First of all, a big thank you to Danie for taking over last week, as I was unable to watch that episode until Saturday. Luckily, that just meant I didn’t have to wait quite as long for this one. A lot is going down in the world o’ SHIELD, and it looks like we have to wait TWO WEEKS for the next episode, so let’s take a look at the current cliff off of which we get to hang.
And if you don’t want spoilers, stop reading now.
A Fractured House: Recap
We start off with Talbot giving a talk at the UN about how they used to trust SHIELD, but that trust was abused. He doesn’t get far into his rant until a team of “SHIELD” agents burst in and start killing people. And nobody at home believes for a second that that is the actual SHIELD, but enough of the UN does that it creates a bit of a problem.
The real SHIELD team looks at the footage and starts piecing things together: it’s being led by a mercenary named Scarladi, the weapons they’re using to disintegrate people looks like tech from a Tashiro in Japan, etc. May and exes Lance and Bobbi go on a mission to Japan while Simmons stays on the bus to look into the files on the stolen hard drive from Hydra.
Meanwhile, the senator with “very deep pockets” admonishes Talbot, since he was supposed to take care of SHIELD and “they” killed people on his watch. Even Talbot is sure it’s not really SHIELD (change of heart?), but it’s still enough of a breach that the senator feels he has to take matters into his own hands. He is revealed to be Senator Christian Ward, which after a half second hit me that we’re dealing with Grant Ward’s brother.
Skye totally plays Ward’s emotions to get him talking about his brother, but keeps slipping and talking about her father – never getting any more than “let me take you to him”. Ward wants out. Luckily, they have him caged up pretty well.
Bobbi uses her charms on Tashiro to get some intel – mainly that Hydra is interested in a scientist in Belgium named Beckers. Unfortunately, Hydra receives a transmission of a picture of Bobbi and Simmons escaping their lab, so a fight ensues. Lance immediately leaps to the rescue, and the compound goes down very quickly and easily while Lance and Bobbi get to hash out some personal details.
Coulson steps up his game and meets with Christian Ward in the Senator’s office. He starts talking about Grant Ward, and everything that he’s said and done, and that he’s in Coulson’s basement. Christian starts talking about how Grant is just an onion of lies – behind every lie is another lie, ever since they were kids. Meanwhile, Skye is getting Grant talking about his brother – and Grant looks scared out of his mind. He says that Christian is a master manipulator, and will say or do anything to get his hands on his brother.
May, Lance, and Bobbi follow the trail to Belgium, but while en route Coulson figures out the real game – Fitz figured out that Beckers’ grandfather was a Hydra scientist, and the rest falls into place. Hydra isn’t targeting Beckers, they’re using him as bait to lure SHIELD out where, naturally, they kill off a good amount of an already dwindling number of loyal agents. Lance enters shortly after to distract them long enough for May and Bobbi to get in position, and they take down the Hydra team, non-lethally, so they can be taken into custody by the US military. Talbot and May share a moment over “it’s always hard to lose good soldiers”, and shake hands. Not even a moment of “I’m still coming after you, SHIELD”, just a genuine moment of gratitude.
Coulson and Ward face off. Coulson makes it very clear that Ward will never be a part of the team ever again, he is only on the bus because he was of use. And now he’s going to placed in his brother’s custody, because his brother is of more use. The laser grid comes down, the agents take him away in cuffs, and Coulson warns them not to give him an inch.
Christian ward goes on the air clarifying the distinction between SHIELD and Hydra – one was built on protection, the other on world domination – and that Hydra is the real enemy. He also confesses publicly that his brother (Grant) was a Hydra agent and will be punished for his crimes.
But, Grant Ward finally got a few seconds to do something he hasn’t been able to do yet this season – an action scene. He breaks his hand to get out of the cuffs and disarms and kills his entire convoy in a matter of seconds. Grant is free. Uh oh.
Zero sightings of Whitehall, Bakshi, or the Doctor this episode, yet their presence is felt. The Obelisk / Diviner has been weaponized into the Splinter Bombs which seem pretty instantly lethal with no way to survive if you are hit. Our team is pretty good at not being hit, though.
Skye is real interested in finding her father, and learning more about him, and I think the fans want to see that happen. We all know that large amounts of trouble will come with that meeting, but we’ve been waiting since episode one to know her history outside of just little pinpricks of detail here and there.
For me, the most heartbreaking moments of the show were the conversations of Fitz and Simmons. Imaginary Simmons used to be the only thing that jogged his mind enough to finish his thoughts, but Actual Simmons is the exact opposite. Anything she says just makes him clam up worse. She knows it, too. When Mack calls her on it, she just responds “why do you think I left?” For two people who used to be so on the same page, now they’re not even in the same book. I think it’s fair to say that FitzSimmons is officially no more, and most likely can never be.
I don’t know what to think of Christian / Grant. They’re both saying the same thing: the other guy’s a liar and will tell you anything. There’s a stack of evidence for either of them being honest or dishonest or manipulative, but the end result is that something is not what it seems. Now that Grant is free, there are a lot of paths this show can take – will he come straight after Skye to take her to her father (tell Skye I’ll keep my promise), will Christian hunt him down and kill him (I promise he will be punished for his crimes)…? Something big is going down, soon.
You can see the world weighing down on Coulson. He lost six agents in a matter of minutes. Hydra is taking every tactic to discredit him and SHIELD. It’s a fairly steep mountain to climb, but if anyone can it is this team.
Sadly, next week is not a regularly scheduled episode. We have to wait twice as long to get any new intel on our team. Next week, though, is a special about Marvel as a whole – from Pulp comics to Pop culture. So next week I’ll be reporting on that.
Until then, geek out!