobbi's face not-so-secretly enjoying watching Gonzalez get knocked off his high horse.

I like the concept of a SHIELD vs SHIELD conflict in the aftermath of the HYDRA reveal, and the potential ethical & philosophical debates that could've come from it about what the SHIELD of the future should look like. But in the end, that's not really what we're getting, because they're making Gonzalez too unacceptable an alternative. His near-fanatical distrust of enhanced people means he's going to be against someone like Skye, and at this point in the show, if you're against Skye, you're against the audience. Ergo, Gonzalez is going to be the bad guy, period. I'd be curious to see where General Talbot would weigh in on all of this. He's certainly not SHIELD's biggest fan, and probably isn't thrilled with the idea of super-powered SHIELD agents, but he & Coulson's team are more like frenemies these days.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm so glad that no one was interested in Ward's apologies or excuses. No redemption for that guy, please. He's so much more interesting as an amoral wild card that they occasionally need to ally with, even though they hate him.

I agree completely with Patrick about the SHIELD v. SHIELD conflict. It was an interesting concept, and I wish they'd given more legitimacy to the anti-Coulson point-of-view. Have both sides be valid contenders to the throne. The whole thing lost steam for me when it quickly became obvious that Gonzalez wasn't a legitimate alternative to Team Coulson because of all the anti-powered hate.

Ah well. I probably shouldn't have expected or hoped for a real challenge to the hero/protagonists of a comics-based genre show. Sometimes the characters flirt with shades of grey, but they usually get pulled back to more clearly "right" or "wrong" territory. I often end up wanting more complexity than the creators are willing to give on these things. And I can't really blame them for that; most of my favorites in that department aren't exactly burning up the ratings charts!