Maveth Plot Summary:
Coulson (Clark Gregg), Fitz (Iain de Caestecker), and Ward (Brett Dalton) are now on Maveth with their own goals. Hydra will do everything they can to bring It back, but S.H.I.E.L.D. is determined to stop that and bring their friends home.
There was a lot of excitement coming into this mid-season finale. Coulson had just dove through a portal after spending all of “Closure” on a massive rampage and Fitz was stuck with his mortal enemy in his mission to make Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) happy. Plus, S.H.I.E.L.D. was all set to launch a massive assault on Hydra. With such high levels of intensity on a penultimate episode (technically, since the show is going on break until March), there was definitely an expectation that “Maveth” would continue what “Closure” started. In terms of story, this is exactly what happened. We ended the episode on a major reveal and how it will impact our heroes is a big question. However, along the way there was a good amount of lulls that left one hoping for the action-packed thrill ride we got before.
Most of this episode was build-up to the crazy final few minutes, which is a bit disappointing because we’ve had half a season to get here. Coulson, after spending an entire episode in a haze of fury against Ward, dedicates most of this episode to talking with him.. Ward rants about finding a purpose and that him and Coulson are the same, but it expectantly goes nowhere. Coulson (hilariously) just shoots Ward in response. This isn’t the immediate pickup expected from last week, so when Ward and Coulson do finally come to blows in a fist fight, it was more of a relief than a logical continuation of pure anger. A lot of the action happens off screen too, so we didn’t have much to grasp onto for visual excitement. We hear Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) beat up Hydra soldiers and Lash (Blair Underwood) just disappears once Simmons lets him out. S.H.I.E.L.D. assaulting the castle was a much quieter affair too. It honestly looked like “Maveth” was too focused on tying up loose ends and pushing material to the end instead of really fleshing out a few core things.
Like Lash. His disappearance really didn’t sit well with me because it makes you wonder why he was even there in the first place. Sure, he saved Simmons, but May’s (Ming-Na Wen) team was right about to do this too. The show doesn’t even use this as a way to explore the possibility of Andrew maybe being a good person. His mutual enemy with S.H.I.E.L.D. is Hydra, so how awesome would it have been to watch Lash go on a ruthless spree against them? Simmons was all excited too because it looked to her that Lash can help instead of harm. Then May finds all the dead Inhumans, which doesn’t resonate at all because we both never knew them and it was exactly what Lash would do. Without bringing anything new to the table, it’s weird this was even here.
There was at least some nice focus on our heroic Inhumans. Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) went on their first official mission and they were actually invaluable. Joey especially stood out. His ability to melt metal is cool but his worth as a superhero was questionable. Then he melts the bars to sneak in, can melt bullets before they hit him, and (presumably as it was another off-screen action) melted doors to keep them sturdier. As for Lincoln, we’ve seen his lightning powers in action already so there weren’t any major revelations here. Even though they have yet to be an official team, it’s fun watching S.H.I.E.L.D.’s premier Inhuman group get together. Hopefully more Inhumans will join in 2016.
For the stuff happening on Maveth, Fitz was undeniably the big star. He opened the episode trying to kill Ward and spent the remainder as a rebel. His team up with Will (Dillion Casey) was a great look into how much he values his relationship with Simmons. It’s made abundantly clear to everyone what happened between Will and Simmons, and Ward even tries to goad Fitz into killing the lost astronaut. Yet Fitz remained steadfast, actively telling Will later that all he wanted to do was bring him back to make Simmons happy. We also saw his badass side when It was about to go through the portal. Remember when Fitz was all nervous about going on a mission with Ward? Now he will light an enemy on fire without batting an eyelash.
Speaking of enemies, It both hit and missed. What worked really well was the revelation that It had taken over Will’s identity. A big part of me expected Will to have been replaced when Simmons left, but I had no issue with this not being the case. I didn’t even think twice when It never appeared. The first moment I thought, “Hey maybe that’s not actually Will,” was right before he pushed Fitz down the hill. This reveal was handled very well. What missed though was the later revelation It took over Ward’s dead body. Ward’s death shocked me, but I wasn’t convinced the show would entirely push out Brett Dalton. Then you saw that creature leave Will’s body and it was blatantly obvious what was about to happen. It would have been better if Ward just reappeared without this hinting and his survival was explored in the next half.
Speaking of Ward’s death, I do want to address it here. Yes, I’m excited the show actually went through with it, and no I don’t think his body carrying It is a cheat. The Ward who terrorized S.H.I.E.L.D. and killed Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) is 100% gone. His chest was crushed by Coulson. In his place is a force of unmistakable evil and It’s arrival on Earth is bound to raise some hell. I also don’t believe Maveth is totally gone. Showing that an entire civilization used to live there isn’t exactly something this show should just shrug off.
“Maveth” wasn’t nearly as exciting of an hour as “Closure”. It didn’t carry all the intensity through and a lot of the material we wanted was pushed to the end. Plus, a lot of extraneous stuff was pushed in before, like material with Lash. This ended up sacrificing what could have been some awesome action scenes for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s primary assault. Fitz was awesome though, and him straight up destroying Will’s body was a great way to wrap up that chapter of Simmons’ life. Hopefully Fitz-Simmons will return to romantic form in 2016. Lastly, It becoming Ward was great, though it was very predictable. At least it’ll make the last several episodes pretty nuts.