Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “Nothing Personal”

Whedon shows do like to string together their last few episodes into their own stories that bookmark the wider arc. “Nothing Personal” serves as the signal for the final endgame of season one to begin. Can Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D keep its run of decent episodes going even further? Will those rating stay solid? Will “Nothing Personal” finally be the catalyst for a renewal? Thoughts:

-We open on Maria Hill, whose going to have the most substantial impact she’s ever had to a bit of the MCU in this episode (let’s be honest here: she hasn’t really done that much in The Avengers, “Pilot” or The Winter Soldier). Anyway, her phone call here is enough to get us back up to speed with the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D and how former members of that organisation are moving into the private sector.

-She also namedrops “Man-Thing”, an iconic Marvel character who was apparently imprisoned in the “Fridge”. Are they planning something with him? That would be interesting.

-Anyway, this all just leads up to a showdown between Hill and May. The mystery over Coulson remains to be solved to its fullest extent: the identity of the ultimate head honcho is yet to be revealed. It wasn’t Fury, or Hill or Garrett and while it could have been Alexander Pierce them mentioning him here makes that unlikely. Who is it? I suppose the final answer was obvious enough, but I hadn’t twigged it at this point.

-Meanwhile, there is also a mystery at Providence Base. Coulson, Fitz, Simmons and Trips analyze the mysterious goings on that have been recorded and have no answers. I thought that figuring that out would take more time, but any sense of intrigue was sorted out very quickly.

-“Is there anyone left to give orders?” asks Fitz rhetorically. I dunno. The President comes to mind. I assume he had the highest level of control over something like S.H.I.E.L.D.

-Skye’s being clever anyway, matched up with the guy she knows is out to get her. She draws Ward to as public a place as she can, and passes it off well. She’s got a future this one.

-Skye has also been clever enough to leave a somewhat hidden message back in Providence. “Ward is HYDRA” she says. Damn, wish she’d said where she was going to. Might have been handy.

-Under the pressure of finding out one of their friends was against them the whole time, Fitz starts to lose it, going so far as to start trashing things, which was fairly melodramatic. A better moment was Coulson calming him down by trying to refocus his anger.

-The team finally figure it all out – well as much as they can – and are about to start heading towards Skye when the “intruder alert” starts flashing. Oh dear. Time to leave? Providence didn’t last too long.

-I think one of my favourite things about this episode was seeing Ward and Skye get closer and closer to that inevitable moment. She can’t keep him from realising the truth forever and he can’t hide what he really is much longer. They teased it out long enough though, and that was good.

-Operating on Canadian soil with impunity it would seem, the special forces of Colonel Talbot, with Maria Hill in tow, are the ones taking over Providence. Talbot wasn’t super great here, just a generic military tough really, but I suppose he has potential to be a bit more effective in future episodes as an outright antagonist.

-May literally starts digging up dirt in her mission to find out the truth about Coulson. At first you think that might be Fury’s grave, since she’s already expressed doubts about his demise. But no, it’s Coulson’s, and something’s been hidden in the empty casket.

-Talbot’s interrogation of the team is as generic as they come, right down to the “I’m your only friend” line. He’s just rather dull. And the moustache? Yeesh.

-Much better scene between Hill and Coulson though. He has some serious grievances against her that have yet to be addressed, and you really felt the anger coming through. For her part, Hill is a little uncaring, and not terribly sympathetic, at least not until they beat the crap out of the army guys.

-Ward and Skye’s little date can’t go any further. There’s a nicely bitter spewing of insults from Skye as the cops descend, but the outcome is inevitable.

-I’d almost forgotten that Deathlok existed amid all of the craziness of the last few episodes. Still in that terrible looking get up of course.

-His appearance, ahead of the vehicle in the middle of the road, has obvious visual allusions to the title characters first appearance in The Winter Soldier. Both of them being HYDRA people turned into weapons.

-“It wasn’t personal” says Ward when confronted by Skye in the plane. The clichés are coming thick and fast in this episode huh?

-I sort of loved Skye denouncing Ward as a Nazi. “A big fat frickin Nazi. You always had that Hitler Youth look.” Yes, yes he does.

-Skye and Deathlok share a memorable moment. The regret is sort of leaving Peterson’s voice as we move forward, as he seems rather (legitimately) bitter that S.H.I.E.L.D’s weakness has left his son in danger and compromised his position. So, he’s approaching proper villain territory.

-Interesting that Deathlok threatens Ward to get what he wants. I guess they want to establish that Skye still has some kind of feeling for Ward, but that really makes no sense at this point (what with the Nazi thing and all). Also not exactly boding well for HYDRA’s future as a coherent organisation, and there are definite hints of a Ward/Deathlok confrontation coming.

-Ward and Hill share a nice bitch fest as they stand off each other on the run way. It was a nice mix of genuinely held bitterness and stalling for time.

-Coulson sneaks onboard the plane and rescues Skye, but has made no allowances for Deathlok. Skye actually calls him that here, which felt very wrong. He’s still Mike Peterson to them surely?

-The CGI budget is well and truly blown on the red convertible flying away from the plane, or at least crash landing, sort of. Looked very dumb, and the “real” shots of the people in the car were worse. All set-up for a bad hair visual joke too. Good Lord.

-Coulson and Hill share one last scene. It exists basically to reinforce that S.H.I.E.L.D is toast, and Coulson will have no back-up on any quest to take Garrett and Ward down. We all know S.H.I.E.L.D will be back soon though.

-“Tell Stark I said…oh yeah.” Don’t worry, Age of Ultron is already being filmed. Coulson and Stark will meet again.

-Fitz and Simmons talk out by the pool. Fitz has some serious trust issues, with only Simmons gaining his truest form of belief. She still has to outright say she’s not in HYDRA though. These two, it’s going to go on FOREVER isn’t it?

-Still, it’s a nice scene with the team hanging by the pool, resting after the insanity and preparing for the coming tumult. It’s the deep breath before the plunge.

-The final revelation, I would hope, on the T.A.H.I.T.I project is finally shown. Coulson himself being the project overseer makes sense, though I suppose it does still beg the question of how he wound up being its final lab rat when he was so explicit in his condemnation of what it was doing. Also, other subjects?

-“Huh.” Pretty much my reaction.

Another solid episode, with plenty of great scenes, dialogue and forward progression of this dominant overall arc. Another fall in ratings, but only a slight one. There’s stability showing now, but still no sign of a renewal, which is starting to become seriously worrying. Two episodes to go.

To read my thoughts on other episodes of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.Dclick here to go to the index.

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One Response to Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “Nothing Personal”

  1. Pingback: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode Review Index | Never Felt Better

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