Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - A Fractured House - Review

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Subscribe for show updates
Receive news and updates about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - A Fractured House - Review whenever something new comes out.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - A Fractured House - Review

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “A Fractured House,” was written by the team of Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc, who last collaborated on “T.R.A.C.K.S.,” and directed by Ron Underwood. Known for both television and film, Underwood’s credits include Once Upon a Time, Grey’s Anatomy, and Castle, as well as City Slickers. This was another lightening-paced episode with terrific action sequences and terrific performances, especially from Iain De Caestecker (Fitz - again!) and Elizabeth Henstridge (Simmons). I’d be remiss in not also singling out Brett Dalton (Ward), Nick Blood (Hunter), and Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi).

The episode opens with Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) addressing the UN and urging action against S.H.I.E.L.D. I wondered at first whether Talbot was in on the attack as HYDRA agents posed as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents because how exactly, did he manage to avoid being killed by that splinter bomb? His alliance with Senator Christian Ward (Tim DeKay) was a nice twist. Certainly, in their meeting it seems that Talbot didn’t think it was S.H.I.E.L.D. at all, and he emphasizes that he “doesn’t play politics.” I think that Talbot is starting to be won over by Coulson (Clark Gregg) as he sees he can’t trust those on his own side. I really loved his scene with May (Ming-Na Wen) at the end of the episode. Pasdar is doing an excellent job with the character – he’s gone from being an ass to being a potential ally. I loved him asking how many men S.H.I.E.L.D. had lost and then saying – one soldier to another – “It’s always a shame when a good soldier falls” as he shakes May’s hand. It’s possible that he’s just following Senator Ward’s commands as part of the deal struck with Coulson, but it had much more of an air of sincerity about it to me.

Senator Ward is a great new villain. I loved that we are now caught between believing Ward or his brother – or should we trust neither? Ward tells Skye that his brother always has an angle and isn’t what he seems. He also seems genuinely worried that his brother may know where he is. The faceoff between Coulson and Senator Ward was a great scene. I loved Coulson telling him that he had his brother in his basement. While the Senator expresses concern for his brother, he seems a lot more concerned that Coulson is threatening him with exposure rather than threatening to hurt Ward. This scene is really nicely intercut with Skye (Chloe Bennet) and Ward’s final conversation. Ward tells Skye that his brother is a master manipulator. But Coulson is also a seasoned agent and does some great manipulating of his own in this episode.

        I loved watching Coulson size up the Senator. We see a quick close up of the photos in his office as the Senator expresses concern for his brother. There are 3 photos. One is a group of older adults – his do-gooding parents and their high-powered friends? One is of the Senator with a woman – a brunette – his wife? And one is of a couple walking on a beach. You can’t see their faces, but the woman appears to be a blond – or maybe this is a more recent picture of him with his wife and she is now grey? Regardless, there are no pictures of children or any other siblings or extended family. The pictures are clearly for show. One other observation in this scene – is Coulson dressing better? His suit and tie seem more expensive… just me?

Brett Dalton has some great scenes in this episode. We see his morning workout to start the day, which he does every day at 5:30 without any way of knowing the time, according to Simmons who’s been watching him! One of the things we see him do is massage his thumbs, which seemed odd at the time but makes perfect sense when we see him dislocate his thumbs to get out of the handcuffs later in the episode. Dalton does a particularly good job as we see him steel himself to pop his thumb and maintain his steely calm throughout. I was particularly impressed by his “dead” eyes in this sequence, but it’s also a nice mirror image to May’s work with Skye to maintain that steely control under difficult conditions. I love how everything is related in this show!

In Skye’s first interrogation of Ward, Coulson steps in and shuts it down when he thinks that Skye is slipping off mission. He seems uncharacteristically hard on her in this scene even while he tells her that they got more out of the interrogation than she thinks. This first scene sets us up for the second interrogation nicely, however, when we think that Skye is sneaking in to talk to Ward again. Ward gives Skye hope that her father isn’t a monster after all. He tells her that it was HYDRA that came for her and her mother and who killed her mother. Her father only killed them after he thought he’d just lost his entire family. What he can’t tell her is how he did it or what her father really is. It’s difficult to know whether Ward’s smile is because he thinks Skye is trusting him and he’s getting through to her or whether it’s because he thinks he’s pulling one over on her. Skye clearly savors getting to stick the knife in Ward and twist is as she tells him it’s time to get him out of his cell – to turn over to his brother.

We finally get to see Coulson confront Ward as well. Gregg is terrific as Coulson tells Ward that he will never see Skye again. Ward is still delusional, telling Coulson that the thought they were re-building trust, that he’s still part of the team. Coulson tells him, “you are not nor will you ever be on my team.” And then Coulson lists why: “You dropped Fitz/Simmons out of a plane” – anybody else squee when Coulson referred to them as Fitz/Simmons?! – “You murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. You betrayed every one of us you deluded son of a bitch!” Ward does look sorry in this scene – but is he? That is the question that still remains. I can’t believe that Ward is trustworthy until we see him actually express remorse for what he’s done – not just that he got caught or lost Skye.

