Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began with a very simple premise: that the audience would follow the adventures of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team as they participate in covert missions for the global organisation S.H.I.E.L.D.. Outside of some minor team changes or a big guest star or two there seemed to be little that would alter the show in any major ways outside of the initial setup. Then Captain America: The Winter Soldier came along and destroyed everything.
‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ is the episode that coincides with the second Captain America film, where it’s revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by the evil organisation Hydra since it was founded. It’s no exaggeration to say that from this point onward nothing about this show will ever be the same again.
The episode begins with the ‘surprise’ reveal that a Hydra message has been sent out over every S.H.I.E.L.D. frequency, initiating sleeper agents across the organisation to attack and kill those loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D.. This makes the sudden turn of Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) wanting Coulson captured and his team dead at the end of the last episode make a lot more sense. It also puts Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) in a lot of danger, her being stuck in The Hub with the somewhat unknown Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt) and dozens of Hydra soldiers.
The Simmons story is handled pretty well, with a number of points where Triplett comes across as quite sinister; by the end it’s clear that he’s not Hydra, preferring to die an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. than defect to the enemy, but it’s a small mystery that could have gone either way. The double reveal that both Trip and Victoria Hand are actually S.H.I.E.L.D. is a great scene, and one that showcases just how much of a great character Hand is.
With one major S.H.I.E.L.D. operative confirmed as being loyal, it’s no surprise that another is actually Hydra, Coulson’s good friend John Garrett (Bill Paxton). By then, the fact that he’s actually a bad guy is not so much of a surprise. His sudden urge to kill Victoria Hand is too much of a turn for him not to be a villain. The revelation that he’s also the Clairvoyant is a shock though, and a plot that the series will hopefully explore in greater detail as the series progresses.
The biggest shock of the episode – that one of the core team has been Hydra since the very beginning of the series – comes when Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) murders Victoria Hand. Considering how great she was in this episode, it’s a huge shame to lose her, but she certainly went out in a memorable way.
It’s not a surprise that one of the main characters would turn out to be Hydra, but that it’s Ward was not easy to see coming, mainly because he’s been so dull and lacklustre up to now. Perhaps this is the only way that the writers could think to make the character more interesting, a character whose only major thing was being attracted to Skye (Chloe Bennet). Whatever the motivations for making him Hydra it certainly makes things more exciting going forward, especially after he admits his feelings for Skye before saving her life.
The changes to the series are incredibly bold and mean that nothing will ever, or can ever, be the same again. It also changes everything that came before, especially with the knowledge that Ward has been a bad guy since the start. With S.H.I.E.L.D. now gone the team are left with no resources, no back-up, Garrett on the loose, and a snake within their midst things have never been more dire for Coulson and his team.
Are you a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Let us know what you think of this episode.