Deception was the name of the game this week on Agents of SHIELD and it certainly had my head spinning around, keeping me guessing who was deceiving who in “A Fractured House.” Besides a nifty weapon and big action piece, there was a lot more time spent with Grant Ward, Simmons’ and Fitz’s issues are far from over despite finally being together again, and Bobbi and Hunter work out having to be on the same team together in a rather hilarious fashion.
It’s a little surprising Hydra didn’t try the stunt of pretending to be SHIELD while doing something nefarious before (though it can be argued they were doing so for a long time while working inside SHIELD) but their weapon, ‘splinter bombs’ had some cool effects to go along with it, and I was just as excited by it as Simmons. The team attacking the UN, while General Talbot gives another “SHIELD isn’t necessary” speech, is led by Marcus Scarlotti, a character many know as Whiplash (and was used in a different way, and name, in the disappointing Iron Man 2) who gets a pretty great scene at the end vs May.
Watching Simmons try to help Fitz, and not actually be any help to him, was heartbreaking for her and for me to watch. It was also weird to see, considering he projected a Not-There-Simmons to help himself while she was gone and one would assume she could help him once she returned, but it goes to show no matter how damaged he was, he was still the smart guy inside. The once inseparable friends come to heads, with Fitz airing his grievances to her (thankfully not like he did with Ward), questioning where she was when he needed her. Mack, who has become a friend of Fitz while helping him along, ends up confronting Simmons and accusing her of actually making Fitz worse. Simmons actually agrees, stating that’s why she left him in the first place, and the evidence was almost to obvious to see. But also heartbreaking, so those hoping for a quick resolution to Fitz-Simmons won’t be getting it. I know I’m rooting for them.
Skye however had to deal with her old flame again, but instead of a few Hannibal Lecter type scenes, there was a lot of focus on Grant Ward this week. It turns out his older brother Christopher, who he confessed made him hurt his younger brother while trapped in a well, is now an all powerful Senator who just so happens to work with Talbot. Christoper is enraged by the attack of Not-SHIELD-But-Hydra, getting ready to try to pass some legislation in the UN to hunt down SHIELD. Naturally, as the previous weeks, Skye has to ask Grant for information, but this time it’s about his brother. There’s a really great scene here, with Coulson speaking to Christopher and Skye with Grant, as both Wards do their best to spin a tale they hope their listeners bite. While they both have different objectives, Christopher wants his brother back while Grant wants to stay out of his grasps, I got a feeling by the end that both of them actually had the same objective in mind when playing their prospective listeners.
Skye does a bit of deceiving herself with Grant, as she initially gets suckered into a conversation with him about her father, which Coulson cuts off. When he’s gone talking to Christopher, she goes to Grant asking more questions, only to reveal she wasn’t actually there to learn more about her father but instead get wind of Grant’s “contacts.” It was a lot of fun trying to see who was playing who, as all actors involved really sold their parts, something I and others had an issue with regarding Brett Dalton and Chloe Bennet in the first season.
Coulson sends Bobbi, May, and a reluctant Hunter after the fake-SHIELD team. Bobbi thinks she can still use her Hydra cover to talk to an arms dealer she’s worked with in the past, Toshiro Miro (Brian Tee, from The Wolverine), to try to stop more of his dastardly Splinter Bombs getting into Hydra’s hands. Bobbi and Hunter get a chance to air out their issues a bit with each other, after that the great reveal they used to be married from last week. Their bickering here is hilarious, as a wounded Hunter and confidant Bobbi make for some great back and forth. I particularly liked May and Bobbi’s discussion about being married, as May returned a bit to her normal quiet-self this week by using both a look and a head nod to convey her thoughts about her ex.
