Ragtag marked Agents of SHIELD’s penultimate episode for season 1, but by virtue of hindsight, it’s clear a lot of the groundwork for Season 2 was being established here. This is my last catch-up review but I’ll stick to my non-spoiler style of what’s to come in the future.
Coulson and crew did a bit of a madcap adventure where they infiltrated Cybertek to get intel on Ian Quinn, Garrett and Ward’s plans. It was nice to see Coulson and Trip bond over his grandfather’s Howling Commando gear. As a big Captain America fanboy it makes sense that Coulson would geek out over Howling Commando memorabilia as well.
Fitz not wanting to believe Ward has turned evil was a nice touch and shows the importance of those slow bonding episodes. I liked Fitz still trying to rationalize Ward’s actions as it’s the kind of delusion a friend would hold onto until the very end.
Turns out Garrett was the original Deathlok way back in 1990. Now his organs are rejecting the Cybertek enhancements and he’s dying. Raina continued losing interest in working with Garrett since it was clear he didn’t have much interest in people with abilities beyond saving his own skin.
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She did drop a casual tidbit to Ward that two people who might be Skye’s parents were monsters who terrorized a Chinese village. And that Skye might have something in common with her when it awakens. #Foreshadowing.
The highlight of the episode was the flashbacks detailing how Ward fell under Garrett’s sway. Ward has clearly done some shady stuff, but it was fascinating seeing the breakdown of where his life went wrong.
Garrett breaks him out of a juvenile detention center and offers him a tough love chance at greatness by ditching him in the woods with no one but Garrett’s dog, Buddy. Ward survives despite being stranded for six months.
On one of his visits, Garrett reveals he’s Hydra after SHIELD left him for dead on a mission. Garrett really corrupted Ward, who never stood a chance. After Ward gets recruited to SHIELD, Garrett warns him against attachments as it’s a weakness. To drive the lesson home, Garrett kills Buddy after Ward tries to let him run off.
This is so interesting because the writers don’t make excuses for Ward, but provide actual context for his actions. It’s the kind of thing that largely felt missing from Kylo Ren, a character whose motivations seemingly changed every movie.
Everything comes full circle when Ward catches FitzSimmons spying on The Bus. He brings them on board and Fitz triggers an EMP hoping to kill Garrett and free Ward from his control. Barely clinging to life, Garrett orders Ward to put FitzSimmons down.
In a very strong scene, FitzSimmons pleads with Ward, who won’t look at them as he jettisons their security pod into the ocean. Despite this, there’s a sliver of a thought that Ward is being written in a way to allow for an eventual redemption. Really interesting idea in this case.
Quinn talks to some generals about setting them up with thousands of centipede soldiers, who could be more effective killing machines than anything in their current arsenal. Coulson and crew need to start moving fast.
Ragtag sets the stage for a momentous season finale to wrap up a stellar second half of this debut season.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: ABC