Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1.16 Review – ‘End of the Beginning’

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1.16 Review – ‘End of the Beginning’
April 1, 2014 – ABC.

Agents of Shield

‘End of the Beginning’ or beginning of the end? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still hasn’t received a season two pick up. Should we be worried? Based on the action that took place tonight, I think Team S.H.I.E.L.D. will easily win this war and we’ll move into year two of our relationship.

Agents Assemble

Lead agents of episodes past – Garrett, Sitwell, Hand, Blake – are invited for a sit down with Coulson to sift through the latest leads on the Clairvoyant. I love Team Coulson’s chemistry (it’s saved many an episode), but it’s great to see that they have an it factor when other members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. universe come into play. There were so many pairings that just worked in this episode: Coulson and Sitwell, Blake and May, Triplett (he came back with Garrett) and Ward, Triplett and Simmons, Garrett and Skye, Garrett and Hand (it was only a head nod, but it was wonderful) and Garrett and Coulson – even if it wasn’t moving the story forward, I’d have been happy to see these guys show up.

But the Agent Coulson’s secret council does move things forward: Skye becomes an official level 1 agent, Garrett lays on the Ward/Skye shipping pretty heavy and the group uncovers who they believe to be the Clairvoyant and has a run-in with Deathlok.

Mike Peterson No More

Mike Peterson is dead, according to Mike Peterson. J. August Richards’ face is too good looking for us to have to see it burned and scarred, according to me.

Fully embracing his Deathlok persona, Team S.H.I.E.L.D. got their first sight of what he can do (put Agent Blake in the ICU) and what he’s become (more machine than man). No bullet can stop him and the Clairvoyant thought he took Deathlok off the grid to make him untraceable, but Mike’s still there underneath. He flinched when Agent Blake mentioned his son and I have to believe that S.H.I.E.L.D. will capitalize on that love when they track him down. Deathlok may be off the Clairvoyant’s leash but he’s still got that little tracker bullet in him from the gun that Fitz modified, so I expect he’ll be seeing Coulson and Skye soon.

Love Kills

Team S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers the locations of the Clairvoyant, a man they believe to be a paraplegic named Thomas Nash. Like any self respecting villain, Nash likes to hear himself talk and so he sets his sights on hitting Coulson where it hurts most: his resurrection and Skye’s almost death. He’s shooting for Coulson, but it’s Ward who gets trigger happy and puts a bullet in him.

Everyone from Asgardian villainess Lorelei to Agent Garrett has put in their two cents lately about Agent Ward’s love for Skye, but Coulson’s not sure he buys it. Was Thomas Nash the Clairvoyant? Or was the Clairvoyant using him as a prop to wrap up the case? Who is the ‘us’ Nash referred to as coming for Skye and Coulson? Do they know Skye is an 0-8-4? Is that what they want from her and is that how she’ll die; trying to keep herself from them? Coulson fears he’ll never know because Ward took the shot.

While Team Coulson, and being Skye’s SO, has awakened Ward, this romantic attachment for Skye feels a bit rushed to me off the May-Ward affair. It’s just too clean. Is Ward taking orders from someone other than Coulson? Can the team trust him? I don’t know! I want to believe its love for Skye and not something more nefarious.

Blood Tests and Betrayals

If at episode three or five, you had asked me to order the agents of Team Coulson as to least likely to betray him I would have said May, Simmons, Fitz, Ward and Skye.

I’m either a really bad judge of character or this is bizarro world because Skye’s pretty much the only one not betraying Coulson.

Once Agent Hand insists Simmons stay at HQ to help with Deathlok specs, Simmons has her moment to do expressly what Coulson has asked her not to – analyze Skye’s blood to find out more about the miraculous recovery. After Fitz gets over his separation anxiety, and feels some jealous churning in his stomach when he discovers Agent Triplett will be at HQ for flirting duty, he sets out to connect a super secret line to Simmons so he can assist in Operation Blood Test.

It’s a betrayal of the smallest time, two doctors looking out for the greater good and the good of two people they love, and it’s hard to harbor any resentment towards FitzSimmons because of it.

Coulson should feel that way too because their insistence to find out the truth about the miracle drug leads them to the miraculous discovery that The Calvery, Coulson BFF May, is double dealing.

I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive May for shooting at Fitz, even if they were just tranquilizers, but I’m positive that May’s also playing for Team Greater Good here. Who is her direct line to? Most likely it’s Fury who is keeping an eye on his favorite agent. Or if she’s Team Phone a Clairvoyant, maybe there’s a chip in her brain too. Still, I’m putting all my money on Fury.

Biggest Betrayal

Where we get to the biggest betrayals of the night, the ones that won’t be easy to recovery from. Skye and Coulson have discovered that the Clairvoyant is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent accessing information from personnel files, the ultimate stalker using every available resource to destroy the good guys from within. Suddenly the drawn out pacing of this story makes sense! Captain America: The Winter Solider will most likely touch on the ethics of S.H.I.E.L.D., which will bleed into what Garrett calls a “fight for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s soul” in the previews.

Who is that agent? Agent Hand? She certainly seems to have it out for Coulson and just ordered the entire team on the Bus killed. Why? And what does she want with Simmons, who she removed from the plane before? Simmon’s last call with Fitz suggested something was about to go down; is Simmon’s locked in some S.H.I.E.L.D. holding cell? Or did she make an escape with hottie Agent Triplett?

Could Agent Triplett be the bad guy? Trip telling Ward he wanted the Clairvoyant dead for killing his partner, and leaving a small child fatherless, certainly edged Ward’s switch toward ‘Emotions On.’ He was also very interested in the miracle drug Simmon’s gave Skye.

Agent Garrett? He seems like a good guy, but it’s always the charming ones, right? Ward would talk orders from his former S.O., which may give him motive for killing Nash.

Or maybe it’s Agent Sitwell, who was only around for a few moments before heading off to another mission? Okay, let’s be honest, it’s not him, he’s off with Black Widow and Cap (say hi for us!).

‘End of the Beginning’ was the start of the messy, complicated, serious stuff. We know the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can be good people, but can S.H.I.E.L.D. itself be good? Does absolute power corrupt? Will all these betrayals leave Coulson unable to trust? Do you trust May? Or Ward? Will Coulson find it in himself to believe in the goodness of his team in time to save everyone on the plane (and Simmons, wherever she may be)?  Head over to the forum and let us know what you’re thinking!

Relationship Status: Unending Love Song….