Things don’t go so well with Toshiro, as Hydra breaks her cover, but they find a interesting bit of information: one of survivors of the UN attack and fierce opponent of Christopher Ward’s SHIELD take-down talks is the next target of the fake-SHIELD Hydra team. But it’s Fitz, without Simmons around, who discovers the Belgium UN member had a Hydra grandpa, and is being used as bait to lure SHIELD in. The team stationed in Belgium meets a grisly end, up until Hunter, May, and Bobbi (in full Mockingbird mode) take down the Hydra team. The fighting this season has been top notch, with choreography worthy of films, which is fully evident in Scarlotti’s battle with May. Scarlotti brings a rope dart knife (similar to something you’d see a Whiplash character use) and May has some stunning moves (almost as good as the ‘May’ vs May battle) to eventually win the battle. My favorite move May employs is when she fakes being choked, something I’ve always wanted people in shows and movies to do, and works wonders here.
Coulson gets his chance to let his feelings regarding Grant’s traitorous turn off his chest while telling Grant they’re handing him over to his older brother. Grant is all smiles and creepy again, accepting his fate, despite his earlier fear about being even having Chris know where he was. As Grant is paraded out of the SHIELD facility, Simmons warns Grant that if she ever sees him again, she’ll kill him, which is a little darker than Fitz’s encounter with him. Chris warned Coulson there was something devilish hiding under Grant’s eyes, which we catch a glimpse of here as he makes his escape from custody. On the flip side, Grant predicted Chris would use his brother’s traitorous actions to make a media frenzy for his campaign by promising a swift trial to make Grant pay, which is exactly what Chris touts on TV before Grant escapes. Were the two brothers playing their listeners, as I mentioned earlier, to get this exact outcome of Grant being free? Either way, the Wards are not a family you want to get mixed up with.
Here are a few other things:
- Well, if the alien writing really is a map, how cooperative do you think the tatted man will be once Coulson and the team try to put all the map pieces together? And was he the man who wrote on the back of that painting?
- Hunter’s “Hail Hydra” bit was cleverly fun, but I was sort of surprised he was even considering leaving. It’s was great to see Bobbi, his reason for leaving since he didn’t want to ruin her cause, actually become his reason for staying. Their dynamic kind of has a Han Solo and Princess Leia feel to it (Bobbi was wearing a Star Wars shirt this week, one of the pluses of Disney owning both franchises).
- Bobbi’s skill of remembering every little detail should prove helpful in the days to come. Could she make it out of the TV show and into one of the upcoming Phase 3 films announced? They are changing up the Avengers line-up for the two-part Infinity War one…
- AoS takes a break next week, instead Marvel is airing a 75 year special, which looks to promise new tidbits and footage from the upcoming MCU slate.
- The new Avengers footage, after the Age of Ultron trailer leak last week, was a great bit with everyone trying to lift Thor’s hammer. Thor’s face when Captain America gets it to budge slightly is priceless.
“A Fractured House” moved some chess pieces around the board, but in a very fun and deceiving way. Whatever the Wards are up to, I wonder if it’ll get in the way of both Hydra’s and SHIELD’s goals. The dynamic between Bobbi and Hunter is a great addition to the show, while having Fitz and Simmons at odds with each other will be a tricky road to navigate as the season progresses. But at the rate Agents of SHIELD is going, I’m trusting they’ll play out these things for only as long as needed.
+ Bobbi and Hunter
+ Deception overload
+ Fight scenes
+ Fitz and Simmons drama
– Fitz and Simmons drama shouldn’t drag out too long…
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD REVIEWS:
Season Two: 2.1 Shadows | 2.2 Heavy is the Head | 2.3 Making Friends and Influencing People | 2.4 Face My Enemy | 2.5 A Hen in the Wolf House | 2.7 The Writing on the Wall | 2.8 The Things We Bury | 2.9 …Ye Who Enter Here | 2.10 What They Become | 2.11 Aftershocks | 2.12 Who You Really Are | 2.13 One of Us | 2.14 Love in the Time of Hydra | 2.15 One Door Closes | 2.16 Afterlife | 2.17 Melinda | 2.18 The Frenemy of My Enemy | 2.19 The Dirty Half Dozen | 2.20 Scars | 2.21,22: S.O.S.
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER REVIEWS:
Season One: 1.1 This is Not the End/1.2 Bridge and Tunnel | 1.3 Time and Tide | 1.4 The Blitzkrieg Button | 1.5 The Iron Ceiling | 1.6 A Sin to Err | 1.7 SNAFU | 1.8 Valediction