It’s been a while since I had a chance to do an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. review, but that’s not by choice. The past few weeks have been excellent and this week’s episode, “The Dirty Half Dozen” maintains that level of quality and provides a nicely entertaining lead-in to this week’s US release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. But first a quick recap. The last time we checked in with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (episode 2.14 “Love in the Time of Hydra”), the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. had been revealed and rogue agent Ward (Brett Dalton) had been in the process of rehabilitating Agent 33 (Maya Stojan) by getting her own face back. Also, Skye (Chloe Bennet) had set up shop at a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house built to withstand a visit by the Hulk. Since then, Skye has been hanging with Inhumans, discovered that her mom (Dichen Lachman) was still alive and in charge of a mysterious hidden Inhuman city and her dad (Kyle MacLachlan) isn’t all bad — so long as you don’t get him upset. Meanwhile, Agent Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) raided Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) base forcing him on the run and recruiting Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) to sit on the new democratic board of S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses. Which means that Coulson has hooked up with Hunter (Nick Blood) and brought ex-agent Ward into the narrative to help him bring down the last remnants of Hydra. Oh yeah! And Deathlok’s (J. August Richards) back!! Whew! This week, though, Coulson has surrendered to Gonzales in order to team up and assault a secret Hydra base where powered individuals are being experimented on. Deathlok and the Inhuman, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), were captured last episode and are having horrible things done to them in the meantime. For the first time in a looooong time, we have the original six characters together going on a mission, and there’s a nice sentimental feeling about that. And it’s extremely entertaining when the writers decide to tweak the fans by insinuating — if only for a moment or two — that Ward could be rehabilitated and the team could be made whole again. It’s almost like they’ve been reading fan responses fearing that Marvel would forgive Ward’s excessively traitorous acts of murder just to feed some sort of pandering romantic narrative between him and Skye. Psyche! They all still want to kill him. This episode was yet another (since I stopped writing about them) that worked on every level. I don’t want to give the impression that I stopped reviewing these because they were bad. I stopped because I was overwhelmed with other work. The last few episodes have been awesome and this week we have all the pieces in place to not only kick off the run to the finale, but to lead in to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Does the Avengers stuff feel a little tacked on? Kind of. But they do a nice job of syncing up events from the show to what we know happens in the film. Will it be necessary to see this episode to know what’s going on in the movie? No. But that’s how the weaving of narrative threads in a massive shared universe works sometimes. There’s a balance to be maintained between the big screen and the small one. They have to tell interlocking stories that stand on their own, and that’s difficult to do sometimes. In this case, however, it works just fine. The danger that Lincoln is put in helps to draw Skye back to the team, while at the same time establishing the work that Hydra has been doing do induce powers in test subjects that will introduce “the twins” to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Everything has its place and everything adds to the Agents of SHIELD story without pandering to the overall story we’re going to see in Avengers 2. We also get more traction on Raina’s (Ruth Negga) transformation and where she might be heading as the season comes to a head. Are we moving to a place where this Inhuman outpost is turned into a battleground that eventually leads to antagonism between another Inhuman group and Earth? That would set things up so that the events of the television show influence but don’t limit the work that is planned for the film (in 2019). That’s a lot of lead time, and I doubt that the movies are going to want to be handcuffed to the television show. So get ready for a bloodbath. If not this season, then soon. But until then, get ready for an army of metal men causing chaos everywhere! And nothing will be the same again! Agents of SHIELD 2.19 "The Dirty Half Dozen"Paul's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Shawn EH The Ultron stuff seemed shoehorned in. And when I first heard of the Twins, I wasn’t sure if they meant Wanda and Pietro, or Fenris.