Ever since the events of The Winter Soldier, things have been slowly coming to a head, with reveal after reveal, and question after question. Agents of Shield has reaped the most rewards from this, and “Nothing Personal” really brought things to a head on many fronts. All the while still making us ask questions, some good, and some bad.
As we left off last time, Ward and Skye left to decipher the hard drive, but with the twist that Skye knew he was Hydra. Coulson and the rest arrived at Providence to find it empty. And May had left to go find Maria Hill. So the main questions became, “would Skye be able to get away from Ward?”, “What were Coulson and the others to do?”, and “What was May look for Hill for?” All of these were answered, quite epically in fact, and not all in the way we thought.
The opening was just about as cool as it can get huh? With Hill (chatting with Pepper Potts!!!) about her experiences on Capitol Hill. This lined up well with Winter Soldier as Black Widow had to do the same thing. And how about that Man-Thing name drop? Could we see him/it in the future? I hope so! Anyway, May helping out Hill and getting some answers was cool. Both Hill and May are two epic female characters, easily on par with Black Widow, and seeing them together was fantastic, even if it was only for a little while.
Meanwhile, Coulson and the others had to find out what was going on. And all they had to work with were some small clips of video footage. This turned into a giant mystery that took its own twists and turns. Especially when both Fitz and Simmons found out what happened, and in two VERY different ways.
This lead to the best scene of the episode, if not the entire series in my opinion. The reaction to Ward being Hydra. Why? Because it felt real. Yes, we had the Skye reaction, but it was short and she had to clam up really quick to sell her cover. Here though, we saw Fitz literally freak out, going straight into denial about it, throwing out logic and relying on pure emotion. I’ve given Fitz and Simmons a LOT of flak, and a lot of was deserved. But this scene made these characters for me. Because of all the crew, Fitz-Simmons were really the only ones who could sell it this good.
Which actually leads to a curious question that some fans have been noticing. Is Simmons Hydra as well? If you think about it, it does make sense in a certain light. Some of her actions have been….questionable. Her resolve to put the alien blood in the database, her reaction to Hand when she was confronted at The Hub (if she was Hydra, she knew Hand wasn’t), and now some of the dialogue from this episode. Specifically when Fitz asked her if she was Hydra. She said no, but she also had a curious line as well that no doubt raised eyebrows. We’ll see as time goes on, but you know what they say: cut off one head…
The other cool part was the return of Talbot (played by Adrian Pasdar), who infiltrated Providence, with the help of Maria Hill of course. His scenes were simple, powerful, and funny. As he grilled the others for information and showed just how in control he was of the situation.
It was through these scenes that we truly got to see the fallout of the Winter Solider play out. Why? Because after the movie a lot of people had questions. One of mine was “Why didn’t Hill and Fury try and rally the remaining loyal Shield agents to take the fight to Hydra?” Which inconsequentially lead to “Why is Maria Hill working for Stark?” We got these answers, and more. And the answers were both logical, deep, and truly tone setting.
Ok, now let’s get to the crux of the episode. Ward and Skye. Their scenes were good on some levels, yet cheesy on others. Mainly it was obvious at points that Skye knew yet Ward didn’t pick up on it. And the reason he didn’t pick up on it was because he really does like Skye.
This raises the obvious question of “can Ward be redeemed and come to the light side?” Personally? I hope not. Because it would be yet another cliché that the show has fallen prey too. I’ve never liked the Skye/Ward relationship, and if that really is the thing that turns Ward around, despite everything he’s done? It would feel like a waste with all the great character development he’s had since he revealed he was Hydra.
Thankfully, their scenes were saved by Deathlok…which is ironic if you think about it. The character really got to shine personality-wise as he was allowed to talk for more than a few sentences, and show just how dark he is becoming. His actions against both Ward and Skye were both brutal and terrifying.
The ending was good, Lola freefalling scene aside, and again set the tone for the final two episodes. Coulson now realizes that Shield really isn’t there, and that there (most likely) isn’t anything he can do about that.
May’s return was welcome, and she brought news with her about the T.A.H.I.T.I project. This will take some time to digest, so I won’t spoil it, but it is both enlightening and confusing at the same time. We’ll have to see where it goes before judgment can be rendered.
In the end, “Nothing Personal” had many good points, yet some of the drawbacks really hindered what could’ve been a spectacular episode. Two episodes remain, and the future both literally and figuratively hand in the balance with them. Let’s see what happens shall we?
3.5 out of 5