Welcome back, true believers! Well, if you have yet to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, let me tell you that if you don’t want it spoiled for you, hold off on watching this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or, obviously, from reading this recap. Major events went down that not only affected the agents, but also the Marvel Movie-verse at large. How will these events affect the scooby gang? Has the Clairvoyant’s identity been truly revealed? Who is Agent May really working for? All these questions and more may or may not be answered as you hit the jump for my Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap.
S.H.I.E.L.D is dead. That’s right, after Winter Soldier, the organization responsible for bringing together the Avengers was revealed to essentially be a front for the evil conglomerate, Hydra. Over the years, Hydra used S.H.I.E.L.D’s assets to entrench themselves behind the scenes and manipulate all the major events of the 21st century after World War II. Obviously, you can imagine that this was the reason for the show’s numerous hiatuses in its first season so as to avoid spoiling Cap 2, though I feel that, while this event makes for some very interesting ideas to play upon for the cast, and the story, moving forward, it did tend to put some gum in the works when it came to any momentum the show was originally trying to muster during some of its more lackluster periods. Looking forward however, with such a huge development, and based on last week’s episode, the show is definitely on the up and up.
With that background out of the way, our episode begins with the team in shambles, half of which can no longer be trusted, and the other half with a warrant on their heads from Victoria Hand. It’s a tense opening sequence as everything is laid out on the table, with nearly all of the secrets, each team member was harboring, are revealed in rapid succession. Agent May is revealed to be a plant on the team, feeding information to Nick Fury. Fitz reveals that Simmons and himself were uploading Skye’s blood sample to S.H.I.E.L.D HQ. Coulson reveals that he’s pissed.
Even during some of the less than stellar episodes of the first season’s run, Clark Gregg has really continued to shine and fleshed out Coulson, showing nearly every side of the character. You can see the sense of betrayal written all over his face as he tries to keep calm and collected in order to figure out the frantic situation, taking a moment to shoot May with the “Icer” with such cold calculation that it freaks out Fitz. Gregg’s acting chops are much appreciated and he sells the hell out of this scene.
The reveal of Hydra being responsible for the gang’s woes was a great scene, and the episode does a good job of working independently from Cap 2, as I almost feel like you could watch this without having actually seen the movie, and not been too lost, all things considered. I think this has been the best episode yet of working in tandem with the events of the movie without necessarily being overshadowed by them. It all felt organic to the plot that we had been following so far throughout the season, incorporating and concluding numerous subplots to an effective degree. With Hydra out of the shadows, no one on the team can be trusted, and it makes for a compelling spin to play for the rest of the season.
The team arrives at the “Hub” to find S.H.I.E.L.D in shambles as Hydra agents pick off their one time co-workers, and the team learns of Nick Fury’s “death” in Winter Soldier. Coulson also learns from May that the team was actually put together to monitor Coulson from the get-go, essentially made up of folks who would be the most capable at killing him should the need arise. That’s cold, Fury. Some neat tense scenes follow as Hand reveals herself to be an agent of Hydra, only to then reveal that she was actually just testing Simmons and Tripp to make sure they weren’t. Coulson and Garret, with the remnants of the team, get into a heated argument as Garrett pushes to take out Hand permanently, but accidentally overplays his hand, revealing himself to be not only Hydra, but the Clairvoyant as well!
Another part of the episode that I dug, of which there were many, was Hand seriously questioning Coulson’s allegiance as all of his past experiences in this season certainly help to paint that picture of him being a part of Hydra. However, despite all of the suspicions, the team manages to take down Agent Garrett and save the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D agents within the Hub from Hydra’s nefarious clutches. This pales in comparison though to the clincher of the episode, and my favorite part of the show: WARD’S INTERESTING NOW! Yes, Agent Ward, after confessing his love for Skye (in a groan worthy scene), is also revealed to be Hydra! Ward guns down Hand and the two guards watching Garrett, and the two escape. A very great heel turn that was much needed to add depth to Ward, though I’m nervous that the post-credits scene is leading to him being a reluctant villain, rather than a full blown one.
In conclusion, this was probably the best episode of the series so far. The plot was fast paced, secrets were revealed, and the groundwork was laid down for an interesting plot for the remainder of the first season. Coulson and the gang having a central focus of taking down the remnants of Hydra is solid, though I do hope they address the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D is essentially gone now, as in no funding. Still, fantastic episode, though I wish the season hadn’t suffered in its early stages in order to bolster it.
– Nice use of “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, starting with a humorous scene of Agent Garrett, Bill Paxton, reading a book while simultaneously flying a plane.
– 616 is a reference that you may find dropped a lot in Marvel movies/properties, as it was in tonight’s episode, which is essentially the number that is used in reference to the main Marvel “reality” when stacked up against the millions of alternate realities. COMICS!.
– “There’s Joanie, any thoughts on Chachi?”
– “Boo ya!”
– “Could I ask the obvious question: WHAT THE HELL?”
-”Is it a head? I thought it was a…”
“It’s a head.”
– “We’ll go in there and face the music, even if it is the Hydra theme song.”
– Paxton’s line reading of “Hail Hydra” was amazing
– “Phil, this is me being honest.”
“No, John, this is you being a psychopath.”
– Have I said enough how great Paxton is for this show? Seeing him as the villain moving forward is great, and while I’ll always be sad that the Clairvoyant wasn’t revealed to be M.O.D.O.K or something, this is certainly a great consolation prize.