Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review – “Nothing Personal”


Tuesday evening’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. put the pedal to the metal. Compared to the previous week’s “The Only Light In The Darkness,” this week’s “Nothing Personal” gets…well, personal. Plus, the return of Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill is always a welcome thing.

Not-So-Short Summary: We open with Maria Hill leaving Congress and complaining to someone on the phone about the ineptitude of politicians. Also, we get Hill saying, “Who or what is a Man-Thing?” Not that he’ll ever show up on S.H.I.E.L.D., but it’s a great line.

Hill rattles off the undercover agents tailing her, until they all disappear and she reveals she’s talking to Pepper Potts on the phone. Simple name drops are enough to make us excited! May shows up to tell Hill that Coulson needs guidance and he won’t take it from her.

Let’s follow Ward and Skye first. They’re headed to the the diner where she met Mike Peterson back in the pilot episode. Of course, that’s not the location to decrypt the hard drive. But it is the perfect location for Skye to keep them out in public and tip off local law enforcement of Ward’s whereabouts. Skye plays it cool up until the very end, when she can’t help herself and shows her true disgust.

What follows is a great action sequence. Skye flees outside while Ward fends off multiple cops. Skye tries to get the cops outside to arrest her for being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but by the time they throw her against the trunk, Ward has shot them both in the head. Instead, she steals their car and drives off… only to encounter Deathlok.

Ward tries to explain himself to Skye once she’s handcuffed on the Bus (after punching and hitting him as much as he’ll allow). For him, none of this is personal. It’s just his job. His mission. Conning all those people who thought he was their friend was just part of the job. For Skye, all of it is personal. This guy–her S.O.–turns out to be one of the bad guys. The home she thought she found has shattered and one of the few people she thought she could trust turns out to be a liar. And a psychopath. Also a Nazi, according to page one in the S.H.I.E.L.D. handbook.

Seriously, kudos to Chloe Bennet for showing the fear, pain, frustration, and anger that Skye harbors toward Ward. Her headbutting him had me cheering from my couch. When Ward was professing that his feelings were the only real thing to come of his job and leaned in for a kiss, Skye’s utterance of, “I’m gonna throw up,” is a perfect delivery. Please, no Ward/Skye pairing. Please let her keep hating him. With the follow-up of Deathlok stopping Ward’s heart to get the location from Skye, Skye gives away the location to save Ward’s life. She saves him because she’s not a murderer, and there’s still potentially a good side of Ward left, though for the sake of story, I hope not.

Back up to Coulson’s side of the operation. Simmons, while trying to find pancake mix because pancakes always make things better, discovers Koenig’s body. Fitz discovers Skye’s hidden message of “Ward is HYDRA.” They don’t have much time to dwell on it because Hill shows up with Glenn Talbot to convince Coulson to give up and head to the private sector. S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer exists, so what else can they do?

That is, she tries to convince him until he says that Ward was HYDRA, he probably didn’t kill Garrett, and he has one of theirs with him. After knocking out Talbot and his men, Hill and Triplett stall Ward enough at an air strip to help Coulson sneak on-board and save Skye by strapping them into Lola (with Skye almost falling out because she didn’t have her seat belt buckled, much like Rogue in X2 (but Rogue can fly… I always hated that scene)).

The CGI for that scene wasn’t the best–remember, it’s television, not a blockbuster movie–but having a Back to the Future Part II-esque scene with the Corvette falling out of the sky because the thrusters aren’t working only to have them come on at the last moment and land Coulson and Skye safely in a valet parking spot still fit the episode.

Best One-Liner: There are two this week. Both are Coulson:

When Talbot and his crew have infiltrated the base: “If I come out, will you shoot me? ‘Cause then I won’t come out…”

When Hill is leaving: “Say hello to Stark for m…oh. Never mind. He thinks I’m dead.” It still surprises me that out of all the Avengers, Stark hasn’t discovered Coulson’s revival yet. (Season finale reveal?! I can hope…)

Badass Moment of the Week: It’s a tie between May digging up Coulson’s grave (for some reason I thought it would be Fury’s grave since she said “I’ll believe it when I see it” to Fury being dead) and Skye glaring at Ward in the diner and saying, “Hail Hydra,” after she turned him in.

Now, let’s focus on this ending… May shows up at Coulson’s motel with the flash drive from his grave. Revealed in it is who was pulling the strings on Project T.A.H.I.T.I.: Agent Coulson. T.A.H.I.T.I. began as an experiment to revive fallen Avengers, but the mental deterioration after time resulted in psychosis. He concludes that memory replacement is the only thing that works. Whether the psychosis comes from knowing what has been done to them or from something in the GH drug itself is still a mystery.

Now that Phil Coulson knows, how will that affect him? His resurrection has been revealed for quite some time now, but we’re presented with a new twist. With Samuel L. Jackson slated to be in the season finale, I can only assume we will get some solid answers. Until then, we will have to watch Clark Gregg slowly murdering our hearts with his performance as Coulson for a little while longer.

Ward is becoming seriously unhinged and it is both terrifying and amazing to watch. He’s so far down the rabbit hole of his own madness that it’s harder and harder for him to keep fooling the outside world. Next week looks like we will get a back story of his childhood and how he came to be rescued by Garrett. Back stories aren’t always the greatest reveals, especially for a character like Ward who has become so much more likeable as an evil villain, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come into its own lately and they may know what they’re doing.

I made no mention of FitzSimmons. Their relationship opened up this week and showed us how they work together. When Fitz overreacts about Ward being HYDRA, Simmons is there to help calm him down. And in the last few minutes of the episode when the crew is having a night off at a motel, their tender moment by the poolside speaks more than what I can write in a few paragraphs. Simmons’ hand on Fitz’s knee was so…perfect. Simple.

Side-note: Natasha Romanoff has been mentioned a lot in the last few episodes. Is there a chance she’ll show up by the end of the season? Does Scarlett Johansson do TV anymore? Isn’t there a secret guest star for the finale, or was that revealed to be Samuel L. Jackson?

Apparently I can’t count. Last week I said there were only two episodes left… now there are only two episodes left. The season finale is May 14. I checked Wikipedia, so you know it’s true.

Until next week! Hail HYDRA!