Give ‘Em a Hand
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tied its loose ends in its winter finale, giving us the usual dose of action, adventure, and entertainment to which we’ve become accustomed. Sound like generic praise? Well, that’s fitting I suppose.
This is good entertainment. Nothing mind-blowing or exceedingly outstanding, but it’s pretty darn fun television, and that isn’t anything to sneeze at. For a show that juggles so many different elements, it’s pretty impressive that its is as entertaining as it, flaws and all.
Nearly half of the episode took place on that mysterious other planet, where Ward is attempting to bring back Alien Grim Reaper, Fitz is along for the ride as hostage (but with the hopes of rescuing Will), and Coulson stuck through the portal to take out Ward, who killed Rosalind. Back on Earth, the Inhumans are infiltrating Hydra’s base and are ready to rescue Fitz and Coulson when they return from the portal. Got all that?
The FitzSimmons story was the most interesting story throughout most of this season, and this episode proved no different. There was a lot of heartfelt drama going on here, and the show found a clever way to keep the conflict going while simultaneously circumventing the whole “love triangle” thing. Despite whatever personal issues will arise down the line, Fitz is going to save Will, dammit! Couple that with the reveal that Will has been dead since Simmons’ departure, and the show tied everything together in a fun and exciting way, while still teasing the future.
Coulson and Ward, on the other hand, fell a bit flat this episode, despite technically being the A-plot. There were some Coulson/Rosalind flashbacks, vaguely reminiscent of Wolverine and Jean Grey, that attempted to solidify their love and to give Coulson sufficient motivation for his revenge quest. It ultimately felt unearned, as their relationship only lasted a few episodes and she’s only been dead for one. Did Coulson care about her? Yeah, of course. But was it love? That’s a harder sell, and one that is pretty important if you’re trying to get me to buy Coulson’s passionate actions in this episode.
It all came to head, however, when Coulson CRUSHED WARD’S CHEST WITH HIS BARE HANDS. While I would have liked to see, really, any other character kill off Ward, someone like Daisy, Hunter, or Fitz (all of whom have greater reason to hate him), it was gratifying all the same. The guy was a prick, no other way to put it.
Killing Ward was an exceptionally smart move, too, because we just need Ward off the show at this point. It has nothing to do with the actual character or Brett Dalton (who I actually really enjoyed), but it’s just that now we can FINALLY move beyond Hydra. Alien Grim Reaper has taken over his body, he’s returned to Earth and, hopefully, the few remaining heads of Hydra will get chopped off in the next few episodes, severing the final ties to the ever-stagnant organization. Hydra has been the default villain for so long that it was getting stale, and now the show has a real opportunity to try something new.
Back on Earth, we saw some pretty typical action go down and, well, it kinda felt like filler at times. This is a really important plan for everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D., so it makes sense that everyone would be there for the raid, but because everyone had to wait for Coulson and Fitz to emerge from the portal, there was a certain “treading water” vibe to the whole thing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was pointless, but given the interesting events on the other planet, this action was certainly an afterthought.
The notion that these are the “Secret Warriors” is a bit ham-fisted, too. Daisy and Lincoln aren’t new to the crew, so is the additional of newbie Joey really the deciding factor in their team? There is a certain lack of cohesion that makes that team a team in name only. Daisy and Lincoln are basically a couple, and Joey is just a fish out of water, asking questions for the sake of exposition. This plot has been neglected this season to the point of barely earning the title they boasted, so here’s hoping that the second half of the season can make for the lost opportunities on that front.
That being said, nothing we saw in the finale was painful to watch. Despite some underused characters and underdeveloped plotlines, everything was still entertaining at a minimum, which, again, if that’s the worst thing I can say about your show, then you’re doing alright.
Now, bring out Peggy please.
Odds and Ends
- Coulson crushed Ward’s chest in with his bare hands. I feel like I can’t stress that enough.
- So wait, Maveth is the name of that worm thing?
- It’s nice that, despite the underused notion of “Secret Warriors,” each of the Inhumans is given a creative way to use their powers, not just glorified punching.
- The wordless ending reminded me of Lost.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.