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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review 1.17 - 'Turn Turn Turn'
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 04.09.2014





Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The proverbial stuff hit the fan, as Coulson and the team met up with Agents Hand, Sitwell, Blake, Garrett, and Triplett to hunt the Clairvoyant. They found a man claiming to be the Clairvoyant, but it was only after Agent Ward shot and killed him that Coulson realized that perhaps they had been misled and that the Clairvoyant was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

Season 01, Episode 17: Turn, Turn, Turn

Garrett is cruising along on a Quinjet, reading with his feet up on the console of the plane. He gets a warning from the radar that he’s got two readings on his tail but when he calls S.H.I.E.L.D. for clarification, he receives no response. Garrett manages to elude the two missiles, which hit each other and explode, but then he sees the planes that fire them, which are also S.H.I.E.L.D. On the Bus, Coulson demands May drop her gun; she complies, and he and Skye move in on May. May says she didn’t change the plane’s course, that headquarters can override the avionics and send them wherever, but Coulson, Skye, and Fitz aren’t buying it. Coulson grills her about the encrypted line, and May reveals that she was reporting directly to Director Fury, but that she can’t reveal anything else, because she’s acting under orders. The team passes blame back and forth, and Coulson wants to know why Fitz was trying to set up an encrypted line, but Fitz wants to know why Coulson and Skye are keeping secrets. Coulson demands Fitz open the door, and he finally complies, and Coulson wants Skye to hack into the plane’s systems to find out where they’re going and why. Coulson wants to know who Simmons is talking to because she could be in serious danger.

At the Hub, Trip comes to check on/flirt with Simmons, and they try to ascertain what the cause of the lockdown is. Trip tries to find out what Simmons is working on, but she won’t tell him, and he accuses her of holding out when Blake could’ve used the GH 325 (or a derivative from Skye’s blood). She shuts the door and fills Trip in on her research on Skye’s blood and tells him that she needs to contact Weaver from the Academy for help. Trip says he’s got access to a secure line, and they prepare to contact Weaver. On the Bus, Skye says all S.H.I.E.L.D. channels are just filled with noise, which Fitz theorizes is encrypted data. They receive a garbled transmission from Garrett about the S.H.I.E.L.D. drones that are trying to take him out, and Garrett says he’s coming to them so that the Bus’ guns can take out the drones. Coulson shoots May with an ICER round and tells Fitz to override the Bus’ guns to give them control, and then tells Skye to decrypt the data so they know what’s going on.

Coulson puts the unconscious May into lock-up with Ward and fills him in on May reporting on them. Meanwhile, Fitz runs cables to override the weapons system, and Coulson prepares to take out the drones. Garrett buzzes the Bus, which allows Coulson to take out one of the drones. Coulson suggests another maneuver to take out the other drone, which works. At the Hub, Hand’s men suggest shooting Garrett and Coulson’s team out of the sky, but Hand says they can cross him off when he lands. Hand questions the loyalty of her men, telling them that if they waver, they die. Garrett lands on the Bus and Skye has figured out the basics of the encryption, but she needs to find the key to actually break it. Garrett is livid, wondering what is going on, and he tells Coulson that they’re headed straight for the Hub. Coulson blames Hand, Garrett doesn’t buy it, but the team fills him in on their theory about the Clairvoyant. Garrett talks about his past with Hand and seems incredulous that she could be the Clairvoyant. Garrett wants to know why she’d reveal herself if she were hiding in plain sight, when Skye cracks the code, which says “Out of the shadows and into the light, HYDRA”.

Coulson explains one of the major plot points from Captain America: The Winter Soldier - after Hydra’s defeat in World War II (largely at the hands of Cap and his Howling Commandos), S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded and they took in a lot of Hydra’s “assets”. Skye figures the encrypted message was the signal for Hydra-loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to strike, and they ponder how deep the corruption goes. Garrett suggests blowing a hole in the side of the Bus and parachuting out, but Fitz says that they have to save Simmons, and Garrett agrees because of Trip. They decide to formulate a plan for when they arrive, while back at the Hub, two of Hand’s men report that Trip and Simmons are unaccounted for. She sends them off to find the pair, who are sending the request to communicate with Weaver. Weaver warns Simmons to get somewhere safe and lock the door, and she says the Academy is under siege and that Hydra is taking control. She warns Simmons not to trust anyone, just as Trip locks the door. Simmons wants out, but Trip says they’ll be safe for a little while. Simmons wants to know how she knows she can trust Trip, and he pulls a knife, only to give it to her and tell her that if she tries to kill him, that he can’t trust her. He tells Simmons to try to get their friends on the line to tell them the “good” news.

May awakens on the Bus with a pair of fancy handcuffs restraining her. Ward grills her about her status as an informant, but May says that she can’t tell them anything until Fury gives her the go-ahead. Ward brings up their history, talks about May playing them, and May says she always had their back. May reveals that she may have had some feelings for Ward by yelling at him for protecting Skye when he says he shot the Clairvoyant to protect the team, but before Ward can respond, Coulson comes in and tells May that she’d better contact Fury to make things right. The Bus is being landed in the Hub hangar, and May tries not to call Fury with Coulson present, but Coulson says they’re taking out the Bus’ guns and demands she call Fury. May relents and calls Fury as Garrett informs Ward that Hand is the Clairvoyant. May’s call goes through, but it’s not Fury who answers, and she’s informed that Fury is dead, moments before being hit by a hail of gunfire. The rest of the team takes cover as multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. agents open fire from outside the Bus.

The team looks to arm themselves and Ward questions if Fury is really dead. Garrett says that Fury was he and Coulson’s SO and that he’s a hard man to kill, but he doesn’t think the gunfire outside is a very good sign. Garrett asks if there’s anything on the plane they don’t want S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra getting their hands on, and Ward and Skye exchange a look. Coulson and May assess their situation as he patches up her wound, and it’s clear that he still doesn’t trust May. May reveals that Fury knew Coulson would want her to join up, so he asked her to keep an eye on Coulson for signs of physical or mental breakdown. May knew about T.A.H.I.T.I., which wounds Coulson badly, he brings up their shared history and says he gave her a second chance, and she reveals that she actually put the team together, which allowed Fury to lay out a protocol that made Coulson think he was the one putting it together. Coulson wants to know why they were chosen, and May lays it out - Simmons was chosen to repair his body, Fitz to reprogram his brain, and Ward to help May take him down, if any of those things were necessary. She says she didn’t do it for Fury, she did it for Coulson, because she was devastated to find out that he had died. She says she has nothing to do with the Clairvoyant or Hydra, pointing to her gunshot wound to prove it. Coulson still isn’t buying it, saying May’s used his willingness to believe her against him the whole time. Ward comes in and says that they’ve jammed the hydraulics for the bay door, which will buy them minimal time. Skye finishes downloading all of the plane’s information to a portable hard drive and Coulson tells her to wipe the plane. She says she’ll need time, and Fitz and Garrett say they’re going to buy her some.

Simmons despairs when she can’t contact the team because of all of the interference, but Hand’s team bursts through the doors, guns drawn, and she and Trip are forced to surrender. An agent places a charge on the side of the Bus, and when it goes off, it drops the bay door, allowing a team to board the Bus. The first three guys in get taken out by a well-time explosive charge, and the next group make it through the plane fine, but it’s empty, as below a catwalk, there’s a hole in the bottom of the fuselage. Fitz tells Garrett about the Mousehole, which cuts through anything but never made it into widespread distribution. Garrett responds that the top agents always get the good stuff, which explains why it was used multiple times in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Skye gives Ward the portable hard drive and Coulson splits the team up so that they can rescue Simmons, but Garrett wants to go directly after Hand. Coulson says Simmons is the priority, which seems to chafe Garrett, and May says that she can help. Coulson agrees that they need her help, but insists that the cuffs stay on.

Hand questions Simmons and Trip, telling them that it’s only taken Hydra seventy years to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and that today is their coming out party. She offers them a choice - if they swear loyalty to Hydra, they will live; if not, they’ll die like Fury. Trip takes down two of Hand’s team, which allows Simmons to toss him back his knife to take one of them hostage. He says that if Hand takes them down, he’s taking one of her men with him. Hand reveals that she’s not actually Hydra and that she now trusts Trip and Simmons. Simmons is relieved that Hand isn’t Hydra and that she and Trip aren’t dead, but Hand tells her not to celebrate, because Coulson is. Hand’s team sees Coulson’s team on a monitor, but they’re surprised to find them coming into the room they’re occupying. Garrett is dressed in a plain S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform and he claims to have brought in Coulson and May, only to buttstroke one of the agents and take his weapon. He and Coulson quickly take down the team. Hand’s team reports that Coulson and Garrett aren’t on the Bus, and she redoubles her efforts to find them, saying they should’ve shot the Bus out of the sky. This sets Simmons off, and she and Hand debate whether or not Coulson is Hydra, with Hand revealing that Blake had his suspicions about Coulson and the other Level 8s planning a conspiracy, only for Coulson to send Blake on a mission that left him in the ICU. Simmons says Coulson isn’t capable of what they’re accusing him of, so Hand has one of her men list off Coulson’s numerous crimes. She makes a compelling case that Coulson is a Hydra sleeper agent, and Simmons seems to be buying it.

Ward and Skye drop into a janitor’s closet, and Skye says the room she needs is at the end of the hall, which is swarming with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Ward takes her ICER and says he’s going to clear a path. Skye says it’s suicide, and Ward says if it is, he deserves to die for killing an innocent man. He reveals his feelings for her, she admits to knowing about his deal with May, and he says he wants to take her up on that offer for a drink. She agrees, then pulls him back and kisses him. Ward goes out into the hallway, and WHOOPS SOME ASS, taking out all twelve agents while taking a few good shots of his own, including a gang stomping and getting his face slammed through a fire alarm glass. Skye reveals she’s not going to hack the system, she’s going to blow it up. May finds Hand on a monitor and Coulson and Garrett get into it again about how best to proceed. Garrett just wants to kill Hand, but Coulson says they’re fighting for S.H.I.E.LD.’s soul and can’t just murder her. Garrett lists off Hand’s offenses, but he includes brainwashing Raina, which Coulson never told anyone or reported. He realizes that Garrett is the Clairvoyant, and Garrett denies it at first, but he eventually admits it after Coulson puts it all together. A squad of agents bursts through the door, and Coulson demands they take Garrett into custody. Garrett tells them that he knows Sitwell was responsible for filling their ranks, so at least a few of them know what to do. Half of the squad turns on the rest and then turns their weapons on Couson, May, and Fitz, and Garrett says “Heil Hydra”, which the surviving Hydra agents echo.

Coulson and Garrett banter, with Garrett explaining that Fury must’ve found out their secret, which caused top brass to give the order to come out of hiding. Coulson questions if Garrett really believes in Hydra’s doctrine, and Garrett says he could feel the winds shifting, so he turned his sail. Garrett knows Coulson and May won’t switch allegiance, but he offers Fitz a high-ranking spot in their tech division, with the alternative being torture and death. A crying Fitz says that Garrett will suffer for what he’s done, and he says he’s going to be a big part of that. Garrett tells them to kill Coulson and May but to shoot Fitz in the kneecaps. Just then, an explosion turns off the power. Ward and Skye are the source of the explosion, and they’re initially surprised by how small it was, only for a second, much larger one to take them by surprise. The distraction is enough for Coulson to hit Garrett with a wrench and May to take out most of Garrett’s flunkies. As Coulson and Garrett fight, one of the Hydra agents gets the drop on May, but before he can shoot her, Fitz shoots him. Coulson tries to choke Garrett out, but Garrett reverses, which causes Fitz to save him by sliding him a jumping jack mine-type of ICER. Hand’s team bursts into the room and Hand says they heard everything and know Coulson isn’t Hydra. Coulson wants to know how deep the Hydra infiltration goes, and Hand gives him a grim look.

As the loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents round up the Hydra traitors, Trip lunges at Garrett, only to be restrained. Ward looks confused by everything, and Coulson pulls him away to tell him about Garrett. Ward looks shellshocked while Skye looks concerned for him. In the Situation Room, Hand tells Coulson most of the ending of The Winter Soldier and they try to determine their best course of action going forward. Hand says she’s going to Fridge to keep it secure, and that Garrett will be going to the “smallest, darkest cell in the Icebox”. Ward says he wants to turn the key on that cell, and Hand agrees to let him go with her. Ward blames himself for not knowing, but Coulson says that even he didn’t know. Ward says he wants to see Garrett suffer. She tells Coulson to stay at the Hub and pick up the pieces, and gives him a secure phone to communicate. She says they’re the highest ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who aren’t Hydra or dead, and all that they have is each other. Hand, Ward, and two agents escort Garrett to a waiting transport, and Ward gives Coulson a nod. On the Bus, the team tries to come to grips with the situation, and Coulson tells Skye to bring the plane’s firmware back online. He orders FitzSimmons to get a crew together to help May patch the holes. May is surprised that Coulson still wants her on board, and he says that she’s not a friend, but she’s an ally, and they need all the allies that they can get.

On the transport, Hand says that the Icebox and Fridge are too comfortable for Garrett, and she thinks they need to put him deeper in the ground. She asks Ward if he wants to shoot the right Clairvoyant, and Ward stands up, loads his sidearm, and shoots both of Hand’s agents in the head before shooting Ward in the stomach. He puts two more presumably into her head and gives a smiling Garrett the same nod that he gave Coulson. Garrett tells one of his stories as Ward sits over the dead/dying Hand. Ward isn’t paying attention and seems like he might genuinely be bothered by what he’s done, only to look up with a cold look in his eyes.

Weekly Whedon-isms

“Was this an order? To shoot me in the bloody head?”

“But hey, if we get questioned, let me talk - you’re a surprisingly bad liar, Agent Simmons.” “I know, but I’m getting better at it.”

“She’s a sleeper - I mean, the other kind of sleeper.”

“Cut off the head and two more take its place.” “I thought that was the tail.” “No, no, it’s definitely the head.”

“You know what this means…” “Yeah, we’re screwed.”

“You’re the one who works with the zombie robot back from the dead - take it. If you try to kill me with it, I’ll know that I can’t trust you.”

“This’ll be safer in your hands - you haven’t showed me how to hold up under torture yet.” “We’ll get to that.”

“There’s like a hundred guys out there.” “Twelve.”

“You really need to look up ‘boring’ in the dictionary.” “You ready to hack the system?” “Who said anything about hacking?”

“Fury would bury you for this.” “Probably, but instead he’ll just have to roll over in his grave.”

“Phil, this is me being honest.” “No, John, this is you being a psychopath.”

“What are we planning to do next?” “Survive.”

Reader Referendum

One of our readers may’ve jumped the gun a bit after seeing The Winter Soldier, but let’s let Jack Revenge have his moment, shall we? But be warned, there are SPOILERS AHOY:

*WINTER SOLDIER SPOILER ALERT*
Go back a few episode recaps. I think I can claim that I called who the Clairvoyant is.
"The question to ask ourselves is... "Who could be the Clairvoyant who would be interested in basically resurrection technology/methods?" My far-fetched theory of the day is someone wants to bring back the Red Skull. This could lead the Clairvoyant to being Arnim Zola. Toby Jones plays him in both Captain America: The First Avenger and also in the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier."


Yes, Arnim Zola played a role in The Winter Soldier, but it turns out he wasn’t the Clairvoyant at all, nor was he even a factor in this episode. Still, though, prior to this week’s episode airing, I tended to agree with Jack, figuring Zola had access to the internet, so he probably had spread his consciousness elsewhere.

Also, the spoiler issue has been decided. Spoilers about casting and other Marvel-related information will be included in this column, but they’ll be preceded by a warning and/or disclaimer. In fact, I’m thinking perhaps I’ll create a section specifically for that.

Theory of the Week

Two theories in the form of questions this week. Firstly, what if Ward is a sleeper agent for Coulson and Hand? While the previews certainly don’t seem to make that the case, there’s definitely a possibility that he, Coulson, and Hand concocted the “prison break” scenario from the end of this episode to get Ward inside with Garrett and round up the rest of his loose ends. I’d say the odds on this one are astronomically high in favor of it being a complete reach on my part, but stranger things have happened. There’s also the possibility that Ward will be the team member to die this season in Whedon fashion, more than likely by a pang of conscience that gets him put down by Garrett or causes him to hesitate in a crucial moment while face-to-face with one or more members of Coulson’s team.

Secondly, with all of Coulson’s team’s knowledge at his disposal, will Garrett be the one to unleash the Masters of Evil, since that seems like a pretty significant part of the build for the early part of this season? Maybe he goes to get the Gravitonium and accidentally released Hall/Graviton, or he gets Donnie to be his Fitz since Fitz turned down the invitation, and only finds out after the fact that Donnie has the blizzard powers? Just some possibilities.

---

Maybe it’s just me, but this episode was a bit of a letdown. Granted, over the past seven days*, I’ve watched the best episode of this series to date and my favorite of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, as well as an amazingly emotional Wrestlemania and one of the best episodes of Monday Night RAW that I can remember, but this episode felt a little flat. Even more than that, it felt somewhat predictable. Between May not truly betraying the team, Garrett being revealed as the Clairvoyant, and Ward betraying the team, nothing really felt all that surprising, although I wasn’t expecting Ward to put Hand down after shooting her non-fatally the first time.

The one aspect of this episode that I felt was superbly done, though, was the “who can we trust” theme - whether it was Coulson and Skye not trusting May, May shifting that blame onto Fitz (even momentarily), Simmons not trusting Triplett, Garrett, Coulson, and the team not trusting Hand, Hand not trusting Coulson…THIS is what a show about an espionage agency should be like, I think, especially in the wake of the revelations from The Winter Soldier.

Speaking of, I hope everyone saw that particular film before watching this episode, or a huge chunk of that movie was spoiled for you. Without getting into too much detail, I’ll just say that it’s my favorite MCU film, narrowly edging out The Avengers, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk. Incredibly well-paced with fantastic action sequences, Captain America: The Winter Soldier overachieved, going from “comic book movie” to “espionage thriller based on a comic book property”. You could’ve easily taken out the Marvel characters and inserted James Bond or Jason Bourne into the story and it still would’ve worked (minus the supersoldier stuff, obviously). Hell, rewrite Fury as a teenage girl and The Winter Soldier as a random, non-powered Eastern European, and you’ve got the plot for Taken 3. Instead, we got a damned good superhero movie about one of my favorite characters and Chris Evans finally felt as right for the part of Steve Rogers/Captain America as Robert Downey Jr always has for Tony Stark. (Not saying Evans was bad before, just the opposite, but it’s rare that you get the synergism between actor and character that we’ve seen with Downey and Stark.)

At any rate, I mentioned in the Theory of the Week last week that Garrett could easily be the Clairvoyant, and while I’m actually impressed that they’d make the most interesting character on the show its big bad, I’m glad that Ward turned on the team and prevented Garrett from making it to the Fridge (potentially to never be seen again). Also, they avoided the predictable Ward/Skye romance angle until “Yes Men”, only to quickly abandon it in favor of making Ward bad as well. If you look around the internet, you’ll see that Ward has been easily the most criticized aspect of this show for both his lack of characterization and also for the fact that he’s superfluous on a team that features Melinda May. They’ve finally started to give him some personality over the past four or five episodes, only to abandon it and make him a traitor. I guess what I’m saying is that they didn’t make us care enough about Ward to make his defection really seem as major as it should’ve been, but rather than taking steps in that direction to make us care, they just opted for the heel turn reboot of the character. As long as they don’t use the uber-cliched “love brings him back to the side of good” storyline, I won’t complain too much, as a bad Ward is infinitely more interesting than a bland one.

Also, with Ward presumably having the hard drive from Skye with all of the teams secrets, that opens up a whole world of potential for these home stretch episodes, some of which were touched on in the previews for next week’s episode. Overall, I’d say this show is right in the second-half average range - better than the first handful of episodes, but still not as good as ‘T.R.A.C.K.S.’ or ‘End of the Beginning’, and thankfully, there are enough different hooks coming out of this episode that it’s hard to believe this show is going to get boring down the stretch.

Update: After watching this episode a second time, I think I was a little harsh on it. I stand by all of my criticisms; however, there were a lot of little things that I missed yesterday - Garrett trying so hard to get Coulson to just kill Hand, Garrett “informing” Ward that Coulson presumed that Hand was the Clairvoyant, a couple of little hints that maybe Ward wasn’t quite on the up-and-up...there was actually a lot of foreshadowing that I somehow missed yesterday, and I think perhaps I predisposed myself to be disappointed by this episode before it ever aired. I’ve actually bumped up the score by a couple tenths of a point.

*Eight or nine days by the time you read this


The 411: Overall, this week’s episode feels like a disappointment, but, with the one-two punch of last week’s episode and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that’s probably more me than anything. Fortunately, the show still has another five episodes to see where this thing goes, and there’s are a whole slew of options from here, so I’m not all that upset about the perceived step backwards in quality.
 
Final Score:  8.4   [ Very Good ]  legend





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