Welcome back, true believers! When last we left our heroes, Agent Koenig (Patton Oswalt) had left this mortal coil at the hands of the treacherous Agent Ward, who has taken Skye from their new HQ, Providence! Agent May, meanwhile, has decided to leave the gang in order to find Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) who has left for greener pastures at Stark Enterprises after the dissolving of S.H.I.E.L.D. On tonight’s episode, Coulson and the agents must fight off Hulk villain, Glenn Talbot, and an enclave of army soldiers looking to acquire their resources and put an end to what they see as potentially dangerous shenanigans. Sabotage! Danger! Explosions! A giant size comic book reference! Hit the jump for all this and more on tonight’s recap of “Nothing Personal.”
MAN THING. Sorry, just had to get that out there as one of the first thing Maria Hill says, while talking with Pepper Potts by phone from Washington D.C., is “Who or what is a Man Thing?” For those who don’t know, Man Thing is Marvel’s equivalent of “Swamp Thing” and just so happens to be the protector of the Nexus of Realities within the Marvel Universe. Comic books! Anyway, Cobie Smulders makes her return to the Marvel cinematic universe here as Maria Hill discusses the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Pepper Potts, her new employer over at Stark Enterprises (everyone’s gotta eat now with S.H.I.E.L.D. defunct). She comes face to face with Agent May, hot on the trail of what exactly did happen to Agent Coulson as part of Project T.A.H.I.T.I.
Our episode is split between our main group of Coulson and co. attempting to find the kidnapped Skye, and Skye who attempts to string along Ward long enough to plan an escape route. The actors were all put on display in this episode and they did a great job of covering a lot of emotions that come their way. First through discovering that Agent Ward is in fact Hydra, through a message left by Skye, with a commendable outburst from Fitz that his long time friend was a backstabbing traitor. Next, through having to be placed in frantic situations presented to them via a marauding Deathlok and an army looking to get their property back. The interplay between all of the characters was really the shining point of this episode, as Skye and Ward’s game of cat and mouse felt tense, and rightfully so with Ward having been revealed to knock off anyone who got in his way with little to no hesitation. Really the best thing to happen to the character was his heel turn, can’t say that enough.
I felt that overall the episode was trying to push forward a lot of moving parts, and that might have shown a kink in this installment’s armor. The budget being displayed just wasn’t what it could be and for a lot of it, it felt very much like a sound stage. This took me out of it once or twice, especially during the green-screened fall from the “Bus” inside Lola or the fact that Sergeant Talbot took around a small handful of soldiers with him to take down highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Also, Talbot’s moustache has gotta go because that thing looks horrible, to say nothing of Deathlok’s continued design scheme.
Assisting the team to escape the army, after having originally brought them there in the first place, Maria Hill has some great interactions with Coulson in attempting to cover her own butt as well as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s and it makes for some good scenery chewing opportunities for Clark Gregg throughout. Speaking of good acting chops, both Ward and Skye face forward as Skye reveals she knows where his allegiance lies and has alerted the police to his whereabouts, which jumps into a nice action scene where Skye attempts to escape only to be caught by Deathlok. The three return to the “Bus” and the triangle works exceptionally well, especially with Skye’s rant about Ward being a Nazi and Deathlok’s flippancy over killing Ward to get what he wants.
The gang manages to catch up with Ward and Deathlok, while Coulson and the aforementioned Lola escape. After all these fast paced beats, my favorite scene of the night was the team stationed out of a crappy motel, finally coming to the realization that there’s no backup, there’s no weaponry, and there’s no funding as S.H.I.E.L.D. is now utterly and truly gone. The camaraderie between all the characters shined through here in this quiet moment. I even liked the moment shared between Fitz and Simmons who are usually a low point for me. Of course, this also allowed for the big stinger of the night as May returns to reveal that she has discovered the man who created Project T.A.H.I.T.I. was in fact… COULSON HIMSELF! In a moment of stunned realization, Coulson lets out a perfect word for the entire scenario, “Huh”.
All in all, what we have here is another strong entry into the world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. following the events of Cap 2, though there were some cracks showing along the way. Solid episode but not without its flaws. With only three episodes remaining in the season and still no word on a renewal for a season 2, soak in what we get here as this may be out for our heroes, unless of course they were to sneak into Marvel’s upcoming Netflix deal.
AGENTS OF M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– “I’ll go make some pancakes, that will cheer everyone up.” Man, a weaker excuse to get Simmons to discover Koenig’s body, I do not know.
– I actually wasn’t aware that the right to Man Thing on screen had reverted back to Marvel! Thought it was still owned by Lion’s Gate after the failed SyFy movie (For the love of God, don’t watch the SyFy Man Thing movie).
– “The stereotypes they’re trailing me with are offensive. Fake Yuppie. Imposter Homeless Man.”
– “Even they can’t mess with Tony’s army of lawyers, wanna join?”
– “Finally some good news!… I should have knocked on wood just then.”
– “If I come out will you shoot me? Cause then I won’t come out.”
– “I tipped them off. Hail Hydra.”
– “That is the twisted logic that they feed you when you become a Nazi! It’s in Chapter 1 of the S.H.I.E.L.D. handbook! Red Skull! BIG FREAKING NAZI!”
– “I’m a survivor!”
“You are a SERIAL KILLER!”
– “If he needed eye candy around, he should have picked Romanov.”
– “Say hello to Stark for…never mind. He thinks I’m dead.”
Watch the promo for the next episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Ragtag”: