Agents of SHIELD: Watchdogs – Teamwork (Review)

After last weeks tissue clutching episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Watchdogs brings back a former agent who hates “aliens” and the focus is on teamwork.

ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

After last weeks tissue clutching episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,  Watchdogs  brings back a former agent who hates “aliens” and the focus is on teamwork.  May and Simmons pair up to work to find Andrew, Fitz and Daisy join forces to battle the Watchdogs, Lincoln and Phil team up as part of the former’s evaluation and Mack (Henry Simmons) is thrown together with his brother Reuben (Gaius Charles) during an attack.

Hydra is still moving around in the background, creating a Watchdog diversion in order to get what looks like a big missile  at the end of the episode.  There is also a reference to the most recent Avengers “big screen” action (again) when a character moans about Ultron.

After Bobbi and Hunter’s exit  last week, there is a bit of unrest in the ranks of the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Mack takes a break with his brother. The big guy was all teary-eyed last week about losing two of his colleagues  and the two do not see eye-to-eye on the inhuman condition at all.

Simmons decides to teach herself how to be a better agent by learning to be more proficient with a gun.  Melinda May offers a few tips but ultimately tries to tell Jemma that it is not her fault. Simmons feels responsible for Andrew and for the loss of Bobbi and Lance.

Lincoln, who has been sitting on the fence despite becoming an active  agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is out with Coulson who still does not quite trust the newest inhuman on his team.  As Phil tells his reluctant teammate, Lincoln is the only person he did not vet personally.

The Watchdogs have been revved up by former agent Felix Blake (Titus Welliver) who is now connected with Malick and Hydra. Blake wants all “freaks” dead and has no idea that Hydra has just as many inhumans as his old agency of S.H.I.E.L.D. does. 

Daisy goes all type ‘A’ stormtrooper as she proactively moves against the Watchdogs after the group publicly implode a building using Blake’s technology.  She teams up with a clearly uncomfortable Fitz who does not agree with her “bullying” tactics.

Comic Moments:

The watchdogs implode an entire building. Mack, Daisy and Fitz go to the scene and find that the structure has been reduced to a big ball. Mack asks about taking the ball back to study.

Mack: “Do we take this debris back with us, study it?”

Fitz: “Uh, yeah, sure. If… if you’ve been working out. ‘Cause it weighs like 100,000 tons. It’s a building.”

Mack: “So… no, then.”

Daisy’s inability to pronounce, let alone understand, the neutralizing agent to the Watchdogs’ enhanced Stark weapon and her response when everyone else can explain and pronounce it. (“Sodium Hydrogen Acetate neutralizes Nitramene.”)

Daisy: “Okay. Thank you, Nerd Herd.”

Axe-Shotgun (Because despite the overall “coolness” of the Mack-made weapon it is funny.)

“Alfie” and Daisy’s reaction to the nickname.

Back to the Story:

The Watchdog episode is not about humor but about discord and the group remembering what teamwork really means. It is also about mismatched pairings like  Mack and his alien hating brother for instance.

May’s decision to hunt down Andrew results in Simmons helping  to track down Mays inhuman ex. Phil and Lincoln ultimately learn whether the new team member will work or not. Fitz nearly dies while working with Daisy.

A Watchdog is captured and after questioning, the man reveals that they had no idea that Daisy was the “big bad inhuman” on the S.HI.E.L.D. team.  The Blake driven vigilante group has gone after Mack, believing he was the alien.

Mack and Reuben fend off the attacking Watchdogs and bond as a result.  The rest of the team realize the Blake was creating a diversion and the head of the Watchdogs has yet to learn that his new ally is full of inhumans as well.

The underlying feeling with this week’s episode is a build up to a tie-in moment, or two, with the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film.  Phil’s agents are uneasy and disagreeing on how to handle things. In other words, a small screen version of what appears to be their own civil war.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also references another small screen Marvel series, Daredevil.  Whether this is a tip off to a cross-over event or just a TV Easter egg, remains to be seen.  Another underlying theme was the focus on the women and their strengths.

(Mad props to Elizabeth HenstridgeMing-Na Wen, Bennet and Simmons for knocking it out of the park and to Charles and Welliver for stepping up to the plate and delivering as well.)

