Nothing personal, but it was an astonishing episode!
Yesterday's review (CHEW 41), this week's Arrow review, and last Agents review (119). Skye is being held against her will by ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned Hydra spy, Ward, how will she get out this time?
At this point at watching this TV series, I'm really hoping that ABC greenlight's a second season. The minds behind this show have finally found their footing and know what kind of show they want to create. Before the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., this TV series had a lot of downs and very few ups. It had a main cast of characters that were interesting, but they didn't all have the opportunity to really shine and feel relevant, or important, in the grand scheme of the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. Now though, each main S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (except for Skye, I'll explain why later on in this review) feels important to the now fallen organization and that they are pivotal in it's [eventual] return. Funny how that works right? It only took the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. for this show to actually get good. Very ironic.
In this episode, Coulson and his team come back to their bunker after saving his girlfriend from a psychotic electric thief [in the last episode]. Now, finding out that Ward is Hydra and needs Skye to hack into an encrypted S.H.I.E.L.D. hard drive to make a copy; Coulson is bent on making sure Skye is brought back safe and Ward doesn't get the information to Hydra. Plus, the origin of the T.A.H.I.T.I. project is revealed!
I said it many times before, including just recently, but I'll say it again. This show has gotten so much better with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Say what you must, but Captain America : The Winter Soldier is the best thing that has happened to this series and is a main factor (in my mind) that will save this show. IF. The minds behind this show don't drop the ball and go crazy towards the end of this season. Because there is still a window of time [between episodes 121 and 122] for that to happen and ABC decides to drop this series into the graveyard of canceled TV shows. SO KEEP YOURSELF TOGETHER CREATIVE MINDS BEHIND THIS SHOW!
Maria Hill is in this episode; and it's a good sign that proves to us viewers that the minds behind this series know what they are doing. Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill is just perfect. She portrays the character and shows that she is likable, dedicated, strong, and willing to get her hands dirty from time-to-time. In other words, she's like a female Coulson. Not meaning that she's a clone of Coulson just turned female (I don't understand the comic book science of how that works, but it's been done before). What I mean is that she is not as likable, or popular, as Coulson but if she was given the proper amount of time and dedication (like what they are doing with Coulson in this series); she could certainly become a fan favorite as well. But for now, to many fans (including me), she's a female character that can handle herself [and carries herself with respect] without seeming very annoying [there's another word, I know] (like how many female characters turn out to be in series, yeah I'm looking at you Laurie from The Walking Dead).
Another thing that makes this episode great is ex-Agent Ward. Ward is probably, if not currently, the most interesting and complex character on the show. Credit where credit is due, fans that were looking forward to this series were looking at Coulson to be the most complex character. And for the most part he has/was. Granted, there has been some "ehhs" and some "mehs", but for the most part he's lived up to fans' expectations of what Coulson would be like afterdying and being resurrected to lead a black ops type of S.H.I.E.L.D. group. At this point in time though, Ward is the most complex.
Having him be secretly Hydra and hiding beneath our noses (or eyes) this whole time was an exciting thrill to me. I don't know if anyone saw it coming, but from the beginning of this series; I always pegged Ward as the Captain America of the group. The boy scout. The one Agent that would be Coulson's right hand and die for S.H.I.E.L.D. But noooooo, he turned out to be Hydra and suddenly this complex character was revealed in this revelation of being Hydra. That's why I didn't see Ward's change (turn) coming.
I loved how his character is still explored, even in this episode! I like how Brett Dalton portrays the character now. Before, he was the boy scout like I said; the spitting image of what all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents should look like. Now though, he's this really, really, creepy Hydra spy. I mean if this was a horror flick or series, I could see Ward doing some crazy things. And Dalton really shows it in his facial expressions and how he ultimately just portrays the character. How his entire conversation with Skye kind of makes your skin crawl; add that and how sometimes Dalton does this really creepy smile --it's seriously serial killer territory. And I absolutely enjoy every minute this character is on screen because it's giving us a level of character complexity that wasn't originally seen in the episodes before finding out that Hydra is within S.H.I.E.L.D.
With Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Triplet having to find Ward and Skye; that was handled nicely as well. It showed how they were piecing the events together and how they individually used their skills to help find Ward. I like how the relationship between Fitz and Simmons is starting to build thanks to all this tension. It's really cool how even the brainy bunch of the group feels relevant and not just deadweight. Obviously Triplet is Ward's replacement on the team, so I'm interested in seeing how his story pans out near the end of this season and hopefully seeing him as a main character in the second season. Triplet's character is nothing like Ward; he's a bit funny and has a deeper history with S.H.I.E.L.D. (as his grandfather was a Howling Comando). So I'd like to see how his character develops in this series and also his relationship with the members of Coulson's team.
Like I promised earlier, Skye's character hasn't had much growth. I mean if you look at her history between the beginning of the series to this point here; she hasn't grown nearly as much as say, Coulson or Ward. Sure we learned that she's an 0-8-4, but do we know "why" she was classified as that and it took a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents giving their lives to protect her. And if we do know (which at this point I don't remember if it was told yet), do we remember to what end, or better yet, the importance of her being an 0-8-4 other than that S.H.I.E.L.D. is really her only family. Skye isn't a annoying character [yet], but she's going down those lines. If the character doesn't grow; they usually just become annoying and usually acts like the [supposedly] voice of reason. I could tell in this episode that Skye was trying to convert Ward back to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s side with using guilt. I'm really hoping that she's not the one to make Ward forsake Hydra and go back to S.H.I.E.L.D. At certain parts in this episode, you'll notice a certain questioning in Ward's face (you'll know the parts) when things like this are brought up. HAIL HYDRA to the end Ward, HAIL HYDRA!
Finally, that T.A.H.I.T.I. (the alien hidden in the incubator, if you want to get classy with it, you're welcome) project's origin is finally revealed. It turns out the Coulson was in charge of the project before he died. It was really crazy, but it also made me think; "is this really awesome? Or just the writers trying to answer all the questions fans have about the series?" I like having my thoughts conflict with whether or not this is really cool, or just something that the writers thought up solely so that it doesn't have connections to any other character (i.e. it could've been Tony Stark or Bruce Banner in charge of a project like this). But that's just me personally.
In the end, I highly recommend you check out this episode and every episode of the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. story. The story is really interesting and the characters have suddenly become important. I don't really need to say anything else, as I've given you a reason to either check out this episode/series or avoid it. You're welcome by the way. Two more episodes until the season finale! 5 out of 5. Until the next episode/review! Oh and, HAIL HYDRA!