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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ragtag

"Watch out, HYDRA. Here we come."

With the season finale just around the corner, now was as good a time as any to delve into the backstory of the man who has, rather surprisingly, become this season’s most interesting character – Grant Ward.

The flashbacks in this episode didn’t really work for me. They failed to give us any significant insight into Ward’s character and really only succeeded in making him look a right dumbo. The way Ward has been going on you’d think that Garrett had done something monumental to earn his devotion. But all Garrett did was help Ward avoid prison for trying to kill his brother. I can see Ward being grateful for that, but not so grateful that he would do whatever Garrett commands. Plus, after getting him out of lock up Garrett left Ward alone to live in the forest for five years, lied about having tacos, and then told him to kill his dog. That should’ve at least downgraded Ward’s gratitude from “I owe you my life” to “Sure, I’ll help you move”.

Let's talk Buddy. There is some debate as to whether or not Ward killed him. Some speculate that it was Garrett who pulled the trigger. I reject this because it does not make a lick of sense. Killing Buddy was the last test, a way for Garrett to see once and for all how committed Ward was to the cause and to him. If Ward hadn’t killed Buddy then Garrett would’ve seen him as weak, killed him and moved on to some other teenager with homicidal tendencies. Ward killed Buddy, but not the way Garrett wanted. By using the rifle he was able to keep his distance and not face the full horror of his actions. It was the same with Fitz and Simmons. He kept his back to them as he was pushing the buttons. He knew he was killing them and he did it in such a way that he wouldn’t have to face the full consequences of his actions.

The events in the present, which were all basically set up for the finale, were much more fun. My favourite part of the episode was Coulson and May going undercover at CyberTek as, essentially, Fitz and Simmons. May as Simmons was beyond perfect. I wouldn't be surprised if she'd been subtly studying Simmons' adorable mannerisms all season for just in case a situation like this emerged. I’m really enjoying the team’s rogue agent status. I’m enjoying it so much I actually don’t want them to get the Bus back now. I like that they’re operating out of a motel, planning missions by the pool, ordering pizza for when they’re peckish and using flip charts instead of state of the art holotables (did anyone else have ‘Hush’ flashbacks during that scene?). When all the mission planning is done, they can have a nice game of Pictionary.

As expected, the episode ended with all our heroes in dire peril. I don’t doubt for a second that Coulson, Skye, May and Triplett will all get out of the barbershop basement of evil unharmed (more than likely with help from a certain special guest star they’ve been hyping up for weeks), but I am seriously worried about Fitz and Simmons. I’m expecting some deaths next week. A season finale without at least two deaths is considered a dull affair so it’s possible we may lose either Fitz or Simmons. Losing both is not likely, even for a show created by Joss Whedon. This is TV, not HBO.

As the season’s big bad, Garrett is sure to die. I just don’t see him as a villain with a lot of mileage. Raina’s makeshift T.A.H.I.T.I. drug may have fixed him up for now, but it will probably come with some serious side effects. Plus, it has been mixed with the Centipede serum, which includes Extremis, which has a tendency to make things go boom boom boom. I’m calling it now, next week Garrett will explode and take his Deathlok factory (and hopefully Quinn) with him.

I’m not so sure what will happen to Ward. I can see him dying, but I expect he’ll either end up as a prisoner or a fugitive. One thing that absolutely must happen is the epic May/Ward smack down we're all desperate for. I will be bitterly disappointed if we don’t get that. Raina is something of a wildcard. She has no loyalty to Garrett now that she knows he’s a fraud. The only reason she is sticking around is because he’s giving her the resources she needs to continue her studies of super-powered individuals. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she jumps ship next week, possibly with Ward tagging along so they can go off and investigate the mystery that is Skye. We’ve heard most of this story before, but we didn’t know that the “monsters” who slaughtered that village to find Skye were her own parents. I’m willing to bet they also killed the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who put Skye up for adoption. Were they literally monsters or just metaphorical ones? What does that make Skye? I doubt we’ll learn much more next week. This was obviously all set up for season two (which is now confirmed).

Intel and Assets

--This episode was directed by former Voyager chief engineer, Roxann Dawson, who previously directed ‘Eye Spy’.

--Not sure which was cuter: Coulson and Triplett geeking out over vintage spy gizmos or May smiling at them both for geeking out over vintage spy gizmos?

