Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 3, episode 9
WRITER: BRENT FLETCHER
DIRECTOR: KATE WOODS
AIR DATE: December 1 2015
"Closure" opens in a quiet way as a new episode for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with a little romantic dinner between Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Price (Constance Zimmer). It’s mixed with a bit of future agenda conversation, what with the discovery last time out that Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) is in fact a Big Bad. And yet if we’ve seen anything out of this series, it’s been the undeniable truth that romantic moments often lead to bad turns - such has been the case for Fitz and Simmons, Hunter and Morse, May and Garner, Daisy and Ward....
Speaking of that last name, Ward (Brett Dalton) steps back into focus for S.H.I.E.L.D. in a big way this time out. It’s amazing what a well aimed bullet will do to really WAZZ off the Director - all the more shocking because we’ve just been getting to know and like Rosalind. That kicks off the episode, and drives everything that happens afterwards.
Coulson is bent in revenge (and let’s face it, Ward more than has it coming). That includes an unlikely tactic, an abduction of probably the only person left on the planet Ward does care about - his brother Thomas (Tyler Ritter). While it certainly provokes Ward, what comes across as a surprise to the audience, and as a bitter pill for Ward, is the integrity of Thomas himself. The character may well be the black sheep of the Ward family, the only one of them who’s a decent human being, and that comes across most clearly in a conversation by phone between the two brothers.
Dalton has been much better in the role since Ward being revealed to be a heel late in season one. The character’s been driven by multiple things - a need to prove himself, a recklessness, and a standing between two solitudes aspect. More recently he’s been driven by revenge, with the death of the woman he loved, and blaming Coulson for it. That motivates his present alliance with Malick. And it certainly explains the cold pleasure he takes in killing Price, knowing it would hurt Coulson all the more.
and a friend
The episode ends in a big way with a cliffhanger, following the abduction of Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge). Ward is being sent off through the portal with a few of his Hydra men (and a co-opted Fitz, who has his own agenda) to the other planet. His goal is to bring back the long exiled Inhuman. The group isn’t the only one to get through the portal before it closes. An angry, driven Coulson follows them through.
As much as Dalton’s performance interested me - at this point, Ward is pretty much a sociopath and far beyond redeeming - it’s also Gregg’s performance as Coulson that drives the episode. The character has perpetually been the force of calm through various appearances in the movies and through this series. Giving him a bit of happiness and then ripping that away from him in the most cruel of ways takes that calmness away from him. It gives him more than enough reason to want nothing more than revenge. And so this time out, we see a fiercely driven Coulson, leaving off in a formidable way with a cliffhanger that promises consequences coming very soon.