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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Turn, Turn, Turn” Review. Out of the Shadows…

Uncertainty about the identity of the Clairvoyant, following the cold-blooded murder of the wheel-chair bound Thomas Nash by Agent Ward, escalates within the team to reveal an older, more familiar enemy within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. With the organisation compromised, Coulson’s team must re-group and defend themselves amongst growing distrust between colleagues and friends in order to survive and to find out the truth about the real clairvoyant. With enemies all around the team don’t know where to turn or who to trust.

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In one of the best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes of the first season so far, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, gives us tension, suspicion and revelation within S.H.I.E.L.D. and amongst Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team. True espionage and secrecy is blended into the story bringing bluffs, double bluffs and triple bluffs in to the mix between all the protagonists. “Turn, Turn, Turn” also answers the question posed in our news section last week – What will happen to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Captain America 2? – embedding Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe with full and real consequences for the TV show (see our full article here).

To use a phrase, “Trust No One”.  Charges and counter charges are abound in this episode between friends and colleagues about where their true loyalties lie, not least with Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) who’s locked up in the brig for murdering the suspected clairvoyant and Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) who has been spying on the team and secretly reporting to an unknown person. The true identity of the clairvoyant still remains a mystery.

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May’s motives for her actions towards the team immediately place the heavy hand of suspicion over her in the episode. With the plane out of their control being drawn towards The Hub, she confirms why she was placed on the team and her deeper involvement in the selection of Agents Fitz, Simmons and Ward.

Agent Garrett’s (Bill Paxton) urgent message that he’s being attacked by friendly fire further adds to the confusion with Coulson, Garrett and the team failing to comprehend why this is happening. In an attempt to get more Intel, Skye (Chloe Bennett) comes across a message embedded in S.H.I.E.L.D. communications exposing the awful truth and a deadly enemy. Coulson’s team is now in even greater jeopardy than they previously thought.

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At this point in the story comes the first “Turn” as suspicion moves off Agent May and re-aligns to an old friend of Coulson and an Agent higher up in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation. At this point my mind is wondering just who else of these characters I can trust and who may turn from S.H.I.E.L.D.? But this is Joss and Jed Whedon and nothing is ever as simple as it appears. So comes the next “Turn” as counter charges are made towards the possibility that the enemy has infiltrated not just S.H.I.E.L.D. but the elite team headed by Coulson. At this point all bets are off as so many claims and counter claims have been made. Even where characters have proved that they are trustworthy can we really be sure? Are bluffs being made by everyone? Can we even imagine treachery in Coulson’s team? The arrival of the plane at the Hub kicks-off the final “Turn” (or maybe Turns). A parasitic traitor and his progeny is exposed to be interlinked with the events of the clairvoyant and involved with S.H.I.E.L.D.s greatest enemy. Both Agents prove themselves to be detached and calculated with cold-blooded, murderous consequences for a familiar face!

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This episode is excellent and comes highly recommended. The interplay between the characters and the twists and turns of the story arc engages the audience with continuous questions: Who could be the Clairvoyant? Which of the characters are Hydra agents? Who do we trust? This contract with the writers rewards the audience all the way through the episode with answers and unexpected reveals. It resolves the question of who the clairvoyant is by elevating the deception to the bigger threat posed by a secretive organisation and in the same stroke interconnecting the show with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as played out in Captain America 2. The story gives us meaningful betrayals, in the reveal of familiar characters as we have never seen them before, that is also suspenseful with the knowledge that Agent Coulson and his remaining team are unaware of this treachery.

The events of “Turn, Turn, Turn” explodes everything we knew about the direction of the show and the characters we have been following since episode one. For me where these pieces land and how they develop in forthcoming episodes will be hugely exciting to see.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., starring Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton and Ming-Na Wen, airs on RTE Two at 7.40pm today Sunday 27th April with the episode “Turn, Turn, Turn” and returns with the episode “Providence” this coming Friday 2nd May on Channel 4 at 8.00pm and again on Sunday 4th May on RTE Two HD at 7.40pm.

Hail Hydra!

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John Harrison

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