Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “A Fractured House” Review

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Posted October 31, 2014 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

If you would like to catch-up on all the myriad of happenings from last episode, you can find it here

If you were under a rock and haven’t heard about Marvel Studios releasing their whole list of Phase 3 films, which will no doubt have an effect on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you can find the info here and the Age of Ultron trailer here

ALSO, Marvel Studios put out a short teaser for Agent Carter which looks promising, you can find it here.

 
Gen Talbot is having a hard time

Gen Talbot is having a hard time

SO, lots of crazy reveals have occurred on this week’s AoS, not nearly as many individual events as last week’s cornucopia of plot, but the three main tent poles were biggies. The fight choreographers have been some of the best in the business since season 1, but have seriously created the golden standard for TV fight scenes. The creatives on AoS have decided that they are going to switch between one and done stories and season long setups, but their cold opens have been perfect setups to help you see how the episode is going to play out while getting you pumped. Our story seems to be running headfirst into important movie-altering plot points, so the level of quality the AoS show runners have been putting out gets me excited for what is to come.

Getting back to the event of this week, we open on a speech given by General Glenn Talbot at the United Nations delegation, bad mouthing S.H.I.E.L.D. as a terrorist organization in attempts to prop up more funding for his anti-S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA task force. As the Italian envoy is ready to ask where the proof is that Talbot really has fought them, he is stuck with a shuriken, which proceeds to disintegrate him ala the Obelisk/Diviner’s MO. It seems that a terrorist cell is attacking the UN delegation in full S.H.I.E.L.D. regalia, disintegrating people left and right, and we realize that it must be HYDRA posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. to discredit them further.

Back at the Playground, our Agents are freaking out, trying to figure out who is behind this attack, and also come to the conclusion that it must have been HYDRA as well. Coulson gathers everyone, and Bobbi Morse (a.k.a. Mockingbird, wearing a STAR WARS t-shirt!!!!) tells him she knows who the weapon came from, Toshiro Mori in Osaka, Japan. Coulson sends May, Morse, and Hunter (the former wedded couple isn’t happy about this reunion at all, though Hunter is more disturbed by it than Bobbi). Also, Simmons gets prepared to face Fitz again and tries to pretend as if they can pick up right where they were before they nearly died, but they can’t. Fitz is having trouble concentrating around her, and the easy rapport he has with Ghost-Simmons is not there, their interaction is awkward, bumbling, and seeded with unspoken tension just under the surface. Simmons finally tells him she is trying to go back to normal, when Fitz finally says she can’t treat him the same because he isn’t the same, and she bailed on him when he needed her most. She doesn’t take this lightly and leaves, just as Mac comes in to see what all the commotion is about.

 

Senator Christian Ward is kinda a bad guy

Senator Christian Ward is kinda a bad guy

We go back to D.C. and we see Talbot is having words with a high government official about the attack at the UN, and the government man is not happy about it. Talbot is not convinced the attack team was really S.H.I.E.L.D. since he knows Coulson probably wouldn’t take that path, but he will have none of it, and is ready to convince the UN to put the entire world’s police forces against them. And just who is this mystery senator,.. turns out its Christian Ward! , Grant Ward’s “Kennedy-like senator with deep-pockets” that they’ve heard about so far. Back at the Playground, Skye is trying to get all the information about HYDRA they can, and transitioning to asking about his brother at the same time. She brings up “The Well” from last season and all the terrible things Ward described his brother doing. But, Ward is more interested in making sure she doesn’t tell Senator Ward where he is, because he knows he won’t be nice to him, putting it lightly. We get to see a funny field visit by Coulson to Senator Ward, simply sitting in his office when he shows up. He tells him that he has his brother Grant, but the Senator is quick to point out that his brother can’t be trusted, and “The Well” story is him twisting his own torture of their younger brother onto the Senator, being the master manipulator he is. Grant Ward is giving Skye the same parallel conversation, claiming his Senator brother will do and say anything to make people believe him, and they can never trust him. It seems Coulson doesn’t exactly trust Senator Ward, but doesn’t believe the actual, tangible traitorous actions Grant Ward took (killing Victoria Hand, Eric Koenig, and dropping Fitz/Simmons out of a plane), and decides to give Grant over to his brother in exchange for Senator Ward dropping his anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. speech at the UN, making sure the public knows the attack was actually HYDRA.

