Within about two seconds of this episode of Agents of SHIELD, it becomes apparent that something is about to go horribly wrong. This is because “Closure” opens with characters actually enjoying themselves. Coulson and Rosalind, having gotten past their trust issues and made peace with the fact that Rosalind has accidentally been working for Hydra, are on a date. Roz plans to go back to ATCU as an undercover agent, and Coulson is worried about her safety.
This is the exact moment that I realize what is about to happen, but really, I should have known as soon as they break out the good wine. Nobody drinks good wine on a Whedon show without paying a price.
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Death Comes to Dinner
Just as Coulson and Rosalind dig into their long-awaited burgers, a strange sound echos in the room. Coulson turns to the window to see a bullet hole in the glass, then looks back to Rosalind and sees her bleeding from her throat. There is no helping her; Rosalind dies in seconds. Ward, who fired the shot from about three continents away, calls Coulson to rub in that he now gets to feel the pain Ward experienced when Kara died.
I am not going to pretend to be objective; I hate that this happened. Not only did the writers fridge a female character solely for the purpose of furthering a male character’s emotional torment, as they did with Kara, but they fridged an awesome female character. Rosalind was the best. Hell, Kara was the best. I miss Kara. Kara had promise and psychological damage and a ridiculously cool superpower. All that ended up amounting to was Ward whining all season and not understanding the consequences of his actions. He did that before Kara too because Ward never really gets any new issues.
Daisy’s Got It Right
Long story short, I pretty much did not take any of the emotional impact away from the following scenes because I was pissed at the way the story developed. Which is perhaps not fair because they are good scenes.
Coulson, fueled with rage and grief, takes out no fewer than six agents sent by Ward before Mack takes him back to the Helicarrier. There, he rips off his bloodied clothes in anguish and gets down to business.
First order of business: interrogate everyone on the original team about every interaction they ever had with Ward. The consensus is essentially that Ward was low-key out of his mind and no one fully realized that until it was too late. Fitz, for example, feels that Ward was trying to create a brotherly relationship with him as a replacement for someone else. And that’s creepy.
Daisy, who you’ll remember shot Ward four times in the back, admits that she understands him. His actions make sense to her; she says that he doesn’t kill because he feels nothing, but rather because he feels too much. She makes the very important distinction, though, that understanding does not equal forgiveness. He will never have that from her.
Ward Continues to Misunderstand Reality
Coulson decides to split the team up into several different missions. Fitz, Simmons and Rosalind’s assistant, Banks, are sent off to investigate Malick’s involvement in the space program that sent Will through the Portal. (He totally funded that, by the way.) Coulson himself is taking Hunter and Bobbi on a morally questionably revenge plot. And since the person who least desires power is the person most qualified to have it, he leaves Mack as acting Director of SHIELD. Mack is in way over his head, but to be honest, he seems like he’d be great at this job.
Things immediately go awry; Magneto the metal-manipulator who in no way violates copyright is back, and he kills Banks and kidnaps FitzSimmons. He brings them to Ward and Malick for questioning. Hydra wants to know how they returned from Maveth, the alien world, but FitzSimmons want to protect the world from certain doom and refuse to say anything. Sensing an impasse, Ward splits them up and resorts to torture.
Well, Ward himself doesn’t do the torturing. He says that he would never hurt Simmons, even though he dropped her into the ocean to die, so he has metal guy do it instead. Is he for real? This is something I have always had trouble with when it comes to Ward; I can’t tell if he actually believes what he says or if he’s trying to manipulate the people around him. I was actually 100% convinced that he was just manipulating Kara until her death send him into a hate spiral. The pattern we’ve seen, especially in this episode, suggests that he really does believe what he says and just has a violently warped sense of reality. He walks the line between competent and crazy so much that it’s difficult to tell where he’s stepping sometimes.
