“Honestly, wasn’t excepting that,” says Hunter (Nick Blood), after a small reveal takes place, halfway through this episode of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD. titled, Closure; A well-earned and executed chapter in SHEILD’s strongest season to date. Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) versus Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), a match that has been in the works since the very beginning as Phil points out, “I’m the one who picked Ward to join the team, everything that has happened since then, is on me.” Fingers-crossed there’s a flashback to Coulson recruiting Ward, during next week’s midseason finale. After watching this episode, I am very interested to understand why exactly Coulson chose Ward to be part of the team. In addition, Closure, contains subtle moments between various central characters as their third season arcs either intersect, overlap, or drive the Coulson/Ward plot line forward. From Agent May’s (Ming-Na Wen) brief remark about Andrew’s two sides, to Daisy (Chloe Bennet) finally having her Inhuman task force, to Fitz’s (Iain De Caestecker) torch carrying for Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge); all threads and vendettas tie back to the on-going war between SHIELD and Hydra.
“I’m glad we’re finally having burgers,” says Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) to Coulson, minutes before a sharp shooter sends a bullet straight into her neck; causing her to bleed out in Coulson’s arms. I did not expect that to happen and it almost felt like a dream sequence at first. Obviously, the shooter turns out to be Ward, who then purposely drops information about Malick’s (Powers Boothe) obsession with opening another portal, while having his men bombard Coulson. Then Agent Coulson pulls some pretty suave moves and fights his way out of the apartment complex; not to mention Mack (Henry Simmons) randomly drives down the back alley to take Coulson back to headquarters. I’ll let it slide, because the sequence sets our SHIELD leader down a path, that the agents who betrayed them, has been walking this whole time. “How does Ward thing? Is there any weakness that we haven’t exploited yet?” asks Coulson, as he begins to interrogate each original team member, wanting to understand his or her exact relationship with Ward. “He and I were like brothers at least that’s what it felt like at the time, now I realize he was just using me… like he was trying to replace something that had gone missing,” explains Fitz during his interrogation. Great editing here, as each group member’s remembrance bleeds into the next, leading to Daisy’s debrief. I applaud the writers for using not using her previous relationship with Ward as his weakness, but the key to Coulson understanding the man he wants to kill, “The reason Ward kills isn’t because he feels nothing it’s because he feels too much,” explains Daisy. Now Coulson really is listening to each of his fellow team member’s stories, but maybe a bit too much. He puts Mack in charge as the interim SHIELD Director, and then goes on a rogue operation with Hunter and Bobbi. Well, the last time a few agents went after Ward fueled by vengeance things went fine… everyone came out alive, well almost everyone (Devils You Know). Then again Coulson is practically an honoree Avenger, it’s his death that motivates our heroes to get their act together in the film. There’s a subtle reference to this fact, as Coulson finds a blood-splatter matchbook after Rosalind’s shooting; like the blood-splattered collectors cards that were shown in his wake.
“I got two of yours, so you took one of mine… like I said two sides, same coin,” says Ward, after Coulson proves that he’s taken Thomas Ward (Tyler Ritter), the third brother, hostage; the brother Grant Ward literally pushed down a well when they were younger. Something’s off about Thomas, I found it odd at how easily he convinces the team to let him talk to his brother. Then their phone conversation entails Ward’s involvement with killing their parents, for some reason I suspect that we will see Thomas again and on Team Ward. On the Quinn-jet, Bobbi prevents Coulson from completely going dark, as she convinces him to let Thomas go, because they have Ward’s location. “It’s difficult going into a mission that emotional, you need to be able to separate the job from your own feelings,” states Bobbi. Well, Ward killed Rosalind, took Fitz and Simmons, and is helping Malik re-open the portal… so, maybe Coulson has a point when he says, “You’re wrong, keeping my feelings in check is what got us here.” Now while our SHIELD agents try to talk Coulson off a ledge (quiet, literally), Ward continues to be on the receiving end of some sound-minded Hydra advice. “You dream of revenge, that’s a vanity… it’s just a weakness,” explains Gideon Malik, “I’m not asking you to follow, I’m asking you to lead.” See Malik needs Ward to put aside his desire for closure with Coulson, so that he can lead a Hydra team through the portal, to retrieve the first Inhuman. Not to mention, Fitz agrees to go on the mission to keep Jemma from being hurt. The portal will turn back on twelve hours after the unit departs, “Bring it back my friend, be the one that finishes what Hydra started.” See, even giant evil-organizations desire closure, a feeling that they often share with the good guys. Coulson literally base jumps from the Quinn-jet, goes through the portal (after Ward), and lands haphazardly on the foreign planet (i.e. Ego the living planet). Start the timer… tick… tick… tick.