Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ragtag Review -

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Episode: Ragtag (Season 1, Episode 21)
  • Starring: Clark Gregg. Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge, Bill Paxton
  • Written By: Jeffrey Bell
  • Directed By: Roxann Dawson
  • Network: ABC
  • Studio: Mutant Enemy, Marvel Television, ABC Studios
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ragtag Review

Ward’s back history with Garrett revealed

By Tim Janson     May 06, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ragtag
© Marvel Studios

About half through “Ragtag” I had to check my calendar…Was I suddenly transported back to January?  This felt like a middle of the season episode of MAOS, certainly not the penultimate episode leading into the first season finale.  This had about as much excitement buildup as microwaving leftover pizza.  

In flashback sequences to 15 years ago we find out how Ward first met Garrett.  Ward is being held in a juvenile detention facility for setting his family’s house on fire…with his brother inside.  He is approached by Ward who offers him a choice:  Go with Ward or stay behind and face charges.  Ward makes the obvious decision and the place is immediately swarmed by a group of (presumably) S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who hold the jail guards off while Ward makes his getaway with Garrett.  So what’s the implication here?   S.H.I.E.L.D. can just bust into a jail and take a prisoner, drawing guns on innocent guards?  Was Garrett acting as a rogue agent or did this have Fury’s blessing?  The entire premise was as flimsy as a wet napkin.  I certainly hope there is far more to the reason why Garrett wanted Ward other than he saw some sort of psycho bad-ass promise in the kid.  After busting Ward out he offers the kid some tough love, leaving him to fend for himself for several months.  While it was great to see the history between the pair this is something that should have been covered weeks ago, not in the last episode before the season finale.  This brings the anticipation to a grinding halt.

Meanwhile, Coulson and May infiltrate a Cybertek facility, posing as former S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists so Skye can hack Cybertek’s computers and activate the virus that Skye left on the hard drive.  Instead of computer systems they find decade’s old files.  The files show that Garrett was actually the first Deathlok, getting his cyborg parts back in 1990 after nearly being killed in an explosion.  This incident is also what served to turn Garrett and become a HYDRA agent.  The show treats this as if it was some startling revelation.  But we already saw that Garrett had artificial parts.  Wouldn’t it have been silly if he was a cyborg but not a Deathlok cyborg?  

Garrett informs Ward that his organs are failing and he is dying.  He needs Raina to synthesize the alien-derived drug used on Coulson and Skye in order to heal his organs and save his life.  Raina discovers some interesting facts about Skye while studying her DNA.  She tells Ward about a tale from China years ago where two “monsters” wiped out an entire village…the monsters being Skye’s real parents.  If this is a reference to someone from the Marvel Comics Universe I am drawing a blank.  There are numerous heroes of Chinese ancestry although most of them are mutants.  Ward captures Fitz and Simmons and as Raina administers the drug to Garrett, he orders Ward to kill them.  Fitz and Simmons escape into a room, locking the door behind them.  They try to reason with Ward…trying desperately to appeal to the friend they thought they had.  After struggling with his decision, Ward ejects the room from the plane, dropping it into the ocean, seemingly sending the pair to a watery death.  After receiving the drug Garrett first looks like he will have the Extremis reaction and explode until he stabilizes, healed from the process.  The episode concludes with Ian Quinn meeting with high-ranking military officers and offering to sell them an army of Deathloks.

“Ragtag” was a fitting name for a mostly disappointing episode.  We see why Ward is loyal to Garrett but it doesn’t explain what makes Garrett a cold-blooded killer.  Is it really blind loyalty?  The fact that he tried to burn down his house with his brother inside definitely hints at a much darker side and frankly that is more enticing than Ward getting him out of juvie…This episode seems to reveal much but in reality it is just teaspoonful’s. We knew Garrett was a cyborg…revealing him as the first Deathlok?  Meh!  We already knew there was something special about Skye.  We found that out at the beginning of the season.  Finding out her parents were “monsters” was no “senses-shattering” (apologies to Stan) surprise either.  I don’t think this episode will ultimately hurt the show but not sure it helped it either. There were some cool things this week such as Agent Triplett pulling out his grandfather’s trunk of old S.H.I.E.L.D. gadgets.  Coulson and Triplett were like kids in a toy store and it made for a couple of funny scenes.  I am starting to like Triplett more and more and hope he stays in the mix.   Nick Fury next week but then most of us figured that was coming. 