 

Mockingbird's costume looks awesome!

Mockingbird’s costume looks awesome!

While all of this is happening, the May, Hunter, and Morse team has been world hopping. They learn that Toshiro Mori got the Obelisk/Diviner shuriken design from old HYDRA tech, but just as Morse is schmoozing her old contact, they learn she is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and try to kill her. Hunter goes to save her and she is upset, she knows she doesn’t need his help (there’s a great scene where they both nonchalantly put the last shot into Mori without so much as a glance as they are arguing with each other). They believe their next target should be to protect the Belgian UN delegate that has been keeping the world away from S.H.I.E.L.D., but the information on the stolen hard drive Simmons stole points out the Belgian delegate’s grandfather was a HYDRA agent in WWII, and it looks like the HYDRA blood still runs in the family. The strike team realizes that this whole charade has been setup by HYDRA, and the delegate allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. to find safe haven in Belgium has been a ruse to get as many agents together in one place, and they are finally going to take them all out. By the time the Agents get there, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the safe house has been taken out by the HYDRA hit squad. They decide to take the HYDRA squad on, and we get some amazing fight scenes from this, with May fighting a guy with a blade whip? (a reference to the fact that his name, Marco Scarlotti was Whiplash in the comics once), and Hunter and Bobbi (in full, AWESOME Mockingbird costume) take on the rest of the henchman. It seems the former couple are still very much in sync (jumping through the ashes of one of the shuriken-ed agents to knock the other out) and decimate the HYDRA team, while May destroys the Blade-Whip guy, though they still lost six S.H.I.E.L.D. agents they can’t afford too. This is a rough turn for them, and you can feel the desperation and rage when they are fighting. At the end of the battle, Talbot shows up to clean up the scene and shakes May’s hand, expressing his sympathies and showing us he really isn’t all bad.

 

Ward isn't getting off easy

Ward isn’t getting off easy

Back at the Playground, we see Simmons goes to Mac to thank him for helping Fitz out, which Mac doesn’t accept. He doesn’t think that Fitz needs any help and doesn’t think anything is really wrong with him, except being a bit strange, since he doesn’t know the real Fitz was. He calls Simmons out for leaving him when Fitz needed her most (“I never met the guy that you knew. I only know this guy. I heard he told you how he felt and you bailed.”), but she accepts it and says she left because she knows he got worse in her presence. That’s rough, but it seems like AoS isn’t really holding back on emotions and isn’t shying away from making things hard on its characters, which is exciting. We then see Coulson show up with a giant militia to transport Grant Ward, and we see his last attempt to get Skye to help him, when Simmons says “If I ever see you again, I will kill you”, wow, never thought I would hear that from Simmons. When Grant is in the back of the transport vehicle, he prepares himself, and dislocates his thumb to slip his hands out of the handcuffs and takes out the military men in the transport (really? You have alien technology, helicarriers, and a prison capable of holding Loki but you use regular handcuffs on this incredibly well trained secret agent? That’s kinda dumb). In the last stinger, we see a man shows up to a tattoo parlor and asks to finish the job even though his others aren’t finished, and it turns out he has the same alien carvings Coulson has been making tattooed all over his body, spooky!?

SO this season seems to be heading with a full head of steam toward some really big revelations later in the season, leading into its mid-season break and the Agent Carter series taking up its place for a couple of weeks. The implications that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a little more breathing room now that Senator Ward isn’t starting on a witch hunt for them is interesting, but we have learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t anywhere near their former strength, and barely considered a shell of its former self. It seems they still have a lot of work to do in rebuilding, but we will probably get some cool agents hiding around like Bobbi Morse was. The May/Mockingbird/Hunter fight was amazing, intense, and probably one of the best I’ve seen on TV in a long time. It seems the Fitz/Simmons relationship is going to take some time to repair, which is refreshing, and the Mac angle on it might complicate things more. Next week, there will be no AoS, as a Marvel 75th anniversary piece will take its place, but I will write a piece going into what the implications are from Marvel’s phase 3 announcements and the Age of Ultron trailer, so stay tuned for that!


About the Author

Kenneth Rodriguez

Kenny has been completing his pokedex since Pokemon Yellow, ever ready for his next test, comics in hand. He thinks Mass Effect is the best game series ever,.. period and loves TV and Movies dearly. Follow him on Twitter @k_rod14