Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ragtag
May 6, 2014 10:18 PM - Season 1, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Tonight we learn more about Grant Ward and John Garrett's history together while the rest of the agents continue to cope with the fallout from the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
posted by Jacqueline (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
So, the last few episodes (everything from "Turn, Turn, Turn" forward) have been amazing.

Clark Gregg almost made me cry last week with his facial expressions while Coulson was watching the Project TAHITI video.

And I'm loving Fitz's character development. He went from being a nerdy techy guy who was scared of fieldwork to standing up to Hydra agents, sassing off to killer cyborgs, and giving the Yellow Crayon speech to Ward tonight.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:26 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I too am glad that May is back.
posted by homunculus at 11:11 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another solid episode, but a bit awkward. Ward's origin didn't add much to his character or explain why he would be willing to work under Garrett's thumb and kill people for him. It's similar to explaining Darth Vader as an angry little kid: unsatisfying and almost lazy.

That said, still plenty to like, such as Trip whipping out his grand-dad's tech and watching Coulson and Fzzt geek out on, the conversation between May and Skye about Ward, further development of Flowers and watching Garrett be Garrett. "Alright Ernesto, let's show'em what handsome is".

Why does Coulson want his plane back, are all his comic collections still on it?

Finally, what's up with Skye? Alien DNA, from a Kree and monsters for parents that killed an entire village? That's gonna be an awkward reunion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on May 7, 2014


I doubt FitzSimmons is dead, though this being a Joss Whedon show...it's just a matter of time before one of them gets it.

So what kind of monsters are Skye's parents?

I thought for sure Flowers was going to kill Garrett, not make him stronger. Maybe that is still what is going to happen, I don't know.

Undercover May is best May.

I don't like how this is going to set up a possible reconciliation with Ward. The show will be way better with him remaining a conflicted other or a staunch bad guy than him being good.

Who killed the dog ultimately? Was it Garrett? Also, was the show trying to tell us that FitzSimmons are dogs? Because, if so, BOOOO!
posted by inturnaround at 5:38 AM on May 7, 2014


Ward's origin didn't add much to his character or explain why he would be willing to work under Garrett's thumb and kill people for him.

I thought it explained a LOT. Garrett not only rescued Ward, but it was implied that he was Ward's sole human contact for up to five years. Ward was already fucked in the head from his older brother's abuse and Garrett knew just how to push all his buttons to manipulate him.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:40 AM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ward's backstory flashback didn't really work for me. I mean, I get that they're going for a sort of Stockholm syndrome, Pierce & Winter Soldier situation, and I can buy that, but they also seem to want to do a bit of 'oh, Ward, poor tortured woobie' and that doesn't work for me. Because his love for Skye is such a Creepy Love, I'm really not interested in him being redeemed.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2014


Oh, and the Berzerker staff from when the show wasn't that good is back!
posted by inturnaround at 5:51 AM on May 7, 2014


Yeah, the last several episodes have been the best by far.

Ward got a lot more interesting when they made him a deep-cover Hydra agent. He's getting less interesting again now that they're trying to turn him back into a sympathetic character.

When they had a different actor playing Young Grant Ward, I kind of hoped they'd do something really interesting, like reveal that the man we know as Grant Ward is actually someone completely different. But this just isn't that kind of show. It tends to go for the simplest explanation a bit too often.

(My other "wouldn't it be crazy" idea, after watching S1E19 The Only Light in the Darkness, is that Coulson really did die in the Avengers movie, and isn't actually there in the TV show. Instead, everything we see is just various characters’ inability to process his death.)
posted by mbrubeck at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2014


At this point, I'm really wishing that Skye had let Ward die last episode. It would've been more interesting in two ways: (a) Skye would be revealed to be tough as nails when the going gets tough; and (b) we would've been spared Ward's wooden backstory - which goes well with his wooden character.

I can't help but feel the show is setting us up for a Heel-Face Turn for Ward; doing something noble to save the team and then dying. And I don't want to see him redeemed; I think it's far more interesting to have the team deal with the fact that all along he was a dedicated Hydra agent who betrayed them all the way.
posted by nubs at 7:03 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


There has to be a tracker in the box of scottish twins.

