“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” is bringing all of its plot threads together as the series heads into its Season 1 finale. The mystery of Skye’s parentage got teased even more as Grant Ward’s history was revealed in episode 21, “Ragtag.”
As Coulson so eloquently explained using a whiteboard, all of the separate plot points the SHIELD team have been chasing this season all center around Cybertek. That’s largely because Garrett needs Cybertek to keep him alive, as he was patient zero in the Deathlok project.
It explains why he uses the eye implant to control his subordinates; it’s a type of weaponry Garrett is familiar with. But he needs the GH325 to heal his body, which is slowly dying. Raina distills the blood sample they brought her and puts it into Garrett’s body, thus giving Garrett superhuman abilities.
But that is just one of many problems the SHIELD group has brewing for them. Garrett used Deathlok to win over the United States government by showing the good a “super-soldier” like Mike Peterson can do when defeating enemies of the state. That gets the military on board with a new breed of super-humans that Cybertek wants to produce for the American government.
That’s a plotline very reminiscent of “Iron Man 2,” where the government tries to get its own set of flying suits comparable to Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Main lesson here: Don’t trust people selling you super-soldiers. But this episode really did highlight the way HYDRA is stepping into the void left by SHIELD’s downfall.
That forward momentum of “Ragtag” was just one portion of the greater issues being dealt with in this episode. A good amount of the episode was spent looking back at Ward’s life after Garrett broke him out of a juvenile detention facility as a teen.
Garrett essentially left Ward to his own devices in the woods of Wyoming for five years until Ward had hardened enough to join HYDRA. Garrett then tasked Ward with killing his adorable, awesome dog Buddy to show he wasn’t weak. Screw you, Garrett, and screw you Ward for sort of following through.
That storyline paralleled Ward’s decision regarding Simmons and Fitz, who he found, captured and then dropped off the Bus into the ocean. Though they likely aren’t dead, this act towards Simmons and the puppy dog-ish Fitz, the one character who still had faith in Ward’s goodness, was the equivalent of Ward severing his ties with Buddy.
Then there’s Skye, whose DNA Raina has been examining. It’s clear Raina is playing into Ward’s fondness for Skye by telling him the story about how she could be the child of “monsters,” but to what end? And is that story the truth? Hopefully that is revealed in next week’s finale.
Also, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen’s excellent “Coulitz” and “Maymons” portrayals of Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge during their Cybertek infiltration. Well done, team.