“She doesn’t know herself anymore”
It seems that every other episode of ‘Agents of SHIELD’ is lacking quality. Last week’s offering was lacklustre, so that could only mean that this week’s offering, ‘Love In The Time of Hyrda,’ would be decent…and it was better than average! It set up plenty of things that we will look forward to later on in the series. While it wasn’t without it’s problem, it still gave us some entertainment.
But first the negatives. Let’s get them out of the way! After weeks of anticipation about Bobbi and Mack’s conspiracy, the reveal of the ‘Real’ SHIELD felt muted and dull. Sure, we got a great guest star in the form of Edward James Olmos, but he wasn’t given great material to work with. Nothing else about the ‘Real’ SHIELD had much impact. Basically, the ‘Real’ SHIELD (they need a better name!) don’t agree with Coulson’s methods. They want rid of him. Oh, okay then…if Coulson’s SHIELD is struggling for money, how did the ‘Real’ SHIELD amass enough money to build a gigantic battleship? There wasn’t much to say about this reveal at all. Stale and dull…but it might lead to bigger things…
Coulson took Sky to a secure location/isolated cabin to leave her alone until she figures out how to use her powers. Is that really the best option? While the journey to the cabin provided us with some pleasant character moments, like the Corvette’s ‘origin story,’ most of it felt unnecessary. Especially so after they reached the cabin. Couldn’t this have happened in half the screen time? Or less? Since ‘Aftershocks,’ our agents of SHIELD haven’t had much to do. They seem aimless, and this episode only emphasised their lack of direction (and was it me, or were they referencing ‘The Avengers’ more than usual?).
“You are the only one who can find yourself”
However, the real treat of ‘Love in the Time of Hyrda’ was Ward’s story with Fake May/Agent 33. It started the episode with a great homage to Pulp Fiction as Ward and 33 held up a diner. Ward’s affection for 33 (real or faked) showed throughout, as he tried to find her ‘true self.’ 33 turned into Sky for his viewing pleasure, but he turned her away. He wanted the ‘real’ 33. Are Ward’s feelings genuine, or part of a bigger plan? Either way, the story pretty much made the episode. It also provided us with some Talbot-related humour, as Agent 33 used her facemask to infiltrate his a military base as his wife (and also reaped laughter when Talbot holds his ‘true’ wife at gunpoint near the end!).
All in all, an episode that paused things in order to set things up later on. Of course, the question of the ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ played heavily throughout the episode. Who is Agent 33? Which SHIELD is the true SHIELD? Is Ward playing a long game? Of course, without Ward’s story it would have been a boring episode. The revelation of the ‘real’ SHIELD didn’t amount to much, and we need a lot more for this long-gestating plot to pay off. Among it all, however, there were great moments dotted throughout For example, Fitz told Simmons that her change was the scariest change of all, among himself, Simmons and Sky. It was biting and crucial. Fitz has turned to the dark side. Will she side with the ‘real’ SHIELD at some point? We will have to see if the various set-ups pay off, however….
VERDICT: 7/10. A lot wrong with ‘Love in the Time of Hyrda,’ but elevated by Ward’s story and little character moments.
(Click here for my review of Episode 13: One Of Us)