Friday, November 20, 2015

Many Heads, One Tale

Well, the plot thread revolving around Ward remains the least interesting aspect of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the good news? It's no longer dangling out there on its own. This week's new episode tied him -- and all the other parallel story lines -- into a single, overarching narrative.

I will acknowledge of the Ward story that actor Brett Dalton does kick some serious ass in the role. Sometimes, as in the final scene of this episode, it's figurative. He just dove right into the mustache twirling premise of tormenting Andrew, and made it work. Of course, he's also good at the more literal ass-kicking too, as in the opening fight where four Hydra goons tried to take him out. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has better fight choreography than many movies, and this was a good example.

Of course, the show has multiple performers who can sell these great fight sequences, and we got another example of it in the Bobbi fight near the end of the episode (even if we cut away from some of the fight). "Boomerang" fighting sticks was just plain fun, and it capped a just plain fun thread of her and Hunter infiltrating the A.T.C.U. together. Sending in hunt-and-peck typist Hunter instead of Fitz makes no sense, of course, but Fitz had other work to do this week.

Speaking of which -- I continue to love-love-love the Fitz-Simmons storyline, and I say that as someone who doesn't usually get caught up in "will they/won't they" TV romances. As fantastical as this situation is, it actually feels like a legitimate love triangle where the pivot character has realistic feelings for both of the other characters. It's wonderful that Fitz isn't made to be the heel here, and even more wonderful that a scene actually acknowledged how that fact only makes things harder for Simmons. And said scene ended with a kiss seasons in the making, so there's that.

I suppose it undermines Rosalind's intelligence a bit that she didn't know she was working for the enemy, but it's so much better than she's not the enemy herself. That would have been too cliche an angle for the show to play. Another cliche avoided: Coulson didn't trust her pretty much from minute one. It was nice to see him reveal a master plan here... though I also hope we get to see a little emotional fallout for him down the road. It turns out he could have had a genuine relationship here, and he blew it. Lonely is the head that wears the crown and all that, and I hope the series plays that up in episodes to come.

Now that everything is woven together, the stage seems set for a handful of big episodes leading up to a mid-season cliffhanger finale. I'm interested in that direction, and give this episode a B+.

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