Phew! I’m pretty happy that tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t spoil Avengers: Age of Ultron for me. What it did do was provide us with a nice, solid streamline into the film, which is due to release in just a few short days. However, even if the show gave us fan-service and plenty of nods to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was it a great hour of television? (spoilers ahead!)
I’m going to start by saying that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has officially become pure MCU filler. If you aren’t up-to-date with what’s been happening in the films of the MCU, then you might be lost as to what’s happening and what people are talking about half the time. Although this show was created purely as a spin-off of the films, I still felt like, up until now, they’ve done a decent job of creating stories that were fairly independent. For the most part, you could watch the show and somewhat understand what was happening even if you’re not a huge fan of the films. Now, it’s as if the show is little more than just MCU Easter Eggs and hints at the films. I don’t mind it, but I’m not sure how other people feel about it.
After the events of last episode, things are all kinds of hectic. Skye returns to Afterlife, the Inhuman village, and there’s a falling out between her, Gordon, and her parents, with Raina chiming in. Out of the entire episode, my absolutely favorite line is when Raina’s clairvoyant powers are referenced, and Skye says something along the lines of, “I thought her powers were spinning really fast and collecting gold coins.” I actually said, “DAMN!” out loud and started laughing so hard. There’s no reason this subtle and somewhat cheap joke should’ve entertained me so much, but it did!
As you can tell from the title of the episode, “The Dirty Half Dozen” features the original team getting back together: Fitz, Simmons, Coulson, Ward, May, and Skye. It’s just like old times again! Except, it isn’t. Ward is the black sheep of the group, and though he’s spearheading the mission into the HYDRA base to rescue Lincoln and Deathlok, the rest of the team isn’t too thrilled to be working with him. This is totally understandable, and I’m a little annoyed with Ward when he tried to pawn off the blame by talking about how his family did this or that. No, Ward. You don’t get to excuse your crappy behavior and the murder of dozens of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as your “coping” method. In my eyes, Ward is still a scumbag, albeit a bad-ass scumbag who seems to be a vital asset to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team.
Things get very hectic and all-over-the-place once the team breaks into HYDRA. This is nothing new to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when a billion different things are happening at once. The gist of the plot is that the team needs to save Deathlok and Lincoln while wondering if Ward is really trustworthy. We’ve known that nobody trusts Ward, but once everyone is in the HYDRA base, that lack of trust has flip-flopped. It’s like they suddenly put all their faith in him. I didn’t think it would be that easy. The only person who thinks something is up is Simmons.
This is another part of the episode I didn’t like: Simmons straight up almost murders Ward with a splinter grenade, and accidentally kills Bakshi when he intercepts the blast. I never figured Simmons or Fitz as murderers, even after their near-fatal ordeal with Ward. It was super dark and a little unsettling watching Simmons go to these lengths, especially seeing as Ward hadn’t done anything wrong (today)! He was minding his own business, completing the mission like he said he would, and now Simmons is going to try to kill him in cold blood.
The last ten minutes of the episode are like something you’d expect at the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Raina has a vision of Loki’s scepter and predicts that men made of metal will tear the city apart. At the same time, Coulson tells Agent Maria Hill to summon the Avengers to retrieve Loki’s scepter in Sokovia. My guess is that the film will pick up almost immediately after this conversation. For people who are solely watching the show, this could mean nothing. For fans such as myself who are already waiting in line for the premiere, it has us freaking out and ready to check out the hottest film of the year.
The episode was packed tight with action and tributes to the MCU, but it wasn’t the best that Marvel Studios had to offer. Overall, I’m just excited that it led into Avengers: Age of Ultron without spoiling any of the movie’s plot.
Final Grade: B –
+ I liked seeing Skye use her powers in combat for once; her fight scenes were fantastic.
+ The last ten minutes were a great segue into Avengers: Age of Ultron.
+ It was fun seeing the team back together.
– The show is becoming filler for the time between MCU films rather than having a solid, self-sustaining plot.
– Simmons attempting to murder Ward was out-of-character; it was darker than when Fitz tried to suffocate him early on in the season.
– I. Hate. Gonzalez.
– Now, what the hell is Gonzales hiding from the team? Can’t we have one character who doesn’t have this deep, dark secret that requires an entire season to explain?
– Coulson mentions the Theta Protocol. Is it just a codename for assembling the Avengers?
How did you feel about this episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Are you excited for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!