Last week’s episode of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ was an incredibly emotional one. With the occupants of the Fridge on the loose, Agent Coulson learns that notorious psychopath Marcus Daniels AKA Blackout was among those who escaped. Assuming that he’d go back to stalking Audrey Nathan AKA The Cellist, Coulson splits up the group to stop the bad guy and keep tabs on HYDRA at the same time. But I’m sure that he would have handled things a little differently if he knew that he was leaving Agent Koenig and Skye with the enemy.
Now, the adventures of Agent Coulson and friends continue as the team finally learns of Agent Grant Ward’s treachery in this week’s episode. But while they’re trying to pull themselves together to rescue Skye, who has been putting her training to very good use, General Glenn Talbot shows up on the doorstep of the Providence base thanks to the assistance of one of Nick Fury’s most trusted associates, Maria Hill, who has joined the private sector since the end of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’.
Something that this show has always done well was build up their corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even though #ItsAllConnected, this series certainly stands alone pretty well. (It’s just even better if you’ve seen the movies too.) And though at times it may have taken them longer to do so than the audience would have liked, the writers have still established interesting characters, made plenty of references to the source material, and even tied into the evolving mythology created by the movies. But one thing that particularly stood out in this episode was how many things seemed to build up the future of the films. A lot of this was done through guest star Cobie Smulders. When we first see Maria Hill, she’s talking to Pepper Potts on the phone about how she works for Tony Stark now. She also drops an awesome Man-Thing reference, but mostly she’s talking throughout the episode about her new role in the MCU now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has fallen. It’ll be cool to see if her new position with Stark Industries will manifest into something in ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (or if Man-Thing will make an appearance somewhere down the line).
Usually when it comes to performances, I’m talking about Clark Gregg showing his range and unveiling a new side to Agent Coulson. But this week, I have to mention Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, and Iain De Caestecker and their acting chops. When Fitz learned Ward’s true affiliation, De Caestecker unleashed such great emotion when he learned that someone who has grown to be one of his most trusted friends was actually working with the enemy the whole time. It was cool to see Fitz be the awkward scientist with mixed feelings for his long-time partner. But while Fitz showed more than we’ve seen from up until this point, it was really Skye and Ward who stole the show. The conversation that they had in the diner before Ward’s cover was blown was great. Even though he’s a master spy, his judgment was so cloudy because of his feelings for Skye that he couldn’t tell that he was being played. And then to see her come so far from the beginning of the series was awesome. Skye pulled out some great tactics during her scheme and it’s super ironic that Ward was her S.O. teaching her to think like this. Then, when she was forced to choose between saving Ward or letting him die at the hands of Deathlok, we saw another very emotional scene where we saw who each one really was.
Finally, I have to address the closing moments of this episode. First of all, poor Lola! Secondly, the whole series finds Coulson searching for answers to solve the mystery of how he survived after the Battle of New York. So far throughout the season, he has gotten some huge clues, but now thanks to May and Hill, he has the big answer that we’ve all been waiting for: Who was behind T.A.H.I.T.I.? The answer shocked us all because it turns out that he was in charge of that project! Coulson’s “Huh…” reaction basically summed up my initial reaction, but then I switched to “No way!?!” This revelation certainly raises even more questions, but one particular one on my mind pertains to his rank. It has sounded like Fury was working under orders from someone higher up than him. But now that we know that the orders came from Coulson and not Alexander Pierce, does that mean that our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is more important than we initially thought? Or did that mean that he was just in charge of that particular project? There are just so many details that I want to know!
After that blockbuster reveal, we only have two episodes left in the season, yet a ton of questions that still need to be answered. Based on the promo for next week, it looks like we’ll finally be getting Ward’s whole story to see why he joined up with Garrett and HYDRA. Hopefully that doesn’t take up the whole episode because there’s so much more to cover in these final chapters. Actually, no matter what happens in these last two episodes, I hope that ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ finishes strong, continues to reward fans for sticking with it, and ends the season in such an epic way that everyone who opted to stop following will have to go and catch the hell up (even though I’ve been saying since the mid-season finale that it’s gotten so much better).
‘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.