Friday, 4 December 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Closure' Review

'Closure' begins with what is one of my favourite scenes of this season so far, Coulson and Rosalind eating dinner and talking shit to each other.  Now, for an action adventure show set in one of the best on screen comic book universes this might seem like a strange scene to pick out, but I love the way the two characters interact.

From the very first scene that the two of them were in together there was something special there.  There was a chemistry between both the characters and the actors that let the dialogue sparkle.  It went from two older spies interacting into two amazing characters forming a relationship I genuinely cared about.  Out of every relationship in the show so far this is one of my favourites.  It's not as drawn out as Fitz and Simmons, or a sudden and surprising as May and Andrew, or as dull and doomed to failure as Daisy and Ward, it just felt real and natural.  Which is why last episode I was praying that Rosalind wasn't a part of Hydra, just so that relationship wouldn't be over.

Unfortunately, whilst it didn't end then we only had another five minutes of this amazing coupling before it all ended in tragedy.  Rosalind gets shot in the throat by Ward and bleeds to death in Coulsons arms.

Whilst this initially shocked me, it pretty quickly angered me too.  It just felt like a waste, and something we'd already seen before.  First of all, the relationship with Rosalind made Coulson more interesting and human.  There's only so much 'cool secret agent' that a character can be built on before feeling stale.  Yes, now we have an angry vengeous Coulson, which is a part of the character we've not seen like this before, it won't last.  And when it's over, he'll go back to pre-Rosalind Coulson, which is a shame.

Secondly, this removes Constance Zimmer from the show.  I like Constance Zimmer, I smile every time she pops up in a show and think she's great in every role I've seen her in.  Why wasn't she brought back for season three of The Newsroom?!  Using her in this way, to build up emotion and shock by killing her off feels like a waste of her acting ability and the character.  She brought a level of maturity and class to the show, and that's gone now too.  Yes, we still have Ming-Na and Clark Gregg, but other than that the cast are all younger.  Having another kick arse mature actor was something that made these early season three episodes great, and we've lost some of that now too.

As for 'having seen this before', does anyone remember Buffy The Vampire Slayer?  In season two the show gave Giles, the 'dad' of the show a love interest in the form of Jenny Calendar, who was killed off by a former friend turned bad guy, Angel, and sent Giles on a brief path of vengeance.  Now, replace Giles with Coulson, Jenny Calendar with Rosalind and Angel with Ward and it's the same scenario.  Except that other than the instant shock value of Rosalind's death it doesn't have the emotional punch that Giles finding Jenny's dead body in his bed did in Buffy, which I'm sure is one of the reasons every Buffy/Angel fan remembers that episode so much.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems like it tried to do the same thing here, but it just didn't have the same emotional impact, and will probably be a lot less remembered too.  All of which feels like a disservice to the potential Rosalind had.

Despite these negative factors in killing Rosalind, it did give us a hell of an opening that made the rest of the episode a fast paced ride.  Coulson was straight away thrown into a life or death situation, fighting alone against Hydra agents with nothing but his wits.  Air Freshener bomb on the candles, genius move though.

Following on from there we're given a little of everything.  We've got two kidnappings, a band robbery, torture, secret bases, the start of The Secret Warriors and Coulson diving out of a Quinn Jet and freefalling through a castle into a portal to outer-space.  All of this, and it's not even the mid-season finale!

As fast paced and action packed the episode was you just know that things are going to be even bigger and better next week.  Coulson hunting down Ward on an alien planet with an evil, immensely powerful InHuman on the loose.  Fitz trying to rescue Will.  The combined forces of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Secret Warriors launching a full scale assault on Hydra.  It's sure to be epic.

Whilst I personally felt that the loss of Rosalind was a big mistake on the shows part, this is easily one of the best episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. and really shows how to pack a lot of great moments into 45 minutes of television.  Easily the show at it's best.  Roll on the mid-season finale.


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