BE WARNED! SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER BELOW!
Plot: After discovering that Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) has her own secret hardline, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is convinced she’s working with The Clairvoyant. Hub Director Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows) however, believes their entire team is compromised and plans to execute them all. With S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsing from within, who can our heroes really trust?
This is what I’ve wanted ever since Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was announced last year. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the unique advantage of being tied to a multi-billion dollar movie franchise based off decades of source material. It can use content already available to further enhance the unique adventures of this team. While the show has always been entertaining, its taken a decent amount of time to find its groove. It would be unkind after all to expect this show to be all about unused Marvel history because it needs to be able to live on its own. Yet when the rare opportunity comes around like one of the core films getting released, it’s not unreasonable to expect some kind of connection. “Turn,Turn, Turn,” in what is easily the strongest episode ever, delivered this connection beautifully with one tense, action packed hour that perfectly fits in with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The Winter Soldier basically delivered “Turn, Turn, Turn” everything it needed on a silver platter. We now know that Hydra has been festering within S.H.I.E.L.D. since after WWII. Occasional guest Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) and agency leader Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) are only two prolific members of this far-reaching terrorist organization. Who is with Hydra and who is with S.H.I.E.L.D. is entirely up in the air, so it goes without saying that the very core of this show has been turned upside down. In an absolutely brilliant move, last night’s episode took place exactly during Hydra’s uprising within S.H.I.E.L.D. We watch this powerful organization almost completely fall from within while Captain America (Chris Evans) fights to save the world.
It honestly was all action from start to finish. “Turn, Turn, Turn” picked right off with Hand declaring an attack on the Bus while Coulson’s trust in May is completely shattered. We then follow the team from discovering Hydra to saving Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Antoine Triplett (B.J. Britt) from the Hub. Everyone becomes a suspect as Coulson tries to stop Hydra’s assault, including himself and the ever entertaining Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). The viewer is left to their own interpretations until one by one the truths start coming out. Hand is actually one of the last remaining high ranking officers fighting Hydra, May has been reporting to Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) the entire time regarding Coulson’s recovery, and John Garrett (Bill Paxton) is both with Hydra and apparently the Clairvoyant. While some of these reveals were a bit expected in retrospect (minus Garrett as the Clairvoyant. What?!), it’s hard not to get invested in the whole “who can you trust” theme.
Grant Ward’s (Brett Dalton) actions were an intense capper to last night’s events. Right when Garrett is getting locked up, Ward straight up shoots his two guards and Hand. Looks like Ward has been with Hydra the whole time right? Hate to say it but I’m not convinced. It seems way too simple to suddenly turn a main character into one of the enemies just like that. If there’s one thing that The Winter Soldier proved, it’s that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is perfectly willing to upend viewer expectations. Remember how Fury “died”? Something tells me that this is exactly what’s happening right now. Hydra took S.H.I.E.L.D. down from within because there was no way they could succeed on the outside. Seeing as Hydra is now the ruling party, wonderfully indicated by the Hydra logo replacing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s at the end, similar methods can be used the other way around. Ward is a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent posing for Hydra and, since Hand likely planned it with him, didn’t actually kill the Hub director. Of course this is all speculation right now but it would make sense right? Or maybe that’s just me hoping this team I’ve become invested in isn’t breaking apart.
I also absolutely loved how “Turn, Turn, Turn” freely referenced everything illegal this team has done. Let’s face it, this team violates international law on a constant basis without any ramifications. Their plane is packed to the brim with top secret information that would be unbelievably dangerous in enemy hands. Can you really blame Hand for believing Coulson is a member of Hydra? Her long list of reasons were perfectly reasonable red flags that completely trump any claims of him just being a good guy. Almost everything they have done by this point was thrown into their faces, which makes complete logical sense. You can only break rules so often before someone begins asking questions.
With an episode so ingrained in a film like this, it’s natural to wonder which you should watch first. There honestly is no solid answer for that as one clearly spoils the other. If you missed The Winter Soldier over the weekend but saw “Turn, Turn, Turn,” you already know that Hydra is within the organization and that Captain America destroys the helicarriers. From what I can gather, this episode went through in 44 minutes what it took The Winter Soldier to do in over two hours, though the latter is obviously much more detailed. Those who already saw the movie knew that Hydra was coming, everything would work out, and that Fury is actually still alive. Fury’s inevitable return is bound to be a major moment for this show too. There are enough individual twists in both that they can live on their own, which is outstanding, but I’d say you do need to see both to get the full effect.
“Turn, Turn, Turn” is easily the most exciting episode of this series so far. Captain America: The Winter Soldier naturally played a big hand in how these events played out and that really worked in the show’s favor. However, it was a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly when in the film these events took place. While we do know it ended right when Captain America saved the world from Hydra’s wrath, everything else was very fuzzy. Perhaps that is my only gripe this week. It’s just really confusing chronologically for those who saw the film and want to know how things connect. Outside of that though, “Turn, Turn, Turn” was chock full of fun and intense action, with a dabble of romance between Ward and Skye (Chloe Bennet). This is what I’ve been waiting for since this show started. Hopefully future movie connections are as good as this!