Anghus Houvouras reviews the seventh episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2…
Two things are very clear in the 7th Episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s second season:
Everybody’s happy that this damn space mystery is finally going somewhere.
Agent Ward (Brent Dalton) is much more fun as a heel.
“The Writing on the Wall” is a solid, if not spectacular, episode. Mainly because it focuses on a crazed Agent Coulson and a mustache twirling Agent Ward.
Coulson can feel his rationality slipping as he continues to carve crazy symbols into walls. He decides enough is enough and heads into the same memory device that was used by Hydra to probe his deepest thoughts. The deep regression therapy helps him draw out the names of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had volunteered for the regeneration project, and also sends Coulson over the edge as he takes off on his own to hunt down another crazy agent who has turned into a Red Dragon inspired killer.
On our second front, Ward is on the lam trying to elude a handful of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are trying to bring him in alive. This proves more difficult than they initially thought. Ward has strapped himself with C4 and a dead man’s switch and seems willing to take out a city block on innocent people to stay out of custody. He meets with some familiar Hydra faces and makes them an offer claiming that he can get them close enough to Coulson to put a bullet in his head.
Meanwhile, Coulson tortures himself to find out the secrets of the Tahiti project and learns the other test subjects are dying at an exponential rate. Since this was his responsibility, he pushes himself to unsafe limits to try and solve this mystery. The truth behind the writing isn’t exactly revealed but given a push in the right direction. There’s been so much nebulous wheel spinning on the truth behind the formula that brought Coulson and Skye back. It’s been an interesting enough plot, but has plodded along at a pace that would make the writers of Lost and Under the Dome jealous of their story stretching skills.
The real reveal of this episode is how much I enjoy Ward as a heel. Evil Ward is so much more interesting, and in this cloak and dagger battlefield between Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D., a lone wolf like Ward makes for some interesting storytelling. There’s a lot of potential for where to take the character.
“The Writing on the Wall” is another decent episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., almost achieving that C+/B- territory which has historically been the ceiling for the series.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.