(Marvel Studios 2015)
Summary: Agent Phil Coulson leads a ragtag group of agents through the mud as he fights Hydra and any other baddies that comes along the way.
As our heroes learn to adapt to one another, and the changes happening around them the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. This is a tale where not every superhero needs a power to save the day. This is a tale about survivors.
Directed by Bobby Roth; Written by Rafe Judkins & Lauren LeFranc
Review: While many people decry this show for not having very good tie-ins with the movies that it is related to, other than the Winter Soldier during the first season, I applaud it more for sticking with its story rather than let these movies dictate how things ought to play out. Again, Winter Soldier was the closest that came to that, but season 2 has been all about sticking with its own story, and I’ve loved that.
After Age of Ultron aired, many, including myself, wondered how this week’s episode would tie-in. Would it take place during and we’d see our heroes tackling Ultron bots or would it take place after and deal with the broken pieces of Sokovia? Well, it took place after, but instead of SHIELD going to clean up the Avengers mess, they’re still dealing with their own. That problem being their own infighting as well as their growing distaste for the Inhumans.
That distaste, something both mutually assured, comes to a head this episode when both parties finally meet face-to-face and things get violent. Skye, who has all season been forced to choose between her new family and her old is brought to precipice when her mother declares war on SHIELD and with it all of humanity. The move itself which has been building up in the shadows all season doesn’t feel out of place, so much as the reason behind it.
In a last minute stretch we’re introduced to yet another object that SHIELD has in its custody that the Inhumans fear, but no one is willing to come outright and say that. No one trusts one another, and so this object that is still a mystery to us leaves a flat impression when it comes to two differing factors declaring war over the damn thing. And to be honest, I’m tired of it always being about an “object.” Marvel, come on, you’ve done that story to death now, STAHP IT.
However, I did enjoy this episode and it was nice seeing all these loose threads tie together finally. We’re finally treated to the revelation of what is Theta Protocol, which is far less intriguing than many of us imagined, but not unwelcome. The helicarrier scene in Age of Ultron that Fury brings to Sokovia’s aid was rebuilt by Coulson just in time. So when Joss Whedon says that his movies don’t reference Coulson he’s really lying out of his teeth.
The real SHIELD arc also quietly dies this episode, as not only does Gonzalez and Coulson make a pact to serve together as basically co-directors (Coulson as director, Gonzalez as his advisor), but Gonzalez also meets his end and with it the dreams of “real SHIELD.” I gotta say, in the end I didn’t enjoy that particular arc as much as I thought I was going to. The best arc of the season is still the Inhumans one, and I’m excited to see how it comes to a close. Surely we’ll get them back next season, right?
Another sub plot that’s still trickling down is Ward’s, which I’m still on the fence about. His storyline has gotten better, but I dunno, I guess I just don’t think Ward works best as a loner (or with JUST a female companion). He’s more interesting when he’s playing off other characters, so it’ll be intriguing to see where this subplot with him kidnapping Mockingbird goes.
Overall it was a strong episode, we get a lot of pay off, and a lot of arcs coming to a close just in time for the final stretch. We also got a nice lead into another war about to take place, but you know as all good wars in TV shows go it will be a one day battle that’ll go completely unnoticed by the masses. As one does. That doesn’t mean this “war” won’t be fun, it should be good. And I’m excited for it.
I like how Skye’s mom has become one of the most endearing characters on the show to suddenly one of the most complex. It’s definitely not unwelcome, and I wonder if they’ll be able to kill her off or if she’ll become a recurring antagonist like Skye’s father. Damn Skye, you got it bad girl.
Final Score: 4 Unseen Wars out of 5
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net