CHLOE BENNET
DAISY/SKYE (CHLOE BENNET)

Daisy forcing the captured Watchdog to talk, May forcing herself to find Andrew to kill him and Simmons forcing herself to become a better, more dangerous agent who can take care of herself.  Strong forceful women all.  Out of the three, it is Chloe Bennet’s “Daisy ‘Skye’ Johnson who appears to be skirting dangerously close to the dark side, (See what we did there?)

Mack and his Watchdog supporting brother work things out after the Watchdog attack.  With the arrival of the missile and Hydra controlling Blake, in essence, along with  the discord amongst Coulson’s team, things look ready to fall apart or implode, like Blake’s weapon.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC.

Agents of SHIELD: Closure – Phil, Fitz and Grant

CLARK GREGG, CONSTANCE ZIMMER

Agents of SHIELD: Closure does just that. It ends the relationship between Phil and Roz as well as killing off Banks (just as we learned that he was not a nasty bit of work who did Rosalind’s bidding). It stood to reason that the whole Coulson/Romance was never going to last, the couple were too good together. Glib, full of double and triple entendres and obviously made for each other.

Grant Ward saw this and took steps to get payback for his loss.  Before the end credits roll, Phil puts Mack in charge, Fitz-Simmons are captured by Ward and Hydra, Grant, Fitz and Phil go through the portal, Mack makes his first hard decision as director and Coulson is knocked unconscious on Maveth.

There is also one heck of a great shoot out between Phil (Clark Gregg has never looked so great as in this brilliantly choreographed  sequence) and the minions that Ward sends to push his former boss to the limit.

The team sniff out Grant’s brother, the one he pushed down the well, and they use him to get a fix on Ward.  This is after Phil questions all the original team members who were taken in by the dastardly, and extremely messed up Ward. Brett Dalton continues to portray the HYDRA obsessed character with a splendid mix of angst and inner pathos that makes his Grant a pretty impressive villain. 

Agents of SHIEld: Closure focuses on both Phil and Grant in their personal battle to beat the other and the relationship between Fitz and Jemma (to further cement that these two were made for each other) and gives Mack the reins of command.

Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie kills it. He is becoming the voice of reason as well as the man who will “step up and do the damn job.” Kudos for the best “straight to the point and blunt” speech to new recruits ever. 

Coulson looked to be doing a Nick Fury and disappearing for a while, which he may be despite the next episode (titled Maveth it does indicate that action will now be taking place on “Planet Jemma” and not at the castle where SHIELD is taking on HYDRA) as he got cold-cocked by a huge Maveth boulder at the end of this episode.

BRETT DALTON

Grant after shooting Rosalind Price.

Grant kills Roz and sets up her right hand man Banks to die, at the hand of Mr. Giyera (Mark Damascus) who later tortures Jemma to learn how she got back. Although he takes matters into his own hands after he learns that Phil has younger brother Thomas. 

Phil enlists the help of Lance and Bobbi to grab the youngest Ward, which they do by robbing the bank he works in.  Coulson losing Rosalind has moved the agent to exterminate Grant with extreme prejudice and after letting Thomas go, the three head to the castle to kill Ward once and for all.

Coulson does a “Captain America” and jumps out of the plane with his parachute closed to nosedive into the opened portal.  The rest of SHIELD along with with new inhuman recruits Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) and Joey Gutierrez  and headed up by the new director, Mack, all rush to give Coulson, Hunter and Morse back up.

Outnumbered and outgunned, Mack gives brief and blunt motivational speech and they head out.  Back at the castle, Grant is talked into going to Maveth to bring back what HYDRA is desperate for. Fitz has agree to  go along to save Jemma and just after the two men enter, with a HYDRA team, Phil leaps into the open portal a split second before it closes.

These three men will obviously feature heavily on the planet, Phil, unconscious and angry, Grant too confident and Fitz; who is determined to save Will for Jemma.

Clark Gregg really kicked butt in this episode showing a steely determination and controlled rage that impressed.  Gregg is Coulson and as the figure head of the small screen verse of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the actor has stepped up, in Closure, and as Mack says in his little speech, “does the damn job” brilliantly.

CLARK GREGG
Phil takes Christian out.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC, tune in and see what happens on Maveth…