It is a strange sensation to actually look forward to a new episode of Agents of SHIELD. During the first ten episodes of this season that rarely happened. The show has improved considerably and I am actually sad that after this weeks episode there are only two until the season is concluded. This week sees the return of Cobie Smulders as former agent Maria Hill. You may remember from the movie Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier that she actively voted for SHIELD to be disbanded after the HYDRA reveal. She now works for Stark Industries but is pressured by the government into revealing what Coulson and his team is up. I hope the show will see more of Cobie Smulder as it slowly increases the size of its cast. As for ‘Nothing Personal’, below you can read a brief summary of the episode and below that a review.
‘That Hitler Youth look!’
While May meets up with Hill in Washington, D.C., Coulson’s team discovers that May, Ward and Skye left Providence. Simmons discovers Koenig’s body while Fitz finds a message left by Skye informing them that Ward is a member of Hydra. Providence is assaulted by Talbot and his troops, having been led there by Hill; when Talbot demands the team turn themselves in, Coulson manages to convince Hill to help him and they escape. Meanwhile, Skye leads Ward to the diner where she met Mike Peterson and secretly tips off the police. She reveals that she knows his secret and escapes while he fights the police, but Deathlok appears and captures her.
Skye refuses to decrypt the hard drive, forcing Deathlok to nearly killing Ward with one of his weapons to convince her. As Ward tries to fly the Bus, he is confronted by Hill, who stalls long enough for Coulson to sneak on board through the landing gear. Coulson frees Skye and they escape from Deathlok in his car, Lola. Deathlok then attempts to convince Ward to let them go now that the drive is decrypting on Garrett’s orders, but Ward refuses. The team retires to a hotel, where Skye reveals she left a trap in the hard drive. Later, May returns and shows Coulson the contents of a flash drive she recovered from his “grave,” specifically a message to Fury from the director of T.A.H.I.T.I. The file is a video of Coulson himself informing Fury that T.A.H.I.T.I. must be shut down because of horrific side effects the drugs had on test subjects, which could only be mitigated by erasing the victim’s memory of what happened.
So far the HYDRA storyline has lasted 4 episodes and yet there seems to be no need for a conclusion. Instead Agents of SHIELD finally seems to have found solid footing with a story premise that it can use well into its second season. The HYDRA storyline, or Uprising as it is officially known has managed to stabilize the ratings at around 9 million total viewers per episode. That means the series is not in the danger zone but it is not far away from cancellation either. Agents of SHIELD can’t make any missteps, and yet it seems hell-bent on making one. During last weeks episode it became abundantly clear that there is no real chance of redemption for Ward (Brett Dalton) yet this episode seems to hint at exactly that. I don’t buy it, it just impossible and it shouldn’t happened. Even if Ward comes back to the lightside it will be impossible for him to have the trust to serve as an agent of SHIELD, it would be better to kill the character off. If one the other hand it is revealed that Ward is some uber-undercover agent sent on assignment by Nick Fury himself I will just scream because that would be a cheat.
Meanwhile Coulson (Clark Gregg) seems to slowly come to ease with the circumstances in which he finds himself. He still has lingering questions about TAHITI but the present situation with HYDRA takes precedence, he acts as a effective leader for the remaining members of the team but he has trust issues with Maria Hill and even with Nick Fury. His relationship with Melinda May has been repaired to some extent but Coulson seems unlikely to trust anyone apart from his teams inner circle. His character has come almost full circle since the beginning of the season but seems far less of a boy scout.
Fitz and Simmons have so far taken a backseat during the HYDRA/Uprising plot and as such I felt that the outburst of Fitz was too unbelievable. I know that he was closer to Ward than either Skye or May but the signs were there all along.
Some reviewers on the internet have rubbished the special effects with Coulson’s flying car Lola, granted they looked cheap but they weren’t the worse I have seen. Some people just can’t find it in themselves to complement others. I found the scene to be effective as comic-relief in a time when it was badly needed.
Score; 8.9 / 10. A very good episode of Agents of SHIELD. However, there are numerous issues throughout the episode which I did not approve of.
Agents of SHIELD will be back next week with the episode ‘Ragtag’. You can watch the preview below…