Mania Grade: B+
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- Episode: Nothing Personal (Season 1, Episode 20)
- Starring: Clark Gregg. Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adrian Pasdar, Cobie Smulders
- Written By: Paul Zbyszewski & DJ Doyle
- Directed By: Billy Gierhart
- Network: ABC
- Studio: Mutant Enemy, ABC Studios, Marvel Entertainment
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Nothing Personal Review
By Tim Janson
April 30, 2014
“Nothing Personal” might not have had as much action as the past few episodes of MAOS but it made up for it with revealing several secrets. Agent May tracks down Maria Hill in Washington D.C. and finds out that she is now working for Stark Enterprises. Hill is unaware that Nick Fury is still alive. May relates to Hill that Coulson has found about the Tahiti Project and is currently hiding out in the Providence base. As Coulson and the remaining team search the base they discover Koenig’s body and that Skye has left them a message revealing that Ward is a HYDRA agent.
Before they can go after Ward and Skye, Major Glenn Talbot and a squad of soldiers seize control of the base (with Maria Hill’s help). Talbot demands that Coulson and his team turn over any and all information to him. In his first full appearance as Major Talbot, Adrian Pasdar nails the character.in all of his obsessive, bull-headed glory. Even though Hill tells Coulson that S.H.I.E.L.D. is truly gone, Coulson refuses to believe it and convinces Hill to help the team escape.
Skye is still playing along with Ward, not letting on that she knows he is working for HYDRA. They head to the diner where Skye first met Mike Peterson so she can decrypt the hard drive carrying the information that Ward wants. Skye secretly alerts police that Ward is a wanted fugitive. As the police confront Ward, Skye attempts to escape but is stopped by Deathlok. Back aboard the plane, Ward tries to convince Skye that he did what he thought was right and still professes his love for her. But when Skye refuses to help, Dealthok shoots Ward with a device that causes him to go into cardiac arrest. Skye relents and agrees to help to in order to save Ward’s life.
Maria Hill manages to stall Ward long enough for Coulson to sneak aboard the plane before it takes off. Coulson frees Skye and they escape in Coulson’s car, Lola…which turns into a jet! Once safe, Skye tells Coulson that she left a surprise for Ward on the hard drive. May tells Coulson that she discovered who was behind T.A.H.I.T.I. and has him watch a video that she found on a USB drive buried in Coulson’s “grave.” The video reveals Coulson himself telling Fury that the project is too dangerous and leaves its subjects unstable.
Ok so now we know Coulson himself was behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. project and wanted it discontinued, warning Fury of the extreme side effects. From this we can gather that Fury completely ignored his warnings and proceeded to use the procedure on Coulson anyway, wiping his memory in the process. Despite his loyalty to Fury, something tells me Coulson is not going to be too happy to see him.
And of course, now the rest of the team knows about Ward. Fitz takes the news the hardest, at first refusing to believe it and then flying into rage at being betrayed. The Skye haters might question Ward, regardless of all he has done, still being in love with Skye and attempting to sway her. But give the writers points for this…they could have taken the easy way out and just made Ward a one dimensional villain…a Nazi as Skye called him…but this gives depth to his character. He may be a traitor and cold blooded killer but Ward is still a guy with feelings. He doesn’t see himself as being evil. In his own megalomaniacal way Ward sees it as doing his duty to Garrett. We still don’t know what Garrett did for him when he was younger (although this will be revealed next week apparently) but whatever he did it was apparently enough to earn Ward’s faithful devotion.
Skye saving Ward was also nicely crafted. Despite her hatred for Ward she still saved him. But this wasn’t about love. This is about the morals that separate heroes from villains. She doesn’t want to cross that line and be responsible for his death.
As it does too often, S.H.I.E.L.D. fast tracks its way through plot elements it deems unimportant. Coulson and Hill taking out Talbot and two soldiers? Ok, I am willing to accept that. But did Talbot really show up with only a handful of soldiers? Would there not have been a squad stationed outside the base as well standing guard? And then there is Ward taking down a handful of cops as easily as he ordered from the diner’s menu. Sometimes the writers fall into the trap of wanting to do so much that they tend to gloss over details. And why was the USB drive buried in Coulson’s empty grave? I hope it wasn’t just for dramatic purposes because otherwise there doesn’t seem to be much point. If you didn’t want anyone to see the video then why not destroy the drive? But could May or Hill have hid the drive in Coulson’s grave without Fury’s knowledge?
A solid episode overall that seemed to be the bridge to the season’s last two installments.