In one smooth motion, SHIELD has weaved nearly all of its threads together into one overarching story. That in itself is impressive, especially without anyone figuring out beforehand that it all connected (the show is living up to that infamous hashtag). Huge spoilers follow!
In connecting everything, SHIELD revealed its biggest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Hydra — or at least the core idea of what Hydra is — has existed for centuries. I know some viewers are weary of Hydra, and personally, I was hoping for a different force being behind this season’s troubles. That said, this was a strong, well done move. With all the build-up we’ve had, the next showdown with Hydra will have the highest stakes we’ve seen yet.
I’m also happy that my worries last week were alleviated right of the bat, as Coulson instantly sent his crew to figure out what was going on at the ATCU. I’m glad to see that they didn’t fall blindly into another organization’s ruse, and that they were far more proactive and alert. It was also good to hear that Rosalind wasn’t a Hydra agent, because that would have been tiresome. Instead, we saw that she, along with everyone under her, was being manipulated by her superior Gideon Malick, someone we already didn’t trust. It seems we can now trust the ATCU members without question, and that’s refreshing.
I can’t go on about Hydra without mentioning Grant Ward. This episode gave us the best Ward material this season — from his badass fight scene at the beginning to his potentially murdering an entire passenger airliner just to get to Germany, the show continued to show just how brutal and ruthless he is. With Ward and Gideon’s partnership (along with Ward’s conversation with Andrew), it seems that a confrontation with the old gang is inevitable, and that’s exciting.
Fitz and Simmons finally put it all on the table this week, and provided us with some truly incredible scenes. You can’t disagree with Fitz. They are truly cursed by the cosmos; nothing ever seems to go right with them. Their emotional back-and-forth was powerful, and led to the kiss we’ve all been waiting for. Maybe the cosmos gave them a sign in revealing Hydra’s logo in that knocked-over book.
Despite such an exciting, all-encompassing episode, there was one story line that puttered out: May and Lincoln. At first, I was excited with the unusual pairing, but then they said nothing to each other every time we saw them. When words were finally spoken, it was nothing more than an unsubstantial, anti-climatic apology. Every other thread in this episode went out with a bang, but this one ended with a poof.
“Now remember to give us all some flimsy closure, May.”
It’s hard to hit upon everything that happened this week — I haven’t even talked about Bobbi’s new batons! From fast and engaging pacing to fantastic character moments, this episode was nearly perfect. It’s a prime example of how great the show has grown since the early days.
Article by contributor Russ Milheim. If you like his reviews, why not follow him on Twitter?