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10 April 2014 @ 02:10 pm
Agents of SHIELD  

I had to stay off the internets yesterday because everybody was all OMG SHIELD SQUEEEEE SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER and I didn’t want to be spoiled. So we watched AoS last night and


Okay, not actually spoiler right now, maybe behind the cut, but seriously, that was the first really *good* episode of SHIELD. I wish they’d held off for a January premeire instead of September; I think they could have cut a lot of the mind-bogglingly slow and dull crap from the first half dozen episodes and developed the characters and storyline more strongly if they hadn’t rushed into a September production. Then they could have started more strongly and really hit us with this as a brilliant mid-season high point, but, well, for some reason Joss didn’t consult me.

I’ve talked to a bunch of people who watched SHIELD without having seen Winter Soldier, and they all thought it worked just fine and wasn’t horrifically spoily. We saw Winter Soldier first and then the 2 relevant SHIELD eps, because the movie opened here earlier than in the states, and that worked too. But I think it’s probably the most *fun* to watch last week’s SHIELD, Winter Soldier and then this week’s SHIELD as close to back-to-back as you can, especially since I came out of Winter Soldier going “I cannot wait to see the SHIELD episode that comes after that…!”

Honestly, I was actually white-knuckling it through the last several scenes of SHIELD. Like balled up on the couch with my knuckles pressed against my mouth, making alarmed noises punctuated by (okay, now spoilers)

punctuated by “FUCK, WAIT, WHO’S THE BAD GUY?!?!” and followed by “no oh no they’re not it’s not going to no can’t be no i don’t think oh wait yes OH CRAP OH NO OH SHIT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!”

Okay, that was the cryptic spoiler. I’m now going to go into real spoilers, after a big white space, because at that point if you scroll down YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF, DAMMIT. I cannot be held responsible!

Seriously, they did a super nice job setting up Val as the bad guy. I never doubted it. Skinny eyes, big boobs, that fake color in her hair? Obvs the baddie. But then I was like “oh no oh no not Trip don’t make Trip a Hydra agent I love Trip OH GOD HE’S LOCKING THE DOOR HE’S EVIL AUGH oh wait no he’s not oh thank god OH CRAP THERE’S VAL THEY’RE DOOMED SHE’S NOT GONNA CARE IF TRIP TAKES ONE OF HER EVIL EVIL HYDRA AGENTS WITH HER uh wait WHAT holy shit red herring WAIT THEN WHO’S THE BAD GUY!?!?!”

I figured it out before Ted did, partly because the lady (as it were) did protest too much and partly through a process of elimination, although I admit some of that was pure desperate denial (It can’t be May, it can’t be May, I mean okay yes it totally could be May but no it can’t be May!). I was really pretty pleased with that whole reveal, both the *convince convince convinc…this isn’t working, okay, fine, drop the mask* followed by the, “Not so much a true believer as seeing which way the wind was blowing,” which seemed so very fitting for the character.

And then they pulled a total Joss moment with the seen but unheard reactions: Trip screaming Garrett and Ward’s stumble, his absolute pure shock and betrayal, Skye’s supporting him, all of it. That was really, really beautiful, particularly after the Ward & Skye “here’s my vulnerable side” scene earlier. (Also: “You need to look up ‘boring’ in a dictionary” FTW. *laughs*)

(Last chance to stop reading before the final massive spoiler is revealed. Seriously, you’ll have more fun watching it if you don’t know.)


…and then the lady (again, as it were) protested too much a second time. “He was my SO, I should have known,” followed by “I’d like to turn that key myself,” I was like, “…no. No way. No way?”



Holy shit, OMG.

I’m actually a *little* crushed that they didn’t actually put the words “Hail Hydra” into Ward’s mouth, instead of that nod (I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts it was shot both ways, though). I think avoiding the phrase is their loophole for redemption, although honestly, I’d freaking *love* to see them drive that plot all the way into the ground and bury it just to watch what it does to the team, especially after the reveal that May put it together. That makes May fallible, which makes her betrayal all that much more interesting, and makes *her* redemption that much more possible…and I’d rather have her redeemed if I can only get one of ‘em. Also because that means maybe Trip will become a permanent part of the team, and I’d far rather look at him than Ward.

Though I gotta say, I’ve come roughly a million miles along the Liking Ward road, mostly in the last 2 episodes. We got a nod toward his brokenness way earlier in the season, and it’s all coming out now. He’s a mess. And has fallen off his lone wolf who wolf alone path in a big way, and I’m really kind of interested to see where they go with him. Good job, SHIELD!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Brienzebrienze on April 10th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
I have no background with the comics, so the only things I know that haven't been in a movie/episode are from fanfic osmosis, which isn't exactly reliable. If Val is new, they did a really good job making her look like a human being based on a comic book character.


Is there any chance at all that when Coulson pulled Ward aside, he said, "Pretend to be super-pissed off. We'll send a Life Model Decoy of Val for you to shoot to gain Garrett's trust and infiltrate Hydra"? I'm with you, I'd much rather keep May and lose Ward, but somehow it doesn't feel right to me that Joss is doing a Faith with him.