We get to see a lot more of Hunter and Bobbi in this episode. I like what both Blood and Palicki bring to their roles. It’s easy to see why they are attracted to each other and also why their relationship didn’t work. I also really like that Bobbi is the more disciplined, trained agent, taking her orders without question, while in a role-reversal, Hunter seems the more emotional one, questioning Coulson’s orders and asking what Bobby said. I loved getting to see May, Bobbi, and Hunter working together. Of course, now we have almost an embarrassment of riches because we have two agents sitting on the bench who could also be strong assets in the field: Skye and Trip (BJ Britt). In fact, Britt has been extremely under-utilized so far this season.

However, I did love that the mission was 2 women and 1 man with the woman in charge. Ming-Na Wen is fantastic in the scene in which Bobbi comes to vent about Hunter. May is completely silent but there’s no doubt about her side of the conversation! I also loved that when Hunter tries to talk to her about Bobbi she shuts him down by telling him, “You know I don’t like you, right?” I also loved that she loved tormenting him when Bobbi kisses Toshiro (Brian Tee) – “Still like option two?” And then she smiles.

The fight scene at Toshiro’s is good – I especially liked the shot of Hunter right behind the shooter when he saves Bobbi. And I particularly liked Bobbi and Hunter pausing in their argument to simultaneously shoot Toshiro. However, the entire conversation between Bobbi and Toshiro was pretty stupid. If she was HYDRA, she would have known he was the supplier of the splinter bombs and she would have had access to them. She would not have had to ask him those questions! She would also have known about the Diviner! The fact that she asked those questions gave her away as not HYDRA long before the message came in.

The final fight scene is spectacular. I love Bobbi and her batons. I also really liked watching her and Hunter fight as a team – more please! However, May gets the most spectacular fight scene as she battle Scarlotti (Falk Hentshel) with his knife on a chain. I’m going to mostly refrain from wondering if they’d simply run out of splinter bombs. Because, honestly, who would be stupid enough to engage the cavalry in hand to hand combat if they didn’t have to? As a viewer, I’m glad they do though…

I’ve saved some of the best scenes to talk about last – we finally get the Fitz/Simmons reunion we’ve been waiting for and it’s every bit as heartbreaking as we’d anticipated. We see Fitz clearly talking to “Simmons” when the actual Simmons walks in. Simmons is trying to act as if everything is the same and this only serves to agitate Fitz. He knows he’s different, and he just wants her to accept it. He’s finally ready to be angry with her: “You left. I needed help. I needed help with the cloaking… and someone to talk through at least. You gave up on me.” Simmons denies it but Fitz believes she thinks he’s useless. She denies that that’s why she left, but she can’t tell him the real reason. Henstridge and De Caestecker are both wonderful in this scene.

Once again, Mac (Henry Simmons) steps in to save the day. He’s the one who Fitz is able to talk through. I also loved their easy banter – Mac – “Half of what he says is nonsense” – Fitz – “No it isn’t” – both with big smiles on their faces. Mac hasn’t discounted what Fitz has seen in the old plans while Simmons clearly thought that he was simply staring at them. It’s Fitz and Mac who put together that Julien Beckers (Michael Enright) who appears to be a supporter of S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually related to the known HYDRA scientist, Vincent Beckers, from the 1940s. Anybody else wondering if we’ll see Vincent – along with Daniel Whitehall – in Agent Carter?

Simmons goes to Mac to thank him for being Fitz’s friend. I thought this was really condescending to Fitz – as if he isn’t able to make friends on his own merits anymore. She also thanks him for helping Fitz. Mac sets her straight that Fitz doesn’t need help. He points out that he doesn’t expect him to be like he was because he didn’t know him before. Simmons denies that she wants him to be anyone other than who he is. Yet, doesn’t she want him to be the way he was before? It would be perfectly understandable for her to feel guilty that Fitz is the way he is because of what he did to save her life.

        Mac accuses her of leaving because she didn’t return Fitz’s feelings, but she sets him straight. She left because she knows her being around is the one thing that makes Fitz worse. Does this mean she will leave again? I definitely hope not! Henstridge is simply wonderful in this scene as we see how much this is tearing her apart. She’s also wonderful when during Ward’s exit, she deliberately stands between him and Skye – effectively blocking him from even seeing a last glimpse of Skye – and tells him that if she ever sees him again, she’ll kill him. I also liked how this shot mimicked the shot at Toshiro’s with Hunter and the guard.

I began to wonder in this episode if Mac is more than a simple mechanic. Is he perhaps a therapist that Coulson has brought in to help the team? More specifically to help Fitz? I thought Simmons was also great in this episode as we see a little more of him. What did you think of the episode? Do you think that Senator Ward will once again go after S.H.I.E.L.D. now that Ward has escaped? Do you think Talbot will continue to blindly follow the Senator’s orders or do you think he’s now on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side? Is there hope for Fitz/Simmons? Do you think Ward wants to be redeemed? And who was that guy with the alien lettering/map tattoed on him?!? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.


SpoilerTV Community
Latest News