Just how do you compete with the entertaining prospect of a night out with the Avengers making a game out of lifting Thor’s hammer? I’m not going to answer that question.
Coulson and company are our primary viewpoint into this Marvel world until Avengers: Age of Ultron hits on May 1st, and thanks to Hydra, things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.
We’re given a glance at Glenn Talbot’s address to representatives of the United Nations, and his language regarding faith in SHIELD and the first appearance of the Avengers may have been misplaced. This meeting is quickly interrupted by Hydra impersonating themselves as SHIELD agents, but prior to, Talbot’s language makes fans of Marvel think back to the beginning stages of Civil War and the mistrust of the world’s super humans being held accountable for the destruction they caused, and the attraction of even greater evils as a result of their presence. This particularly came to mind because earlier this Tuesday, Marvel announced a total of nine new films that will be produced and released through May of 2019, one of the soonest in the roster being titled Captain America: Civil War. Just something for you to keep in mind.
Moving on from future speculations, May informs the crew of what happened at the UN, and because Coulson plays everything so close to the vest these days, his agents, namely Hunter, question who it actually was upon hearing the news, but this was more played for laughs this week than anything. It’s unveiled that Hydra hired a team of mercenaries, and enlisted the technology of a Japanese engineer, Tashiro, a previous acquaintance of Bobbi. Thus, we get to see a three man squad of Hunter, Bobbi and May take off to Japan.
In this sequence, we get to see Bobbi’s ability to wrest information out of people, all the while Hunter comically complains to May how “horrible” she used to be, particularly her impeccable ability to remember every little detail. How does May respond? “You know I don’t like you, right?”
Hunter breaks into fight or flight mode as someone sneaks behind Bobbi in the midst of her conversation with Tashiro, and once all foes are unconscious we see his painstaking effort in trying to protect her is denounced, that she can take care of herself, and she absolutely knew that guy was behind her.
A break from the comical bickering, Skye is sent by Coulson to retrieve information from Grant Ward about his Senator brother, Christian, who has a hand on the metaphorical big red button to make SHIELD disappear. Coulson reminds Skye to keep the conversation to strictly business, as he’s aware how Ward has been attempting to regain Skye’s trust by offering information on her father.
Keep in mind, Grant “Beardman” Ward feels more vulnerable this week, or at least plays things out as though he is, because his older brother has come into conversation, the one who left him to drown at the bottom of the well as a child, when we got the really only piece of origin from Ward in season one. The episode tosses and turns the audience, lobbing a ball of blame back and forth as Coulson appears to get answers out of Christian, using Ward as a bargaining chip, and on the other end is Skye ready to break Grant out. Here, each Ward brother is so convincingly playing themselves straight, and that the other is one for consistent lies and deceit.
In the middle of this race to capture the mercenaries, Fitz and Simmons’ separation since their tragic attempted murder by Ward comes to a head, as Simmons tries to continue conversation with him like normal. Fitz becomes frustrated, and ultimately accuses her of abandoning him when she was really the only person who had a chance of keeping his life together after his sacrifice resulted in his condition of hypoxia. She was the sole person who knows Fitz as well as themselves, and unexpectedly left, and this episode implies that she offered to do so because it weighed on her so heavily. Mac steps in to assist Fitz as she leaves, and he notes to her later on, regarding how he’s only known the person Fitz became after she left, that she was only making things worse for him. Her reply is probably the biggest, most chilling, and depressing note for the week: “Why do you think I left?”
Once the time comes in the episode for Coulson to realize they’ve been deceived, thanks to Simmons repairing a hard drive, he sends May, Hunter and Bobbi to the SHIELD safe house in Bruges, where we see these disintegrating frisbee bombs used by the Hydra mercenaries on the operatives in the safehouse. Hunter, Bobbi and May arrive momentarily to rescue the survivors in an action sequence that is up to par with last week, thanks to the badass addition of Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird. Since Hunter is a morally ambiguous character, it’s interesting to see someone who knows him personally on a level that the rest of the characters do not, and there’s actually quite a touching moment when Bobbi actually thanks him for saving her life (three times, specifically) and leaves him with no qualms about if he were to decide to stick around with SHIELD with her there. Interestingly enough, there’s an equally heartfelt reminder that Glenn Talbot, while a thorn in their side, is a human after all, and able to empathize with SHIELD, shaking May’s hand upon discussion of losing lives in senseless conflict.
The episode concludes with the Ward brothers, as Grant is escorted out of the SHIELD facility, on fast track for execution as ordered by his senator brother, Christian. Here, we have two vital interactions, one in which Simmons doesn’t shy away from him, but actually steps forward and threatens to kill him if she ever saw his face again. For a character who was once simply a meek, well-meaning scientist, hearing Simmons threaten this is a bigger deal than the few seconds it actually happens allows it to seem. When Ward tries to plead to Coulson that his brother is only ordering his execution for the sake of his election, and that he still cares about Coulson and the team, Coulson enforces a tone I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, and deems that Grant Ward is not, and never will be, a part of his team. When placed into the armored truck, Ward escapes exactly as I expected he eventually would as soon as I saw they kept him prisoner when the season began. However, I’ll admit that his escape caught me off guard by breaking his own thumb to get out of his handcuffs. Come on, guys, Coulson said “Don’t give him an inch!” That includes handcuffs!
Agents of SHIELD will return in two weeks because of the midterm elections, but don’t fear. Next week, ABC will be airing a 75th Anniversary special for Marvel, so make sure you go vote early! Always vote. Just do it, ya dingus.
When we return, Coulson’s alien condition catches up with him, and I guess we deal with Ward’s escape or something.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 2.6. “A Fractured House” (7/10)