We’re halfway through the season now. Please continue no further if you haven’t seen SHIELD’s mid-season finale!
It sucks that I have to say this, but I was extremely underwhelmed by this episode. Many aspects of the plot fell flat, and very little stood out. Grant Ward is dead… sort of. I was expecting his death due to the buildup over the past few weeks, but the big moment didn’t do him justice — especially for a character whom we’ve known for almost three full seasons. Instead, we saw him die on a fool’s errand, by Coulson’s hand, on an alien planet. Now that Ward’s body is possessed by whatever ancient being we’re up against, there’s no guarantee we’ll get a proper ending to his story. That’s a damn shame, to say the least.
One of the more interesting revelations was the discovery of the ancient civilization that once lived on the aforementioned planet. It was a nice tease, but having something more concrete would have been nice. I have no idea what all this information could lead to, but I’m certainly intrigued by it all.
I mean, there’s just so much blue…
Still, I want to take a moment to rant about what happened on that alien planet. Hydra’s goal was the to look for this creature (or whatever they thought it was); however, the episode merely showed Hydra arriving, then taking the entire time to reach the exit portal. Little to no effort was made in actually trying to locate what they were looking for. Instead, it just happened to find them thanks to Fitz looking for Will.
On that note, scenes between Fitz and Will didn’t disappoint. Will “not being Will” was a nice surprise (if suspected), especially the reveal of his mangled leg. That praise aside, I can’t help being a little sad that Will is dead. Had he and Fitz made it back, the dynamic between the two of them plus Simmons would have been quite interesting.
We saw our “Power Rangers” in action for the first time, which wasn’t much. The bullet melting was awesome, but it was one of the very few big moments we shared with our Secret Warriors. And I guess Lash is free again? It seems like an odd choice on Simmons part, not to mention she now has 12 or so Inhuman deaths on her conscience. But the brief Lash subplot fell flat, and could have been done more justice had it occurred during a less crowded episode.
Bad move, Simmons.
Mack was one of the strongest parts of the episode, showing that he has exactly what it takes to be Director of SHIELD. I certainly hope we get to see more of this Mack, and I expect we will, given Coulson’s mental state after killing Ward. Also, brief shout-out to Bobbi for dispatching a dozen Hydra soldiers like it was nothing.
After a long stretch of strong episodes, SHIELD fumbled at the finish line. Even big bad Gideon Malick decided to take a back seat in an episode where he should have been front and center. With so many story lines going on, the episode failed to pull every thread together in a satisfying mid-season conclusion. Instead, it focused on aligning the narrative pieces just so the new threat could reach our world. And who knows, maybe this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Grant Ward. I do hate seeing characters not get their final dues.
Article by contributor Russ Milheim. If you like his reviews, follow him on Twitter!