Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Portal Combat

Agents of SHIELD Coulson Ward Planet

This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the gloves came off when a brutal assassination hit very close to home for a team member. Meanwhile, Ward reunited with some old “friends” in the course of helping Malick solve his portal problem.

Season 3A’s penultimate episode opened quietly enough, with Coulson and Rosalind rebounding, and quite well at that, from the professional drama of the week prior. (Heck, she even kept a matchbook from where they first went for drinks!) Alas, as they get to discussing Malick’s agenda and the danger in Ros  reporting for work at the ATCU, a bullet zings through the dining room window and punctures Price in the throat.

As Coulson fruitlessly tends to his felled sweetheart, Ward phones to taunt his former boss, about how it feels to see someone close to you bleed out. Ward’s goon squad then comes after Coulson, but he fends them off with exploding air freshener and such. Coulson makes his way back to the Bus physically unscathed but full of fury. After throwing things around a bit on his office, he switches into tactical mode, grilling all of the original team members about Ward and anything they know about him (which, for those who barely engaged in pillow talk, isn’t all that much). But Daisy perhaps steers Coulson in the right direction by observing that Ward kills “not because he feels nothing, but because he feels too much,” trying as hard as he does to “replace something missing” from his life. As in his last bit of family.

At HYDRA, Malick blasts Ward for nearly killing Coulson, for putting at jeopardy everything that their sinister organization has built toward over all these years — retrieving that Inhuman from the planet Maveth — in the name of silly “closure.”

Back on the Bus, Coulson tears into Hunter AKA he who failed to take out Ward a few weeks back, before recruiting the hot head and Bobbi for an “off-book” op, leaving Mack begrudgingly in charge as he sets out to “cross some lines.” Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons have accompanied Banks to the Distant Star facility, where the metal-controlling Inhuman forces Banks to gun down his back-up and then take his own life. Fitz and Simmons are then led away to meet Malick — and see their old friend Grant.

Simmons impresses Ward with her “Furiosa” vibe, then is quick to surmise that Malick needs them because while he has no problem finding and opening the portal to Maveth, he doesn’t know how to bring things back. Jemma refuses to give up the secret formula, so Ward leaves Fitz to listen to his partner’s screams as she is tortured. (For good measure, Ward also taunts Fitz about taking too long to make his move on Simmons.)

Meanwhile, Coulson, Hunter and Bobbie stage a bank robbery in the name of getting their hands on Grant’s younger brother, Thomas (played by Tyler Ritter). Coulson then interrupts Ward’s interrogation of FitzSimmons with a phone call to reveal whom he has abducted — as well as the fact that stone-cold Hunter is in charge of pain infliction. After Coulson hangs up on Ward, he realizes that there is zero love lost between the brothers,  that Thomas would very much prefer they “finish [Ward] off” if they have a chance. When Ward calls back, Thomas talks up his bro long enough for Bobbie to trace the call to the castle in England where they first encountered the portal.

There at the castle, Malick tasks Ward with leading their team on “the other side,” on the planet’s surface. When Ward rebuffs the idea, seeing as it’d rob him of putting Coulson down once and for all, Malick beseeches “the finest soldier we ever made” to put a pin in his bloodthirst and instead see that his faith in HYDRA was “never misplaced,” by making this bold journey on behalf of the organization’s age-old mission. Because once that Inhuman is brought to Earth, “We’ll be able to do whatever the hell we want.”

Fitz meanwhile promises Jemma that the only thing he’ll bring back from Maveth is Will, before he is nudged to take the leap into the portal behind Ward’s platoon. Ward himself then enters the portal… followed by Coulson, who after declaring, “I’m ending this,” impetuously parachuted down from the QuinnJet and straight into the circle of goo.

In the coda, we see Ward and his team start to drag Fitz around in the sandstorm, while Coulson sustains a hard landing, tumbling down a hill and cracking his head against a rock, no one there aware that he tagged along for the ride….

What did you think of “Closure”? And has there ever been a more succinct put-down than “You really are the king idiot”?