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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1×20 “Nothing Personal”

You know a ticking clock is a very funny thing in TV it can either be very good or very bad, there is really no type of middle ground. This is where the law of averages comes into play, the more clocks ticking down, the more of a chance one of them will be good. That is what “Nothing Personal” had going for it, each clock counting down to some big moment for the character eventually leading to boom. Luckily a large majority of these clocks were given good if not great payoffs which helped to elevate the tension of the overall story. Also, Deathlok showed up again and made sure the bad guys won the day, that just does not happen as often as it should. All of these clocks could have been misused or blown out of proportion, but all of the revelations managed to work out just well enough. So let’s dive in.

So to me personally the biggest clock that was facing our team was how long Skye would be able to hold out against Ward. I mean I can’t physically imagine what it would feel like to sit across the table from someone I once trusted only to know they are a clearly dangerous psychopath. Skye managed to keep her cool relatively well but it did say something that Ward was not able to pick up on all of her leading questions and just sat there like an idiot. I mean come on Skye was being pretty goddamn blatant that she knew Ward was HYDRA, all she was missing was the blinking lights. Luckily when it was revealed Skye and Ward had a very strongly worded conversation. Without context as to Ward is so faithful to HYDRA and Garrett, his motivations and heart are slightly loss, but like all good villains he does not believe himself to be a bad guy. Sadly the heavy handed nature of how Ward was “just following orders” came off really hammy, I mean they did not have to have to have Deathlok literally repeat everything he said to him.

The second clock which payed off in a nice way was how the team learned that Ward was HYDRA. Yes, this could have been bled for one more episode but it was better to have it dealt with so quickly and efficiently. It allowed us to see how all the members of S.H.I.E.L.D dealt with Wards betrayal and perhaps most surprisingly Fitz took it the hardest. Ward and Fitz had developed a brotherly bond over the course of the season but I was amazed how hard Fitz took this betrayal. He literally seems as if he wants to put a bullet through Ward’s brain as quickly as possible. It was also nice to see Coulson make the executive call that it was his fault May left, and even though this did not end up hurting the team it showed just enough humility. As for Simmons methodical approach to gathering all the facts before jumping to conclusions it was a nice touch but it did feel as if she has been not been as included as she could have been in the proceedings.

The last clock was perhaps the most important as Coulson finally figured out the one behind resurrecting him was intact himself. Honestly I did not expect Coulson to indeed be his own worst enemy but it does make sense as to why everyone was so secretive about the project as they forced the man behind it to be the guinea pig. Coulson’s reaction was definitely a strong touch as it could have been over or underplayed, but Clark Gregg managed to get it with just the right amount of confusion and levity. It will be interesting to see if any of the information Coulson now knows will be disseminated to the team or if he will just bottle it up because he fears how the team will react. Obviously a lot of these threads will be tackled in the coming weeks, but there will be plenty of threads left open for season two.

Overall another strong episode


Final Grade B

+Ticking clocks mattered

+Fitz’s reaction

+Answer to who was behind Coulson’s resurrection


-Talbot a waste

-Ward not realizing he was caught.


Extra Thoughts

-Only one tonight: pancakes are the perfect food for when you find out your best friend is a spy

About the author

Scott Swartz