(SPOILERS, SPOILERS!) Turning at every corner. Captain America: The Winter Soldier tie-in episode! (SPOILERS, SPOILERS!)
With the rise of Hydra in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are facing off against a large scale threat.
(SPOILERS STOP READING NOW, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!)
This tie-in episode wasn't entirely bad. With the Thor: Dark World tie-in episode a couple of episodes ago, you can tell that the creative minds behind this show have stepped up their game with this episode. However, it's still in question of "how far have they stepped up their game?" The answer is simple: some.
In this episode, everything has gone from bad-to-worse for Coulson and his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in almost an instant. From the eyes of Coulson it looks like his partner, Melinda May, is actually a double agent and has been spying on the entire team since it's establishment. However, all is not as it seems. With the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hydra has been working for nearly 70 years to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and corrupt it from within; this plan has worked! With the apparent demise of Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. is without it's one good eye and moral compass; chaos insures with Hydra raining fire on all that oppose it! -- and Coulson and company are right in the middle of it.
In my mind, this is probably the best episode so far. The title of this episode "Turn, Turn, Turn" is appropriate, as a lot of story elements (i.e. the Clairvoyant, Hydra, etc.) have you changing your mind a lot -- in a good way. The action has finally gotten better (the death count in this series is still extremely low as for some reason the Agents refuse to kill), but moving past that we get to see drawn out fisticuffs and some good standoffs/shootouts.
"The Clairvoyant" is a name/villain that has always been one step ahead of Coulson's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He, or she, is the reason we've had Deathlok and a bunch of other weird things happen that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have had to clean up. The Clairvoyant has also been greatly intrigued by the apparent return of Coulson, however didn't know how it exactly happened. Before I get into all of that, It does connect with Hydra and the Marvel Phase (movie) project; so calm down.
I will say that this episode having piggybacked on the ending of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it did help the series a little. Everything that's happened so far with trust issues between the team members, Coulson's resurrection explained, and the Clairvoyant being this threat that's always been out of reach; it never really had a strong footing and it felt a bit like each episode was self contained (only hoping that it would workout in the end). NOW, with Cap 2 having been released everything that's happened so far makes sense.
The writers had been spinning a web (no relation to Sony's Spider-Man) that made us question if Coulson was the Clairvoyant or someone else was. It could've easily turned out to be Coulson as the Clairvoyant, because he was revived inhumanely and could've had a split personality. While that would've been cool, I still like Coulson on the side of justice. Eventually it turned out, from this episode, that Coulson wasn't the Clairvoyant and neither was Victoria Hand nor Melinda May. Instead it was Agent Garret (double agent for Hydra) who turned out to be the Clairvoyant; after the team found out that it was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent leaking information.
The Clairvoyant wanting to know how Coulson came back to life was (somewhat) key in a part of Hydra's plan. Coulson was revived thanks to an alien specimen known as; Kree -- this alien's physiology brought Coulson from the grave. So obviously it would be helpful to Hydra's longterm plan to have a serum that could bring back it's soldiers better than ever. While that reveal was underwhelming for the series as a whole, the experience of finding out was quite exciting. For once, it felt like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were relevant in the Marvel (move phase); even though their part is like a corner in the larger universe.
Overall it was a good episode. It had it's ups-and-downs and just this once it felt like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were a real part of the Marvel universe, and hopefully the writers can continue this momentum (for the series sake). There was a nice twist at the end that had Agent Ward secretly be an agent of Hydra as well. So that is one thing to look forWARD to (see what I did there?) Anyway, the acting was good, the story was surprisingly better than the last couple of episodes (T.R.A.C.K.S. is still one of the best episodes), and we as Marvel watchers have something to look forWARD to. 5 out of 5.
Until the next episode!
Last review from this series (and other reviews):
Last review ---- X-Men (volume 4, 2014) #12