Perhaps one of the most appropriately titled episodes of the series (but not a very enticing one), A Fractured House delivers exactly what it’s marketing: a fractured house. And not just on one level, but many levels. We have the obvious petty feuds between Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, divorcees who must fight together to complete their mission. Then we have the insane levels of tension between Fitz and Simmons, newly resurfaced upon her returning. We have the very literal and dangerous brother-brother grudge between Grant and Christian Ward. And then, perhaps the most poignant for me was the clear hatred the rest of Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. team feels toward Grant Ward, who betrayed them last season.
I really like Bobbi. And it’s more than just her physical attraction, for I feel she brings a lot to the table. This season we appear to be getting a rotating board of new Agents to pick and choose from, and that’s really okay with me so long as they continue building up the original crew. Adrianne Palicki is perfect for the Mockingbird role, and plays off the character of Lance Hunter like none other can. I feel obliged as a male to state my opinion on her physical appearance, but my rational mind is telling me to stay far away from that… I really think the past-relationship status between Lance and Bobbi is an excellent jumping on point for both characters. 6 episodes in and I find I’m really beginning to like Lance.
Oh Fitz. Oh Simmons. Things are so awkward right now. This isn’t exactly the bonding episode I so wanted, but that punch in the feels right at the end told me that episode will take some time to show. Elizabeth Henstridge killed it in this episode. She teared up in every scene! I’ve been feeling bad for Fitz this whole season, but all of a sudden I feel even worse for Simmons. Every time Jemma attempts to get close to him he gets worse and worse. I realized while watching this episode that actor Iain De Caestecker (Leo Fitz) actually has it really easy this season. This stutter issue Fitz has developed totally gives him the best excuse not to remember his lines. Again, I love the bromance brewing between Mac and Fitz. He really is trying to look out for him.
I’m a little at a loss as to what we can expect from Grant Ward’s brother, Senator Christian Ward, but whatever that may be Grant wants no part of it. He actually seems terrified every time his brother is brought up. And who is truly lying about their past? Grant, or Christian? Totally Christian. Especially after we see him getting those symbols tattooed onto his body soon after the fact. There is some great direction done at the close of the episode, with the montage of Grant Ward getting handcuffed, the Senator giving his statement, the other S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents reactions to him being shepherded out, and then Ward breaking free. Loved that scene to death.
But it also stung. I still really like Grant Ward, despite his HYDRA tendencies. And now he’s 100% alone. Everyone from Skye to Coulson is sick of his presence. When he’s being escorted out of the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and he tries to get a word in with Skye, Simmons steps in, bravely telling him that she’ll kill him if she ever sees him again. I believe there is good in him. And I believe we’ll see more of that in episodes to come. A fractured house indeed.
Interestingly Talbot seems to be turning a new leaf, or rather turning his coat. He no longer seems to feel it’s necessary to take S.H.I.E.L.D. down every which way. Sure, we get that opening scene where he shames the organization after the events of Avengers, but he later defends the organization to Senator Ward. Later he even empathizes with Agent May about the losses they tolled.
And can we just take a minute to admire Agent May here. Ming-Na Wen, the actress playing May has done it again. These are the best fight scenes on television, people. That knife and chain fight blew my puny little mind. The episode was worth it just for that.
Current ranked average for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two: 8.51