I figured it out on the basis that there's no way it would be Skye, and FitzSimmons are irreplaceable, so it had to be one of the muscle (May or Ward) for Coulson's team to still be able to function.

Have you heard the casting spoiler about Coulson's cello player? *SQUEE*
kitmizkit on April 10th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
I don't know anything about Val either; I assume she's new-for-the-show, but I've never followed any SHIELD stuff in the comics well enough to know.

...that is a *very distinct* possibility, holy shit. Ooh, interesting idea! I luff it!

Yeah, I have heard the casting spoiler, and I hope it'll be wonderful. :)
Kate Kirbykirbyk on April 11th, 2014 12:46 pm (UTC)
Valerie Hand is, in fact, straight out of the comics. To make it even better for those of us who know, though, in the comics she was also played up for loyalties, working outwardly for Norman Osborne when he took over (replacing SHIELD with HAMMER). So that whole double-agent thing is in her backstory, making it not any easier to know which way she was going to jump.

Yeah, I'm frustrated that the start turned off so many viewers, but I hope it can stay this good from here on out. It was a very nice episode!
Laura Anne Gilman: more awesome than yousuricattus on April 10th, 2014 02:54 pm (UTC)
That episode hurt me in many, many ways.

And as a writer, natch, I've been spinning out all the possible ways they can go from here, and finally deciding that nah, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the road they choose.

For definitions of "enjoy" that acknowledge Joss Whedon's bastard-brain participation.

(I still want to bitch-slap Fury for about an hour, on Coulson's behalf, though)
rasmusbrasmusb on April 10th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC)
Spoilers in text *avoid avoid*
I was also flipping out when Tripp locked the door, but after the Hand scenes -- I was kinda back to thinking she was Hydra doing a strange double blind after the "learn to hit first" soliloquy. (Get them thinking she is a good guy, so Simmons helps bring down "bad Coulson").

I'm also hoping that they aren't doing a Faith with Ward -- but the way he was just zoned out while Garrett starting storytelling again ... not hopeful.

Then again with the whole I watched my Older Bro throw my little Bro in the well -- then years of the "go with the wind" Garrett -- he maybe more than a little emotionally confused.
Sinanjusinanju on April 11th, 2014 04:14 am (UTC)
I've seen a lot of commentary to the effect that OF COURSE Ward is just playing double-triple-quadruple mole and is still, or at least will be again, one of the good guys. That he didn't really kill what's-her-face.

I dunno. I had no doubt that he actually killed her.

I sure as heck hope he doesn't turn out to be a really a good guy after all. I want him to be a no-holds-barred, 100% committed Hydra mole who is now finally out in the open. (Or, alternatively, assuming they could cover up his murder of whats-her-face and the two guards, a still-undercover mole within Coulson's team.)

I want to see Ward be as absolutely badass as we've been told (repeatedly) that he is, but we that haven't seen. And I want him to do it for the bad guys. I want to see the team reeling in shock at the knowledge that they had a Hydra mole amongst them all along and never knew it, and to struggle to reconcile knowing that he did, in fact, have their backs at times...even while plotting to betray them all (and SHIELD as a whole) all along.
kitmizkit on April 11th, 2014 07:32 am (UTC)

it'll probably never happen. but WOULDN'T IT BE AWESOME?!?!?
Merlin Of Chaos: sad merlinmerlinofchaos on April 15th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
When they set Hand up to be the ostensible villain, I said publicly I would be disappointed if she was. I had pegged Garrett from the first episode he showed up in, simply because you don't waste Bill Paxton like that. You got him, let him be HIM. that immediately made Ward suspect,though I did miss a lot of the cluues they dropped.

I really want Hand to somehow survive. The red streaks in her hair made me feel like she was someone. Also wasn't her name Victoria?
Merlin Of Chaos: sad merlinmerlinofchaos on April 15th, 2014 05:02 am (UTC)
Yes I just looked her up and her name is Victoria Hand.
kitmizkit on April 15th, 2014 07:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, it was Victoria, I was conflating her and Valerie Cooper.

I ALSO suspected Garrett right away, but then they didn't turn him into the bad guy in the first episode he was in, which is what TV usually does, so I, er, forgot. :) I never thought to suspect Ward at all!
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on April 15th, 2014 02:28 pm (UTC)
Also, FYI, they haven't introduced LMDs in the Marvel cinematic universe yet. I think Hand is well and truly dead. (I mean, as much as anybody is in Marvel.)
kitmizkit on April 15th, 2014 03:40 pm (UTC)
No, although Tony mentioned one in the first minutes of Avengers. :)
Chris: Hercules90scartoonman on May 11th, 2014 02:39 am (UTC)
That's an interesting way to watch the SHIELD episodes. I love how close everything came together, though. Sitwell was just on SHIELD and then left them to go be on the boat that was hijacked in Captain America. Awesome stuff! The only thing that sucks is if you watch The Winter Soldier and then later on decide to watched Agents of SHIELD.