TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” – “Love in the Time of Hydra”

Written by Danielle Sing March 27, 2015

agents of shield

In this week’s “Agents of SHIELD” episode, “Love in the Time of Hydra”, we’re introduced to Robert Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) as the director of the ‘Real SHIELD’, and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33 (Maya Stojan/Ming-Na Wen) return. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of a connection with the main cast, and the plot lines only grabbed attention because they contained crucial information. “Love in the Time of Hydra” is a slow paced informative episode with awkward voice dubbing and even more awkward romances, but it answered cliff hangers and Agent 33’s plot line was enjoyable.

The main cast of “Agents of SHIELD” took a back seat during this episode, but that’s not the cause of the disconnect. The cause is lazy writing. The characters have been repeating themselves the last few episodes, and whenever they mention Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) new powers or how things are changing in SHIELD, it just sounds like an entire retirement home of old couples bickering. Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) story about his father’s 1962 Chevrolet Corvette was touching, but giving Skye gloves to repress her abilities and hiding her in a cabin – to protect her and to protect everyone else – once again highlighted SHIELD’s difficulties with those who are gifted.

agents of shield

One of the biggest cliff hangers of the second season is finally answered in this “Agents of SHIELD” episode as the audience learns about who Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) have been secretly aligned with. Robert Gonzales is the director of the terribly nick-named ‘Real SHIELD’ and informs Hunter that they’re transparent whereas Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Coulson kept secrets. This could hint at more agents joining the ‘Real SHIELD’, as some – mainly Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) – is annoyed with Coulson for keeping secrets. It’s nice to see this subplot become a main plot, and I hope it will stay that way. However, this plot did cause the slow pace of the episode. “Who You Really Are” was also an informative episode but had a much quicker pace. I actually wanted more of Grant Ward’s (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33’s (Maya Stojan) awkwardness.

“I assure you, none of us wanted this.”

Ward finally returns after being gone for almost three months, but it’s a reminder that the past few episodes were better without him. The romantic subplot with Ward and Agent 33 was just painfully awkward, partly because Agent 33 took the face of two of Ward’s previous lovers but also because it seemed unrequited. Somehow their romance was more awkward than Agent 33’s voice dubbing when she was taking on someone else’s face. There is nothing technically wrong with the voice dubbing, it was just strange to hear Ming-Na Wen’s voice with a different face. This was made even more awkward when it was Skye’s face, and Agent 33’s choice to take Skye’s face to attract Ward was predictable.

agents of shield

While Ward and Agent 33’s appearances were awkward, Agent 33’s mission to find her identity was enjoyable to watch and slightly quickened the pace of the episode. After being taken from SHIELD earlier in season 2 and inducted by Sunil Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) into Hydra, she suffered an identity crisis sometime after the mid-season finale. Without anyone to align herself with and not knowing whom she really is, it puts her in an interesting position. I may have cheered when Bakshi was about to undergo the same process that he put Agent 33 – who’s name is Kara – through.

“Coulson and his secrets, that’s the threat. And I think it’s time that we remove that threat.”

It was nice to see the main cast of “Agents of SHIELD” take a back seat to allow for more informative plot lines in “Love in the Time of Hydra”; however, those plot lines were either slow or just awkward to watch. The most attention-grabbing plot line of this episode was Agent 33’s mission to find her identity, when it should have been the ‘Real SHIELD’ plot line. “Love in the Time of Hydra” was a highly anticipated episode, but with lazy writing, a slow pace, and awkward romances and voice dubbing, it fell short of expectations.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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