AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. RECAP: The one with the Avengers trailer attached to it (S2:E6)
The title of this episode is “A Fractured House,” and I am assuming that is some sort of reflection on the current state of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this series. I don’t know what made me think that, I guess I’m just psychic! All of our characters are seeing some sort of division in their relationships, both past and present. And the one couple that was already divided by law is looking to patch things up and work together.
There’s also a lot of murder, Obelisk talk, and secret agent action thrown in there to still make this show palatable to the folks who watch it only for the little Marvel logo at the beginning. Oh, and they mention The Avengers! That’s key because this was the big episode that featured the “exclusive” reveal of the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.
We open up with Talbot addressing the United Nations to talk about how S.H.I.E.L.D. has let everyone down since the events of the first Avengers movie. The world welcomed them with open arms, and all we got in return was HYDRA. It seems like a small debate is about to take place, but HYDRA busts in before anything of worth is said. They’re disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and they’re using new weapons with Obelisk technology. I mean Diviner technology…gotta get used to that.
It saws its way into the flesh of its victim and immediately turns them to black ash, painful black ash. It looks like a horrible way to die, but these guys are flinging these mini-buzzsaws around like they’re handing out Halloween candy (hello there, holiday tie-in).
This makes S.H.I.E.L.D. look bad and puts Talbot in a tight spot with his senator backer with deep pockets. He wants to put S.H.I.E.L.D.’s head on a silver platter, and this incident is just the spark he needs to push for legislation to hunt the remaining agents down. Oh, and he just happens to be Grant Ward’s brother Christian, so there’s that.
Skye and Coulson are still pumping Prisoner Ward for information, and this new development makes him a prime target for their questions. He has always maintained that his brother is worse than he is, but it’s hard to believe someone who has been a double agent the bulk of the time you’ve known them. That’s why it takes some intricate planning and discussion to decide how to handle them both.
Elsewhere at HQ, Hunter, May, and Bobbi Morse are gathering themselves to head to Japan and confront HYDRA’s weapons contact. This forces some sparks to fly between Hunter and Morse, continuing on from the revelation that they were once married and Bobbi is the she-devil ex Hunter talked up all during episode four. It’s a tricky situation that leads to a few funny exchanges and seems to repair whatever led to their split in the first place. Just a bit, of course. We do have close to twenty episodes left to cover all that ground.
There’s a lot of talk about Whitehall and Kyle MacLachlan in this episode, but they don’t make an appearance. Their presence is certainly felt though, and it would seem that MacLachlan has helped HYDRA unlock the secrets of the Obelisk. We find out as much in Japan as Bobbi uses her former HYDRA status as a way to talk with our Japanese weapons contact. He reveals that the plans and Diviner tech came straight from Whitehall, and he just used his resources to put it all together and ship them out. Once the jig is up and Morse is outed, the team springs into action and neutralizes the HYDRA assets before jetting off to Belgium where they believe HYDRA is going to take out a U.N. contact.
The problem is that the contact, Beckers, is actually working with HYDRA and the whole thing is a trap to capture all the little S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that come there for safe haven. It’s hard out there for a secret agent. You can’t even travel around without someone trying to kill you with a weird alien dust weapon.
Back at HQ, Fitz and Simmons are still have their own relationship troubles. It seems that Fitz’s brain injury is a lot worse when he’s around the real Simmons.
His mental fabrication is gone and he’s forced to deal with the reality of their relationship. It’s a tough watch and consistently the most depressing portion of the show week in and week out. It’s doubly depressing when you realize that there is going to be some sort of magical cure at this point to fix them. There almost has to be at this point. There’s no way they can keep the damn brain-damaged guy around to build deadly secret agent toys. He can only stutter-solve so many life or death issues before you lose interest.
Coulson jets off to meet with Grant Ward’s bro, while Skye goes down to talk with everyone’s favorite traitor prisoner. Before this, they had done a really good job creating a divide between Skye and Coulson for the bulk of the episode. Skye acts desperate to know more about her father, Ward has the info she desires, and Coulson is attempting to keep the group together.
If you saw the previews for this episode, we were slyly led to believe that Skye would fall for Ward’s sweet talk and they’d both go running off together to find her father. I bought it for a moment or two before this episode proved me wrong. It would make sense given we need to fill TV time and we can’t spend that much time in the wider HYDRA/S.H.I.E.L.D. war that’s happening.
Anyway, Coulson meets with Christian and Skye meets with Grant. They both tell their stories about each other, and it is up to the audience on who to believe about the whole mess. Basically Rashomon, but full of espionage and guys with capes. We don’t get a definite answer on who to believe until the very end of the episode, but it would seem that Christian Ward is not as bad as you think he is. Apparently Grant Ward has been spreading lies about him all this time and is a full-on sociopath.
Upon hearing this, Coulson strikes up a deal that will hand over Grant to his brother for some sort of show execution and will take some of the heat off of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the UN incident that started the episode. He also finds out that HYDRA is pulling their little trap in Belgium, rerouting May’s team to Bruges to help counter it and save as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as he can.
Of course they’re a bit late. There’s already quite a few dead ones lying around and others turned to space dust before Hunter walks through the front door to spring the S.H.I.E.L.D. offensive.
Morse and May bust through some windows, throw some kids, beat some ass, and all is well again. Talbot even shows up to offer a handshake and a word of sympathy for all the fallen agents. Old soldiers never die, they just turn into space dust and blow away into some sort of weird Norse portal. Oh look, I just wrote the next Thor movie!
The episode ends with the exchange of Grant Ward between Coulson and the FBI, a.k.a. the dumbest part of the episode. This is a guy who is trained to kill, has escaped before, and is pretty crazy to boot. Let’s just cuff his hands in front his body and not do anything extra to keep him in place. Of course he’s going to escape. He breaks the bone in his hand or dislocates it, slipping the cuffs off of his wrists and killing everyone that was supposed to be guarding him.
Now we have Ward out there loose, crazy about Skye and holding a lot of information in his head. Was this the plan? Is this what Coulson wanted to happen? If not, it’s a pretty stupid development, and it makes me question the leadership of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their decision-making process. Jesus!