[NOTE: This review is for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “Turn, Turn, Turn” and contains SPOILERS – as well as spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier!]
It’s said, “better is the end of a thing than its beginning”, and that couldn’t be more true than it is for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show has come a long way since “The Well” otherwise known as the Thor: The Dark World crossover. We knew Captain America: The Winter Soldier would turn the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. upside-down, but none of us were quite was prepared for tonight’s episode “Turn, Turn, Turn”.
With ratings on the decline, and 16 episodes that haven’t really amounted to much of anything, how are you supposed to deliver a solid block of entertainment on a television budget after Captain America: The Winter Soldier? By focusing on who, what, and when.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed us how Hydra managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D., and this episode takes advantage of the fact that none of its characters know who they can trust. We also know S.H.I.E.L.D has been dissolved by the end of the film, which adds a bit of ‘Game of Thrones’ vibe, making anyone and everyone expendable. Considering most of the characters haven’t had much time to develop, everyone seems to be on their game in this episode, particularly agents Tripplet and Hand who confront Simmons separately, but both performances blur their allegiances adding gravitas to the already suspenseful scenes. Agent Ward is arguably the most wooden character on the show, but when it’s revealed that he is a Hydra agent, his character becomes a hell of a lot more interesting. It seems that by removing the backing of S.H.I.E.L.D. the show can reboot itself and spend more time on the interesting storylines.
Writers and co-creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Thancharoen manage not to tread the same ground as Captain America but shift the focus to the other S.H.I.E.L.D. installations like the Hub, Academy, and Fridge. They also clean up a lot of loose ends via exposition, which seem more like cliff notes, but the episode handles a lot of the previous story-arc in a confident manner. There are not just references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but connections to the other 16 episodes in season one.
The fight between Coulson and co. & Garrett and his cronies was the battle I wanted to see in Captain America: The Winter Soldier but on a grander scale instead of the explosive third act. However, Garrett’s dogfight was handled well. Plus, we get to see Agent May busting out some fighting moves that would make Black Widow proud.
Last week’s episode “End of the Beginning” served as an interquel, but this time the stories runs simultaneously with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is where Marvel’s experiment pays off, effectively creating something that can stand on its own while creating synergy between the other properties. It also successfully transfers the energy and momentum of the film to the television medium, leaving audience members wanting more. If this show fell off your radar, you may want to give it a second chance. After all, the show has undoubtedly improved significantly.
The production team clearly has been taking notes resulting in “Turn, Turn, Turn” which is easily the best episode of the series to date, and what fans wanted from the series since the beginning. Although it could be the cowbell at the beginning of the episode. Hopefully the series can finish strong since I don’t know where you go from here if the series is renewed for a second season.