After the rather cornball antics last week, Agents of SHIELD is back on course with this episode that juxtaposes Ward’s apparent efforts to help Agent 33 come to terms with who she is (which involves breaking into a secret base to kidnap a HYDRA agent Ward himself shopped) with the revelation that not everyone is happy with the version of SHIELD that Phil Coulson has set up in the wake of the Civil War and Nick Fury’s (apparent) demise.
The Ward plotline is the stronger of the two, playing into audience expectations of the double agent in the light of what we’ve seen of him this season, but still confounding those expectations at times. I’m not so convinced about the treatment of Glenn Talbot though; he comes perilously close to being treated as an idiot, particularly in the “line-up” scene.
The new-SHIELD set up is immeasurably helped by the presence of Edward James Olmos (and to an extent Kirk Acevedo, although with his concurrent appearances on 12 Monkeys, it does make it feel as if genre show makers are turning too frequently to the same – admittedly good – actors). As Coulson himself has admitted, his version of SHIELD isn’t Fury’s, and an alternate doesn’t need to go down the HYDRA route. Meanwhile, the Skye storyline potters along with references to some of the rather better known Marvel Universe characters, in case anyone’s forgotten what this is meant to be tying into!
Verdict: Good to have Brett Dalton back on screen. 7/10