Last week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., things were really hitting the fan. Coulson and his team, with the help of a somewhat reluctant Grant Ward, went in search of Skye. This involved using a brainwashed HYDRA agent and Mike (aka Deathlok) to infiltrate what’s left of HYDRA. That plan seemed to go sour, however, when their supposedly brainwashed ally looked like he was more in control of his faculties than first suspected. Coulson did finally find Skye, but Gordon snatched her away before they had a chance to properly reunite. And at the end, Coulson decided to give himself up to S.H.I.E.L.D. #2, presumably so that he could have a nice little talk with Eddie Olmos. So where will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take us with ‘The Dirty Half Dozen’? Read on to find out.
Back on happy-super-people-mountain, Raina’s having more bad dreams. She’s seeing the problems that poor Mike and Lincoln are having in their HYDRA prison and, when Skye insists that someone needs to go in and save their friends, she lets them know that Skye is the only one who can be successful in that regard. So even though Jiaying is hesitant, Gordon breaks the rules and takes Skye out to help with the rescue. He doesn’t drop her off at HYDRA headquarters, however, instead sending her to S.H.I.E.L.D. to work with her old team.
Over in S.H.I.E.L.D.-land, Coulson is all locked up after giving himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D. #2. He and Gonzalez have a little chat, Coulson explaining to his rival that HYDRA is capturing super-powered people and studying them. Gonzalez still isn’t happy with Coulson’s decision to make friends with super beings, but he’s willing to compromise when the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 offers him Fury’s toolbox as compensation. So it’s off to plan a rescue mission!
In the interim, Ward gets familiar with the old team again. Apparently, Bakshi is still nice and compliant, despite his seeming betrayal. With his help, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team can break into an Antarctic HYDRA base to get their friends. Nobody is happy to be working with Ward and there are more than a few arguments and concerns, perhaps the strongest of them coming from Simmons. She holds quite the grudge and plans on offing Ward the first chance she gets. So after all the touch-feely and angst-filled moments, S.H.I.E.L.D. sets out to fight HYDRA.
One clever entry plan later, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is on the ground and making their way into HYDRA central. Thanks to Bakshi, they manage to track down the prisoners and rescue them. Skye gets a chance to kick some major butt with her newly mastered powers and even saves Lincoln’s life when she discovers him in a not-quite-living state. Simmons gets her chance to whack Ward, but Bakshi screws it up for her and ends up dying in the process. And Coulson appears to be there for more than just a chance at saving Mike and Lincoln. He’s snatching up some sort of data, though he’s certainly not going to share that bit of information with anyone else. So everything goes off without a hitch and all the S.H.I.E.L.D. folks return home, safe and sound. Ward, eager to avoid having his brain wiped, severs ties with his old teammates and goes his own direction.
In the end, Coulson makes the reveal to Gonzalez that Fury’s still alive. Raina has another vision, one that involves Loki’s scepter and the coming of mass destruction. And it appears as if Coulson and what’s left of Fury’s team are on the hunt for the scepter as well. And it all leads into the coming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie, of course.
Though this episode was far inferior to most they’ve put out this half of the second season, it was a solid set-up for the season finale. They’re going to want to tie it into Age of Ultron as much as possible and that seems to be exactly what they’re doing. The pacing was a bit off and there were no real climaxes this time around, but I’m guessing that will change rapidly in the last two episodes. It’s pretty common for a television series to wind up before throwing a big punch, and a big punch is likely what we’re going to see next week and the week after.
One thing that did stand out was that fight scene with Skye. Is Chloe Bennet some sort of closet stunt woman? Cause damn, that was some pretty nice work. If anyone knows more about that, lemme know in the comments, cause I can’t find anything about it on the almighty Internet. Suffice to say, her fight scene in this one was pretty bad-ass.
The only thing that really stood out as a negative in this episode was the same thing I’ve been annoyed with for months – Simmons. Her “and now I’m pragmatically murderous” thing feels forced and clumsy. If they’re setting the character up for something bigger in the future, it may pay off. Right now though, it just feels out of place.
All-in-all, a decent if not outstanding episode. Next week, ‘Scars’ promises us a bit more action and conflict. It’s the last regular-length episode before the two-hour finale and from the preview it looks like we’re gearing up for a battle between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the on-the-mountain version of The Inhumans. Check it out below: