The Dirty Half Dozen ~ Agents of SHIELD: The Art of Evolution

4/24/2015

The Dirty Half Dozen
We have a chance to hit Hydra...hard.
~ Phil Coulson

"The Frenemy of My Enemy" was another episode that Agents of SHIELD knocked out of the park. Along with "Melinda," it's one of the best of this superb season. And that really means something, because the entire series has been stellar. Yes, the entire series. Despite some people's assertions, it was never struggling to find itself. It wasn't confused about what it wanted to be. It was never boring. It was setting up the dominoes. It was bringing in all these elements and introducing these characters to each other and to us.

Those who wrote it off either were invested so deeply in the comics version of the Marvel universe that deviations via other mediums are looked down upon, or those with an attention span so short that a show that doesn't establish every personality and spoil every future plot point within the first half of its first season is not worth the time. Sometimes people just cling to the written word and always say that's the best version. For me, while I love getting lost in the page as much as anyone, a superb actor bringing their heart to a complex character, easily weaving between emotions, is often far more beautiful. Then there are those who didn't like Coulson in the first place. That I will never understand. He is humorous, intelligent, and kind. His personality lit up the screen, and fans loved him so much that he was resurrected.

I've said it all before, but it's worth repeating. I hope some of those people rethink their decisions, not because the show needs them, but because they're missing a great, evolving story and acting that matches any Emmy-worthy series. Of course, though it has top-notch writing and acting and deals with normal life themes, such as friendship and betrayal, it does so through the prism of the fantastical, a show like this no one would ever think to nominate, or would ever dare unless they wanted to be laughed at by their peers. That's is a great shame, because the feelings created by shows like this I find are often as deep as any other. Just look at shows like Fringe, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Supernatural or Buffy/Angel/Firefly (the Whedon Trifecta of emotional powerhouses) to see where I'm coming from.

Okay, so I went off on one of my tangents and completely forgot about this week's print. The Dirty Half Dozen is a fun title and another fantastic print, this time depicting the original six characters the series started with, albeit one now an enemy, or frenemy for the time being as the previous episode and its title showed. This print is one of the best of so far, definitely as great as "Melinda," and we'll see how it grows in emotional significance when the episode actually airs. I'm sure the episode will be something great, as they have all been important, fun, exciting, or poignant. Some more so than others, as with any series, but overall the quality has never waned. It only gets better, always topping itself, adding layers upon layers of depth. So I can't wait for next Tuesday. I kind of wish there was more time. The end is so very near, and last season's final episodes were so jam-packed with action and revelations that I was fearful for the characters the entire time. They've done it to me again.

Speaking of fearful, the two times I really feared for Fitz's life (not counting the split second when Mack saved him from the exploding wall) were both because of Ward! He can never make up for stranding Leo and Jemma at sea - Fitz nearly dying, their relationship changing because of it - and he still tries to talk to Fitz like a friend. I love how Fitz was ready to kill Ward, and also how Hunter and Coulson were ready for it.

Speaking of Ward, as much as I like hating the bastard who grew up in a terrible, abusive family, escaping into the eager arms of a manipulative organization whose goal is domineering cruelty, I still sympathize with him because he just really had no shot at a normal life. Now this emotionally withered husk of a human being may have found love with Agent 33. Although, likely he could snap her neck if it suited him. We'll have to wait and see if he can again be the same man who tired to save FitzSimmons by jettisoning them out of the Bus into the ocean rather than shoot them where they stood. And maybe he can do one better and actually own up to everything he's done rather than justifying himself.

Favorite Scenes, Or the Moments I Don't Have Time to Fit Properly into the Post

    Cal and Daisy. Wow, Kyle MacLachlan can make you sympathize with a "monster," as Cal has called himself. He only became that way because his family was ripped apart (his wife literally) and he was desperately searching for "Daisy" for so long. (I'll always call her Skye.) It was poignant how he wanted to make up for lost time, not knowing Skye was there to soften the blow of his departure, and MacLachlan played the eager, earnest, broken and betrayed heart perfectly.
    Coulson and Skye's reunion was agonizingly brief. He loves her and just wants to protect her, and that is very difficult to do when her father is a raging maniac (who would never hurt her intentionally, by the way) and Gordon intervenes to whisk her away.
    Fitz's aborted attempt to geek out over Deathlok's new upgrades was adorable.

Well, that's about it for me. I'm behind on work this week, and if I stop writing now I shouldn't have to make up for it on Saturday. I wish I could get more in depth on "The Frenemy of My Enemy," but I would need to watch it again and take notes. I will, but not today. Instead, I'll look forward to "The Dirty Half Dozen" after a nice, quiet weekend. In the meantime, we can all read about the artwork for the episode at Entertainment Weekly and watch the sneak preview below.


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