Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 6
"A Fractured House"
WRITER: RAFE JUDKINS and LAUREN LEFRANC
DIRECTOR: RON UNDERWOOD
AIR DATE: October 28 2014
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up where things left off by answering a lingering question. Talbot has mentioned a senator who wants the rogue agency brought down. In ‘A Fractured House’, we learn who that is: Senator Christian Ward (Tim DeKay), brother of the Hydra traitor Grant Ward (Brett Dalton).
An attack at the UN looks like it’s been done by S.H.I.E.L.D., but it’s a setup by Hydra to frame their enemies. Given the events of recent episodes and the way Hydra got hit by Coulson and his team, it’s understandable that they’d hold a grudge. Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) bears witness to the attack, which is led by Marcus Scarlotti (Falk Hentschel). I needed to jog my memory to recall the name, but in the comics, he’s one of the Whiplashes, a perennial Iron Man foe. His use as a villain this time out takes him in a different direction, but makes him a formidable challenge. And the actor’s got an interesting physical look that makes him stand out. It’s a good use of what would otherwise be a pretty obscure character.
Coulson, of course, is out to prove the innocence of his organization, and sets out to safeguard various operators around the world. This might include leveraging Senator Ward by the use of his custody of Grant, showing us a bit of deviousness that seems fitting in a spy agency’s director.
Ward, who’s been held prisoner in the new S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters all this time, has some face time with other characters, including Skye (Chloe Bennet), who he’s promised he’ll never lie to again. Simmons, on the other hand, would rather see him dead. Ward’s fate is up in the air, but it’s a character that may yet have a short shelf life. Are we to believe him, or his brother? Or are they both lying? The Senator seems like a dirtbag, but then again, we’re so used to politicians being like that that we’ve come to see that as their default setting. Either way, Brett Dalton’s been the weak link of the cast since early on. He only got interesting when he turned traitor, and now we’re back to the making moon eyes at Chloe, even if he is in cuffs or behind bars. I can’t see an out for the character, aside from death. He’s pretty much been replaced as the field operator on the team by Hunter, May, and Bobbi Morse, all of whom can handle themselves in a fight, and all of whom are being played by better actors.
Coulson visits Senator Ward
Speaking of whom, I like the dynamics between all three characters, sent out into the field. Hunter and Bobbi as ex-spouses have a bickering kind of relationship while still worrying about each other, and that gets fleshed out this time again. May provides a good balance to both of them while they’re out on assignment.
And one other relationship dynamic that’s done right is where we have Fitz and Simmons. They’re back around each other again, but the relationship is no longer the same, and that’s actually fitting. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is trying to come to terms with the addled state of his mind. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) feels guilty about leaving him, yet also recognizes that she’s a hindrance to him. It’s a fractured relationship.... but can it heal? Time will tell.