Friday, December 4, 2015

Loose Ends and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Let’s talk about loose ends.  Every Marvel offering has had them; after all, you can’t build a Cinematic Universe without leaving some loose ends for the sequels to pull on!  Every comic book-based movie or TV series has left a few because there’s always the possibility of a sequel—though some of these loose ends are more obvious and hopeless than others (*cough*Sinestro*cough*).  Every TV series leaves at least a few loose ends, unless it is given the opportunity for a final season—and even then there may be a few plot threads left open-ended to allow for fan speculation.

However, when it comes to loose ends—or cliffhanger endings—no one seems to do them quite as well as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  After all, this is the series which concluded its second season with a main cast member getting sucked into a giant stone Monolith and still announced her as a returning main cast member!  Last year’s midseason finale ended with the death of a major character and the shocking revelation that a main cast member was no less than an important comic book character as well as the audience’s “in” to a world of superhumans which we did not expect to see explored before 2018 at the earliest (and more likely 2019, when their movie is scheduled to come out).  Whoa!

And next week is the midseason finale for season three.  After the episode airs we can spend months discussing all the loose ends left for the second half of the season to explore.  This week, however, I want to run through all of the loose ends left at the end of “Closure” (3x09), which really didn’t give closure to anything.

Obviously, there will be SPOILERS!

What’s up with Hydra and the A.T.C.U./S.H.I.E.L.D.?

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At the end of “Many Heads, One Tale” (3x08), Rosalind and S.H.I.E.L.D. learned that the A.T.C.U. had been infiltrated by THE Head of Hydra, “the one all the others feared:”  Gideon Malick.  At the beginning of “Closure,” Rosalind told Coulson that she was going to go back and mine Malick for information on Hydra’s activities, and that she had told Banks about it (and to our knowledge, no one else).  However, in the episode both she and Banks were killed.  This leads to two important questions, which may not be resolved in “Maveth” (3x10), the midseason finale.

First, how did Hydra/Malick discover that Rosalind was on to them?  The obvious choice was for Banks to be the mole, but his death makes that resolution unlikely.  Does this mean that there is still a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D.?  Or does it just mean that Malick is particularly perceptive and saw through Rosalind’s request for a sit-down and realized that she knew he was Hydra?  Either way, at some point I expect S.H.I.E.L.D. to undertake a witch hunt to find a mole in their ranks.

Second, what’s going to happen to the A.T.C.U. now that Rosalind is dead and there is no one within the Unit who knows about the Hydra infiltration?  If the midseason finale sees S.H.I.E.L.D. defeat Malick, then this could become irrelevant, but if Malick manages to evade capture, it is entirely possible that he will go back to the A.T.C.U., blame S.H.I.E.L.D. for everything, and resume his exploitation of A.T.C.U. resources to acquire new Inhumans for his own nefarious ends.  Unfortunately, after everything that’s happened, I highly doubt that the rest of the A.T.C.U. will believe Coulson if he strolls in and tells them that Malick is Hydra!

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The Secret Warriors

At the end of “Closure,” we see S.H.I.E.L.D. going on the warpath to stop Hydra from bringing the Inhuman back to Earth.  As part of their “strategy” (which is basically just “throw dudes at Hydra and hope we win”), Mack clears two members for Daisy’s Secret Warriors:  Joey and Lincoln.  Is this the whole team?  Are we going to see a couple more members show up from other locations at the Hydra base in England?  There are at least 3 possible options out there:  Alisha (who may still be recovering from her clone’s death), Deathlok (who may still be out for maintenance), and Randolph (who may have resumed his “drunken stumble through history”—man, I love that line!).  Will any of them show up at the last minute to help out?  Are any of these team members going to fall in the line of duty their first time out?  Is this whole thing going to go colossally wrong when Giyera takes them all out in a single salvo from a zillion hovering handguns?  I’m crossing my fingers for an awesome super-powered beat down in which they blow half their budget on effects, but there are a ton of things that can go wrong, leaving Hydra on top—or at the very least leaving Daisy without a team!

For the record, it would not surprise me at all if either Joey or Lincoln gets killed in the fight.  Between the two I’m inclined to say Joey, but that feels like it would be a waste for a character we’ve seen so little of.  But then again you can say the same thing about Lincoln, so…

Of course, none of these quite compare to the mother of all loose ends…

Ward, Fitz, and Coulson are All on the Planet

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Ward wants to bring the powerful Inhuman back to Earth so he can maybe have a shot at ruling by his side in the New World Order™.  Fitz wants to bring Will back to Earth and not let the powerful Inhuman through the portal.  Coulson just wants to turn Ward into a puddle for what he did to Rosalind!  Obviously, they can’t all get what they want, so someone is going to be disappointed (or worse)!

Is Ward going to succeed in bringing the Inhuman (I’m going to call him “Maveth,” “death”) back to Earth?  Are they even going to find Will?  What will happen in the inevitable Coulson-vs.-Ward showdown?  Will they bring Will back to Earth only to discover that he’s really Maveth who took the form of Will?  It seems a little too obvious to expect someone to be left on the Planet through the hiatus—they already did that with Simmons last time—but that doesn’t mean they will all make it back through at the end of the episode.  Killing off a major character on the planet sounds like exactly the kind of thing that this series would do, so whose head is going to be on the chopping block?  I really don’t want to lose any of the 3 main characters, especially with the interesting new directions that they are all going, so I’m afraid that I will be disappointed no matter who gets axed.

Related to this is Mack’s role as Acting Director.  If something happens to Coulson, how long will Mack remain in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and how will he handle that level of pressure?  Will May or Daisy eventually assume the Directorship?


So those are the major plot points I see left open from “Closure,” and I’m not sure how many of them will be resolved by the end of “Maveth.”  With the frenetic pace this series has set for itself ever since the Hydra reveal in season 1, I wouldn’t be surprised if they resolved every single one of these loose ends before the opening title card even rolled, making way for an entirely new set of plot points to be explored in the rest of the episode!  But at the same time, I think it is also possible that some, especially the possible Hydra mole, will be left until the midseason premiere.

Regardless, I don’t think we are going to be disappointed by anything that happens in next week’s episode, except the fact that we won’t see any more Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for at least another three months!

Side note:  With the Agent Carter season premiere being bumped back to January 19 because of the State of the Union address, we may not get Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back until the end of March.  There will be 2 (out of 10) episodes aired for the premiere, and if they do not double any more up, the finale will be on March 15, meaning that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might not start until the beginning of April.  They can certainly get around this with a 2-hour season finale and perhaps a couple more 2-episode nights, but if they don’t do that, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could stretch into June.  /sidenote

Which loose ends are you most interested to see resolved in the midseason finale on Tuesday?  Are there any that I missed?  What loose ends do you think will be left after the midseason finale?  Let me know in the comments!

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