I had to stay off the internets yesterday because everybody was all OMG SHIELD SQUEEEEE SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER and I didn’t want to be spoiled. So we watched AoS last night and
OMG SHIELD SQUEEEE SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
Okay, not actually spoiler right now, maybe behind the cut, but seriously, that was the first really *good* episode of SHIELD. I wish they’d held off for a January premeire instead of September; I think they could have cut a lot of the mind-bogglingly slow and dull crap from the first half dozen episodes and developed the characters and storyline more strongly if they hadn’t rushed into a September production. Then they could have started more strongly and really hit us with this as a brilliant mid-season high point, but, well, for some reason Joss didn’t consult me.
I’ve talked to a bunch of people who watched SHIELD without having seen Winter Soldier, and they all thought it worked just fine and wasn’t horrifically spoily. We saw Winter Soldier first and then the 2 relevant SHIELD eps, because the movie opened here earlier than in the states, and that worked too. But I think it’s probably the most *fun* to watch last week’s SHIELD, Winter Soldier and then this week’s SHIELD as close to back-to-back as you can, especially since I came out of Winter Soldier going “I cannot wait to see the SHIELD episode that comes after that…!”
Honestly, I was actually white-knuckling it through the last several scenes of SHIELD. Like balled up on the couch with my knuckles pressed against my mouth, making alarmed noises punctuated by (okay, now spoilers)
punctuated by “FUCK, WAIT, WHO’S THE BAD GUY?!?!” and followed by “no oh no they’re not it’s not going to no can’t be no i don’t think oh wait yes OH CRAP OH NO OH SHIT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!”
Okay, that was the cryptic spoiler. I’m now going to go into real spoilers, after a big white space, because at that point if you scroll down YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF, DAMMIT. I cannot be held responsible!
Seriously, they did a super nice job setting up Val as the bad guy. I never doubted it. Skinny eyes, big boobs, that fake color in her hair? Obvs the baddie. But then I was like “oh no oh no not Trip don’t make Trip a Hydra agent I love Trip OH GOD HE’S LOCKING THE DOOR HE’S EVIL AUGH oh wait no he’s not oh thank god OH CRAP THERE’S VAL THEY’RE DOOMED SHE’S NOT GONNA CARE IF TRIP TAKES ONE OF HER EVIL EVIL HYDRA AGENTS WITH HER uh wait WHAT holy shit red herring WAIT THEN WHO’S THE BAD GUY!?!?!”
I figured it out before Ted did, partly because the lady (as it were) did protest too much and partly through a process of elimination, although I admit some of that was pure desperate denial (It can’t be May, it can’t be May, I mean okay yes it totally could be May but no it can’t be May!). I was really pretty pleased with that whole reveal, both the *convince convince convinc…this isn’t working, okay, fine, drop the mask* followed by the, “Not so much a true believer as seeing which way the wind was blowing,” which seemed so very fitting for the character.
And then they pulled a total Joss moment with the seen but unheard reactions: Trip screaming Garrett and Ward’s stumble, his absolute pure shock and betrayal, Skye’s supporting him, all of it. That was really, really beautiful, particularly after the Ward & Skye “here’s my vulnerable side” scene earlier. (Also: “You need to look up ‘boring’ in a dictionary” FTW. *laughs*)
(Last chance to stop reading before the final massive spoiler is revealed. Seriously, you’ll have more fun watching it if you don’t know.)
…and then the lady (again, as it were) protested too much a second time. “He was my SO, I should have known,” followed by “I’d like to turn that key myself,” I was like, “…no. No way. No way?”
Holy shit, OMG.
I’m actually a *little* crushed that they didn’t actually put the words “Hail Hydra” into Ward’s mouth, instead of that nod (I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts it was shot both ways, though). I think avoiding the phrase is their loophole for redemption, although honestly, I’d freaking *love* to see them drive that plot all the way into the ground and bury it just to watch what it does to the team, especially after the reveal that May put it together. That makes May fallible, which makes her betrayal all that much more interesting, and makes *her* redemption that much more possible…and I’d rather have her redeemed if I can only get one of ’em. Also because that means maybe Trip will become a permanent part of the team, and I’d far rather look at him than Ward.
Though I gotta say, I’ve come roughly a million miles along the Liking Ward road, mostly in the last 2 episodes. We got a nod toward his brokenness way earlier in the season, and it’s all coming out now. He’s a mess. And has fallen off his lone wolf who wolf alone path in a big way, and I’m really kind of interested to see where they go with him. Good job, SHIELD!