There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I’m behind again. Damn you busy real life. So I’ll be zipping through this one. This was deliberately advertised as “hey the gang’s back together” with the original teammates being forced to work together again. One thing I very much appreciate about the show was that after Ward gave his “apology” (in which he still lay blame on other people and was generally awful), the team still refused it and didn’t let him emotionally manipulate them. The fandom pushes sometimes for Ward to be redeemed, and his feelings toward Kara do him some credit, but the show seems to be solidly in “Ward is irredeemable” territory. That’s the way I like it. Not all villains need to be forgiven, and people don’t need to accept apologies. Ward was HYDRA and betrayed them, nearly killed the whole team, and has murdered other people without remorse. It’s like Jake said on Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “Cool motive, still murder.” Motivations don’t always give absolution for bad decisions. That’s just how it is. Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (AoS from now on), Skye was hanging out with the Inhumans but nearly got captured by HYDRA when out with her father. Her friend Lincoln was snatched along with Mike Peterson in a botched attempt by Coulson’s rebel SHIELD group to find her. Coulson went to Ward and teamed up with him for help. At the end of the episode, Coulson gave himself over to the “real” SHIELD. I’m sure it’ll just go swimmingly that he’s been teaming up with known enemy Ward. That’ll really make May forgive him.

Speaking of May, it’s revealed that she’s more angry at him for consulting with her ex than anything else. I’m a little annoyed by that, it comes down to something personal and not the fact he was lying to her in general. He has a good reason, and I got why when it came to the end of the episode. It doesn’t make the feelings of the SHIELD agents invalid. Fury and Coulson are both super secretive and even if their motives are pure (debatable), that doesn’t mean everyone has to accept it. Coulson and Gonzales discuss a rescue mission for Lincoln and Mike, and all of the superhumans that HYDRA currently has held. In exchange for letting Coulson’s team go, he will give Gonzales Fury’s opened box. He indicates Gonzales has some secrets himself, but obviously not too bad since Coulson wouldn’t give him so much power if it was that questionable. It becomes fairly clear that Gonzales is hugely suspicious of superhumans, so this might be early stages of the Registration Act right here. That’s going to be where the two SHIELD teams fracture for real, probably. I like when two sides disagree but both of them are right and wrong. I hope that’s where this is headed (ie: superhumans are too dangerous not to be regulated vs. superhumans are people and deserve to be treated that way), instead of Gonzales being HYDRA or evil or something.

agents-of-shield-dirty-half-dozenCoulson’s team includes his original group, plus Skye pops in to help them save her friend. Naturally they’re all very angry and suspicious of Ward. He leaves Kara with SHIELD and encourages her to reconnect with them, since she was brainwashed and kidnapped in the worst possible way. He gives a BS apology for betraying them, but they’re not having it. Instead they infiltrate HYDRA’s base (after pretending to be blown up in the bus), and split up into teams. Secretly Simmons has been planning on murdering Ward; she did warn him the last time they saw one another that she would. She has this weapon that will turn him into dust basically the second it hits him. This made me concerned for her welfare, not his. I really look forward to Ward dying, I dislike that character intensely. He’s a good bad guy, but he’s taken up enough of our time. She does attempt to kill him, but Bakshi sacrifices himself to save Ward. I never knew what was fully up with that guy, but this doesn’t set well with me, since he also seemed like a pawn a lot of the time. He tells Simmons he’s disappointed in her. Who cares. Go to hell, Ward. He escapes while the rest of the mission goes on, and tells Coulson later to take care of Kara because she deserves better.

They do manage to save Lincoln and Mike and everyone else in there. The base is blown up. There is an amazingly fantastic action sequence with Skye here where we see all her training pay off. It’s a one shot thing that reminded me of Daredevil’s fights, and I was very impressed. I don’t know that she’s skilled enough to actually pull that off, but I don’t care, it was fun to watch. Gonzales indicated to Bobbi that he’s glad to have the superhumans and maybe hints at his wanting to keep them out of the way. Uh oh. This might not go well for them. Raina’s gained power in the community for having precognition abilities and she challenges Jiaying. Jiaying gets in some trouble for Cal revealing that Skye is her daughter; lots of side eyes from her people. But Raina then sees robots attacking the world, which is the first tie in to Age of Ultron on the show. The second one is that Coulson’s secret mission has been to help the Avengers, and he’s the one who has found the base where Loki’s scepter is. For people who have seen Age of Ultron, this is what leads directly into that first scene with the Avengers, so that was a really fun connection. I understand now why Coulson was keeping his secrets, although I maintain he could at least let May in on these things. She’s trustworthy.

Good episode all around! The team has come a long way. I know people were upset about Simmons attempting to kill Ward. She’s definitely gone through a dark journey this season, getting more and more anti-superhuman and colder. Her time under HYDRA seems to have made her more paranoid. I’m wondering if there isn’t something more to it than that. It does seem a turn around for her character. But I’d want to kill Ward too, so I can’t blame her for that. Skye did shoot him a few times too, and I’m sure May would murder the hell out of him if she felt like it. Bobbi seemed a little uncertain about Gonzales’ vibe about the superhumans, so that might be going somewhere. I’m looking forward to post-Age of Ultron storylines.



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