It’s All Connected
Marvel has been boasting its interconnected universe since the inception of its interconnected universe. And while this may be true, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been seen as more of an afterthought, taking its cues from existing pieces in the universe. Though the second season had stronger legs than the first, it seemed to divorce itself pretty heavily from the main MCU threads until Ultron rolled around. You could say this season is continuing that pattern (since last season was much better than the first), but this was the first time we truly felt that everything on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was truly interconnected.
This season we’ve seen Simmons on a different planet, Ward rebuilding Hydra, and Coulson dealing with Inhumans and the A.T.C.U. Though these have all be strong stories, they all seemed pretty independent, overlapping only here and there. Today we finally saw the full picture (or at least stole a quick glance) and it was very rewarding.
The episode kicked off with one of the best action sequences the show has ever produced. Ward wiped out a full room of Hydra thugs without a single slip up, and the succeeding torture scene was engaging and effective for both the story and Ward’s character. Throughout the episode, he attempts to gather intel on, locate, and break into Baron von Strucker’s super secret vault, but he’s meeting resistance from Malick along the way. He finally reaches his goal and learns some pivotal information. More on that later!
Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons remain the strongest element of the season, and the showrunners give just a brief moment of pleasure as the two finally share a kiss. It’s short-lived, however, as they are clearly aware of the circumstances around it (namely the NASA bloke still left on the other planet). There is a good amount of guilt, frustration, and emotional confusion between the two, and it couldn’t have been pulled off without these two actors really nailing their parts. Their story ultimately comes to head when we learn some pivotal information. More on that later!
Speaking of great acting, Constance Zimmer continues to be superb in her role. Coulson lets her into the S.H.I.E.L.D. base and we feel just a wee bit of frustration, since we know she’s been working with Malick (and, by extension, Hydra). The two have a great back and forth as she tries to deflect Coulson’s (mostly) on-point accusations. She twists and turns and throws everything she has towards outsmarting Coulson, but the guy is one step ahead of her. We only really see her slip up and show some genuine shock and horror when she learns some pivotal information. More on that later!
Bobbi and Lance continue to be stellar in their roles, too. Both are strong characters and their chemistry is flawless. Their hijinks as “FBI Agent and Unwillingly Disciplined Black Hat Hacker” tied everything up nicely. While Bobbi’s fight scene was a bit short and, unfortunately, kind of corny, they were still enjoyable to watch. Their story ended when they finally uncovered some pivotal information.
HYDRA IS AN AGE-OLD ORGANIZATION AND UNDER MALICK THE A.T.C.U. HAS BEEN MAKING AN INHUMAN ARMY TO SEND TO THE PLANET THAT SIMMONS WAS ON.
How’s that for interconnected? It’s nice to see that everything is still relevant, even though my previous concerns about re-treading water haven’t been 100% eliminated. This information does give us a bit of new momentum and will probably build towards one hell of a climax/cliffhanger in a few weeks when the show goes on break.
This episode did leave me only a wee bit disappointed, however. My main gripe is with the notion that Hydra existed as a centuries-old cult, rather than an offshoot of the Nazi Regime, as was established in the first Captain America film. Does Kevin Feige know about this? No, it’s not a full ret-con, but that is a big bit of information and it certainly has some big implications. The other, smaller complaint is that some of the characters fell into the “need to give them something to do” category. It did feel like May and Lincoln were written in just because, well, what else would they be doing? I’m glad the writers found a way to give it some emotional gravity, but it did seem like, between Mack, Daisy, Lincoln, and May, we had just a bit of redundancy. Again, small gripe.
All in all, we were rewarded for keeping track of this complex web for the last few weeks. It was a lot to take in, but we got a great glimpse into the future of the season, and the show has (once again) proven that we can underestimate it a bit too much.
Odds and Ends
- Lance, learn to use a computer!
- When writing this review I was astounded by just how much it accomplished. A lot when down, but was never convoluted.
- Can we get some more details on Phil’s hand? Is it just a plastic dummy hand? A metal Luke Skywalker hand? A metal Peter Pettigrew hand? I NEED ANSWERS.
- While it looks like the planet is not Ego, I still think it will have some ties to the greater Marvel Universe, not some one and done threat made up for the show.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.