Series Issues: Agents of SHIELD 1×20: Nothing Personal tries to make a connection

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

Spoilers are included.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 1x2o: Nothing Personal biggest accomplishment this week is to give us a storyline that is actually watchable. It’s not an easy task, but it does manage to pull off some consistency. Fortunately, instead of resorting to a side quest like last week with the cellist, this time the entire team is in the same page.

We start with Maria Hill, Fury’s second in command, once again played by Colbie Smulders. She’s going into the private sector to work for Stark Industries. Her usual surveillance is taken care of by Miranda May (she probably used an icer) so they can talk. May is still loyal to Coulson. She tries to get Maria to help him out, telling him he is at the Providence base. Maria is unwilling to share anything with May about Fury, but May refuses to believe he’s dead.

Back at Providence, Coulson is trying to make sense of what happened. Fitz discovers a malfunctioning panel on the same room where Skye was. She intentionally left a hidden message saying Ward is Hydra. It’s Simmons turn as she discovers Agent Koenig dead. As the team puts it all together, Fitz is adamant that Ward can’t be a traitor but Simmons is one smart cookie. In one of the best scenes she’s ever had, she correctly deduces that Koenig was strangled with a wire (a garrote) by someone that had to be as tall and as strong as Ward. Fitz freaks out, and Coulson sends him to do some tasks to keep busy.

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

But Colonel Talbot is at the door, and despite the team putting some token resistance they can’t really shoot at the US Army. In walks Maria Hill, asking Coulson to give Talbot something to be happy about and let him take over the base. Talbot is busy trying to intimidate Fitz, Simmons and Triplett. It’s Coulson’s time to surprise Maria as he tells her about Ward being Hydra. Coulson and Triplett deduced already that means Garrett is alive, Victoria Hand is dead and Garrett has all the gadgets from the Fridge. Maria has a change of heart just as Talbot walks in. Coulson and Maria attack him and his men, with Coulson finally reaching for an icer and stunning Talbot and his remaining men.

Somewhere in a cemetery, May has dig up Coulson’s grave. The casket is empty except for a small USB drive containing a secret Level 10 report.

Meanwhile, Skye has Ward take her to the diner where she first met Mike Peterson in the first episode. She insists that it will take her time to decrypt the drive. She’s trying to casually make conversation as the dinner slowly gets full with policemen. As it turns out, Skye has turned him in. Just as the police tries to arrest both, Ward gets the jump on the officers and fights them off as Skye makes a run for it. She ends up stealing a police car when Deathlok appears and breaks through the windshield.

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

Ward and Skye trade a few subtle barbs back and forth in this episode, but I actually found Deathlok’s lines are lot smoother. August Richards is playing a lot more ruthless and focused Deathlok than before. Ward on the other hand, is seemingly ambivalent. Now that his Hydra identity is out in the open, Skye wants nothing of him. Ward then tries to convince her that he still has feelings for her. Deathlok finally intervenes, changing Skye’s mind by threatening Ward with a device that can stop his heart. She gives in. Is this the show trying to tell us that Ward is going to come back from the Dark Side at the last moment? Why is Ward still trying to connect with Skye? Why is the show still trying to get us to connect with Ward? Pick a side, you can’t have him be good and bad at the same time.

Ward limps over to the cockpit of the Bus but as he’s trying to take off he faces Maria Hill and Triplett on board the other plane, blocking the runway. Ward correctly assesses that Maria will not try anything hasty and does a vertical take off. It’s a ruse for time as Coulson has managed to climb on board the Bus. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use Triplett for that move? He’s the strongest operative that Coulson has at the moment. Hell, even Maria would have been more effective.

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

(Photo: ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

But no, it has to be Coulson because it’s Skye and they’ve got this mentor-apprentice bond thing. Anyways, Coulson finds Skye. She tells her they’re going to the cockpit to take down Ward. Skye asks him what about Deathlok. Coulson very wisely decides that’s way too much firepower and opens the cargo ramp to escape as Deathlok walks (yes, he does – you’d think with bionic implants he should be able to grab them in a second) after them. With Ward and Deathlok firing at them, Skye and Coulson climb on board Lola and drop out. Lola takes her time starting up, but finally they managed to land somewhere in Vegas.

We get some downtime around the motel pool as Fitz and Simmons have a moment where Fitz wants to hear that Simmons is not Hydra. Elizabeth Henstridge consistently shines as Jemma Simmons. Usually Ian de Caestecker’s Leo Fitz can keep up, but I find him a bit on the annoying side in the latest episodes. On the other hand, Antoine Triplett is steadily becoming a part of the team. Maria Hill says her goodbyes after letting Coulson know there’s no backup left for him to resort to.

But Coulson has one more visitor in his room. Miranda May, with something to show him. The last report from project TAHITI from the person in charge. The person reporting is Phil Coulson himself.

Highs: Simmons’ report of Agent Koenig’s death. Maria Hill. Deathlok had some good lines.

Lows: The whole Ward and Skye as some sort of twisted and tragic lovers thing. Ward trying to be bad/good or good/bad. Deathlok fires a missile at Coulson’s car point blank and we’re supposed to believe he misses because the car slides back. The cheesy green screen scene in which Skye almost floats away from the car as they’re falling. Fitz acting like a spoiled brat. Triplett has not fired a gun or fought anybody in at least the last three episodes. Let him do operative stuff.

Not a completely bad episode, but we’ve got two episodes left and still feels like the series needs to be saved from itself. So, Providence is done as a base. We got a break from seeing Garrett and Rayna, but Deathlok actually felt more like a character in this episode. If only his aim would be a little better. Yeah we can play at Mike Peterson having missed on purpose I suppose, but I’m done making excuses. This show could have been a great show a long time ago, and if there’s something more wasteful than wasting potential is wasting time.

That will do for now.

(Sources: ABC)

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