Thursday, December 3, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: “Closure” (3x09)

Last week provided us with some new, exciting information on several plot points. How will this affect our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agents? Let's find out.

Spoilers! I'd also like to remind our readers that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. contains PG-13 level violence. Trigger warning for suicide.

The episode begins with Coulson and Rosalind, who are finally getting to eat burgers together and enjoy a quite evening at home. They banter a bit, particularly about a matchbook that Rosalind has that’s from the place they had their first drink. Overall, Coulsalind is happy. They’ve resolved their unease with each other after the revelation that Rosalind really didn’t know she was working for Hydra. They discuss the situation and how Malick has removed all the Inhumans from the ATCU base. Rosalind then reveals that she’s planning to go back undercover into the ATCU, despite Coulson’s protests. He asks her what her plan is, and she starts to tell him. Mid-sentence, a bullet comes through the window and hits Rosalind in the throat. The camera shows us the shooter: Ward, who has a chilling look in his eyes.

Cue opening credits.

When we return, Rosalind is dead, and Coulson is covered in her blood. Ward calls Coulson to chat about it. Coulson suspects that Ward killed Rosalind so she wouldn’t try to stop Malick, but Ward corrects him: Ward shot her as revenge against Coulson.

Coulson texts S.H.I.E.L.D. asking for backup. Ward sends men to kill Coulson, whom he battles hand-to-hand. He uses Rosalind’s matchbook, some air freshener, and some candles to improvise a bomb. Coulson and the men exchange gunfire, then Coulson jumps out a window and lands on some trash bags. (They missed the opportunity to include a Matt Murdock cameo here. I’m so sad.) Mack pulls up in a truck and whisks Coulson away, asking about Rosalind. Coulson just tells him to drive.
Coulson walks through the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, haunted, as his team looks on. He goes to his office where he takes off his bloody shirt. Rosalind’s matchbook, a memento she kept of their relationship, falls to the ground. Elsewhere in the base, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents hear pounding noises and exchange worried looks.

Coulson and May convene to discuss finding Ward’s weakness and trying to remember every detail about him. Coulson talks to his whole team about their respective relationships with Ward. Fitz says that he and Ward were like brothers, but it always felt like Ward was trying to replace something in his life with Fitz. Jemma remembers how she laughed at all of Ward’s jokes and was infatuated with him, something which she regrets.

Finally, Coulson talks to Daisy. She says that in some twisted way, she and Ward related because of their messed up childhoods. She says that somehow, Ward’s love for her wasn’t an act. She says she’ll never forgive him, but she does understand him--Ward doesn’t kill because he feels nothing. He kills because he feels too much.

Banks has arrived on base, and Jemma and Fitz talk to him about Distant Star Pathfinder, the space program from NASA that Will was involved in. Banks and Rosalind had involvement in it as well, and Banks decides to help Fitzsimmons dig into it.

Ward returns to his evil headquarters. Malick and Ward clash over their different goals--Ward’s desire to kill Coulson vs. Malick’s view of the bigger picture. Malick has five stones from the monolith--mini-monoliths, if you will--and he’s going to try to open a portal. He wants to bring back the dangerous Inhuman, the one that drove people insane and also goes by the name of “Death.” However, Malick has some concerns--he doesn’t want Ward to get so caught up in his revenge mission that he jeopardizes Malick’s mission to get to the blue planet. Ward says this won’t happen, since he knows Coulson better than he knows himself.

Back on base, Coulson pins Hunter against a wall, blaming him for not shooting Ward, which led to Rosalind’s death. Hunter apologizes for this, but Coulson says it’s his own fault for letting Ward on the team in the first place. Coulson says he wants to track down and kill Ward once and for all, but he’ll have to go “off-books.” He asks Hunter and Bobbi to join him, saying they’ll cross some lines that the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. shouldn’t cross. (Uh-oh.)

Coulson informs Mack of this, and of course, Mack isn’t thrilled. However, Coulson asks Mack to stand in as acting director. Mack is reluctant, but Coulson tells him to step up and “do the damn job.”

Jemma and Fitz are at the Distant Star Pathfinder facility in cute matching outfits. Jemma tells Fitz it’s irresponsible to open a portal after the information about Hydra has come to light. Fitz actually defends Will, though, saying they need to get him back. Jemma says it’s selfish for her to want to bring Will back when it could harm other people. Jemma is interrupted by gunshots. Banks has apparently killed the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but he looks at them, terrified, saying it isn’t him. Slowly, the gun in his hand turns around to shoot himself. Out of the shadows walks Giyera, the guy from last episode who used levitating weapons to attack Hunter and Bobbi. He’s working for Malick.

Coulson and Hunter begin to plan the mission, which apparently involves robbing a bank. Coulson tells Hunter that no options are ruled out. Coulson is becoming a dangerous man.

Giyera takes Fitzsimmons to Malick, who asks them to tell him how to get back from the blue planet. They refuse. Malick asks Ward for suggestions. He says to split them up.

Daisy and the new Acting Director argue about whether to go after Fitzsimmons. Mack decides to call Coulson and ask him his opinion. Upon hearing that Fitzsimmons has been kidnapped, Coulson realizes that he sent them both into Ward’s trap. He throws his phone with anger at this revelation. They continue on with their mission, which includes robbing a bank and kidnapping a man.

Ward has a tense conversation with Jemma, saying that he’d never hurt her. (Lies! You threw her into the ocean!) Instead, Ward sends Giyera to hurt her, who ominously starts levitating tools of torture. After this, Ward goes to Fitz. Instead of physically torturing Fitz, he makes him listen to Jemma’s screams.

