– Spoiler Review –
Agents of SHIELD‘s “The Dirty Half Dozen” reassembles the season one team for a mission to rescue enhanced people from the clutches of Hydra head Doctor List, as the two SHIELDs learn to find common ground and start fighting the enemy while the Inhumans come to terms with the Raina’s gifts, which foretell the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The aftermath of last week’s episode is quickly dealt with, as we see Cal confront his ex-wife about his banishment and we learn Coulson wanted to be caught so he could convince Gonzales to help them out with his still very secretive mission. Coulson and Gonzales being two bull-headed leaders who both feel they’re right has made it infinitely entertaining to see them clash; It doesn’t take Coulson long to get Gonzales’ help though, thanks to several factors including casually mentioning he knows about a secret aboard Gonzales’ ship. What that secret is remains a mystery, but with only three episodes left, expect an answer very soon and for it to be possibly tied to why he wants enhanced people so badly himself.
Cal arrives at Afterlife, the Inhuman compound, roaring with his trademark anger while Skye is anxious to go back because she’s been taught to never leave a man behind, causing Jaiying to have to deal with both of her family members in a very public situation; There goes their little secret and I wonder what repercussions the Elders will bestow on the Jaiying for it. I continue to really enjoy her character, as her talk with Skye regarding her stance on leaving Lincoln behind has all the trappings of a pretty wise, aged leader, while her treatment of Cal shows love is not all lost between the two of them, no matter how far off the deep end he went. How Jaiying will deal with Raina’s visions should be a true test of her leadership skills and priorities, likely putting her in a tough situation with Raina.
A lot of people get a chance to clear the air with each other in “Dozen,” including May with Coulson, Ward with his old team, and Jaiying’s conversations with Cal and Raina. Before May signs on to Coulson’s plan to rescue Agent Deathlok and the Inhuman Lincoln, she has a one-on-one with Coulson about his secret agenda abroad and Theta protocol. He stays mum about those still, but they aren’t what May is really angry about: Coulson working with Andrew, May’s ex. I wouldn’t think it would mean that much, but after the emotionally charged “Melinda,” I can totally understand why she might be angry about someone dredging up that part of her life again. But at least Coulson had a good reason: therapy regarding the alien writing obsession he had. Or did he tell the truth about that?
But Ward’s mid-planning session confession was not only a great conversation, but the first time I’ve really cared about keeping his character around this season. There’s something about having the first season’s team back together again, all in much different places, for better or worse, that helped put the series in perspective by showing how far it’s come from the more lighthearted fare of the early days. No scene better highlights that change than Simmons nearly following through on her desire to kill Ward and Ward’s line to Simmons about his disappointment in her (which I hope can pull Simmons back from her very un-Simmons-like behavior of late). So as much as I’ve shrugged over Ward this year, he’s not only helped put perspective on things for the team at large, but he might change the headings of characters like Simmons and Kara. And by the end of the episode, Ward’s call to Coulson certainly had the air of finality to it and I’d be more than OKAY with him fading off of the show that way. Things are getting busy on AoS and he’s more than served his purpose.
Skye (and Chloe Bennet besides her) has grown into character I keep hoping will headline the Inhumans film out in 2019. The push and pull between helping and obeying her mother at the Afterlife vs her SHIELD training continues to be a great plot thread and her ultimate choice between the two should make for a satisfying finale…and possibly big cliffhanger. But can we take a moment to talk about her cleverly edited, shot, and choreographed action sequence? If it really was all one long shot, that’d make it even more impressive, but either way it was bloody brilliant and a little reminiscent of Kingsman: The Secret Service‘s hyper-kinetic action scenes, which is never a bad thing.
Here are a few other things:
- AoS has had some well choreographed fisticuffs, but they had nothing on Daredevil‘s amazing fight scenes and this is coming from someone who has only seen the first two episodes so far. So instead of trying to top and/or beat DD‘s fights, they went with a kinetic action scene.
- Theta Protocol is still waiting to be revealed and it certainly wasn’t in Age of Ultron (my review), but expect it in next week’s “Scars,” as the show deals with the AoU aftermath.
- Unlike AoS‘s first season of continually reacting to the films, S2 will be left standing rather strongly on its own on the other side of AoU no matter what happens within the film. Here’s how AoS builds up AoU: Coulson is the reason the Avengers know where to get Loki’s specter, but they still don’t know Coulson’s alive (and won’t ever know, according to Joss Whedon’s big talk with Buzzfeed) and Raina had visions of the events of AoU.
- Cal’s description of Raina was priceless.
- Mack and Hunter clearing the air was a good thing to see.
- Agent Deathlok to Lincoln when we first see them at List’s facility: “I think we got knocked out together.” Feels like something we’ve all said to someone at some point.
- Those special effects when they blew up the Bus and hid inside of the falling debris? Not only were they pretty darn great, but that idea was especially fun.
- I’ve been hoping Bobbi will switch to Coulson’s side and her talk with Gonzales at the end might just be the deciding factor.
- I don’t think Gonzales will take well to learning Fury is still alive, as it undermines everything he’s done.
Putting everyone back to together led to some great confrontations and conversations, putting the series in perspective just as everything is set to change after Age of Ultron and whatever may come from Agents of SHIELD‘s second season finale.
+ Clearing of the air
+ Skye’s action scene
+ Standing on its own
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 | 2.6 A Fractured 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 | 2.20 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