By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
SHIELD and Hydra
This episode got back to basics with a SHIELD versus Hydra story. This matchup is likely never going away, and if Hydra continues to be an interesting adversary for SHIELD, I don’t want it to. In hindsight, it was probably naive of us to ever think Marvel would kill off such a classic enemy in the MCU. The group has had a presence in Marvel comics since 1965, and they’ve battled many of the classic Marvel superheroes. They’re not only formidable, they can be downright chilling. As long as there are strong writers behind this show and the films, Hydra will always be a captivating villain.
We saw that tonight with Gideon Malick capturing Talbot and Coulson. Hydra has been licking its wounds for a while now, but it’s no longer fractured. With Hive back on earth and seemingly on his side, Malick is ready to get back into the fray. His actions tonight were a big move for the organization. Coulson and SHIELD were already operating at half-speed being a secret, and not-so-legal unit, but now they are seemingly neutralized for the time being. We know they’re going to get out of this; you can’t have an Agents of SHIELD without SHIELD, but this episode probably set up a fight that will span the remainder of the season.
I think Hive is on Malick’s side but it’s hard to tell for sure. It is the most powerful villain we’ve seen on this show, and there’s little reason to think it will want to share power with Malick now that it’s back to full strength. That was an exciting revelation. If you thought Lash was a formidable foe, wait until Hive gets into the fight. People are going to die, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of our favorite characters don’t make it out of this alive.
Talbot, the ATCU, and SHIELD
I neglected to say anything about this last week, but SHIELD is almost back under the government’s umbrella (forget everything I wrote about them being neutralized for a moment). That’s a pretty exciting twist. I get all the reasons why SHIELD had to fall in season one. Hydra had to come back and this show needed to operate on a smaller scale if it was going to survive on television. Name-dropping the Avengers and occasionally reminding everyone that it existed in the same world as the films was fine, but Agents of SHIELD needed to be its own thing. Now SHIELD is slowing coming back. We were so distracted by the individual storylines that we neglected to see that SHIELD itself has been on a redemption arc since the day Hydra tore it apart. I feel like that arc is finally inching its way towards a conclusion.
I liked the meet-and-greet between among Talbot, Coulson, and the other delegates. If there’s one thing Marvel does well it’s levity. That’s normally Clark Gregg’s job, but tonight Adrian Pasdar’s General Talbot filled that role. It was both funny and awkward, which was a great way to disarm the audience before all the tension happened.
Thanks for reading!