And he shot his dog, so he is Officially Unredeemable.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:52 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fitz might get his wish (Simmons washing up on an island, in a box).
posted by mbrubeck at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2014 [10 favorites]


Ward got a lot more interesting when they made him a deep-cover Hydra agent. He's getting less interesting again now that they're trying to turn him back into a sympathetic character.

One of Whedon's strengths is that even his villains are at least sympathetic, in that they have actual motivations beyond "I dig evil." With few exceptions, he doesn't go in for mustache-twirling.
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seeing as how I already didn't like Skye, it was pretty disappointing to see her save Ward for absolutely no reason at all. Whatever spark or affection she may have developed for him should have been totally doused once she learned the ugly truth. Also, I don't care what kind of fancy alien/mutant back story they have planned for her, it still won't make her interesting or particularly likable.

And I'm with all of you who really don't want to see a Ward redemption arc. He's much more interesting if he's an evil creeper. And by much more, I mean mildly, since he's also not a very interesting character to begin with. I don't think he did shoot the dog. He's not above killing people, but I do think he's above killing an innocent and loyal dog.
posted by MsVader at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


My mom and I had a texted argument this morning about Ward and the dog! She thinks Garrett shot him, but I think Garrett was already back at the truck and Ward shot him with the rifle from far away--b/c he COULD kill the dog, just not up close and personal-like. I still fear a redemption arc for Ward, but honestly, after killing Patton Oswalt AND a dog, that can't still be happening . . . right?

Is Skye a Skrull? I'm not super up on Cosmic Marvel and those are the main shapeshifters I know (from Runaways!). Maybe if she was a baby Skrull she shapeshifted into human and didn't know how to change back and then forgot it all b/c she was a baby? But what would injecting Kree DNA do to her?
posted by leesh at 9:00 AM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Skye will probably become Ms. Marveil, what with her alien DNA. That's just a guess though

I can't help but feel the show is setting us up for a Heel-Face Turn for Ward; doing something noble to save the team and then dying. And I don't want to see him redeemed; I think it's far more interesting to have the team deal with the fact that all along he was a dedicated Hydra agent who betrayed them all the way.

Yes, I'd prefer this and frankly it would make more sense. But mostly likely the studio heads will want some redemption for him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:16 AM on May 7, 2014


I was honestly surprised that Ward didn't eat the dog first thing, on being stranded in the woods. They painted him to be a pretty dark kid. But everything more they tell us about him, the more bored I get. Last week was interesting, but the backstory this week was not. I feel like SHIELD keeps having interesting bits and then kills them through repetition, boringness, and picking the most obvious choice possible. (And Coulson has got to stop that speechifying. That guy at the secret base, who I only remember as Agent Dead, was really great at taking the wind out of his sails and making fun of some of it. We need someone else who can do that. Maybe Agent Hottie can step up there along with the whole Grandpa Awesome Suitcase. Yeah, it takes me awhile to learn names.)

I really liked that May got a chance to point out that telegraphing all emotions is not necessarily a great way to be and that she does, in fact, feel.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:27 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


If Ward ends up saving the team in a last minute about face and then dies (probably from Garrett killing him) I'm going to be really disappointed. Maybe Fitz will get to defeat Ward now that he's come to terms with Ward really being Hydra?

I've got a feeling Flowers will betray Hydra soon to get closer to Sky. This could get interesting, or it could get really bad. Guess we'll find out.
posted by Arbac at 10:59 AM on May 7, 2014


So what kind of monsters are Skye's parents?

Fing Fang Foom is all NO DAUGHTER OF MINE IS WEARING THAT DRESS TO THE MALL! Skye is all "But DDdddaaaAAAAaaaaddddd!!!" and Ashema the Listener is "Listen to your father, young lady" and Skye storms out and slams the door to her room.

