Agents of SHIELD 3.10 Review: “Maveth”

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The fall portion of season three of Agents of SHIELD came to a massive conclusion with last night’s midseason finale set on Earth and on the planet Maveth. The action packed episode reminded me of some of my other favorite Agents of Shield episodes and was full of twists, turns, and pop culture references. Spoilers ahead, so only read if you’ve seen the episode!

The storytelling structure of Maveth was much less complicated than previous episodes this season in the sense that the episode focused on mainly two groups of people: those on the other side of the portal, and the rest of Team SHIELD on this side who were trying to figure everything out.

One thing was certain for our friends on the strange planet, and that is that Fitz was 100% done with Ward and his nonsense. You can almost cut the tension between Ward and Fitz with a knife at the beginning of the episode. It’s two and a half seasons worth of Fitz dealing with the repercussions of Ward’s betrayal that have built up to this moment on the desert planet, and Ian and Brett do an amazing job of playing off each other’s chemistry. Whether they’re friends or enemies, the on screen chemistry between the two actors is there, and it shines in the midseason finale.

Fitz eventually makes a daring move and finds Simmons’ extra-planetary lover Will who’s held up in his bunker and has a hurt leg. Fitz tells Ward that Will is just as important as he is knowing that he and Will might be able to work together to outsmart Ward and his Hydra thugs.

Meanwhile, Coulson wakes up on the planet after a touching dream sequence involving Rosalind. If you’ve read any of my other recaps, you know my love for Roz, so it was nice and unexpected to see her pop up in this episode. She gives Coulson the motivation and the push to do what he needs to do. If we thought Coulson was on a mission last episode, he’s definitely determined this time around. After an awesome Star Wars reference (Tatooine), he’s back on his feet and on the hunt for Ward.

Back on Earth, Director Mack continues to steal the show. Mack’s uneasiness of SHIELD and of Coulson from last season is long gone, and we see a very calculating and capable director in Agent Mack. He’s taking his responsibility as director very seriously, and he’s easily the most capable agent in the bunch to handle such a task without becoming “emotionally compromised” (to steal a phrase from Spock).

Director Mack comes up with a plan to infiltrate the Hydra castle and splits the team up into two main groups: the first team, the “Power Rangers,” was led by Daisy and May as they brought Joey and Lincoln into their first real field mission as Shield agents. Joey has obviously been working on honing in his Inhuman abilities, and what a welcome addition he is to the team with his wits and humor to give Agent Hunter a run for his money.

The second group consists of Mack, Bobbi, and Hunter, and I love seeing the three of them together again. The teamwork portrayed in this episode was outstanding and of the highlights of the episode for me. Meanwhile, after Lincoln shuts off the power to the Hydra castle, Simmons is able to break free from the binding and find the place where Hydra is storing the Inhumans for when the ancient Inhuman comes through the portal to Earth. Simmons discovers Dr. Garner’s containment unit and, in one of Simmons’ biggest lapses in judgment, ever, she releases Lash/Garner from his cell. He does help her escape, but it’s unclear whether it was Lash or Garner, or whether or not they’re fully the same person, now.

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Eventually the entire Shield team reunites at the portal where Joey fortifies the doors to help barricade themselves in the room as they wait for whoever or whatever comes through the portal. As a failsafe, Mack comes up with the plan that involves him and Daisy staying behind to the last minute, while the rest of the team heads back to Zephyr One. Their orders are to destroy the castle once the time is up so that nothing comes through that isn’t supposed to come through. Mack makes sure to make it a point to leave May in charge as director should him and Daisy not make it out in time.

Back on Maveth, Fitz and Will were able to escape from Ward and the Hydra thugs and head out on their own. Eventually Coulson caught up to Ward, bound him up, shot him a few times, and him and Ward were on their way to meet up with Fitz and Will.

When they were finally able to catch up to them, one of the biggest shockers of the episode was dropped. Will wasn’t Will. The real Will died trying to save Jemma. This Will was the Inhuman in disguise – using Will’s body as a sort of host.

The portal is about to close and they all know it. Will and Fitz struggle and fight with Fitz shooting him a few times before he finally goes down at the last minute. While Fitz is trying to deal with the Inhuman, Coulson and Ward are going at it as well. In one of the darkest moments in the show’s history, Coulson pins down Ward to the ground and uses his mechanical hand to crush Ward’s chest. Ladies and gentlemen, Ward breathed his last breath last night, and it was Coulson who forced that breath out from Ward’s body.

Fitz watches in shock like the rest of us. Coulson leaves his mechanical hand with Ward’s body, and the two eventually make it through the portal at the last minute and are reunited with the rest of the team on Zephyr One after May orders the castle to be destroyed once Daisy, Mack, Coulson, and Fitz are a safe distance away on Dr. Garner’s containment unit.

The episode ends with a seemingly possessed Ward back on Earth standing in front of Malick’s getaway vehicle and holding Coulson’s mechanical hand. It’s obvious that the Inhuman has somehow invaded Ward, but it’s unclear, at least at this point, whether there are any bits left of the Ward we have come to know over the past few seasons.

Other Thoughts:

  • Is Ward still Ward or is Ward gone for good? What capabilities does this Inhuman have?
  • I know what Coulson did was a little out of character, but I believe that was the point. I don’t like what Coulson did and I’m not supposed to like it.
  • Where is Lash and what happens with his character next? We know he killed the Inhumans that Hydra had stored up and we know that May saw the leftovers of Lash’s mess, so what now?
  • Will Coulson continue to take a sort of sabbatical from being director and leave Mack in charge?
  • I’m hopeful we’ll see more of Joey and Lincoln in action when the show returns in the Spring.
  • As always: What’s next for FitzSimmons?

You can watch The Marvel Report’s video review of Maveth here.

Agents of SHIELD returns to television Tuesday March 8 with new episodes. In the meantime, you can catch Marvel’s original team on Agent Carter season 2 premiering January 19 on ABC.

 

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