Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 17, "Turn, Turn, Turn" RETRO-REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Wow.  I’m pretty sure that’s the only possible response after watching “Turn, Turn, Turn” (1x17) the first time.

This episode aired only four days after the Marvel Cinematic Universe was turned upside down by the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  In that movie Captain America discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by Hydra, which was attempting to launch a trio of helicarriers capable of taking out anyone deemed a threat to Hydra.  However, Cap, Black Widow, Falcon, Hill, and Fury took control of the helicarriers and forced them to destroy each other (and if you haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet, I kind of just spoiled the ending… but it’s your own fault for still having not seen it when it’s been out over a year!).  And all of this is happening more or less concurrently with the events of “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

Reminder:  Potential spoilers for all of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 1 and 2 ahead (along with a few more Captain America: The Winter Soldier spoilers).  You've been warned.

“Turn, Turn, Turn” starts off with Garrett in his jet listening to the Blue Oyster Cult.  However, a pair of UAVs pull up directly behind him and attempt to shoot him out of the sky with missiles.  He evades the missiles and barrel rolls, causing the missiles to collide and explode.  He pulls up alongside one of the drones and sees the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the side.  This sets the tone for the episode perfectly:  S.H.I.E.L.D. shooting at S.H.I.E.L.D., and no one knows who’s on whose side.

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Meanwhile, the team is right where the previous episode left them, with Coulson, May, Skye, and Fitz in the middle of a Mexican standoff, trying to figure out what’s going on as the Bus has been rerouted.  May explains that HQ has the ability to reroute the Bus, but that she would need to be in the cockpit to figure out where they are going.  She further tells Coulson that her direct line went to Fury, which makes Coulson incensed that she was in contact with Fury all along while he had been unable to reach Fury for months.  Eventually, the team decides to work together and figure out what’s going on—all except for May, that is.  Coulson ices her and carries her into the Cage to chill out with Ward.  Garrett calls them and tells them about his situation.  Coulson uses the Bus’ weapons to shoot the drones down, and Garrett docks with them to join them in going to the Hub.  Skye meanwhile decodes an encrypted message which was sent out across all S.H.I.E.L.D. frequencies.  The message:  “Out of the shadows, into the light.  HYDRA.”

Simmons, meanwhile, is at the Hub working on Skye’s blood to find traces of the GH-325.  However, she is somewhat untrusting of Trip, though she finally decides to let him help.  Simmons contacts Agent Weaver at the Academy, and Weaver warns her about the Hydra threat, tells her that the Academy is under attack, and tells her to send help if she can.  Just before being cut off, Weaver tells Simmons not to trust anyone.  What follows may be one of the most interesting parts of the episode:  Trip locks the door, sending Simmons into panic mode.  She asks how she can trust him, and he says he’s “trustworthy” while pulling out a knife.  And then he hands the knife to her, saying that if she tries to kill him, then he’ll know he can’t trust her.  They then try to contact the rest of their team, but are unable to because the signal’s jammed.  Finally, Hand’s men find them and bring them to her.  I really liked the scene with Hand talking to Trip and Simmons.  The last couple episodes have built Hand up to where we are really suspicious of her, and here she is sending drones after Garrett and rerouting Coulson to the Hub to kill him.  And now she walks into this darkened room whose only light is a red light which casts a spooky glow on the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.  She tells them that HYDRA is taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. and that all the level 9 and 10 agents are either Hydra or dead (and Fury’s dead).  She tells them to either swear undying loyalty to Hydra or share Fury’s fate.  And Trip reacts by taking out the 2 soldiers closest to him and holding a knife to one’s throat:  “Cross us off, and one of yours goes, too.”  Hand smirks and says, “Right answer.”  That was actually a really cool test scene, especially since we didn’t know whether or not we could really trust Hand in the first place.

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After this we find out that Blake had come to Hand a while back with his suspicions that there was a conspiracy by the level 8 agents.  That led to her quiet search for loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and that also led her to suspect Coulson of being involved in the conspiracy.  That is why she rerouted the Bus, and why she ordered Coulson’s people killed or captured.  And when you look at the list of charges she brought against Coulson, you can see her point:  he violated direct orders on multiple occasions, broke international law to rescue Dr. Hall, recruited a known enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the form of Skye, and failed to report Akela Amador’s crimes until it was too late.  And on top of that, Coulson’s specialist shot the Clairvoyant before they could question him.  She actually has pretty good reason to suspect Coulson of being Hydra, though we as an audience “know” that he is not.  Most of the rest of the episode is about Coulson showing himself to be loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and rooting out the real Clairvoyant.