The giant dragon sighs and holds the Celestial's hand. "I HATE TO BE SO HARD ON HER."
"I know, honey."
"I JUST DON'T WANT HER TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES I DID."
"I know."
"I MEAN, PURPLE PPAAAANNNTTTSSS!!"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2014 [7 favorites]



And he shot his dog, so he is Officially Unredeemable.


Did he? He shot the pistol in the air, and then we see the dog in the cross hairs of a rifle scope, but I don't recall a shot at that point. I could be wrong.

Seeing as how I already didn't like Skye, it was pretty disappointing to see her save Ward for absolutely no reason at all. Whatever spark or affection she may have developed for him should have been totally doused once she learned the ugly truth.

Yeah, I was all "go Skye" last week when she called him out on being a Nazi and not accepting any of his rationalizations in the face of physical torture (and let the record show, they never once insinuated any threat of sexual violence there caveat - I was watching on a plane, so may have missed bits) . Letting him die on the floor and seeing what Hydra does next would've been pretty interesting for her character and the show's direction. But I guess they are going with the whole "it isn't weak to be compassionate" thing - which I don't disagree with, but there's being compassionate and then there's enabling evil world domination takeover schemes.
posted by nubs at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


N'thing that Evil Murdering Two-Faced Hydra Ward is a definite improvement, even though Ward's woodenness is a problem I doubt can be fixed, seeing as his acting is lacking. It's right up there with Skye Annoyance Levels being (wait for it) sky high when she is supposed to be the Heart of the group. Too bad her Mysterious Baby Powers mean she probably won't be sacrificing herself for the group any time soon.

That said, how awesome has Bill Paxton been in his role, though? I suspected all along he would turn out to be a bad guy (because newly introduced old friend whom everyone trusts to have their back + known actor with recurring role almost always = setup for betrayal), but I like him so much more in this role than I thought I would. One of my favorite moments was in an earlier episode, when some eager young puppy was getting all Hail Hydra in Garrett's face and he was like yeah, whatever, kid, how about you stop bugging me and get to work?

Plus Paxton is obviously having so much fun playing the guy you love to hate. He's fully buying into the tough as nails persona of the character. Not many could pull off that 'duct-taping my intestines back in place' moment, but Paxton hamming it up so much is just utterly delightful.
posted by misha at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Is Skye a Skrull?

IIRC, Fox own the live-action rights to Skrulls as part of the Fantastic Four deal, so Marvel probably can't use them in their cinematic universe. My first thought was on hearing the rampaging monsters bit was that she might be of Inhuman descent, but that doesn't really fit in with the things we already know about Skye and Marvel have dozens of alien races to go at. The Kree might have already made an appearance in Agents of SHIELD though, and they are about to turn up again in Guardians of the Galaxy...
posted by peteyjlawson at 3:18 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think Skye (and Raina?) will turn out to be Inhumans. Marvel seems to be positioning itself to use Inhumans as substitutes for mutants (since they sold the rights to the M-word to Fox) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Kree would make sense for the alien in the tube in TAHITI but IIRC the Kree aren't shapeshifters so I don't think Skye could be Kree. The Skrull are the primary shapeshifting race but as peteyjlawson mentions above, Marvel sold the rights to those.

I hope that Skye's secret superpower turns out to be making people like her beyond what is reasonable or deserved because I am also super sick of being TOLD how much she is loved and valued and special instead of SHOWN why she should be through her actions on the show. She is literally a Mary Sue and every minute wasted on her is a minute that could have been spent on a much more compelling character.

I briefly became a Skye fan during the first 2/3rd of "Nothing Personal" because she was finally demonstrating the awesomeness that all the other characters apparently see in her, but after she let Ward live I was back to screaming at my TV "NO SKYE! YOU ARE THE WORST!" (I suppose she slightly redeemed herself with the Trojan Horse, but so far it still seems like that was just her Plan B and that she'd let Ward live out of weakness instead of just pretending to break so she could get them to crack the drive and unleash the Trojan Horse.)
posted by Jacqueline at 4:35 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


There has to be a tracker in the box of scottish twins.

There is. Fitz had two things in his hand when he opened it for Ward, the EMP buzzer and a tracking device disguised as a quarter. Guessing that after they get out of the barbershop, the rest of the team will be following The Bus and they'll pass right over them.

