‘A Fractured House’
Hydra are up to their dirty tricks again in this week’s Agents of Shield, as the ever increasingly cartoonish organization frames Shield for an attack on the UN.
Yes, it seems that we’ve got a ‘filler’ episode this week, with all the mysteries set-up thus far (alien writing, Skye’s father, the obelisk) taking a back seat to a formulaic episode of “Hydra does something bad, Agent May beats them up”. With a weak villain – who once purported to have almost killed Hawkeye – the story is perhaps the most disposable narrative of this season yet.
Once again, the opening salvo of the attack on the UN has very little in the way of consequences for our team. After being framed for an attack on the UN, you would think that an international manhunt would be on for Shield and yet, they’re simply allowed to go about doing what they’ve always done.
As readers will no doubt be aware, I’ve been very clear about my feelings towards this season’s weakly plotted narratives. However, where SHIELD does fare better is in its character development and ‘A Fractured House’ is yet another strong showcase for its characters.
Like its title, this episode is all about the strained and fractured interpersonal relationships between several key pairs: Fitz and Simmons, Ward and Christian, and Hunter and Morse – who have the weakest subplot out of the three; the other two shine in their respective developments.
After reuniting last week, we soon realise that the Fitz and Simmons we see now, are not the same chirpy, cutesy boffin types we grew to love in season one. Now they actually have some complexity. Simmons wants to reconnect to Fitz but can’t, and a nice little moment when Simmons walks in on Mack and Fitz conveys the distance and new dynamic between the pair. It’s a strong dramatic showcase for the duo who were comic relief for the majority of last season.
But the highlight was definitely the veritable house of lies played between Grant and his brother, Senator Christian Ward. Throughout this season, Grant has been adamant that he’s been telling the truth, never once telling a lie to Skye. But then, when Coulson visits with Christian, the good Senator reveals that maybe Ward was lying about being forced to torture his little brother when they were children.
The wonderful intercutting between the brothers, as they accuse the other of laying a foundation of lies beneath their feet, raises some questions; who do we trust? Ward? His brother? Is Grant really telling Skye the whole truth every time?
Having taken a back seat for the episode, the alien writing makes a comeback as it’s tattooed onto an unknown man. Something tells me this guy isn’t doing it because it looks pretty.
Overall, ‘A Fractured House’ is a fairly bog standard episode with decent character development just about making up for the dull and formulaic plot.