Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep. 9

(Marvel Studios 2015)

Summary: Inhumans have begun popping up all over the globe now that the Terrigen strain has been released into the ozone. Phil Coulson, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is leading a task force to detain these Inhumans before they unleash unknown catastrophe on the world. However he meets opposition from all sides including the U.S. Military. Things are not the same and this is a tale of a changed people.

“Closure”

Directed by Kate Woods; Written by Brent Fletcher

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: After watching this episode I wondered if Closure wouldn’t have been a better title for the next episode, where I am sure we’ll get some sort of actual closure. Don’t get me wrong, I liked this episode, but as it rolled on it began to feel more and more like set-up instead of being a full story. Considering the pacing of this season being gotta go fast this felt like a cobble together of this season’s pacing where the ATCU is concerned and the pacing of the first season where setting up another, more interesting story was more the focus in any given episode.

Speaking of the ATCU, I’m not gonna lie I did NOT see Price’s death coming. Let alone from Ward. This is the kind of curve ball I like shows to give us, showing off that no character is potentially safe. I thought it was a dream sequence Coulson was having a first when she got shot, but after a little while the reality had sunk in. Just as  I was beginning to like her.

However this episode also builds itself upon an age old term once coined by the now famous comic writer Gail Simone: fridging. Killing a character, particularly a female character, to lure the main character, particularly the male main character, into action. Generally in order to exact revenge. I have never had a problem with using another character to spur the main character into action. It’s a handy fight-or-flight scenario, generally though this system is used for women as the bait.

Well, I get Coulson is upset that his new lady love is dead.  I get that, and if I were him I would spur into action over it as well. But take the ending to season 1 for instance, they went after Ward with nearly as much vigor, but it was mostly May, and decided to keep him alive as their prisoner. Then in season 2 Ward pulled the same stunt and physically tortured Bobby in another fridging incident causing Hunter to go after him this season. Coulson was always angry with Ward, but looking back he never displayed it like he displays anger this episode.

I don’t want to demean Coulson’s crusade, however after the stunts he pulls here the whole scenario can be taken one of two ways: this is him finally past his breaking point after everyone around him has gotten hurt because of Ward, or he didn’t care about the other victims as much as he did when Price was killed considering the lengths he goes here. Why didn’t he go to those lengths before?

I’m more than certain this is him just going “Okay, I am FINALLY done with so many people getting hurt because of Ward” but the entire episode doesn’t play out like that. It plays out like he’s being driven by his own selfish desires rather than to amend his ways for never taking the fight to Ward like this before. Perhaps I’m simply reading too much into the whole thing, but just one line like “too many people have gotten hurt because I didn’t put him down sooner, this is the last straw,” would’ve sufficed.

We do get “I should’ve killed him when I had the chance,” but that’s not nearly as powerful and precise in meaning. That’s all I’ll say about that though, I’m just really rather intrigued to see how far they take this story next episode.

It was great seeing Mack take on the roll of acting Director of SHIELD. He obviously seemed outgunned by the responsibility, a bit wet behind the ears as some would say, but even if it wasn’t much he seemed to do his job pretty dang well. If Coulson died again I’m not sure Mack could simply take over being Director, SHIELD would probably break down under having such an inexperienced guy, however I do hope Coulson starts actively training Mack to perhaps become Director one day. Or at least more of a leader. I think that would be really great.

This episode wasn’t bad, like I said I liked it overall, but there were some things that deserved more impact than what they got and that did hurt the episode a bit. It seems Ward and Coulson are heading towards their final showdown. And only half through the season as well, they really are sticking to that gotta go fast mentality and I like it.

I’m excited to see what happens next.

Final Score: 3 Fridging Techniques out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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