Original Airdate: 4-15-14
I think it’s time for a quick recap, obviously spoilers if you haven’t caught up to this point in the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues the course laid out by the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where the agency has crumbled due to a long-gestating Hydra infestation, but Coulson’s team is still intact for the most part. His trust in his longtime friend Melinda May has been dealt a blow after finding out that she had been reporting on their goings on to Nick Fury in secret, his trust in his other old friend and newcomer to the show Agent Garrett has been shattered after finding out he has been the Clairvoyant the entire time and is a high ranking member of Hydra, his trust in Agent Ward is in doubt as his loyalties are in question as he appears to be siding with his former SO Garrett, and finally his trust in Garrett’s current recruit, or at least current before his turn, Tripplett is being withheld due to his affiliation with Garrett. And on top of all this, S.H.I.E.L.D. Itself is in question as it is unknown what facilities are held by Hydra and what are held by those loyal to Nick Fury, and the US government is starting to come in, take everyone out of the picture, and ask questions later. To make a long story short (too late), things are continuing to ramp up towards the season finale and I’m enjoying most every minute of it.
One of the few things I initially thought was a good idea to shake things up in this show is the apparent turncoat Agent Ward. Initially, his character was the least interesting and most difficult to warm up to. But as the season went on, he started to develop a bit more personality. But now that he’s working for Hydra, what little life he was getting got sucked right out of him and he went back to being boring robot Ward. The one benefit of the way the show is structured is that Ward’s true loyalties could swing either way. These aren’t established characters with history mired in comic books, they are all new creations that have been around for just over a dozen episodes. Based on Joss Whedon’s track record, I would predict that Ward remains loyal to Coulson and Skye, I just hope that they don’t spin it as though Coulson has been playing Garrett since shortly before the reveal. I also wouldn’t be surprise if there is a death during the season finale of one of the team members, likely May doing something to protect Coulson.
As for what actually happened in this episode, the best stuff centered around Garrett and his assault on the Fridge. I enjoy Paxton much more in this show as the villain rather than the gruff hero support. It’s also a nice set up for a future season if they do have one where Hydra now has all of the dangerous toys that S.H.I.E.L.D. Has been collecting all these years, including the berserker staff and Graviton from earlier in this season, though of course Hydra doesn’t yet know that the doctor is still alive within it. They were also able to bring back Rayna and Quinn, which were both interesting villains and handled the change in power with aplomb. On the other side of things, Coulson goes a little bit off the deep end, but we are also introduced to Patton Oswald’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who brings a nice helping of humor to the episode while still playing an important role. This episode breaks what feels like a long streak of “best episode yet”s, but it’s still heading strong into the season finale, and I’ll be there right along with them.