Agents of SHIELD: Spacetime review
Agents of SHIELD gets its big villain back, and not a moment too soon.
This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.
Agents of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 15
You have to give it to the talent behind Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, they somehow changed a whole lot without really changing a darn thing. Since the middle of the first season of Marvel’s inaugural TV series, Grant Ward has been the show’s primary antagonist. Earlier this year, Ward was killed on an alien world by Phil Coulson. The show was out one big bad and he was never really replaced. Yeah, there’s Gideon Malick, but he’s just sort of a generic stand in even though he is played by the mighty Powers Boothe. Let’s face it, Ward is the villain when it comes to Agents of SHIELD, and this week, the alien possessed returned Ward proves just what a badass threat he can be. Ward is gone but Ward is a greater threat than ever.
Brett Dalton is really pulling off an acting coup as Ward 2.0. He has this vile automaton quality as he really plays up the otherness of his new/old character. Dalton has this thousand yard stare that is unsettling and he really commands the room when he is on screen. Since his return, alien Ward has remained behind the scenes, but this week Pod Person Ward reveals himself to Coulson and the agents.
It all begins with the revelation of a new Inhuman, a poor homeless guy named Charlie who has the power to not only envision future deaths, but he also has the power to pass on these dire precognitions. So he sees someone die and then he touches some poor sap and they see that vision to. When SHIELD catches up to Charles, the hapless Inhuman is kidnaped by Malick’s men but not before he passes on a vision to Daisy Johnson, a vision of her death at the hands of Coulson!
So of course, we have lots of going back and forth about fate and the inevitability of these visions as Coulson won’t let Daisy anywhere near this mission. Instead, he plans to send Agent May to rescue Charlie. After all, the vision can’t come to pass if Daisy isn’t there.
There’s some fun wheel spinning with May using Daisy’s vision as a guide to complete the mission but when May’s lost Inhuman ex-hubbie Andrew shows up, things go south. Andrew has resigned himself into permanently becoming Lash so now Coulson forces May to spend Andrew’s last hours with him before he becomes the always cool looking Lash for good. We get some allusions to Larry Talbot and the Wolfman as Andrew undergoes his last transformation. I’m sure there will be more to this very Hulk like Jekyll and Hyde deal (do you want me to evoke a few more classic monsters, I will, y’know) but we have to shelve it for now because Daisy goes down to rescue homeless Charlie even though her vision tells her she will die.
“Spacetime” was cleverly written as the first half of the episode explains why Daisy will die and the second half sees Daisy survive the inevitable without the details of the vision being broken. It is some very deft plotting gymnastics but at the end of it all, we saw Daisy’s goodness and heart as it isn’t Daisy that dies, it’s Charles, a former school teacher and father who left home so he couldn’t accidently share his death visions with his little girl. Sad stuff, and well done as Daisy promises to watch out for Charlie’s little daughter.
The villains are spotlighted this week as well as Gideon Malick receives a strength enhancing exo-suit that finally lets him taste super human power. He has Ward wipe out a business rival in order to secure the suit and the device certainly comes in handy when Malick fights Daisy. Malick almost gets the jump on Daisy until she is saved by Charles. Maick escapes with his tail between his legs but not before taking down the precog.
But it is Ward who rules this week as he gets creepier and creepier. He even has this super cool new duster that makes him look oh so villainous. And hey, remember that vision that kicked off the second half of this season, the one in space with Yo Yo’s crucifix? Yeah, we get to see that again and it looks like Ward is the cause of that bit of horror. Ward’s ambitions are not exactly earthbound and one has to wonder what part of cosmic Marvel these plans will entail. We know Ward is the character known as the Host (more on that next week as it looks like from the previews that Ward will reveal his true face), but what are the Host’s plans for SHIELD and for Earth and how much of the hateful Ward is still in there?
All I know is that the scene where Coulson and the agents spot Ward on a security calm is pretty darn chilling. Ward is back, in a cool trench coat, and the show finally has its big bad again.
My only complaint this week is that Daisy and Lincoln where in a bunch of scenes where they could use their powers and just don’t. Like at the beginning when the HYDRA drone scooped up Charles, shouldn’t Lincoln just zap the thing out of the sky?
All that aside, fun episode that ups the villainous ante and gives some meaty story bits to Daisy and May.
Marvel Comics’ upcoming Civil War II is supposed to begin with the arrival of an Inhuman precog. One wonders how much that character will mirror poor Charles. I hope there are some story parallels as I really dig when Marvel’s publishing and media division have story synergy.
Hear more discussion of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on the April edition of Sci Fi Fidelity on the Den of Geek Podcast Network or simply listen below.