Spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen the entire first season of Marvel’s Agents of Shield or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then the this will have many spoilers for you.
When I saw this season’s premiere for Marvel’s Agents of Shield, I was very confused. I mean, come on, seeing Shield’s fall in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, was one thing, and seeing the repercussions of that in the last several episodes of season one was very much in line with that. I was under the impression that Shield had suffered tremendous losses, suffering a cataclysmic attack from within its own ranks.
(moral of that story: after you kick the devil out of his own kingdom, do not let him sleep on your couch)
Apparently, I underestimated the severity of the situation.
I can understand losing trust in the super-secret, formerly-super-powerful organization which has been brought to its knees by betrayal, and so soon after being revealed to the public at large, so it’s not like they were able to build up much trust in their public image. Even Sky, now an agent of Shield, thought they were a menace before she met them, and she had (read: hacked) access to a great deal of information she was not supposed to have.
That said, it still threw me for a loop to see our heroes being actively hunted by the authorities (read: the frickin’ United States Military).
I could forgive the unexpected development, though, as it added an interesting, new dimension to Shield’s shadow-war with Hydra. They had to dodge the people they were trying to protect while thwarting the enemy, an effort which is exemplified in the act of protecting General Talbot from a metahuman Hydra agent while also ducking said general’s soldiers. In the end, they managed to make a deal under the table which allowed them a little breathing space, but they were still stuck on the run.
With that, there’s a pretty good development for the good guys in our most recent episode, “A Fractured House.” Without going too much into spoilers, Shield managed to reach an understanding with the armed forces, so it seems everyone’s on the same side again, aligned against Hydra. Both sides paid a high price for this, and it’s been awhile coming. I doubt things will go without a hitch, as Hydra has demonstrated that they still have agents hidden in high places, but at least the good guys can stop shooting at each other for awhile, turning their attention of those who actually have been hurting them. Hopefully.
That is exemplified in the simple act of General Talbot, with a wounded arm, shaking hands with Agent Melinda May, who has just lost several of her fellow agents to a Hydra trap. It’s a simple gesture, shaking hands, yet it speaks volumes.
Also speaking volumes, and symbolizing the entire conflict, is the war between former-agent Grant Ward and his older brother Senator Christian Ward.
Now, this is something I have been looking forward to for ages, meeting the infamous older brother who made the middle brother torture the little brother. Or at least, that’s how Grant told it, and we have serious reason (ie: his status as a pathological liar and agent of Hydra who betrayed his Shield comrades, murdering several of them and attempting to murder several more) to question the validity of his story.
In this episode, Grant Ward appears to be genuinely afraid of his older brother, but we have to question that. Yet we also have to question Christian’s version of the story, where he was the one protecting his little brother from the middle brother, who always lied to their parents, saying “Christian made me do it.” We question that particularly when we’re flashing back and forth between the brothers telling their respective stories, and what Grant is saying appears to be at least superficially accurate, as he’s describing Christian’s actions perfectly. Then again, he’s a very good liar, largely because he can twist even the truth into a lie.
So who’s the evil brother here?
Who is telling the truth?
I have a chilling suspicion that they both are telling the truth, as they truly believe it.
Season One, Episode 8, “The Well.” We see flashbacks of a boy, the little, as-yet-unnamed brother, struggling at the bottom of a well. We see Grant, at the top of the well, wanting to help his little brother. We see Christian, the elder brother, apparently telling Grant, “not yet, you try to bring him up before I say, and I throw you in too,” before vanishing. Just vanishing. We never see the two of them together from the little brother’s perspective, and we never hear the little brother calling Christian’s name, only Grant’s, so question: is Christian really even there, or is Grant hallucinating?
Season One, Episode 21, “Ragtag.” Just before the finale. We see Taggart recruit Grant Ward as his Hydra disciple. Taggart asks, and this I went back to get verbatim, “Did you know your brother was in the house when you set in on fire?” Then, a moment, later, he says, “Not only are your folks pressing charges against you for arson and attempted murder, but your older brother’s petitioning the court to have you tried as an adult.” At first, I thought the older brother was the one in the house he set on fire, trying to kill him, but Taggart did not specify that, as he did just a moment later.
Conjecture: it was the little brother in the house, and Christian was trying to get Grant put away for life, protecting the little brother from the middle brother. Yet Grant fears what he believes to be his brother, but is really a hallucination.
This does not bode well for anyone, particular Grant’s brothers, both of them, when he escapes military custody.
Yes, we see that one coming, just before it happens, but all the same, it’s a moment of, “oh… not good.”
Can’t wait to see what happens next!