Danny Hale Reviews the eighth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3…
That’s how you do it! This week the multiple storylines that we’ve been following in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. all season came together leaving a clear but dangerous path ahead. With our mid-season finale fast approaching and the show on a week’s break for those celebrating Thanksgiving the writers are really delivering the drama and I have to say the pacing is absolutely spot on. This week dispelled many of my small concerns from previous weeks, mainly to do with how the season would feel once completed. I was worried we were going to be treated to various exciting plotlines but stemming from nothing more than fan service. This week’s episode showed us that there has been a plan all along and in fact no one’s stories have been superfluous. Where I had thought the show was moving too quickly simply to appease fans it turns out the writing team knew exactly where they were going. I started trusting the writers a lot more this season and this week I think they’ve finally sealed the deal.
I was really happy to see Ward get some more screen time this week; he’s a character I regularly worry about but I feel the writers are on the right track with him now. Having Malick turn on him wasn’t a massive surprise but I was glad to see he left a team of guys to take Ward out at least. Of course Ward kicked their asses and it was pleasantly awesome to watch. Followed by Ward’s torturing of the surviving executioners reminded me how great Ward is when he’s driven. He won’t go down without getting revenge on Malick and he will literally stop at nothing. Sure enough he gains a location of the Von Strucker vault (said to hold HYDRA’s greatest secret!) and discovering the only way to get there quick enough to catch Malick is to jump out of a plane mid-flight. Unfortunately for the passengers and the air hostess Ward encounters he hasn’t put much consideration into their safety post jump.
Ready to for me to sound like a broken record? Fitz and Simmons’ scenes were great this week. Jemma’s reaction to Fitz’s unwavering support in her search for Will was as great as it was unfair. Her reaction was completely understandable and of course she’s not mad at Fitz but even I was getting a little perturbed by how quiet Fitz remained about his feelings I’m also glad that Fitz’s previous gentlemanliness wasn’t an excuse to not explore how he must be feeling. Leo Fitz is an exceptional guy but he’s still human. Both performers nailed the material here and the kiss that followed felt so right. It was always going to be hard to make Fitzsimmons’ inevitable kiss land successfully after so much build up but here they shared a kiss that was both beautiful and incredibly heart-breaking.
Mack meanwhile raises some concerns harking back to season 2 and his issues with Coulson. Mack and Coulson have been so tight lately that I had forgotten how vocal Mack gets when he has doubts. As it happens his concerns were unnecessary; Coulson was quite forthcoming with his thoughts and feelings on Rosalind and the ATCU. He then unveiled Operation Spotlight. I was both surprised and impressed at Coulson’s plan; it was well conceived and really did have S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhuman’s best interests at heart despite Coulson’s involvement with Rosalind. Once again it is a testament to the writers that throughout Coulson’s briefing my thoughts were with Rosalind and how hurt she was going to be when she found out.
In a small stroke of genius, using Andrew’s containment cell Coulson gets Hunter and Bobbi into the ATCU undercover. He even gets Rosalind to unknowingly vouch for them. VERY well-played Coulson. I loved the entire plan; I adore when the team at large goes on a mission like this. Also from a narrative point of view it’s about time we got a proper look at the inside of the ATCU! Hunter’s hacker character was hilarious and Bobbi got a sweet weapon upgrade. More of this please. Once Bobbi has separated herself under the pretence of speaking with her superiors she makes the startling discovery that not only is Andrew not in the facility but neither are any of the Inhumans that are supposed to be in stasis awaiting a cure. I could feel things were going askew as the episode progressed and it all came to a boil between Coulson and Rosalind as he demanded the truth from her or else he was imprisoning her there and then. I HATED how confused Rosalind looked; here is a woman who has finally dropped her guard and suddenly they were at each other’s throats again. The ensuing argument got quite heated and personal and frankly made some great television. Both Coulson and Ros want to trust each other but given the nature of their jobs that’s a very difficult and potentially dangerous thing to do. Once it is revealed that Rosalind answers to Malick I was hoping against hope that Ros would be in the dark and that there was some chance for her after all. Thankfully it seems right now that I was right and that she is in fact ignorant to Malick’s true motives and associations.
Not much from May this week as she remained mostly silent in the wake of last week’s episode but she had a surprising and touching moment with Lincoln that I was convinced was going to go the other way. May is such an awesome character and now I can’t wait to see what the plan for Lincoln is. Here is an example of where I feared the writer’s intentions. I was worried Lincoln was only kept on to get audiences in on his and Daisy’s ‘romance’ and his sparse appearances this season were due to the writing team not really having a solid plan for his character but after this week I am trusting them and really looking forward to seeing how he ties in.
What this episode did so well was it slowly connected every major storyline we’ve been following all season all the way to the reveal that Fitz’s supposed cult is in fact Hydra throughout the ages. Thus brings us to Ward crashing into the Von Strucker vault where Malick has already arrived. I enjoyed seeing how impressed he was with Ward and it also reminded us that Ward was a top class agent in the beginning. A part of me kind of wished Ward would shoot Malick when he first arrived but their pairing will likely be greater. So what was hidden in the Von Strucker vault? A piece of the Monolith no less! Gideon’s following tale spoke of (I assume) the creature we saw on the blue planet, an apparent Inhuman destined to inherit the Earth but banished thousands of years ago. HYDRA wants to bring it back and rule at its side and they also now know that S.H.I.E.L.D. have successfully brought someone (Simmons) home from said planet. This is all exciting stuff; we have the reveal that Malick is in fact Rosalind’s boss and that he’s trying to get to the scourge of Simmons’ and Will’s time ‘abroad’. I never expected the various plots to come together like that and the more I think on it the more I really can’t wait to see where this season is going. On a final note in regards to the post credits scene with Ward and Andrew, man Ward STOP getting up in May’s personal business. Ward is so dead.