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“A Fractured House” – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 10:14 am by Amanda Andonian

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With Hydra out to get the last of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s remaining agents, Coulson and the team are in a pretty desperate place. They don’t have many allies, and the people who should be on their side are the ones who are most determined to see S.H.I.E.L.D. eliminated. In this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “A Fractured House,” we not only see the result of the strain on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resources, but we also get a closer look into Grant Ward’s past and hints into whether he’s actually a psycho monster or a misunderstood agent who just made the wrong decisions.

The world is still trying to recover from the fallout of Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D., but it seems that General Talbot is doing a great job of making the whole thing sound like it’s S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fault. Arguably, it’s a pretty big security fail that so many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents turned out to be working for Hydra, but it’s kind of unfair to call out S.H.I.E.L.D. and make them into the big bad guy when they were just overrun by the actual threat. Of course, reason doesn’t make for particularly useful antagonist, and it’s important to Talbot’s character that he’s uncompromising where S.H.I.E.L.D. is concerned. Of course, it doesn’t help that a bunch of Hydra agents attack the UN posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. That’s bound to make a few people angry.

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For the first time, we get a look at Grant Ward’s horrible older brother, Senator Christian Ward, who forced him to torture their younger brother when they were kids. In light of Ward’s crazy time, that story is brought into question, especially when juxtaposed with Christian’s heartfelt plea to Coulson that Ward is a monster who cannot be trusted. It seems that the show wants us to believe that Christian is a good guy, which just makes me think that we’ll probably find out in a few episodes that the two of them are either in league with each other, or they’re both crazy psycho monsters. I find it far more likely that evil runs in the family.

This episode seems to be all about divisions in loyalty and alliances. We have the brothers Ward, who are ostensibly on opposite sides of the struggle, though what either one of them wants still remains to be seen. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are forced to go into hiding because Senator Ward wants to pass a law that will allow a world-wide police force to capture and prosecute former S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. Unfortunately, Coulson put his trust into the wrong people, and the safe houses turn out not to be so safe after all. May, Bobbi, and Hunter go on a mission to ferret out the truth, kicking some Hydra butt in the process. I’m still really liking Bobbi as an addition to the cast, though I find her and Hunter’s strained relationship as ex-spouses to be a little forced. It seems that the show isn’t going to drag that out forever, though, since they seemed to make peace with each other by the end.

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Then there’s poor Fitz-Simmons. She’s trying her best to be a friend to him and help him recover, but her efforts just make him feel even worse about losing parts of himself. Mack says it best when he tells Simmons that he never knew the Fitz from before, and the Fitz he sees now doesn’t need her help—he just needs to be who he is now. Simmons wants to believe that she’s okay with the new Fitz, but the reality is that it hurts her too much to see what he sacrificed in order to save her. Now that we’ve seen Fitz and the real Simmons back together, I can believe that she really did leave because she thought it would help him more if she were gone. He looks at her and sees what he used to be, and she can’t look at him without feeling guilty for what happened to him.

At the end of the day, it seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. emerging from the shadow’s slightly and will be able to recover from its heavy losses. Coulson makes a deal with Senator Ward to hand over Grant in exchange for a public declaration in support of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Senator jumps at the offer. Of course, Ward is never going to go to trial for what he did as a Hydra agent, and the episode ends with him escaping from custody. Figures! I definitely don’t trust Senator Ward, and we’ll probably see proof of that in episodes to come. In the meantime, it seems that the show is going to either focus more on the alien writing thing, or on the hunt to recapture Ward. Considering the fact that this week ended with some weird guy tattooing the alien writing on his body, that’s probably where we’re going to go next.

“A Fractured House” – B+

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2 Episode 6, “A Fractured House,” aired on ABC October 28th, 2014.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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