Simmons, of course, is never going to crack. She is tough as nails. She would make an excellent secret keeper in Harry Potter, a reference I feel she would appreciate. Fitz, on the other hand, has a major weakness and Ward knows this. He makes sure Fitz is able to hear Simmons’ screams of pain and waits from him to crumble.
Coulson Finds Thomas
Speaking of exploiting weaknesses, Coulson kidnaps Ward’s beloved younger brother, Thomas. This takes some research because Thomas has been living under an assumed name for quite a while. Coulson calls Ward, shows him a video feed of Thomas with a gun to his head and then hangs up. The mic drop is implicit.
Everyone is ready to talk Thomas into the “I Hate Ward” club, but it turns out he’s already the president. No sooner has Bobbi tried to sugarcoat the situation when Thomas busts in with, “No, please kill him, like the most you can kill someone. Do that to Ward. I hate that guy. Did I mention that he killed the rest of my family in a fire? Kill him dead. Please use the maximum level of killing.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what happens.
For coming out of an extremely abusive home and having a serial killer big brother, Thomas is very well-adjusted, maybe even suspiciously so. (This show has trained me to inherently distrust everyone.) He says that Ward used to be his best friend, but after the well incident, Ward misplaced all his guilt onto the rest of the world, unable to take responsibility for what he’d done.
Ward calls back, and Thomas lays into him long enough for Bobbi to get a trace on Ward’s location. Having just been told by the only person he cares about that he’s worse than his abusive parents, Ward is none too pleased to learn that Coulson is now en route. Infuriated, he proves himself wrong about never being able to hurt Simmons and begins torturing her for information.
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Fitz: The Perfect Man
Ward and Malick have set up their Hydra shenanigans in the English castle where SHIELD brought Simmons back through the Portal. They have five stones cut from the Monolith, a building that channels the correct frequency, and now they have Fitz willing to help them with their mission. Simmons is horrified but not surprised. “I’m not strong enough to live in a world that doesn’t have you in it,” Fitz tells her. Damn, Fitz, you’re ruining it for every other guy on the planet.
Malick is excited about finally bringing back It through the Portal, but he’s having some Ward troubles. Ward is more interested in getting revenge on Coulson than he is in the long game. Ward has never really cared about Hydra’s goals, though. He’s only ever cared about finding some way to take control of his convoluted reality. Though he recognizes that he’s being manipulated, Ward agrees to lead a team through the Portal and retrieve It. He just can’t turn down someone offering him a purpose.
Mack for President
While all of this craziness is happening, Mack is trying to assert some semblance of sanity into the situation. Coulson is flying into a fortified Hydra base, full of people who know that he’s coming, with no backup. There’s no time to assemble a team with the numbers needed to take on such a base. Mack has two options: let Coulson and his rage take on Hydra alone and probably get killed, or send in a scant team to help and have everyone probably get killed.
Luckily, Mack’s scant team includes three Inhumans and Melinda May. Though not cleared for field work, and technically not even agents, Lincoln and Joey suit up. Mack gives them a great pep talk to convince them that they aren’t actually walking into near-certain death, and they go for it. Daisy has finally gotten her Inhuman team, and they are off to stop Coulson from getting himself killed.
Welcome to Maveth, Population: 2
That’s going to be a tough job because Coulson is trying really hard to get himself killed. He, Bobbi and Hunter let Thomas go with a security detail and then fly to the English castle. But as they approach, and while the team watches the actions of those inside via a heat sensing device, Coulson sees Ward jump through the Portal. Desperate not to let his chance for revenge slip through his fingers, Coulson jumps out of the plane and falls through the Portal just before it closes. The episode ends with the Hydra team searching Maveth’s surface for It and Coulson hitting his head on a rock. This has not been a great day for him.
What do you think? What will happen in the winter finale of Agents of SHIELD? How did you feel about Rosalind’s death? Is Thomas secretly evil? Should Mack take over as Director full-time? Share your thoughts below!
Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)