Welcome back, true believers! Heck of a news day, huh? If anything, the current slate of Marvel films will certainly have a gigantic impact on the world of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (if of course it’s still around at that time, fingers crossed). How will Coulson’s team react to a superhuman civil war? Will the crew be swinging around Wakanda now that Black Panther’s been confirmed? These are questions for another day as tonight’s episode finds Hydra impersonating S.H.I.E.L.D. and attacking the United Nations. Will our team be able to combat their brand new public relations problem? How is Mockingbird fitting in with the rest of the team? Why can’t it be 2018 already so we can all watch Avengers: Infinity War? These questions will be answered on tonight’s episode, “A Fractured House” when you hit the jump….
Our episode begins, as I said in the introduction, with Hydra pretending to be S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to further destroy what terrible reputation they had left. Really good tactic on their part, and certainly adds a level of urgency to the team’s current situation. I thought this was one of the best episodes to show just how serious of a threat Hydra is as an organization. I feel that the previous episodes with Hydra being located in a mid-town hi-rise building, having meetings in a boardroom wasn’t very….Hydra. This episode, they take the kid gloves off, and start taking people out to further their goals, sometimes in pretty grotesque manners. Hydra using a device to turn a woman into dust? That’s pretty brutal. I think if you’re going to have a villain like Hydra, you can’t necessarily make them an “evil version” of the heroes, cracking jokes and what not. They need to stand on their own, be charismatic and also be scary. This episode certainly accomplished that.
Meanwhile on the Agents front, the team is attempting to cleanup their image while also negotiating with a senator who’s out for their blood named Senator Ward. This particular Senator happens to be the brother of the team’s Grant Ward, former turncoat now Hannibal Lecter-style informant being held in their basement. Their relationship, as is the case with most of Grant’s connections, is shaky to say the least and the Senator promises to ease up on the S.H.I.E.L.D. bashing should they deliver Grant into custody. The dialogue between Ward and everyone in the episode really struck a chord with me and was great at demonstrating just how much he hurt the team through his actions. Coulson angrily chastising Ward as Grant pleaded with him, insanely stating that he was still a part of the group, was well earned and delivered quite the gut punch as the new director threw all of Ward’s crimes back in his face. Good stuff all around, especially Ward’s silent escape at the end of the episode.
On the other side of the team, we swing back around to Fitz and Simmons’ reunion, Simmons having been inside Hydra to learn information for the team. Fitz’s feeling of betrayal towards Simmons, and her reasoning as to why she left the team in order to keep his mind intact were really well played out and both actors did fantastically in bringing the emotions of both characters to the forefront. We nearly have a new love triangle between Fitz, Simmons, and Mack and surprisingly, it works! Meanwhile Mockingbird continues to be a welcome addition to the squad as she kicks some major butt this time around in some really well choreographed action scenes. I will say that the relationship between her and Hunter was in the danger of getting aggravating with Hunter constantly complaining about her being the “ex from hell”, but this was played up to great comedic effect when Mockingbird shoots a downed enemy in mid-argument with Hunter. Hopefully they pull back on this a tad now that the Bobbi has presented him with the ultimatum to either “deal with it or get off the team”.
There were still some points of the episode that continue to linger from my past quibbles with regards to this season. While this episode does a good job of balancing all the different characters we encounter, Agent Tripp is still left with almost no part to speak of whatsoever and Patton Oswalt’s Agent Koenig is still absent, though he is mentioned by Coulson as being one of Ward’s victims which may lead credence to the theory that Koenig is a “Life Model Decoy”. We also had to not have enough time given to the villains themselves overall, outside of this band of Hydra soldiers who took up most of the screen time on their behalf. I did really appreciate the quiet moment near the end where Talbot shook Agent May’s hand, comforting her over the casualties S.H.I.E.L.D. had suffered.
To be honest though, while I did have some minor quibbles, I thought this was the best episode of the season so far. I thought it hit the nail on the head when it came to a solid blend of humor and seriousness which Marvel Studios prides itself on, while doing a great job of examining characters. Hopefully we see more episodes like this coming down the pike as we move further into this season.
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Not much of Skye’s father this time around, though a little more of his past is revealed. I actually just heard about the theory, through our comments and other sites, that he’s in fact the Avengers villain, Mr. Hyde and Skye will be revealed to be Daisy Jones, who eventually turns out to be a hero herself named Quake and a member of the Avengers for a short time. I’m all for that and the story that Skye’s dad tore apart a village with his bare hands certainly seems to back up that theory.
– So about Senator Ward. There is in fact a Senator Ward in the comics who was a Spider-Man villain for a time and even fought the Avengers in a big crossover entitled, “Maximum Security” but I have no idea if this is meant to be the same person thanks to legality and all that. What do you all think?
– The show is really upping its game in the hand to hand fight scenes. Good work cast and crew!
– How about that Avengers: Age of Ultron clip? The team attempting to lift Thor’s hammer is a nice little calm before the storm as Ultron shambles into the scene, spouting off his sinister dialogue thanks to the help of James Spader. “If I lift this, do I get to rule Asgard?” To say nothing of the fact that Captain America made it move the tiniest bit! If you are a comic fan, you know there have been numerous occasions where Cap has in fact used Mjolnir. Exciting stuff.
– “This is just you peacocking”
– “Are you threatening me, Mr. Coulson?”
“No. I’m telling you I have your brother in my basement.”
– “I slept in his chair for three and a half weeks.”