Up until the Winter Soldier shake up, I was only watching this show to hate on it. It was the most entertaining train wreck on TV (next to The Newsroom).

Now I'm not only enjoying it, I even kind of like Skye.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:44 PM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Someone posted an album of screencaps of Garrett's Original Deathlok file to Imgur.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:59 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


I second the love f
posted by double bubble at 7:23 PM on May 7, 2014


Stupid iphone!!!
posted by double bubble at 7:23 PM on May 7, 2014


or Bill Paxton.
posted by double bubble at 7:24 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm certainly wrong about this, but I'm sticking with my gut feeling from the very first episodes that May is Skye's mother. Which means May is the monster, and her turnaround is the big end-of-season shocker.

I'm wrong, I know, but that's the story that's playing out in my head.
posted by jbickers at 5:26 AM on May 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


Love the album of Garrett's file! Bill Paxton has been terrific, and really sold his Hydra motivation.

There's some ambiguity on the dog's fate. I was pretty sure Ward would eat the dog up-front or that it would otherwise die from the time it was introduced.

Near the end, Ward was standing in front of it, then shoots into the air instead because "dogs are better than people." Then we see the dog running through a sniper scope (referencing his 1600-m sniper deer shot earlier that it runs to retrieve for every gunshot). But who's behind the scope? Does that shot end with the scope-wielder tracking off of the dog (i.e. watching but letting it go) or an implicit cleanup shot after the scene ends?

1. If it's Garrett behind the scope, he's checking up on Ward and now knows he has that weakness. Ostensibly, he could assume that Ward'll have a similar problem with "cleaning up" FitzSimmons. If he shot the dog post-scene, Ward might have heard and known, but if he let it go Ward might think he got away with his act of mercy/disobeying orders.

2. If it's Ward behind the scope and he shot the dog, then we know his weakness is that he can't kill dogs/friends close-up but can far away. If not, it's sentimentality - watching his friend get away (to starve in the woods like Garrett said up-front, but there's at least hope for him to have a happy ending, like Fzzt has a possibility of rescue).

At least, Fry's Schroedinger's Ward's dog situation has a possibility of getting resolved before the finale.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2014


In the scene where the dog parts ways with the actors, I think the dog was walking to a trainer/treat. Not being able to afford a dog that can turn left is consistent with the show's failure to spend its production budget in ways that count.

That said, I, too, have found myself enjoying it since Turnx3. I am almost to where I don't reflexively cringe when something's about to be revealed.
posted by michaelh at 9:29 AM on May 8, 2014


Not being able to afford a dog that can turn left is consistent with the show's failure to spend its production budget in ways that count.

There are definitely good ways they spend their budget!

http://www.bearmccreary.com/#blog/blog/agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d-the-cellist/
posted by flaterik at 12:28 PM on May 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


Seeing as how I already didn't like Skye, it was pretty disappointing to see her save Ward for absolutely no reason at all

"He's a human being and she's not evil" is a pretty good reason. Yeah, you can certainly make "big picture" arguments for why it would be better to have let him die--just as you can make "big picture" arguments for all kinds of horrors ("is this life worth..." is rarely a opener that leads to morally clear outcomes). But it seems bizarre to suggest that we should see Skye as either undermotivated or as weak because she can't bring herself to stand idly by and watch someone she'd been very close to in very intense circumstances--someone who had saved her life on more than one occasion--die when she had the means to prevent it.

