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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Nothing Personal” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

As if there weren’t enough reasons to hate on Grant Ward so far, this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the discovery of his betrayal goes and upsets Fitz and Simmons. The Twins have always been my favorite part of this show; they’re adorable and sweet and practically talk to each other in a language all their own like two Dr. Seuss characters, and now Ward has gone and wounded both of them to their core. Jemma is quietly crying and Fitz is throwing things around the medical lab because sometimes the only way to deal with a broken heart is to break shit. And worst of all? There were no pancakes made this day. No pancakes at all. Ward’s a bastard.

“Nothing Personal” is an ideal episode title this week because, for everyone except Ward, it’s nothing but personal. Fitz is initially in denial that Ward could betray them because he’s their ‘friend,’ and he holds on to that almost child-like belief until Simmons gives him irrefutable proof it had to have been Ward who killed Eric Koenig (Patton Oswald: Justified; United States of Tara). Coulson, as leader of the team, feels responsible for allowing this traitor to linger in their midst, enabling him to take Skye – with whom he has an almost paternal relationship – away to God-knows-where and even cool, calm, collected Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) mutters, “I vetted him,” when told of his HYDRA affiliation.

And then there’s Skye, who’s on the run with the guy, but can barely contain her loathing for him now that she’s sussed out his secret. Skye is many things, but her heart has always been firmly on her sleeve. She’d let Ward get close to her, and has probably done whatever the Skye version of doodling their initials on her notebook is (hack into NASA and have the Exploration Rover draw the shape of a heart 20-miles-wide on the surface of Mars?) and she is taking all of this very personally. As one does.

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Skye, or Chloe Bennet, on this series so far, but Bennet knocked it out of the park in this episode. You could feel Skye’s barely contained fury at Ward, and how much she wanted to hurt him, because he had hurt her so very, very badly. Head-butting him was simultaneously beautiful and pointless (we like to call that, ‘The Irish Hello’) because it must have been so gratifying to strike Ward, yet ultimately lacking any real meaning since she knew she couldn’t cause him any real damage.

When she cried, it was out of fear, anger, frustration and sadness. Bennet did a more than admirable job of playing the defeated Skye, which was a weirdly refreshing change of pace from normal Skye, and bought her some empathy from me.

Ward, meanwhile, is toeing that party line we all know so well, “I was just doing my job…” like he’s handing out parking violations and doesn’t want to get yelled at, or is a firefighter and saved a kitten from a tree and is being all false modest, “Just doin’ my job, ma’am…”

When you choose to betray your teammates, shoot three people in the face and then two more in the back of the head, garrote a man to death and kidnap a girl who fancies you, that’s not “just doing my job.” That’s “just being a serial killer and a really bad date.”

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal
Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Frankly, I think Deathlok did Skye a favor when he shot Ward with that heart-attack bullet. Skye should have thought that through for a few more minutes. Fictional Skye is a better person than real-life me. While she gave him the key to decrypting the hard-drive, I would have watched Ward die. ‘Cause, you know. Nothing personal, Ward.

But I’m wondering if Ward actually believes his own propaganda. In the past two episodes, he’s been as stoic as ever while killing everyone in sight, and in the beginning and middle of “Nothing Personal,” he’s still our big ol’ slab of wood.

But he starts to unravel somewhat after the police descend on him and Skye (good work on that Most Wanted hack, Skye) and he realizes that she’s not buying any of his crap and honestly just wants to get the hell away from him, to the point of begging to be arrested. He insists that he doesn’t want to hurt her (I believe that) and that she “doesn’t understand,” (she understands plenty).

Ward gets pretty wound up (‘wound up’ for Ward) and it’s like he can’t believe she won’t accept his explanation that he’s just working. Either he’s slightly unhinged and is going to start pawing at her, begging her, “Why can’t you just understand me?! It was just a job!” or the vehemence of her reactions towards him are going to allow him to realize that everything about this situation is indeed, very personal to a great many people.

Weekly Round-Up

• I hate the flying car. I refuse to apologize for that. Unless your name is Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, wheels stay on the ground

• Melinda May: Grave Robber. She really can do it all.

• Coulson headed up project T.A.H.I.T.I. I’ll be jiggered.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

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