Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The Dirty Half Dozen Review
Once I have finished catching up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Person of Interest reviews, I will consider picking up other shows for weekly reviews throughout the summer. If you have suggestions, feel free to post the in the comments or on Twitter to @Korapathy.
When watching The Frenemy of My Enemy, I noticed that, by adding Ward back into the team dynamic, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to infuse the team banter with a bit more bite and humor as pretty much everyone fought the urge to kill him. The Dirty Half Dozen takes this one step further by, as Ward so amusingly puts it, “finally [getting] the team back together.” This is the first time that all six members of our original cast were out in the field together since season 1, and it is a lot of fun to behold.
Skye starts off, of course, back at Afterlife where Cal demands to know why Jiaying tried to take him from their daughter. Being the calm, collected type of person he is, Cal doesn’t actually pay much attention to the fact that he has just revealed the fact that Skye is Jiaying’s daughter to the population of Afterlife. Things are further complicated when Gordon, having left to find Lincoln, returns with the news that Lincoln was captured by Hydra forces. When Skye asks Jiaying how they plan to rescue Lincoln, but, for the sake of keeping her people safe, Jiaying has decided that Lincoln is a necessary sacrifice. However, Raina reveals that she not only had a vision of Gordon’s failed attempt to rescue Lincoln, but also witnessed Skye rescuing him from the Hydra base. Skye is obviously incredulous of Raina’s precognitive powers, but her doubt is quickly erased when Raina mentions that she doesn’t understand why she saw Ward and Coulson working together in her vision. Having seen the two of them together in Milwaukee, Skye tries to convince Gordon to help her, but he refuses since, according to him, he barely escaped his encounter with Hydra. Raina serves to offer them a compromise by pointing out that Gordon doesn’t actually need to take Skye to Hydra in order to help retrieve Lincoln.
The interactions with S.H.I.E.L.D. also pick up where The Frenemy of My Enemy left off with Coulson being held in the bus’ hold. He offers Gonzalez access to Fury’s toolbox in exchange for his aid in the operation to rescue Mike Peterson. Despite his offers of good faith, Gonzalez remains skeptical of the plan, and May is more than a little hostile towards Coulson now that she has questions about Theta Protocol as well as his involvement with Andrew Gardner. Coulson explains to her that he was seeing Andrew for counseling since, when it came to the subject of alien writing and coming back from the dead, there were relatively few psychiatric options available. It should come as no surprise during a coup d’etat storyline that various characters allegiances and moral boundaries will be tested or altered, but I find the shift in May’s character rather questionable. She has often been the most stable and centered member of the team due to her ability to remain objective, but now she seems quick to condemn Coulson’s actions. This isn’t awful characterization, but it does feel off. Despite her tiff with Coulson, May does ultimately offer her support for the plan, and as the team, consisting of May, Coulson, Ward, Fitz and Simmons board the bus, they receive a surprise visitor in the form of Skye.
Once the team is assembled, they begin their assault on Hydra’s arctic base. From a narrative standpoint, there isn’t actually much to say about this section of the episode. Jemma attempts to kill Ward, but that obviously doesn’t go as planned, and I once again find myself wondering if she is on her way to becoming a supervillain. Ward himself ends up escaping, but it seems clear that he still has something planned, and Dr. List also ends up escaping as well (Though not for long.) However, the action during this sequence is a lot of fun. Skye in particular has two very fun scenes, the first of which being where she shows off some of her newfound control over her powers, much to the surprise of Ward. The second scene is a prolonged fight where she takes out a number of Hydra agents while trying to get to Lincoln. The action here is wonderfully choreographed, and the show appears to have learned a few lessons from its Netflix cousin. The only thing that would have made that sequence more awesome would be if she incorporated her powers into the combat, but that is really nitpicking. As it stands, this was a great way to end the episode, and it leaves me eager to see more of this style of action in the future.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- I absolutely loved Skye’s Sonic the Hedgehog jab at Raina.
- The manner in which Ward’s “This is what I regret most,” speech was punctuated might be the most Joss Whedon-ie moment the show has had this season and it was pretty glorious. Ward works best as a punching bag that absolutely everyone wants to make use of, and I really feel that Brett Dalton deserves a ton of credit for making that character simultaneously despicable and likable.
- Gordon remains a character that I don’t really have a firm grasp on. I find myself questioning whether or not the scrape on his forehead really came from a scrap with Hydra since it seems odd that they wouldn’t show us that.
Like its predecessor, The Dirty Half Dozen isn’t a perfect episode, but it is a damn fun one. The banter amongst the cast is great, the action is well choreographed, and it offers some wonderful character moments. It also has its share of questionable character moments, but, like I said, it isn’t perfect. It’s just a bunch of fun.
The Dirty Half Dozen offers some strong writing and a strong buildup as Agents continues its approach towards its season finale.