Things are moving forward in A Fractured House, both for better and for worse, but that’s all things are doing. It’s entertaining enough, some cool stuff happens, and sticky problems are set up to be deal with in future episodes, but it’s not wet-your-pants exciting just yet.
Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) is back and he’s addressing members of the United Nations, throwing around S.H.I.E.L.D.’s name like it’s a dirty, drool-covered chew toy. Unfortunately, that darn Hydra has picked the same day to burst in and literally disintegrate most of the UN. Damnit, Hydra! To fix things, a new (and possibly recurring) character pops up in the form of Christian Ward (Tim DeKay) a.k.a. Grant Ward’s older brother. GASP. As we already know from last season, there’s no love lost there. They don’t meet face-to-face this episode but things are pretty tense.
Last season, Ward claimed that his brother Christian was a little brat who used to beat up their youngest brother. Later on in the same season Ward confessed that it was actually him who beat up their brother but on Ward the Elder’s orders. Now Ward the Elder is a senator who insists Grant is actually the evil Ward, and we’re left with endless question, all phrased more or less to find out the same thing: Is Ward evil? Is his brother? Is he telling the truth? What’s going on? What the hell, guys? Won’t you get your stories straight? We don’t know who to believe.
Everyone is playing (not so) Happy Families this week. Ex-spouses Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter have been sent on an assignment together with May, and none of them are thrilled about it. I sympathise most with May in this instance. Bobbi and Hunter are at each other’s throats for the majority of the episode, and it would have been hilarious if it weren’t so annoying. Cack-handed insults are thrown around for a while, while May sits in the middle of it all.
“Being married to someone who remembers every little detail is not that charming,” says Hunter.
“Are you even listening to yourself right now? Oh wait, of course you are because you love the sound of your own voice,” says Bobbi. ZING! Oh, Bobbi. Masterfully handled.
Having enough of Hunter’s awful marriage anecdotes, May slaps him down with a strong contender for the best line of the season: “You know I don’t like you, right?”
Fitzsimmons are adorable as always, but things are a little tense and totally awkward in the lab this week. After a tepid reunion in episode five, they both seem to be regretting having each other around, making the storyline the saddest of the sad. It needs to sort itself out quickly; the heartbreak is having a negative effect on my blood pressure.
But the standout scene of the episode features a confrontation between Coulson and Ward. All the quirky suit-wearing and Captain America-loving aspects to Clark Gregg’s character are gone, as Coulson spells out just how much shit Ward is actually in.
“You betrayed every one of us, you deluded son of a bitch,” he spits, not breaking eye contact. “The only reason you’re alive is because you are of use, and the only reason you are being transferred is because your brother is of more use.” Chills.
Finally, a message for the Agents Of SHIELD writing team: STOP INTRODUCING NEW RECURRING CHARACTERS UNTIL YOU CAN HANDLE THE ONES YOU ALREADY HAVE. And by ‘the ones you already have’, I mean Agent Triplett. What’s Trip been up to lately? Oh yes, nothing, because he hasn’t had a storyline for the last six episodes. He’s like the office intern, but with mad combat skills and a pilot’s license, milling about, making cups of tea. Here’s to hoping that next week he finds a stray puppy and adopts it, or he enters a S.H.I.E.L.D. pie-eating contest. We will happily take that over nothing.