Back on the plane, it’s revealed that the guy Coulson, Bobbi, and Hunter kidnapped is Ward’s brother, Thomas. In the midst of torturing Fitzsimmons, Ward gets a call from Coulson. Coulson shows Ward that they have his brother through a live video feed. Hunter puts a gun to Thomas’ head, then Coulson hangs up.

Surprisingly enough, Thomas agrees to help them draw Ward out if they are able to finish him off once and for all. Thomas says that he and Ward were close before Ward put him in the well. Bobbi suggests that they have Thomas call Ward--if they manage to stay on the call long enough, they can trace the call. Thomas calls Ward, and they have a painful, emotional conversation. They discover Ward’s location to be at the England castle the S.H.I.E.L.D. team visited a few episodes back. Ward realizes that they’ve located him and ends the call. He’s so angry about this that he goes to torture Jemma himself, who screams while Fitz listens in terror.

Coulson, Hunter, and Bobbi let Thomas go, assigning a security detail to him. Thomas asks Bobbi if Coulson really would have gone through with killing him--a question that Bobbi doesn’t answer.

Back on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s base, Mack is looking at Dr. Garner’s evaluation of Lincoln. He asks May’s opinion, and she says that they don’t know if the evaluation is Garner’s or Lash’s. They end up discussing Coulson’s mission, and May suggests Mack send back up. Mack isn’t sure what to do, but May tells him that she thinks he already knows.

Jemma says she’ll never tell Ward about how she got back from the blue planet and that he’ll have to hurt or kill her first. Ward reveals that Fitz has agreed to go to the planet instead, in exchange for Ward’s agreement to stop hurting Jemma.

Acting Director Mack is arranging a team to be Coulson’s backup: he’s asked Lincoln and Joey to be a part of the team since powered people have more of an advantage than his human agents. Despite all the debate about the stability of Inhumans, Mack has cleared them himself to be in the field. He expresses to them how dangerous the mission is, which makes them nervous. Mack gives them a speech, echoing Coulson’s words to him earlier to “do the damn job,” and Lincoln and Joey do agree to help. It looks like Daisy is getting the beginning of her Secret Warriors after all.

Let me just say this: I. Love. Director. Mack.
"Nice speech, director." (source)
Bobbi brings up her concern to Coulson about the way he’s acting. She’s worried that he’s not keeping his emotions in check. Coulson believes that keeping his emotions in check is what led them to this point--due to the way he kept giving Ward second chances. This time, he wants to put down Ward once and for all.

In the Evil HQ, Malick tells Ward that he wants Ward to go down to the blue planet and lead his men there. Malick name drops both Alexander Pierce and John Garrett, members of Hydra who have failed him. He believes that Ward won’t fail him, and he wants Ward to help fulfill the goal Hydra has been working towards for centuries. Ward is reluctant, but it’s clear that he’s considering it.

Jemma pleads with Fitz to stay, but Fitz refuses. He tells her that he’s not strong enough to live in a world without her in it. (This broke my heart into pieces.) Jemma realizes she can’t stop him, so she just hugs him, pleading him to come back to her but not to bring that thing with him.

As S.H.I.E.L.D. approaches, Hydra prepares to enter the portal. Ward has agreed to lead the men. Before S.H.I.E.L.D. can stop them, Ward and Fitz go through the portal. Coulson grabs a parachute, and though Hunter tries to stop him, Coulson jumps out of the plane, somehow managing to do a perfect swan dive through the portal.

On the planet, Ward and his Hydra men begin the search for “Death.” Coulson crash lands into a rock, which knocks him out, leaving him to rest there until we return next week.


This episode was so intense. Things are really heating up before the midseason finale next week.
I kind of had an idea this would be a big episode, due to the fact that Clark Gregg shared that this episode would be “game-changing.” He also posted a picture of him with a “Coulsalind” tattoo, which made me wonder if something bad was going to happen to Rosalind.

I loved the opening scene, but something about it was too good to be true--I just hoped I was wrong. It turns out my suspicions were correct: Rosalind died a grisly death, all within the first five minutes. I’d just decided to trust Rosalind, and then this happened. I’m going to miss her character a lot.

Coulson is on a very dangerous path, and I’m nervous about it. I know there’s no way this can end well. His bloodthirsty search for vengeance really concerns me, and I hope he doesn’t self-destruct.
Mack as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of my favorite parts of the episode. I kind of want him to keep the position permanently. His growth from last season has been incredible, and he’s easily one of my favorite characters on the show (though, I have to be honest, I love them all).

Fitzsimmons made me actually tear up. Fitz’s admission has shown how he truly loves Jemma so much. His desire to sacrifice himself for her was so beautiful and sad and awful. It’s true; if Jemma was to die, Fitz would be helpless. If Fitz were to die, I feel like Jemma could handle it. And that’s what makes this so painful, not to mention worrisome. I feel like we’re slowly hurtling towards an imminent Fitzsimmons death, and I’m not happy about this.

I liked the fact that we finally got to address some of the Ward plot lines that have been haunting us since the end of season one. We got to see how his actions still affect the team today, which reminded us of how he really was a part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. family. Now he’s such a villainous person that it’s kind of shocking. To be honest, I’m not surprised. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are really good at writing villains--Dollhouse is proof.

Another thing Whedon and Tancharoen are good at is making horrible, awful things happen.

This episode was hard enough, but I am 100% sure that next week will completely, totally wreck me. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. likes to make me happy, then blindside me with awful feels. Due to the Whedons’ past track record on both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and other shows, I’m scared for every single character’s life.

Please be good to me, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ll see you, nervously, next week.

What did you think of “Closure”?


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