Coulson took a pounding, both emotionally and physically. He just can't catch a break.
This is the series' strongest season to date and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 9 perfectly set up the events of the midseason finale. I have no doubt they're going to leave us with a massive cliffhanger, making the wait until March 8 absolute torture.
Grant Ward is truly beyond redemption at this point. Do you think he's got to go?
The opening scene was a complete shocker, but brilliantly executed (pardon the pun). Though the fact Coulson was happy should have been a dead giveaway that things were about to go to hell. Rosalind returning to the ATCU and "clocking in another day of work" would have been the way to go.
Unfortunately, Ward nixed that option by taking her out. Since the big HYDRA reveal, Grant Ward has been the baddie we love to hate. I think he's finally crossed a line here. Brett Dalton has been terrific on the show, but I don't expect him to stick around much longer.
Calling Coulson to gloat was monstrous, but I loved that we learned later Ward dropped the word "portal" intentionally. Coulson was so easily manipulated, but I felt terrible watching him stare down at Rosalind's dead body. Phil proved he could still kick ass with the best of them though, and his extraction proved quite efficient. Boy was he pissed when he walked into S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Even Agent May knew to get out of his way.
The interrogation sequence was rough. Daisy's contribution was probably the most revealing. Sorry #skyeward shippers, she'll probably be the death of him.
Coulson: Sounds like there's a lot you're willing to forgive.
Daisy: I will never forgive him. He murdered Rosalind just to hurt you. He killed Koenig because of me.
Coulson: He knew once Koenig outed him as HYDRA he'd lose you.
Daisy: And the sad part is, that's when I finally understood him for the first time. The reason Ward kills isn't because he feels nothing. It's because he feels too much.
Fitz mentioning he felt Ward was trying to replace something missing was important. If he thought of Fitz as a kid brother, wouldn't protecting him be a better option to dumping him in the ocean? Then again, he dropped his own little brother down a well. Christian and his folks screwed him up, but Grant should have taken responsibility and stopped blaming the past by now. I guess we can't expect a sociopath's behavior to make much sense.
It wasn't a surprise Gideon Malick funded the project that sent Will through the portal. All the pieces fit nicely into place here. Did anyone else notice Gideon name-drop the "bones brigade"? That made me think of Crossbones for some reason. We know Brock Rumlow survived Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will return in the next film. Did Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just set up a connection to Captain America: Civil War? Is it possible Ward will pop up in the film? Will he replace Rumlow as Crossbones at some point?
Coulson Hulking-out on Hunter wasn't cool. I'm glad he came to his senses, and talking Hunter/Bobbi along worked for me. Too bad neither of them will get a chance to face off against the HYDRA villain. I will say Coulson's decision to make Mack acting-director surprised me. Not that the guy can't handle it, but he's come a long way from the team's mechanic. I'm glad he stepped up and proved himself in the end.
It was clear early on that Fitz/Simmons and Banks were walking into a trap. Mr. Giyera's an incredibly powerful Inhuman in a twisted Killgrave sort of way. Which reminds me, if you haven't checked out Jessica Jones on Netflix you're missing out big time. I binge-watched the first season the weekend of its release, and it's sensational guys. Do yourself a favor, watch it ASAP!
Yeah, I absolutely hated the way Ward toyed with Fitz-Simmons. It broke my heart.
Fitz: We're never going to help you open another bloody portal.
Gideon: Nobody's asking you to. See, HYDRA's been opening one portal or another for centuries. All it takes is a few stones and a building with just the right vibrational frequency.
Fitz: What's all this about then?
Gideon: The other thing.
Simmons: They don't know how to get back.
This installment was loaded with cool twists, but when Hunter mentioned robbing a bank I never expected them to kidnap Ward's younger brother. Wasn't it interesting the way Ward reacted to that news? I didn't even remember Thomas was alive, let alone that Ward had been looking for him. Coulson had the upper hand sure, but I knew he would never hurt the guy.
Using Thomas as bait was effective, it was tough hearing him say Grant was his best friend. The well incident broke Ward badly. I always wondered if he really burned his family to a crisp, now we know he did or at least Thomas believes he did. There was a lot of mobile phone smashing this week too, right?
Can you believe that psycho credited himself for Fitz-Simmons' newfound strength after dropping them in the ocean? Then, in the next breath he turns around and tells Jemma he'd never hurt her... huh? I've got to say, having Fitz listen to her being tortured was a much more effective tactic. Ward taunting Fitz about his puppy love was super cruel too. The guy is a total a-hole, there's nothing there to redeem. Most of S.H.I.E.L.D. has an axe to grind with Ward, but who will ultimately put him down?
It was appropriate the big showdown took place at the abandoned English castle.
Gideon: We're just about to open up the portal. I thought you might want to come and see for yourself.
Simmons: Anyone who goes to that planet will die. That thing on the other side drives people mad.
Gideon: Well that's certainly an interesting theory. Here's another, it wants to come back. And after all these years we've finally found someone to help us do that.
Simmons: I'll never help you bring that thing back, no matter how much you hurt me.
Gideon: Which is why we've agreed to stop hurting you, so that he'd go instead.
Poor Fitz really didn't have a choice, and swapping places with Jemma seemed like the right move. Hey at least her astronaut buddy will recognize Fitz from all the little video clips. There's still the question of whether or not the Inhuman on the other side and Will are connected. That's the impression the writers have given us, but it seems too obvious, doesn't it? Perhaps Will actually managed to outsmart the thing and survive. Either way, it looks like we'll find out soon enough.
I was thrilled that Mack added Lincoln and Joey to the team, effectively kick-starting the Secret Warriors. That fist bump with Daisy was everything, wasn't it? The team didn't see any action, but that's coming in the midseason finale for sure. Ward crossing through the portal with Fitz was unexpected, but a smart move on Gideon's part. Who will they encounter first, Will or the Inhuman?
You've got to admit, Coulson was pretty badass in this installment. Did you ever imagine he'd dive out of the plane and directly into the portal? Wowza! How long will he be unconscious and will the Inhuman find him? Will Coulson and Ward have their big confrontation on the other side?
While I had a feeling we'd return to the mysterious planet this season, I certainly didn't expect it this soon. Do you think one of our heroes will get stranded over there? We're clearly headed for a massive cliffhanger, but will it be a game changer? Share your theories with us below!
I feel "Closure" did a fine job of setting up the midseason finale. What do you think? Who will return from the other planet? Have you had enough of Ward? Your turn guys, please sound off in the comments below. Look for our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. round table later this week.
You probably want to see that again, right? Watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online via TV Fanatic at any time.
NOTE: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 10 is titled "Maveth" and airs on Tuesday, December 8.