--As I suspected, Garrett’s goal all along has been self-preservation. He started the Centipede project to find a way to repair his deteriorating body. Creating an army of super-soldiers for HYDRA was only an added bonus.

--Poor Fitz. He just couldn’t process why Ward would betray them.

--Large file transfer. Haha! Loved it. It was very clever of CyberTek to keep all their really important files on hacker proof A4 paper. What wasn’t so clever, though, was limiting security to one guard with no gun or radio.

--I liked the little bonding scene between May and Skye. Is it too much to ask for more next season? With Ward now out of the picture, Skye could use a new mentor.

May: "I’m furious. But I’m sure as hell not gonna waste it on a tantrum. I’m gonna mine it, save it... and when we find Ward, I’m gonna use every bit of it to take him down."
Skye: “I wish I knew how to use that hate-fu.”
May: "I'm up most mornings at five."

Coulson: "Does your sweater itch?"
May: "Little bit."

Three out of four barbershop basements of evil.


  1. #BuddyLives

    I actually liked the flashbacks. Garrett really didn't do that much for Ward, but Ward clearly had a traumatic childhood and I can see him believing that he owes Garrett his life. He doesn't, but I can see Ward latching on to the first grown up to give a damn about him (if abandoning him in the woods counts as giving a damn). I also liked that Garrett explicitly kept giving Ward choices. And they weren't easy choices. Ward's not *MWAHAHA EVIL* he's just a guy who's made different decisions than a hero might've.

    Killing Buddy was a test. A test that Ward passed. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Buddy's dead, maybe Garrett just thinks Buddy's dead? Maybe he ran off to live with squirrels in the forest. PLEASE let me have this one.

    One of my biggest Agent of SHIELD fears has always been that May will turn out to be Skye's mother somehow. The 'monsters are her parents' thing means that's definitely not true. Right? RIGHT?

    I think I'm going to put my money on Fitz dying in a self-sacrificing way. Probably after a big romantic gesture. It's very Whedon. I just hope they don't kill off Ward. Or if they do, I hope they don't keep him dead. I think we can say Coulson's safe, as he's already died once. Nothing's going to kill May, obviously. Skye was in peril earlier this season, plus she has the whole mysterious origin story going on. They might off Tripp but I don't think they'll go that way. He hasn't been around enough for it to hurt us the way Whedon shows love to do.

  2. #BuddyHadBetterLive

    "Ragtag" is exactly it, as you said, Mark. This show is just so much fun right now, with the motel and the pizza and the Howling whatever gadgets. Coulson and May doing Fitz and Simmons was absolutely adorable.

    I knew Garrett was going to tell Ward to kill Buddy -- I could feel it coming, and it's really irritating not knowing what happened to the damned dog! I am betting that whatever happened to the dog also happened to Fitz Simmons, because it was intended as a parallel, and even on a Whedon show, would they kill off two characters at the same time in the first season?

  3. I agree with you completely, re: Buddy, Mark. He killed the dog, but couldn't do it face-to-face, just like with Fitz and Simmons.

    This show has really come on strong in this back chunk. It's gotten to the point where the hubby and I are so eager to see it each week that we watch it only slightly time-delayed. I'm very glad it got the second season. Hopefully it can keep going strong.

    The "large file transfer" made me laugh out loud, and I really loved May's speech about mining her hate. Awesome! I look forward to her and Skye doing some hate-fu together next season.

    Finale death pool: my money is on Garrett and possibly Ward (but I'm more leaning towards him staying in play as an enemy a bit longer). I really don't think they are going to kill either Fitz or Simmons at this point.

  4. I'm not sure you guys know that, but it's a continuing joke among programmers that the greatest data transfer rate is achieved when the server literally falls out of the window. "Large date transfer" was close enough.

  5. Garrett is probbaly a goner..but Ward can stick around and cause trouble next season. Fitz and Simmons had better live. Raina is the real wild card here..she could be redeemed, or graduate to big bad.
    I hope the dog didn't die.

  6. Was I the only one who thought may looked super adorable posing as a scientist? At first I thought it was because of the glasses, but then I read this review, and Mark is right: she was imitating Simmons mannerisms.

    I'm so happy we're getting a second season. Can't wait for the finale!


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