The team initially suspects Hand of being the Clairvoyant because she rerouted the plane to the Hub.  When it arrives there, May tries to call Director Fury and sort things out, but a strange voice answers and tells her that Fury is dead.  The team gets all their information off the Bus systems onto a hard drive, and escapes into the base to rescue Simmons and Trip, free the Bus, and locate Hand.  They succeed in doing so, but along the way Garrett tries to convince Coulson to go after Hand directly—“cut off the head”—by reminding him of everything the Clairvoyant did.  This includes using the machine on Coulson, the same one that the Clairvoyant used on Raina—but that’s something Coulson never told anyone.  At this point Coulson realizes that Garrett is the real Clairvoyant and that he is Hydra.  A tactical team confronts them at that moment, and Garrett tells the Hydra agents on the team to take out the non-Hydra agents.  Then he tries to recruit May and Coulson, both of whom refuse, before telling Fitz that he will serve Hydra either willingly or unwillingly.

I really liked the fight scene when Coulson, May, and Fitz took on Garrett and the 4 Hydra agents.  Coulson seems to be holding his own against Garrett, but he slowly loses ground to him.  May meanwhile takes out three of the four other agents by herself.  Even Fitz gets in on the action by shooting one agent and tossing Coulson a sonic staff cartridge, which he used to knock Garrett out.  In the end, we know who the real Clairvoyant is, and we know who is and isn’t Hydra.  Or so we think.

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There’s an interesting scene near the end with Hand and Coulson talking about the fallout of the Hydra uprising.  The map shows 5 different S.H.I.E.L.D. locations, including the Triskelion with a helicarrier falling into the Potomac and a bridge that was blown out on the Arabian Peninsula.  Hand also directly mentions the East African Headquarters and Treehouse as having fallen.  I actually want to know more about some of these other locations.  Thus far we’ve learned what happened at the Academy and Sandbox, and saw what happened to the Fridge, Triskelion, and Iliad.  I would love to learn more about what happened when S.H.I.E.L.D. fell in season 3, especially if Coulson goes out doing more recruiting.

The episode ends on a triumphant note as all the Hydra moles at the Hub—along with Garrett—are being escorted to a holding facility.  Hand leaves to secure the Fridge, bringing Garrett with her.  Ward joins her to see to it personally that Garrett gets locked away.  Between the two of them, Hand and Coulson are going to try rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Or will they?  The episode actually ends with Hand offering Ward a chance to kill Garrett because he might be too dangerous to keep alive.  Ward checks his gun, aims it at Garrett’s head, and shoots Hand’s guards in the head before shooting her 3 times.  The final shot is of Hand’s hair held in her bloody hand, and Ward staring down (presumably at Hand) while Garrett tells his story in the background.  Whoa.

All in all, I really enjoyed this episode, and especially the way that it worked in the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  The movie events were clearly happening in the background, but the episode was really telling its own story set against that backdrop.  I remember there being some people upset last year when the episode aired because it essentially spoiled the major twist in Winter Soldier.  And part of me can see their point:  at the end of the episode Hand says quite clearly that Cap destroyed the INSIGHT helicarriers at the Triskelion, and at the beginning of the episode Hydra comes out of the shadows in a very visible and obvious way.  However, I do not see how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could have told a story about S.H.I.E.L.D. set within the MCU and taking place roughly concurrently with Winter Soldier without some spoilers making their way in.  After all, Hydra coming out of the shadows was a pretty big deal in the movie, and it was going to be an even bigger deal for the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D., so the Hydra reveal was going to have to happen at some point in the episode—at least if it was going to tell a coherent story and keep the pace going.  And once that major plot point was revealed, there really wasn’t any point in holding back the result of Cap’s battle at the Triskelion, especially since the movie’s marketing had already shown helicarriers falling from the sky on fire!  Could they have held this back for a week to give people twice as much time to see the movie before spoiling those major plot points?  Yes, but I don’t think it would have been as good of a story if they tried drawing the Hydra reveal out longer.  Besides, from what I recall CA:TWS had a very big opening weekend, so most people had gotten a chance to see it.

But what did you think of “Turn, Turn, Turn”?  Were you disappointed that they spoiled major Winter Soldier plot points so soon after the movie aired?  Let me know in the comics!

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1 comment:

  1. Click agents of shield season 3 netflix watch free online now. WHAT IT'S ABOUT Created by Joss Whedon, this picks up from where his big-screen "The Avengers" left off, following the battle of New York with -- surprise -- agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) still very much alive. A new threat called The Rising Tide looms. His new team: agents Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet). As with "Avengers," everything takes place in the Marvel Universe, peopled by thousands of characters.

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