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ElBaz13 5/7/2014 8:10:01 AM

I'm digging Triplett. He's a much better team heavy over Ward.

I still liked this episode. It was a set up for the finale. This could have easily been the first half of a two hour season finale.

I'm drawing a blank on Skye now. At first I thought she was Jessica Drew but now her parents were "monsters". Some theories.

1) Asgardian? Maybe like Loki, Frost Giant type.

2) Kree. I'm guessing she is the "pin" skin kree. Her parents were blue? This may explain how she handled the alien DNA in her.

I read on Zapit that it's looking very good the series gets renewed.

Miner49er 5/7/2014 8:14:20 AM

Wait until next week when they get their plane back, only to have Hydra infest it with snakes... and that will be when Fury shows up... "ENOUGH  IS  ENOUGH!!!!"

moviefan71 5/7/2014 8:31:41 AM
I though he didn't know his brother was inside??  

Either way, Ward does have a "much darker side", I mean, considering he murdering a whole bunch of fellow agents in cold blood.  If he can be redeemed after that, or if it's part of some "master plan" I may have to stop watching this show.  Hopefully Ward will either be killed in the finale, or get thrown in jail, or become a full fledged evil member of Hydra (which he already is anyway...).  But if coulson/fury take him back...  forget it - the show deserves to be cancelled.

monkeyfoot 5/7/2014 8:32:16 AM

I liked this episode. It was sort of a mellower one that hopefully leads to alot of all out action next week.

I especially liked the background on Ward. I've dislked the character since he was intro'd. I think my main problem with him has always been the actor playing him. He has and still comes across as a frat boy jock who thinks he's cool and nothing like a Lethal Weapon type. But this gave alot of insight as to what makes him tick. I thought those scenes were well done and well written. 

Wait...when did we already know Garrett was a cyborg? This was new to me when it was revealed. I assume this was hidden from SHIELD so how did he get through all the numerous security/body scans a field agent must go through in his career and not get detected?

I liked the whole interview stuff and the hard copy files scenes, especially the shoving the cabinet out the window.

Love the Howling Commando stuff. I have a feeling the coin tracer will save our sunken techs.

Also noticed this episode was directed by Roxann Dawson who is best known as half-Klingon B'Ellanna from Star Trek:Voyager. Lots of Trek alumni are directors it seems.

moviefan71 5/7/2014 8:33:32 AM

"Get these mother f***ing HYDRA agents off my mother f***ing plane!"

Eldogg42 5/7/2014 8:44:49 AM

Yeah, Triplett is showing a little range in the acting then Ward, but then, Ward is supposed to act that way "No feelings, It's a weakness".  Which, I think this back story was showing that he might not be the cold blooded killer everyone thinks. 

@Elbaz, I think you got something there, with the Blue Kree being "Monsters"  Especially, the way that alien looked in the TAHITI episode.

I like the episode, It wasn't all flashy with explosions and stuff, only because its was to set up the final episode. 

I understand why YOU gave it a C , but I think you were wrong on some of your review points.  I thought this gave a little more insight into Skye's & Garrett's past more then Wards.

I didn't catch all the fake names that were used in this episode, were there any significance to these names or were they just random names?

Eldogg42 5/7/2014 8:50:05 AM

@Monkeyfoot, In an earlier episode, they showed Garrett putting on his shirt revealing the metal on his rib cage.  I didn't at first link it to "deathlok" program, I thought it was more of the centipede program. 

invisioner 5/7/2014 10:02:54 AM

Maybe Skye is a Skrull, and was 'locked' into a human form, while her parents were raging the Skrull look! the Kree was there to exterminate them, but got killed. HHHMMMM?????

lazarus 5/7/2014 10:20:12 AM

Wait a second. Who the hell said they were SHIELD agents. that busted Ward out? Big assumption there Jensen.

lazarus 5/7/2014 10:24:21 AM

Anyone catch the one screw up in the episode? When Tripp fires his grapple line into the building, he anchors it into a drop down ceiling tile. You know the ones made out of material like styrofoam? I told my wife that was BS because no way that holds any weight.

I thought the episode was a solid B .

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