TV Reviews - - by Chris Townsend

REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 Ep9 – “Closure”

REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 Ep9 – “Closure”

Well, that was unexpected. A mere fortnight after cementing their new relationship, Coulson and Rosalind’s story-line was cut tragically short in the opening five minutes of “Closure” when Rosalind was assassinated by Grant Ward whilst sitting down to dinner with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s love-struck director.

It comes as a genuine surprise and somewhat of a welcome shock as we now know for sure that Ward cannot possibly survive the season; the line has been crossed and Rosalind’s death marks him as an irredeemable, twisted foil who needs to be swiftly removed from the equation. Constance Zimmer’s Rosalind Price has been one of the seasons highlights, and her growing attraction and flirty banter with Coulson has been a pleasure to watch, the character was a refreshing addition to the show and will be missed.

Operating under Malick’s orders, Ward fires the shot knowing that he’s also dealing a huge emotional blow for Coulson, one which Coulson doesn’t have time to fully process before HYDRA goons sweep in to deliver the killing blow on Wards behalf. With some quick thinking and ingenuity, Coulson subdues the goons before being extracted by Mack (Henry Simmons) and a S.H.I.E.L.D. tac-team who’ve been on stand by during the worst dinner date ever.

Fueled by revenge Coulson makes it priority number one to end Wards reign of ‘terror’  – sorry but he really has been the weakest story thread for over a year so the prospect of the “Kill Ward” mission finally succeeding excites us somewhat. However this is where the episode fumbles, as Coulson interviews all the members of the original team who worked under Ward to try and gain a clearer understanding of what makes him tick and to uncover any potential unknown weaknesses they can exploit.

Unfortunately, the writing here feels so forced and ill-conceived that it actually distracts from the main issue. If the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., with all the best tech and wizardry money can buy doesn’t have enough info on an individual who was under his command for a year, and that he has then spent the last year and a half relentlessly pursuing then he should really hand in his resignation. It just doesn’t ring true.

After unconvincingly piecing together that Ward still has genuine love and affection for his younger brother Thomas, Coulson swiftly hands Mack the keys to S.H.I.E.LD. – not wanting the agency implicated in his emotionally clouded judgement – and selects Bobby and Hunter for the Ward Jr. snatch and grab.

Elsewhere Fitz and Simmons accompany an equally grieving Luther Banks to an ATCU facility overseen by Malick to try and learn more about his overall plans for Inhumans. Unfortunately Malick has telekinetic Inhuman Giyera (Mark Dacascos) waiting for them and after forcing Banks to kill himself Giyera kidnaps the pair  of scientists and transports them overseas to the sacrificial Monolith Castle here in Merry Old England where Ward and Malick are waiting.

Giyera tortures Simmons whilst Ward uses her anguished screams as incentive for Fitz to reveal how he opened the portal to Maveth in order to bring Simmons home. Despite his best efforts, Fitz caves, revealing everything he knows. However, Ward has no time to savour his victory as Coulson places a call from his inbound Quinjet with a simple message: “I have your brother, you harm my people and he dies. Either way, I’m coming to kill you.”

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, believing Coulson is on a suicide run, Mack enlists May’s advice on formulating a plan and the pair green light the Caterpillars Project. To Marvel Comics fans – that means the Secret Warriors! Daisy, Lincoln and Joey are given the go ahead to provide super powered back up and lead an assault on the castle.

This sets off an electrifying final act as S.H.I.E.L.D.s own Inhumans fight their way through the HYDRA defences whilst inside, Malick and his team (with the unwilling assistance of Fitz) use fragments of the Monolith to successfully open a portal to Maveth. It all then turns very Stargate as Malick orders Ward to take a team through and lead “It” back to Earth, Fitz agrees to join the mission to help navigate them back home provided no more harm comes to Simmons. The team embark and the portal is ready to be closed.

After releasing Thomas, Coulson’s Quinjet arrives and immediately starts taking heavy fire from ground artillery, in a fantastic climax Coulson performs a daredevil “eye of the needle” skydive and plummets headfirst straight into the portal the instant before it closes. He lands hard on Maveth and is knocked unconscious, setting the stage for a fantastic mid-season showdown.

Despite a shocking opening and a very strong, exciting ending “Closure” falls flat slightly in the middle and feels somewhat contrived and a little muddled, which has been a common occurrence this season and it’s these moments of slightly forced plotting that fail to give the episode the five stars that it would otherwise deserve.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is currently airing Sundays, 9pm, on E4

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