Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 19
"The Dirty Half Dozen"
WRITER: BRENT FLETCHER and DREW Z. GREENBERG
DIRECTOR: KEVIN TANCHAROEN
AIR DATE: April 28 2015
‘The Dirty Half Dozen’ reunites the team as it was in season one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., bringing together Coulson (Clark Gregg) with May (Ming Na Wen), Skye (Chloe Bennet), Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and the rogue agent Ward (Brett Dalton) for one more mission with more than one objective, while sealing the rift between two S.H.I.E.L.D. factions - at least mostly. It also sets the stage for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is referenced through the episode.
When we last left off, Coulson gave himself over to custody for the operatives working for Gonzales (Edward James Olmos). It’s not exactly a surrender, since Coulson finds himself exactly where he wanted to be, making a proposal to his counterpart about an operation to raid the Hydra base where Deathlok (J. August Richards) and the Inhuman Lincoln (Luke Alexander) are being held. It’s a risky plan, and it brings together the original team.
The Inhumans of course factor in to all of this. Cal (Kyle McLachlan) finds himself back in the Afterlife refuge after the previous episode, courtesy of Gordon (Jamie Harris), who was busy retrieving Skye. Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) is wary of him, particularly the upheaval he can inflict on her homeland, while an encounter with Raina (Ruth Negga) sends Skye off to return to her colleagues with S.H.I.E.L.D., and take part in what’s to come.
The Dirty Half Dozen
There are a few quiet character moments before it’s all said and done. Fitz and Simmons get ready for the insertion, finding themselves more at ease with each other, bridging the differences between them that have occupied them through most of the season, though Simmons is particularly hostile about the presence of Ward in the mix, and finds herself musing on an ideal fate for him.
Ward meanwhile has his own agenda, and for once it’s an honest one - he wants Kara (Maja Stoyan) to have a second chance, to be healed by S.H.I.E.L.D., after all she has been put through at the hands of Hydra. He loves her enough to let her go, it seems, reasoning that there’s not much good in him and she deserves better. Dalton plays off that, as well as playing off the tension between he and the others - he seems amused by their suspicion at times, and disappointed at one moment. There’s a good character moment in the midst of it all between Kara and Bobbie (Adrianne Palicki). And there’s also another good character moment for Hunter (Nick Blood) and Mack (Henry Simmons) as Mack makes amends for that whole knocking out and kidnapping thing.
When it’s all said and done and the smoke has cleared, Coulson and Gonzales come to terms with each other, though there’s a card Coulson still has up his sleeve (and vice versa). There’s also some set up for Avengers: Age of Ultron - a video conference conversation between Coulson and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is the first example. The other is Raina herself, whose transformation through Terrigenesis seems to have given her visions of the future. She tells Jaiying in a cliffhanger moment what she can see: men of metal, and the world changing forever.