We are closing in on the season final and Agents of SHIELD has finally delivered what we expected from the start: lovable Joss Whedon characters and a story that is actually meaningful in the overall Marvel Universe.
After the Maria Hill tease at the end of the previous episode, the episode opens with Maria Hill, played wonderfully by Cobie Smulders, talking on the phone with someone about the whole HYDRA infiltration and that Stark is protecting her with the best lawyers money can buy. Even though we knew she is working with Tony after the brief clip in The Winter Soldier, I love how intertwined the series is with the movies! It is a direct continuation of the movie in many ways from Hill's perspective. If you noticed Hill's line about working with Stark to "Privatize Global Security," you might have noticed the reference to the upcoming Age of Ultron. While I will keep my full thoughts about this for another in-depth post, how do you think Tony is going to create global security? By creating an army of robots and drones controlled by a highly advanced A.I. that happens to be named Ultron, at least that is what I think is going to happen.
Also, if you happen to be a supergeek like me, you may have noticed Hill mentioning that she to explain what a "Man-Thing" was. In the Marvel comics, there is a character named Man-Thing, and he even got his own B-movie back in 2005 (haven't seen it but I have heard it was terrible). Man-Thing was a science experiment gone wrong, which turned Dr. Theodore "Ted" Sallis into a hideous Man-Thing, a creature with only basic mental functions. Maybe the team will encounter Man-Thing in season two, that could be cool.
Anyway, back to the episode. Seeing Skye try to stall Ward was fun to watch, and having drop-in was an unexpected surprise to say the least. While the exchange about Ward being a Nazi according to the SHIELD handbook was great, Skye saving Ward was a little annoying. Obviously, she has feelings for him and that basically had to happen for the plot to progress, but it could have been handled better. Also, why did the team not shoot DeathLok and Ward out of the sky after Skye and Coulson escaped? Sure, they want to keep the Bus intact, but come on! How can you let them get away with the data? They are essentially defenseless without a hostage! Also, the special effects for Lola falling out of the Bus were understandably terrible, but terrible nonetheless.
Other than those minor complaints, getting to see Colonel Talbot in the flesh was fun, and the fight scene with Hill and Coulson kicking butt was great! Now that Hill is working for Stark, I imagine that she will be playing a slightly larger role. The humor was particularly top notch with the dialogue between Coulson and Hill especially humorous. Also, now that "How I Met Your Mother" is complete, hopefully Smulders will make more appearances next season.
The team hanging-out at the crappy Motel was another fun scene. I really enjoyed Fitz and Simmons' talk by the pool. It was nice and very well done. I hope we get a little resolution with their characters by the final. Also, did anyone else catch Skye referring to Fitz and Simmons as "FitzSimmons"? That was also a meta moment!
Wow! Coulson was behind the project T.A.H.I.T.I!? That was totally unexpected! Agents of SHIELD is continuing to surprise with its twists and turns every episode. From what I understand, Coulson led the project so that a dead Avenger could be revived. After threatening to resign, I assume Fury put the project on ice, but brought it back when Coulson died. I wonder who were the other lucky (or unlucky) test subjects of the procedure. Maybe it was Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man. In the comics, he actually died and resurrected three times (by different means of course).
Overall: 9.4/10- Agents of SHIELD continues to deliver yet again with another solid episode, and a more than welcome return by Smulders' Maria Hill.
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