Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Ep 6 (TV Show Review)

A lot of shows have a troubled first season and don’t get their bearings until their second rodeo. That’s kind of what Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has been all about, given that the second season season is trumping the first season left and right without a break. Last week Team Coulson got a big boost in the form of Agent Bobbi Morse, who had been working undercover at HYDRA HQ for a while now and returned to the team, alongwith none other than Agent Simmons, who was on a similar operation. One seriously kickass action hero and one seriously brainy scientist, both women, on the show now, things couldn’t be better!

In “A Fractured House“, we see some pretty major things happen, and if I’m right, then this episode is going to be a major turning point for the rest of the series. The second season is one where the character relationships have really come to the fore, and this episode typifies all of that. HYDRA goes after SHIELD in this episode by attacking a UN summit dressed as SHIELD agents and the resulting furor means that Director Coulson has some pretty big decisions to make about the future of some of his operatives, and some of his prisoners. Prisoners like former Agent Ward. Not a pretty episode.

An episode like A Fractured House is what I’ve been really looking forward to this season. In the wake of Marvel’s big announcements for its Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was kind of hoping that there’d be something really major in this episode but nothing of the sort. Don’t get me wrong though, what we see is incredible, but there are no hidden MCU easter eggs here, at least, none that I could divine. This is an episode focused exclusively on the characters and how their relationships with each other work, with the biggest element being the troubled dynamic between Grant Ward and his elder brother, Senator Christian Ward, who is calling out for SHIELD’s complete destruction in the wake of the (false) attack at the UN summit.

Last year we saw that Grant’s childhood was one of abuse, where his elder brother made him do some really horrible things, things that eventually John Garrett got him out of and provided him with a safe haven that turned him into the man he is today. But we never got to see his brother, not until this episode, where we learned that he is quite the canny politician, looking out for his own skin first and foremost. The revelations that come out of the two relationship between the two of them provide some of the most insightful looks into Grant’s character to date, and I am very fascinated by all of it. Especially when you consider all the things that Grant says about Christian, specifically that he is a master manipulator and schemer. Who do we believe? Grant or Christian? There are no easy answers in this episode and all that remains by the end is that Phil Coulson may have made the biggest mistake of his directorship by getting into the mess of a relationship between the two brothers.

That’s not all that happens here of course, since much of it is also concerned with the ongoing (loud) war between HYDRA and SHIELD in this episode. Under Daniel Whitehall, it looks like the bad guys are upping their game once again and that they are really committed to taking down all the elements of SHIELD, whether it is the former spy-org’s dwindling popularity or its agents and other assets on the ground. This is war, pure and simple, and it is not one that it looks like SHIELD can win.

Which makes me question just what the hell Tony Stark and Captain America and Black Widow and Hawkeye are doing about all of this. That’s kind of the point of things since Marvel keeps reinforcing the notion that the movies and television are connected, but without any major cameos in this season, whether Maria Hill or Nick Fury or Tony Stark or Steve Rogers or Natasha Romanoff or anyone else, it doesn’t really feel like a connected universe. And that rankles at me. Yes, this episode is pretty damn good, but that doesn’t the erase any of the concerns. I feel like the show would be a great place to explore what has happened to the characters in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but this enforced separation at the moment is making things troublesome as a viewer.

Lack of realism and all.

One of the really fun things in this episode was the whole relationship between Bobbi and Lance. They used to be married, and then they split up because of some really major differences, and now that they are back together and working for SHIELD no less, the show has gotten a great element of humour to it. First of all, both Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood absolutely excel in their respective roles and the charged tension between them really brings out their best behaviour. In the middle of all the grim events that the characters are dealing with, this makes for a big change in the pace, and I’m glad for it.

Agents of SHIELD Cast 0002

One thing that I didn’t quite like as much as I wanted to though was the whole tension between Fitz and Simmons. Now that the latter is back with the team I thought that the former would start to get better and would get over some of his psychological issues. But it looks like things have gotten even worse than they were before. I don’t like how Simmons being near Fitz creates more problems for the both of them. Simmons just came out of a serious life-and-death situation, the likes of which she didn’t experience until the season 1 finale while Fitz has been busy with all his tinkering and what not. And he treats her like crap, and she lets him walk all over her. I don’t get that whole dynamic.

When she went away his subconscious created a facsimile of her to keep him company and keep him motivated, and all of it is turned around on its head now. Disappointing, I must admit, and hopefully something that is properly addressed in a future episode, preferably one where they are both locked in a room and are forced to hash out their problems with each other.

And the show ends on a pretty chilling note, so the overall steam is still there. What happens with Grant Ward at the end of the episode is going to have some huge ramifications for all the major characters involved, and I can’t help but wonder at what really is going to happen next. Ward is a more serious player than I gave him credit for!

More Agents of SHIELD Season 2: Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4, Ep 5.

Agents of SHIELD Season 1 reviews can be found here. I’ve reviewed every episode so far.

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Posted on October 29, 2014, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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