The winter finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired this week, and it was as action packed and tense as any we’ve seen so far. You can check out Grant’s review for the episode here and read on for the final breakdown of 2015.
1) The Secret Warriors Kick Some Ass
After half a season of waiting, the Secret Warriors have finally arrived! For real this time! The fledgling team of Inhumans has its first real mission this week, and gives plenty of reason to be excited for the second half of season three. While we haven’t yet gotten a chance to know Joey very well, and Lincoln is still known as “generic hunk number 4” to most fans even though he made his debut last season, both characters get a chance to shine this week. Joey and Lincoln talking about their fear before the mission hints at what might turn out to be a big brother / little brother relationship between them, and Joey discovering he’s bulletproof while trying to save Daisy instantly made him one of my favorite characters of the episode.
In the back half of the season, we’re sure to see these three Inhuman musketeers grow and learn to work together as a team, and undoubtedly we’ll get some new additions to the team as well. Aside from the rumored appearance of Yo Yo Rodriguez, we also might see Alisha (the redhead who can clone herself) make a comeback. Even Deathlok might stop by for a mission or two, he seems like he’d fit right in with the ragtag group of superheroes Daisy now finds herself in command of. Obviously, the back half of this season is going to heavily focus on Inhumans. Aside from serving as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secret weapon against Hydra and their new alien friend (more on that later), the Warriors will undoubtedly be focused on bringing the newly freed Lash down once and for all. After slaughtering 15 Inhumans that were being kept in stasis, there’s no way the team will be able to let him get away. Lincoln especially will hold Andrew’s crimes against him, and might even defy the team to go after him.
2) Coulson Gives Ward A Hand
As a field agent in S.H.I.E.L.D. for many years, Coulson has killed people plenty of times before. Before Fitz invented Icers in season one, Coulson carried a big-boy gun, and obviously knew how to use it. However, Coulson finally crosses a line this episode that he’d never crossed before–a line that required him to step down as director before he’d do it: he killed Ward. Actually, that’s putting it nicely. Coulson murdered Ward. Granted, he had plenty of cause to kill the son-of-a-bitch, but instead of arresting him or even just abandoning him on the alien planet and hoping he never found his way back to Earth, Coulson killed Ward in a satisfyingly brutal way. After shooting him–which Ward didn’t really seem to mind that much–Coulson crushed Ward’s ribcage with his badass robot hand.
Even though Ward’s death didn’t exactly stick, that doesn’t make Phil any less of a murderer in his own eyes. After killing Ward with it, Coulson can’t even bear to bring his hand back with him to Earth, and the look he gives Fitz at the end when they’re safe lets us know that it’s going to be a long time before we see the happy and witty Agent Coulson we first met in Iron Man. We’ll have to wait until March to see how Coulson changes after killing Ward, but don’t be surprised if Mack is still the director when the show returns. Coulson’s a smart guy, and probably smart enough to know that he might not be in the best mental state to lead right away.
Seeing Coulson in a subordinate role again would be a refreshing direction to take his character, and watching him butt heads with Mack before ultimately having to take his orders would be pretty sweet.
3) Tag, Ward’s “It”
I limit these breakdowns to three big moments, but I’m going to cheat a bit here and talk about two interconnected moments from this episode, both having to do with It, the big bad alien…slug…thing. First, after he and Fitz become buddies for a little while and escape from Ward and his Hydra goons, it’s revealed that “Will” is actually Will’s corpse, infected with the alien slug after he heroically died saving Jemma. Later, after Ward is killed, we see the slug move from Will’s body to Ward’s, and of course the final moment of the episode depicts SlugWard and Malick’s meeting.
In last week’s breakdown I offered four possibilities of who It could take over to make its return to Earth. While Fitz and Coulson remained safe, two of the characters I predicted wound up becoming infected. Coincidentally, I said that Will was probably the least interesting option, while Ward was the most. I stand by those comments, as I still think having Will be infected by an evil alien is a somewhat easy way to escape the FitzSimmons love triangle that had been established earlier in the season. Ward, though, forming a symbiotic relationship with Maveth to become the God King of Hydra, remains one of the most fascinating possibilities for a villain I can think of, and needless to say I’m beyond excited that it’s happening.
Many users on reddit have theorized that It/Maveth/Brainslug is actually Hive, which in the comics is a Hydra experiment who manifests as a writhing mass of parasites and has the ability to take control over its hosts. This seems to make a lot of sense, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it turns out that Maveth is the MCU’s spin on an established character.
All in all, this finale offers a conclusion to an exciting half-season, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Until January’s Agent Carter debut, make sure to follow us on Twitter for all of your MCU news and features.