TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 17
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EPISODE 17: "Turn Turn Turn"
SYNOPSIS: Coulson and his team find themselves without anyone they can trust, only to discover that they are trapped with a traitor in their midst.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
Hopefully you watched CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER in theaters before this week's episode because the events of that film are all bringing AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. to a head now. So, as you were just warned, this column will contain spoilers related to the events of the latest theatrical film from Marvel Studios.
I cannot recall any juncture in movie history where the events of a feature film have directly affected a television series like what is happening on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.. Aside from the inclusion of Agent Sitwell in both the series and the movie, the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER effectively ended S.H.I.E.L.D. as an organization. Well, as a sanctioned organization. With Nick Fury presumed dead and operating in a shadow capacity, what will happen with our newly assembled team of agents now that there is no oversight?
The episode opens with John Garrett (Bill Paxton) flying his S.H.I.E.L.D. jet while ominously listening to "Don't Fear the Reaper" as two planes attempt to shoot him down. These are quickly revealed to be S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. The scene shifts back to the standoff in the cargo bay where May reveals her encrypted line is actually a direct connection to Nick Fury. Fitz is also accused of being a spy and he explains his line was to Simmons who is testing Skye's blood. This turn of events is interesting as all the trust built between the squad is in jeopardy.
The team incapacitates May and rescues Garrett mid-air but Agent Hand (Saffron Burrows) indicates they will still take everyone down when the plane lands except for Coulson. She refers to the encoded message on all S.H.I.E.L.D. channels as their signal to work together within the agency. Skye decodes the message to read "Out of the shawdows, Into the light" followed by the one word: HYDRA. So, not even halfway through the episode and we already have the big connection to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Coulson and his crew decide to return to the Hub to rescue Simmons and Triplett and deal with HYDRA.
Coulson allows May to call Fury to try and figure out what the hell is going on and they are informed that he is dead as they are also attacked as they land in The Hub. May reveals her job was to monitor Coulson for signs of mental or physical deterioration and that she was fully aware of what happened to him during his return to life. May swears her purpose was to save Coulson, but their relationship is clearly marred by the lies and deceit from May. Coulson is not fully trusting, but the team still bands together to break into The Hub for Simmons. Skye meanwhile is charged with wiping all information from their plane.
The big twist of the episode comes when Hand discovers Simmons and Triplett and spouts some HYDRA information before threatening them with death. When they pass her test, Hand reveals that she is in fact not a HYDRA agent but that she believes Coulson is. Based on all of the events from previous episodes and Coulson's Level 8 status, he seems a perfect fit for being a HYDRA agent. On their way in, Ward confesses his feelings for Skye and the two share a moment and the promise of getting a drink together before she kisses him. Warn then takes down a hallway full of agents as they prepare to blow the computer system.
As Garrett tries to convince Coulson and May to take out Victoria Hand, he slips and makes a reference to the Woman in the Flower Dress being put in a machine, something only Coulson knew. Garrett reveals himself to be The Clairvoyant with the battle cry "Hail Hydra" as guards storm the room they are in. Garrett explains that he swore allegiance to HYDRA years before and monologues about how he hopes they join him. Skye and Ward use the explosives to surprise Garrett and May and Coulson team to take him down. Knocking Garrett out, Hand and her agents overhear everything and trust Coulson. Garrett is taken into custody.
The episode ends with Coulson and Hand witnessing the concluding events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. They reveal that key locations in Africa, The Hub, and The Fridge are back in their control. Hand reveals that she and Coulson are the highest ranking remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Ward decides to join Hand to deliver Garrett to The Fridge and the other agents assemble to learn what will happen next. Coulson orders the team to repair the plane so they can get back to work. Hand offers Ward the chance to shoot and kill Garrett, but he instead kills everyone but Garrett, including Hand. The episode ends with Ward giving a knowing nod to a smiling as the show fades out to the HYDRA logo.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
It is apparent that watching CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER will be vital to understanding HYDRA and what is happening in this episode. There is very little explanation as to what HYDRA is, it's purpose, and how it relates to S.H.I.E.L.D.
"She's a sleeper. Well, the other kind of sleeper." Coulson referring to an unconscious May as a double agent.
Ward revealing his true colors at the end of the episode may have been the darkest and most surprising move the series has made so far and a damn cool twist that I did not see coming.
DO WE (REALLY) KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET? OR WHAT SKYE'S POWER IS? OR WHO THE CLAIRVOYANT IS?
We now know that the HYDRA threat within S.H.I.E.L.D. has been planned the entire time, but the true nature of who Skye is and what happened to Coulson are mysteries. We do now know that The Clairvoyant is actually John Garrett and he is a part of HYDRA.
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 10/10
Holy shit, that may have been the best episode of the entire AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. run. Gone are the jokes and Whedon-esque one-liners in favor of a dark and challenging series. The action was well choreographed and there is finally some gravitas behind this team. The tie-ins to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER are direct and work very well and now all open storylines (aside from Coulson and Skye) are tied up. Now, the show can become what it was always meant to be and I couldn't be more excited.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 18 "Providence" airs April 15th - With Colonel Glenn Talbot now on their trail, Coulson and his team seek refuge in the last place anyone would look, where they begin to uncover S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most dangerous secrets -- secrets that could destroy them all.
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