TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” Epi 20 – “Nothing Personal”

Written by Alex Bowman May 01, 2014

The end is nigh… this is the thought that keeps circling around inside my big, dumb head as our precious “Agents of SHIELD” marches triumphantly towards the end of a very drawn out season (which should have ended months ago). It all feels so surreal when a show you like ends its first season, there is no guarantee that the show may continue in a new season or be cast into the bottomless pit of cancellation. I’m hoping that this show will end on a high enough note to convince the higher ups to renew a second season. This week’s episode sure as hell did a good job of sweetening the deal, that’s for sure.

Ward is HYDRA

This week’s episode deals with Skye pretending to be head over heels in love with Ward but secretly is stalling so the cavalry can come save her. However, thanks to the elimination of SHIELD, the cavalry is busy with trying to convince the military that they are no longer a threat. Maria Hill reprises her role when she decides to help the team collectively stick it to Ward. Things heat up when Ward and Dethlok threaten Skye in order to get the leftover information about SHIELD she has encrypted on her hard drive.

“I’m not a Nazi”

My hat has to go off to actors Brett Dalton and Iain De Caestecker for their performances collectively in this week’s episode. In my opinion, both characters were dangerously close to straddling the line between memorable and forgettable character. Fitz started off as being the quirky science kid who had the funny lines and the inventions but his character lacked the one thing that could truly help us as the audience connect fully with him: emotion. Iain tries his best to emote when the scene calls for it, but it always felt a little forced. This week, however, Iain lights a fire under his acting ass and delivers a performance not seen in his character as of late that really cements the fragility of his character which makes us want to root for him during his struggles to grasp to what little he has left in the world. He has been betrayed by someone close and, unfortunately, all the SCIENCE in the world can’t help him here.

Dalton was a powerhouse in this episode; he does a really good job of portraying what I am going to term, the “onion” actor. He has developed a really great way of giving his character Ward multiple layers that have really been accentuated now that we know he is working for HYDRA. He also does a really great job of prodding us because now we want to know all the crunchy details: what made him like this, why did he turn, how come he can suffer all this physical damage but still look passable enough for a runway? All these things makes for an entertaining character that we want to know more about towards the end. Sure, he was the muscle, but now he is the muscle with an identity and that really shows off the writing department because we can see how all of these episodes are improving over time when it comes to the character development.

“I’m just following orders”

These final episodes are doing a really great job of showcasing how the breakdown of SHIELD is a reflection of the breakdown of our fellow agents. We see Skye give a great performance when she finally prods Ward about how he has the balls to be both a turncoat and in love with her. Sorry, Ward, can’t have your cake and fuck it at the same time. Smulders as Hill was a very nice addition because not only is she portraying a character essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place but she is still lying to Coulson about pretty much everything. This is why you should never become a spy, the lies become the mortar for the next set of lies. What was really interesting was to see how Dethlok is no longer Mike Peterson and has essentially become a massive dick when he realizes how intensely SHIELD fucked him in the end. I really hope we see some redemption from his character soon because this whole persona his character has created is really starting to become him sowing the seeds of his own destruction.

“…huh.”

The pre-credits scene where Coulson finds out it was the original Coulson that wanted to shut down project TAHITI is enough to get you hooked for the last two episodes of the season. With the characters finally starting to become real characters with real emotions and limitations we can finally see where the writing has been leading up to and how it has improved in certain areas. Next week’s episode promises to be just as intense because now, we get to see the real Ward and how he became another head on the Hydra.

My Rating: 8/10

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