Well, “Ragtag” was another really strong episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not only giving us more insight into the relationship between Ward (Brett Dalton) and Garrett (Bill Paxton), but also providing a link between Garrett’s cybernetic enhancements and the origins of the Deathlok program back in 1990. 1990 is in itself is a clever date to use, as it was the “future” date that the original Luther Manning Deathlok was reanimated (Astonishing Tales #25 – August 1974) and the actual year that the Michael Collins Deathlok – the one upon which the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. version of the character is based – premiered in a rebooted Deathlok #1 (July 1990). These are the sorts of Easter Eggs that I love. They don’t add anything substantial to the story itself, but demonstrate an affection for the source materials that is much appreciated by this reviewer. Tying Garrett in as the first experimental Deathlok Program recruit accomplishes a couple of different things for the overall narrative. First, it establishes that Deathlok isn’t just a new idea tossed into the storyline, but has an in-narrative history that provides texture and depth to the scope of the story. It also provides a very effective way to again pay tribute to the comics source, where Garrett was given a cybernetic body after barely surviving an encounter with Elektra (who we can assume was returned to Marvel Studios in their reacquisition of the Daredevil property – leading to the possibility of future tie-ins – hope hope!). They probably won’t go there, but there’s always the possibility. Just like there’s also the possibility that the alien monsters who were looking for Skye (Chloe Bennet) when she was a baby are the Kree – which makes Garrett’s declaration of being able to “feel the universe” after being injected with the Kree chemical, very interesting as well. Granted, I don’t think I’ve gotten a single prediction based on these little Easter Eggs right yet, but if that was a tease of the classic Captain Marvel cosmic awareness, could Skye end up being some variation on Mar-Vell’s daughter, Phyla-Vell? The Phyla-Vell who showed up in Annihilation and was associated with The Guardians of the Galaxy for a while there? I doubt they’ll take it there, to be honest, but the possibility is there so we’ll have to wait and see. In other possible links to the larger Marvel Universe this episode, when Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May (Ming-Na Wen) attempt to infiltrate a Centipede base masquerading as ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists, since they no longer have access to S.H.I.E.L.D. tech or back-up, Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt) breaks out his Grandpa’s vintage proto-S.H.I.E.L.D. tech – giving us a glimpse, perhaps, of the sort of old-school spyware we’ll be seeing in the newly announced Agent Carter series! And maybe we’ll be seeing Grandpa, too. Anyway, back to “Ragtag.” This is another briskly paced episode, packed with wit and personality. The focus on Ward provides a lot of insight into just why he’s so loyal to Garrett and HYDRA. Despite Skye’s awesome Nazi speech last week, it does seem that Garrett’s not in it for the ideology, but because of his relationship with Garrett, who busted him from juvie and then left him in the woods for six months to live off the land with only a dog for a companion. A dog he was forced to put down as a demonstration of his loyalty. This is relevant because Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) manage to get themselves captured and Ward is ordered to eliminate them. And despite all their pleading and begging for him to do the right thing, he still dumps them into the ocean to die. Whether or not that’s to give them a chance to survive (either through their own ingenuity or by rescue), we don’t know yet. There’s also the chance that it’s a way of signaling their destination without Garrett knowing. The real question becomes, is Ward salvageable? I hope not, as he makes a much better villain than he ever did a hero, but never say never. Marvel is all about the redemption arc. There was one more thing worth mentioning this week. The conclusion of this episode expands on the whole “privatization of national security” concept that the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. has thrown to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. It looks like Ian Quinn’s (David Conrad) going to be the face of Centipede (and a rival to Stark Industries), offering up an army of Deathlok-enhanced super-soldiers to the U.S. military. I’d imagine that this plotline can be wrapped up pretty quickly, but it’s also something that could spiral out into the second season; especially given the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. is effectively out of the picture for the time being. Whether that means our crew will be recruited by Stark or not is one of those tantalizing questions we probably won’t get any answers to until next year. Or maybe they’ll start rebuilding SHIELD from the ground up. That would make a pretty interesting second season arc. Or they could go cosmic and reveal the existence of S.W.O.R.D.! What? A boy can dream, right? Agents of SHIELD 1.21 “Ragtag”4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.