Finally, one of the biggest questions of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ has been answered. After this week’s episode, we now know the true identity of the Clairvoyant and it’s definitely not who I thought it would be! But more importantly, the landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is completely changed after ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and now we get to see how those events will affect Agent Coulson and his allies. And yes, if you haven’t seen Steve Rogers’ latest adventure, there are potential spoilers below.
When we last left the team in ‘Beginning of the End’, practically every high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent we’ve met throughout the season rejoined Coulson and company on the Bus in pursuit of the Clairvoyant. After they track down the villain, Ward’s emotions get the better of him and he ends up murdering their nemesis in cold blood. However, through some major untangling of secrets, they learn that they took out the wrong person and that their enemy is actually a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. But as Coulson, Skye, and Fitz find themselves in a standoff with suspected Clairvoyant comrade May, their plane is redirected to the Hub by none other than Victoria Hand.
Now in the latest epic chapter of Marvel Studios’ first live action show, Agent Garrett rejoins the group as they are being pulled back to their home base in the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse and the rise of HYDRA. But while an old friend is welcomed aboard, it’s becoming clearer that the team can’t trust anybody since they don’t know who remains loyal to the “fallen” Nick Fury and who is working for the undying evil organization.The perfect shot to sum up the situation at hand.
Well, now we know why there have been extensive breaks in between some episodes of the show. If the network had aired the show every week after the premiere, then it would have spoiled the best solo Marvel movie to date. Looking back, while we were probably really mad at or bored by various things as that they occurred, everything in this show (even when it airs) happens for a reason and is connected to a much bigger picture that is turning out to be something quite grand.
And that big picture is pretty damn far from what I thought it would be. At the end of last week’s episode, I thought that I had everything figured out since I had seen the Cap sequel before watching ‘AoS’, but it turned out that I was so wrong. I was expecting Agent Hand to be one behind the Clairvoyant and she was to be revealed as the puppet master from the get go. As the episode went on, each one of my theories was disproven and revealed to be something way more awesome. Whether it was Garrett’s true intentions, Agent Hand’s argument for Coulson siding with HYDRA, the real reason why the team was assembled, or that massive swerve at the end of the episode, there were so many WTF moments that were just so great that they basically made up for all the slow-moving moments early on in the season.
Another highlight of this episode was Clark Gregg’s performance. He’s explored a number of emotions as Agent Coulson over the years, but tonight might have been his best outing as the character yet. The betrayal by two of his oldest friends created two compelling storylines for him to juggle while the world as he knows it falls down around him. You could really see the internal conflict within as he is forced to make some really hard calls like shooting May without thinking twice about it.
Basically, this episode had the feel of a Marvel movie. It helped that it tied in to their most recent theatrical release by showing the events directly after the credits rolled on that film, but some huge developments unfolded in this episode that made drudging through the slower parts of the season worthwhile. And with Ward’s brutal (and seemingly reluctant) heel turn at the end that resulted in the death of one of my favorite recurring characters, we got to see another game-changing twist that seems to be a trademark of Phase Two at this point. I know that I’ve said this before, but this time I might mean it even more than before: This is probably the best episode of the show thus far. It was filled with fast paced action, mind-blowing revelations, and unexpected twists that should really entice fans to beg for more. But above all, it managed to stay independent of Marvel’s latest box office hit. Sure, it’s so much better if you had seen the movie over the weekend, but if you didn’t get the chance to do that, then you weren’t left completely left in the dark by what was going on.
So now that HYDRA is out in the open now and S.H.I.E.L.D. is a shell of it’s former self, it will be most interesting to see how things change on the show. Since the organization is basically non-existent, how will Coulson and his remaining team members continue to operate? And just how far will Ward go now that he’s shown his true colors, even though he’s finally given into his romantic feelings for Skye, who currently sides with his enemy? Just when you think you get all the answers, the questions are changed and you have to tune in for more ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’. I know that I will be.
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ starring Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Chloe Bennet, and Clark Gregg airs on Tuesdays at 8:00pm on ABC.