Looking back, Agents of SHIELD probably should have ended its fall season a week earlier.
At the end of last week’s show, Ward took Fitz through the portal with Coulson in hot pursuit seeking vengeance for Rosalind’s death. Mack was in charge of SHIELD in Coulson’s absence and he quickly deputized Lincoln and Joey to full-time agents. There was a wealth of possibilities for the second half of the season.
Evil Ward has been a fantastic asset to the show. He’s been the unpredictable loose cannon antagonist we never knew how much the show really needed early on. He’s wronged every SHIELD member, save Mack and the new recruits, making encounters with him very personal and that’s even before killing Rosalind.
I was worried the writers were backing themselves into a corner placing Ward in the portal storyline with Coulson going after him. This scenario was putting two of the show’s most important players at risk and there was no conceivable way Coulson was going to let Ward live after catching up to him.
The Ward/Coulson fight played out well with some real doubt as to who would survive. In the end, Coulson used his robot hand to crush Ward’s chest. It was a fitting touch for Coulson to envision Rosalind one last time before killing Ward. Had that been the end of that storyline, it would have seemed a waste of Ward, but at least a sensible one.
Fitz learning that Will was killed by the Hydra Inhuman was especially disappointing. It immediately resolved the very well-done Will/Simmons/Fitz love triangle in the quickest and least interesting manner possible. There was no heroic sacrifice from Will. He’s just dead, paving the way for Simmons and Fitz to get together due to the other option being eliminated from the board, not Simmons choosing Fitz.
More frustrating was the Hydra Inhuman re-animating Ward’s body and coming through the portal to continue plaguing our heroes the rest of the season. This felt like a major cop-out and a cheap way to keep Ward on the show. It reminded me of Heroes when they killed off Nathan, but kept him on the show as Sylar.
I know the portal was only going to be open for a few hours, but it really felt like a wasted opportunity in rushing through that subplot. There seemed to be ripe potential to have Coulson, Fitz and Will battling Ward and the Hydra forces on the other planet while evading the Hydra Inhuman.
In the real world, Mack laid out a strategy to rescue Simmons and take down the portal after Coulson and Fitz return. I hadn’t pegged Mack as the leader type, but I enjoyed seeing him in that role so Coulson immediately returning felt super rushed.
On the bright side, the show didn’t pull a Trip with Mack even though he was placed in a similarly precarious position of being alone with Daisy with the enemy approaching. Mack calling Daisy, Joey and Lincoln the Power Rangers and their nervousness about the mission compared to May were some great moments.
After escaping from the non-attentive guards, Simmons stumbles across Andrew/Lash, who convinces her to let him out of his holding cell. He responds by killing the Hydra goons chasing her and while she reunites with SHIELD, Lash kills the Inhumans in suspended animation.
The show hasn’t made Lash to be this noble hero, but it felt like overkill in this episode to have him return to being a homicidal wildcard. For all of the efforts to make them important last season, the show has quietly dispatched of the existing Inhumans in a hurry, hasn’t it?
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
With the show on hiatus until March, this wrapped up the first half of the season’s main issues a little too nicely. A lot happened, but the finale would have been better with some restraint to dangle some of the more important plot threads for next year.