Ragtag didn't provide quite the punch-in-the-gut effect of the last couple of weeks with the young Ward scenes dragging out a little longer than they needed to, but the episode still delivered some intense emotion and great one-liners while moving the story forward and leading us up to next week's big season finale.
Here are 5 thoughts about this week's episode "Ragtag".
Throughout the season we have seen Fitz - who was always a little snarky - turn into a bit of an angry beast at times. I'm not sure I like the side of Fitz that wants to kill people but I do like the Fitz that despite his fear stands up for himself and his team. He must be channeling that "brave little monkey" he keeps asking for because that kind of sums up who he is. This dual aspect of Fitz is an interesting one. On one hand you have him determined to find an explanation for Ward's behavior and a refusal to admit he's just evil and on the other you have him at least "talking the talk" of wanting to take people out which may make him just as guilty of being bad himself.
Vintage Spy Gear
Our team go vigilante in an attempt to access Cybertek's systems and bring Ward to accountability for the murder's he's committed. With the anticipated announcement that ABC will pick up the new 1940s S.H.I.E.L.D. era Agent Carter series just days away we shouldn't be surprised at the appearance of the vintage Howling Commandos spy gear that pops up in this episode. I hope this is a foreshadowing of the kind of things we will see developed in that series. The gear is definitely an interesting look into the past but there's not a lot more fun than watching Agent Couson geeking out over vintage tools which is reminiscent of his awkward geek out over Captain America in The Avengers.
The Large File Transfer
It turns out Cybertek is pretty smart after all. I guess that's what it takes to develop the kind of technology they have and keep their secrets about projects like Deathlok hidden for the past 20 or so years. Coulson & Co outsmart Cybertek's old-school method of file storage by initiating a "large file transfer" (surprise surprise, windows crashed ... sorry, couldn't let that one go!) leaving us with an expression that's going to be thrown around the fandom for some time.
In general I wasn't riveted by the extended back story of Ward's conditioning but as usual I was monitoring our chat room while watching the episode and most of us spent the entire episode wondering whether or not Ward's only companion during his isolation in the woods would make it. The interesting thing is by the end of the episode we don't even know. It is implied that while young Ward didn't initially shoot Buddy when Garrett ordered him to, at some later point he had the dog in the sights of his gun and just may have pulled the trigger, the moment is left ambiguous as the current day Ward ejects FitzSimmons from the plane in the medical isolation unit under Garrett's orders to "put them down". There's no doubt FitzSimmons will survive the ordeal and most likely Ward knew they would but I look forward to the scenes we will no doubt see next week as FitzSimmons bond? in their efforts to survive with the help of that magic quarter in his pocket.
Some interesting revelations this week about Skye's origins, but even more interesting is Raina's belief that she and Skye share something in common. The implication is that they may share some DNA and that there may be a link between Skye's "monster parents" and Raina's heritage. Are they both aliens? Perhaps. What is interesting to note, potential DNA similarities aside, is that Raina and Skye actually share something else in common. They are both readers. Think about that for a minute. From the start we've seen Skye has a knack for knowing how to manipulate people when she needs to, and how to see things in people that others don't see. Coulson himself has pointed out to Skye that she has this skill and that is precisely what Raina has been doing the whole time as well. Reading people and manipulating them based on what she learns about what makes them tick. I don't know about you, but I find it surprising that I have never made this connection before now.
The reaction from Garrett after being injected with Raina's ultimate GH serum was fascinating. "What are you feeling?"...."The Universe." It reminded me of the flashbacks we see from Coulson when he's "remembering" T.A.H.I.T.I. there's a moment there where we see the universe. This can't be good!
After several intense and heavy episodes the more lighthearted scenes with Coulitz and Maymons this week served as a nice diversion. Kudos to Clark Gregg and Ming Na Wen for delivering an entertaining performance as undercover FitzSimmons.