As for whether or not Ward is going to be redeemed: I could imagine things going either way. The one thing I'm still waiting to be paid off in some way is the highly-charged significant look Ward and Coulson gave each other as they parted at the end of "Turn, Turn, Turn" (and just before the big "Ward is Evil" reveal). Perhaps all it was meant to mean was Coulson saying "you're going to make sure Garrett never reaches prison alive, aren't you" but that seems a bit off-brand for Coulson. The obvious way to read it was as a clue that Ward going evil was all a deep double-agent plan of some kind, but by this point that's getting pretty hard to buy (although it's notable that dumping Fitz and Simmons in the sea is a classic "I expect you to die, Mr. Bond" non-lethal act. Surely there was plenty of weaponry of one kind or another on the plane that Ward could have used to make damn sure they were really, truly dead.
posted by yoink at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, I spent half of the episode thinking that Young Ward was Young Quinn, so I don't think I'm going to be much help here. Lots of LOL moments in this episode tho: Coulson and May discussing their sweaters for one.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:59 PM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]




Interesting, to me, was that this episode was directed by Roxann Dawson. B'Elanna Torres on Star Trek: Voyager. Genre!
posted by dirtdirt at 7:18 AM on May 9, 2014


Simmons is on Craig Ferguson. Oh damn, maybe Geoff is part of the Deathlok program.
posted by homunculus at 12:47 AM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


As for whether or not Ward is going to be redeemed: I could imagine things going either way. The one thing I'm still waiting to be paid off in some way is the highly-charged significant look Ward and Coulson gave each other as they parted at the end of "Turn, Turn, Turn" (and just before the big "Ward is Evil" reveal).

Yes, me too. But Ward has been killing so many people since then, including Patton Oswalt, that it is hard to believe he isn't evil. Especially since they have been showing blood, head shots and clearly dead bodies to make it crystal clear he really did kill them, not just ice them or whatever.
posted by misha at 9:18 AM on May 10, 2014


Killing Patton Oswalt isn't something you can come back from, no.
posted by Etrigan at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I don't mean that to be a "Don't call the character by the actor's name!" poke. I just mean that pretty much every character Patton Oswalt plays is so inoffensive and fundamentally decent that killing any version of him is something only evil people do.
posted by Etrigan at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


But Ward has been killing so many people since then, including Patton Oswalt, that it is hard to believe he isn't evil.

I agree, but then what was that look about? Does it mean Coulson is also Hydra? We could definitely get a plot where--due to the alien-assisted resurrection--Coulson is getting controlled by Hydra--perhaps only intermittently. And it is just conceivable that we'll find out that actually Patton Oswalt was evil in some way that will justify Ward killing him--or we'll find (a bigger stretch this) that Ward didn't kill him--that there was someone else in the base all along.

I agree these are all highly improbable storylines, but it seems to me one of them, or one like them, is needed to pay off the look shared between Ward and Coulson at the end of Turn, Turn, Turn. But maybe it was pure misdirection?
posted by yoink at 12:05 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Man, I just spent the afternoon watching "Captain America: The First Avenger" for the first time, and it is now absolutely my favorite Marvel movie. (Haven't seen Winter Soldier yet.) Something about that "supernatural WWII" setting (see also: Hellboy, Indiana Jones, etc.) just totally turns me on, and they nailed it. And now I am so very, very excited about the Agent Carter series.
posted by jbickers at 3:04 PM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Also, my dream scenario for the finale episode: Garrett has brought Patton Oswalt's character back to life via the Jesus Juice. Agent Koenig, now eight feet tall and robotically enhanced, storms onto the Bus and starts wreaking havoc, shrieking "WHACKITY SCHMACKITY DOOOOOOO!")
posted by jbickers at 3:09 PM on May 11, 2014


This is me if Ward completes the full face/heel/face turn: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

And yes, Skye, we are all very disappointed in you for letting Ward live. Considering the possible implications of letting Garrett & Co. get their hands on all of FitzSimmons' research as well as all the other data from the Bus, it was just a bad, bad call.

I'm really rooting hard for Trip to take Ward's place next season.

Now, as for Garrett, I'm enjoying Paxton's work here, but Garrett has been written as a HINO* for his entire character arc. As the means for tying this in to Winter Soldier, this falls pretty short, as there really isn't anything compelling tying Garrett to Hydra. I'm also just not seeing Garrett as the Clairovoyant.

*Hydra In Name Only
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:19 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: Someone posted an album of screencaps of Garrett's Original Deathlok file to Imgur.

Eh, who really needs a spleen, anyway?
posted by Pronoiac at 3:22 PM on May 12, 2014


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