Agents of SHIELD: Turn, Turn, Turn review

The events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier take center stage, and the traitors are revealed.

I gotta say this, it’s not often you see a movie on a Friday that will change your perspective on a television show you watch every Tuesday. Marvel has pulled off a unique dynamic by having one of their films change the course and structure of their premiere TV show, and the prospects are exciting. Tread carefully if you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and really, what’s wrong with you?), here there be spoilers.

In November, when Agents of SHIELD kind of sort of tied into Thor: Dark World, fans cried foul because it was the most ancillary of crossovers. Not so this time, as the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier completely and utterly fuel this Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon penned episode. It’s like you can almost tack “Turn, Turn, Turn” on to the end of Winter Soldier and it would fit seamlessly…except for, y’know, the lack of Captain America and Winter Soldier, but you get my meaning.

“Turn, Turn, Turn” finally realizes the potential of the show as a place where Marvel fans can come to see the ramifications of the main events: the films. This episode is what fans have wished the show was since day one, a tour of the Marvel Universe with Coulson as the guide. Things kick off with “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult playing. Is this a subtle hint that Marvel’s Grim Reaper will soon make the scene? Probably not.

Instant paranoia kicks in as Skye and Coulson force May to stand down after last week’s cliffhanger…and it must be noted that the most recent Marvel movie REALLY changes the meaning of the whole “last time on Agents of SHIELD” thing. If a viewer sat through Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend then they will fully feel and understand the paranoia. Finally, the show ends the cutesy evasion tactics and starts overturning some cards, as May reveals she was reporting to Fury the whole time. You can almost hear the fans breath a collective sigh of relief that May isn’t HYDRA as she seems to be the most embraced character on the show.

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Anyone who saw the latest Cap makes with an uh-oh as we know at this point in the story, Fury has been taken off the grid, so what is May to do now? This kind of multi platform story synergy is unprecedented, as Agents of SHIELD is doing what other shows can’t. It’s not like you can walk out of Gravity and then wonder how the events of that film will affect The Goldbergs. Or can you?

Anyway, the personal stakes of the show enter the picture as Coulson fears Simmons is in danger because she didn’t go to the Cap premiere and doesn’t know shit is going down. Cut to adorable Simmons as she is holed up with Agent Triplett who now seems a bit more ominous. Simmons reveals her plans regarding Skye’s blood to Triplett. Boy, she’s not exactly Natasha Romanov, is she? Lucky for Simmons, Trips is a man you can trust. I still want him to be Triathlon.

Not many shows have dog fights these days, but Agents of SHIELD treats us to a pretty cool one between the Hydra-controlled bogies and the Bus. Coulson does his best Enemy Ace and takes down the baddies. This episode just feels big and cinematic, not insular and predictable like some of the earlier ones. Instead, it feels like a SHIELD story from the comics with plenty of intrigue and questionable loyalties. I swear, if Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine shows up, I’ll prolapse with sheer joy.

So it seems Agent Victoria Hand is the latest name in the Clairvoyant sweepstakes as the show takes advantage of comic nerd preconceptions to cast a red herring. Comic fans know the Manic Panic Lady as Norman Osborn’s former gal Friday, so there is instant mistrust. Hand recaps the Winter Soldier plot, and wants to force convert Trip and Simmons. When they refuse, when they accept death over betrayal, she knows they are true SHIELD and spares them. Nicely played, Marvel. Clearly the showrunners are fans of Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors as there are layers upon layers of intrigue in a plot involving HYDRA and the very foundations of the history of SHIELD. Hand, now revealed to be surprisingly pure SHIELD agent, believes Coulson to be a HYDRA Agent, but it seems her suspicions only exist because Coulson is a maverick…but the seeds of doubt have been planted.

Agents of SHIELD has received criticism for not revealing anything, for teasing and teasing and not delivering. Not true this week, as Agent Garrett seems very eager to kill Hand, and accidently exposes himself as the Clairvoyant while trying to convince Coulson that Hand is the enemy. Firstly, this shows what a quick thinker Coulson is, and secondly, it’s a reveal that works on many levels as Garrett has personal ties to Coulson, May, and Ward. Garrett references Jasper Sitwell as the HYDRA agents on board turn on their SHIELD counterparts and Garrett makes it official…he is the big bad we have been waiting for. See, we wanted to trust him because he was in Aliens, but he’s all evil and stuff. As Garrett mocks Coulson, Fitz, and May, some great character stuff with Fitz follows as the brilliant scientist weeps as he watches his ideals crumble. Still, he remains strong and stands up bravely to the newly revealed enemy. A nice fight scene follows as Coulson takes Garrett down with the help of the ever loyal May and Fitz.

With Garrett defeated, Skye has her moment of doubt as she just became an Agent and now it means nothing. The Agents watch the events of Winter Soldier unfold on a monitor and realize the depth of HYDRA’s infiltration. Garrett is arrested along with a legion of HYDRA infiltrators, driving home just how fractured SHIELD now is. In a powerful moment, we see Triplett screaming at his trusted friend, and suddenly, he’s a fascinating character who has experienced the sting of betrayal and a fracturing of his most fundamental beliefs.

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Garrett is taken away to be Hand (HA!) delivered to the Fridge by Victoria Hand and Ward. And if I didn’t see the Undertaker’s streak end a few days ago, the next moment would be the most shocking thing I’ve seen all week, as Ward murders Hand and the other Agents and reveals himself to be a part of HYDRA.Ward has been the most boring and shallow character on the show. He has been uninspired and dull, which all served to throw viewers off the scent of his true nature. Ward was hidden behind a veil of archetypal predictability, and now, everything is different. The trusted all-American do-gooder, with his cover story of serving his country because he stood by and did nothing while his brother drowned, with his heart on his sleeve puppy dog love for Skye, is an evil, traitorous bastard.

Well done, Marvel. On film, on television, and as always, in the comic shops, that was one hell of a week for the House of Ideas.

Marvel Moments

– The whole furshlugginer thing was a big complimentary production to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I can’t wait till everything is out on Blu-ray so I can watch the whole saga start to finish.

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4 out of 5