Our season three showdown was bundled into a 2-hour finale that refused to quit playin’ games with my heart, featuring the usual blend of fist pumps, emotions (soooo many emotions), bursts of thoughtfulness, and, yeah, the occasional raised eyebrow, too. There’s a whole lot to talk about, so let’s get right to it.
The political boulder Civil War threw into the MCU pond ripples down to the small-screen this week, highlighting the difference between public officials and private citizens as well as the tenuous balance between security and freedom. It’s tough for me to discuss certain aspects of this episode without bringing in at least general details from Civil War, but since the film hasn’t even been out a week, I’m going to skirt around that conversation for now. Maybe once Season 3 wraps up and I’ve had a chance to see Civil War a second time, I’ll do a longer write-up on the conversation the two stories are having with one another.
The point is, if you’re an AoS-only viewer, you can read on without fear of Civil War spoilers, like how the North wins but Abraham Lincoln still dies at the end. What a twist!
There’s more than one civil war brewing in the MCU.
There’s a possibly game-changing MCU film on the horizon, but our SHIELD team doesn’t have time to press pause and set the stage for that. No, they’ve got their own set of small-screen problems that increasingly feel like they’d fit right at home on a big one: Alien invaders, super-powered battles, strained loyalties, and two sides moving ever closer to an explosive confrontation. Bring along your camping gear, team. This one’s intense.
Hive’s endgame is revealed, his army grows, and the gang find themselves with a major victory totally eclipsed by their more recent failures. Oh, and a ‘ship long in the building sails with a flourish out of SHIELD harbor. Why does that make me even more nervous?
After a few weeks of table-setting, Agents of SHIELD promptly flips that table, leaving silverware and glasses scattered all over the floor as we head into our final season arc. In the process it gives us one of its tensest and most entertaining episodes to date, packed with intrigue, false leads, and enough twists to fill a 1960s dance hall.
We have a tendency to go into a bit of a mid-season slump with AoS in terms of story fluidity and general writing, a trend that began last episode and continues into this one. I wouldn’t call it bad so much as uneven, as there’s some last-minute backstory insertion and lazy character writing happening in Hydra, but then some really good (and much-needed) character work going on around Team SHIELD. Throw in the promise of a Secret Warrior mission, and while I might not be terribly high on this one, I’m already bouncing in my seat for next week.
Because spending last week commenting on hate groups and the fine line between protecting the peace and abusing one’s power was just a little too simple (pfft), AoS spends this one debating the nature of time, determinism, and the limitations of (In)human perspective. The results are mixed thanks to some rushed, transparent plot-moving coincidences, but I’ll give ’em full marks for effort, at least.
Short two characters, Agents of SHIELD renews its focus on people and story lines that have been a little short-changed this half-season, expanding its current cast’s personal lives and trying out some new team-ups and interpersonal dynamics. Also, sociopolitical commentary! And they say comic book shows are just popcorn TV.
We knew this moment was coming, but I wasn’t expecting it to come quite so soon. Still, an attempted coup, an extended interrogation, and a creepy Inhuman power sounds like a good way to go out in style. Hit the jump to see our agents punch some people, a shadow…and my heart.
As the world’s leaders begin to take action about the increasing population of Inhumans, SHIELD once again finds itself dealing with more enemies than the obvious one, thanks in large part to its covert, faceless nature making it a difficult organization for others to have faith in–at least until they storm in to save the day, that is. Coulson, you’ve really got to come up with some less dangerous trust exercises.