Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 17: Turn, Turn, Turn

Holy Crap! Now that was an episode!

I'm amazed at how much this series has improved in the past few weeks. I'm actually enjoying it lately, as opposed to the feelings of apathy I had toward it in its early days. It's just too bad it took them so long to find their footing. Hopefully it's not too late and everyone that tuned out early on will come back.


The Plot:
In the wake of the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. is taken over by Hydra sleeper agents. Coulson and the Team try to liberate S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters without getting killed in the process. Agent Garrett turns out to be the Clairvoyant and is also working for Hydra. He's eventually captured by Coulson's Team. Ward and Agent Hand escort Garrett to the Icebox for incarceration. On the way there Ward kills Hand, revealing that he too is a Hydra agent.

• I think we may be witnessing television history here. I can't think of any other TV series that's had its plot line affected by a theatrical movie set in the same world. 

Star Wars: The Clone Wars comes close, but even that series debuted well after the movies ended.

• This close connection with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while certainly cool, can be a double edged sword. On the one hand it gives everything a cohesiveness and unity, just like old Marvel comics had. It makes all these events feel like they're really happening, and right now.

On the other hand, the new Captain America movie came out just four short days before this episode. The vast majority of viewers-- myself included-- haven't had a chance to see it. So the TV show just spoiled the main plot of the movie for everyone. D'oh!

• Coulson forces May to contact Nick Fury, and they're told he's dead. Everyone who believes that, stand on your head…

As I said, I've not yet seen the new Captain America film yet, but I'm assuming Fury is "killed" or presumed killed sometime before the end of the film. I wouldn't worry too much about him though. There's no way Marvel's gonna kill off Fury yet, especially since he's still got three films to go on his nine film contract.

• Another big revelation: May tells Coulson that the Team was assembled in order to keep an eye on him, lest the alien blood in his veins make him go a little funny in the head. And the person who ordered this? Fury, of course. Interesting.

It also explains why the team is so oddly balanced, with three field agents and three eggheads.

• I enjoyed the scene in which Coulson, Fitz and Garrett argue over the Hydra motto. 

Coulson: "Cut off one head, two more take its place." 
Garrett: "Is it a head? I thought it was a…"
Coulson: "It's a head."

Fitz: "Head."

• Woohoo! I totally called Garret being the Clairvoyant. And as an added bonus, he's a Hydra agent to boot. I wouldn't be surprised if he was there on the Grassy Knoll as well.

As I said last week, I'm a bit disappointed that the Clairvoyant didn't turn out to be, well, a real clairvoyant. Someone with honest-to-goodness psychic powers instead of a plain old spy with access to everyone's records.

• How did May get her hands loose during the battle at the end? One second she's handcuffed, the next she's swinging roundhouse punches and karate chopping Hydra agents left and right. I suppose it's possible someone freed her hands in all the chaos, but if so I sure didn't see it.

• In the middle of the Hydra takeover, Skye wipes all the Bus' computers and stores the files on a hard drive. She then hands the drive over to Ward for safekeeping. Whoops! Now Hydra's got all of the Team's files!

• So Ward's a Hydra agent too! Wow! I didn't see that one coming, although looking back at last week's episode (in which Ward killed the "fake" Clairvoyant) it was pretty obvious.

You know, I'm actually OK with this development. All season Ward's been the dullest character on the show, so this actually makes him more interesting.

I'm still not a fan of these "sleeper agent" plots though. If Ward truly has been a traitor all this time, why would he so obediently follow orders that would make it tougher for Hydra to take over later on? Why hook up with May? Why get all sappy over Skye?

Yes, yes, he's "hiding in plain sight" and all that, but it seems like there were ample opportunities during the season for him to subtly sabotage the various missions. More reasons why these "secret traitor" plots aren't a good idea.

I'm kind of wondering if Ward really is a Hydra agent after all? That final scene in which he's giving the camera a seriously demonic look made me wonder if he's under some kind of mind control. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the case. That way he could be a traitor for as long as the plot requires but then still come back.

• This episode's shocking revelations had a bit of a "go for broke" feel about them. I'm hoping they're just building toward a big season finale and not trying to wrap up everything because the show's getting cancelled. Now that the series has finally found its groove, it definitely deserves a second season.

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