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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1×21 “Ragtag”

I guess every streak has to come to an end, I mean damn if ragtag was not good, it was just not penultimate good. Sure, if this was a later season where the characters had established some sort of clout with us as viewers I would understand, but this was nothing but a stall with a few twists to make it interesting. Yes, “Ragtag” did an acceptable job of filling n some of the blanks on Ward and Garrett’s past and putting all of the pieces in to the ideal spots required for the big showdown, but besides that I can’t think of a truly shocking moment other than when Fitz and Simmons got ejected from the plane. I mean if this episode had one big weakness it is that it felt to separated from the actual plot that we have seen for the past few weeks. So let’s dive in.

I am gonna start with one of the more interesting aspects of the episode the flashbacks, and maybe it’s because I review a show with flashbacks every week but the flashbacks in “Ragtag” felt relatively weak. I am trying to think about all the aspects of the story that these flashbacks added to but in reality they did very little other that show where Ward got his cold merciless exterior. Garrett’s idea of truing did very little to push the story of Ward’s broken home life forward or even show why Ward should care about Garrett or his well being. I mean It would have paid more dividends to see Ward as a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D academy  and secretly working for HYDRA. All I got from the flashbacks is Ward could not kill his best friend, Buddy and that is what will help to redeem him in the end. That is a pretty flimsy character arc as there seemed to be so much more to the character leading up to those reveals and for them to fall so flat ended up being a cheat. Especially in comparison to how Garrett described his backstory it only helped to lessen the impact of the Ward flashbacks.

As for the present day stuff I felt the team infiltrating Cybertek material worked a lot better than all of the HYDRA material. Watching Coulson and Trip geek out about the Howling Commandoes gear was a fun bit to watch as well as Coulson and May’s impressions of FItz and Simmons. It all made for an even better reveal of the fact Cybertek kept everything in a hard copy format as opposed to digital. All of the Cybertek bits took a little while to get to but once we reached the payoff action scene it all ended up being worthwhile. Especially with the reveal of Garret being Deathlok 1.0 which made for some prime graphic imagery as Flowers perfumed surgery on Garrett. FItz having the balls to fry Garrett’s circuitry was surprising to me even though it shouldn’t have been. I mean Fitz thinks Garrett is the literal devil who turned his best bud evil. It has been a pleasant surprise to see Fitz experiencing some much growth I only wish Simmons had been afforded the same right.

Meanwhile on team evil there seems to be multiple evil plans taking place as Garrett is aiming to monetize the Deathlok project while also replicating the “Jesus juice” used on Skye and Coulson. While not surprising HYDRA is aiming to monetize the Centipede project it is still fun see Quinn put everything in perspective for the general of what an army of Centipede solders would be able to do. Of course the biggest “shock” was to see Ward admit his weakness for the team and then subsequently dump Fitz and Simmons out an air lock. Though I am fairly confident that Fitz and Simmons are not dead seeing as Fitz has a tracking device on him. A lot of the suspense of the episode was built around the idea that Garrett would die before the final battle which is preposterous. I mean as you listen to what Garrett did in order to survive you know this is a man who is willing to do anything to win in the end.

I have to say if this episode had dedicated itself a little more to building suspense for the finale that a lot of the information might have been interesting. Instead it just managed to fall flat.

Final Grade C

+The Cybertek raid

+Garrett a Deathlok

+Fitz shorting Garrett out


-Ward flashback fell flat

-Not very much progression

-Why we should care about Skye’s origin

-HYDRA material weaker than in previous efforts


Extra Thoughts

+I want to know what every piece of Howling Commando gear does. That stuff looks cool

+I am sorry but I just don’t care if Skye is part alien or something, I really don’t.

+Fitz lighting the curtain on fire was one of the better prop gags of the season.

About the author

Scott Swartz