Yo listen up here’s a story / About a little guy that lives in a blue world…
We’ve reached the midseason finale, which means it’s time to wrap up some plot lines and see if we can’t get a little of that closure Ward wouldn’t stop yammering about. But where one portal closes, another one opens, and this “finale” is as full of beginnings as it is endings.
There were a lot of small groups moving around very quickly this week, but SHIELD keeps things coherent by locating everyone in two main places (and color schemes): The HYDRA castle (black and gray) and the Desert Otherworld (blue, da ba dee da ba die). On the earth front, Team SHIELD storms the castle with two main goals: Find Fitz or Simmons, and secure the portal long enough to pull out their teammates. There are also Inhumans they’d like to rescue, but that’s secondary for now. Mack (continuing to rock this Director gig) splits the gang into two teams: Him, Bobbi, and Hunter to secure the portal chamber, and May and the Inhumans to rescue Fitz or Simmons.
Team Mack takes down the portal guard with ridiculous ease, and while Daisy’s group does run into the occasional armed telekinetic, new recruit Joey proves his metal (ba-dum tish!) by not only diving in front of Daisy to protect her, but MELTING THE BULLETS before they can even hit him. His excitement is matched only by my own. Juan Pablo Raba is great and so is his character. Please keep this guy around for a while, SHIELD.
On that whole “rescue” front, Simmons ain’t no passive prisoner, so she cuts her own bonds and uses a Lincoln-caused blackout to escape on her own… for a few rooms, anyway, until she finds Andrew’s containment chamber and has to make a quick call between risking the firing squad or risking Lash. She chooses Lash, and he… well, certainly facilitates her escape, but Simmons (foolishly or wisely, your call) ducks out before finding out what Andrew/Lash decides to do next.
May runs into Simmons and opts to finish the mission before checking up on her ex, but once everyone has rendezvoused at the portal chamber, she’s off again to track down Andrew, or Lash, or maybe both. She doesn’t find him, but she does find a room full of dismembered Inhumans, which rattles her but good and settles Andrew firmly in the antagonist camp once again.
Watching Andrew’s descent into violent extremism is always pretty painful, but at least we got this great exchange before it all went to pot:
On the other, more plot-heavy side of the story, Fitz and Ward tour the Desert Otherworld, finding giant HYDRA logos that change Ward’s outlook on life and make him feel like he’s part of something grander, just like Malick promised. Along the way, Fitz tracks down Will’s bunker and convinces Ward to keep him around, since Will knows the terrain and can get them to their portal point in time. Will’s leg is in bad shape but he agrees to come along, and even helps he and Fitz escape the HYDRA squad. He kills two guys real nonchalantly, which is your first hint something might be not quite right, here. Those hints will continue to build, so have fun with that creeping sense of foreboding, everyone!
About the time Fitz and Will sneak off, Coulson finds the rest of Ward’s team. He takes Ward’s guys out, but keeps Ward alive to help track Fitz and find the portal point. Coulson will come to regret this decision for all kinds of reasons, not the least that Ward won’t shut up about how he feels for Coulson’s petty motivations, but he’s a changed man now and can see the big picture and knows he’s part of a grand plan. (Of course you are, dude. It’s called a “story arc.”)
So Coulson shoots him. Everyone finish your drinks!
Fitz and Will find the portal’s next opening point, which overlooks a vast, ancient civilization. Fitz starts to get mighty puzzled when Will talks about the “nine cities” that “feared change” and fought until they destroyed themselves (foreshadowing for the Inhumans crisis on earth, perhaps?), and Fitz’s confusion turns to AW HELL-ery when he sees the (gross!) bone through Will’s (gross!) rotting leg.
So… yeah. The Will is dead. Long live the Will! And The Creature From the Blue Lagoon does not approve of Fitz knowing his secret. Coulson and Ward come across them just in time for Coulson to save Fitz’s life, although his shots can’t kill Zombie Will, who shambles stubbornly toward the portal until Fitz finally puts a flare in his back and he goes up like a bonfire.
Ward uses the confusion to attack Coulson, and the two have it out on the ridge. Coulson has Ward down for the count and Fitz urges him to leave Ward to die in the Otherworld, but Coulson’s sick of this bad penny constantly turning up and shooting people he cares about, so he uses his Robot Hand to crush Ward’s chest and kill him for realsies this time. It’s hard to tell if Coulson is satisfied or appalled by his own actions, but I’d say it’s a little of column A, little of column B, as he leaves the hand behind and hurries after Fitz towards the portal.
And speaking of that portal, SHIELD rams my heart into my throat when Mack (MAAAACK!) orders the rest of the team to return to the plane and prepare to destroy the HYDRA castle while he waits alone to see who (or what) comes out of the portal. This show has killed just enough protagonists at this point that moments like these are genuinely tense, and I was legit worried until Daisy insisted on staying with him to help keep the portal open. Nothin’ like a little Main Character Armor to ease the ol’ fanxiety.
The situation is dire, time is running out, and we never actually see Coulson and Fitz jump through the portal before Mack orders May to blow up the compound… but LO! A flying containment box!
The team share a bittersweet reunion, as our SHIELD gang may have made it out alive, but a certain astronaut did not, and just about everyone has plenty of scars both literal and metaphorical from this long, painful half-season. The look Coulson and Fitz share is concerned and horrified and relieved all at once, and says volumes about the repercussions that are sure to come out of all this.
Oh yeah, and that gif up there? It applies to our entire original cast in one way or another. When you’ve got a good antagonist actor, you keep the guy around, so don’t think Brett Dalton is heading off to any new projects just yet. Nope, it turns out our Blue King is a DAMNED YEERK, AGGGH, MY CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES, and he fled his flaming host to take up residence in the nearest body. Guess who?
SO. Who’s ready for Part 2?!
This, That, and the Other
- “This is how SHIELD works: You make a plan, plan turns to rubbish, you make a new plan” – Hunter, describing the last 2.5 seasons of this show in a nutshell
- Mackenzie/Johnson 2016
- “I’ll be damned. Tatooine.” AND REMEMBER TO SEE STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU! #ItsAllConnected…#ToDisney
- The hug between Coulson and May was a tiny moment that gave me a whole lotta feelings. These two are going to need each other’s friendship more than ever now.
- “And what if we can’t kill it?” “Can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll probably run.”
SHIELD won’t be back for a while yet, but we’ll be getting Season 2 of Agent Carter(!!) in just a little over a month, and that’s more than enough MCU to tide us over until this Inhumans crisis goes into overdrive in the spring. Happy holidays, everyone, and have a great midseason break!