“The Dirty Half Dozen” sets in motions things that matter to the series as a whole as well as the greater cinematic universe as this is the episode that ties itself to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here, we find Phil Coulson finally convincing Gonzales that HYDRA is now moving fast and would experiment on captives Lincoln, the Inhuman and Mike Peterson aka Deathlok. Coulson assembles a familiar line-up to infiltrate the base and rescue the captives while fulfilling a secondary mission. Elsewhere, Skye attempts to reconnect with her friends at S.H.I.E.L.D. to join in on the mission.
What was the most interesting and well-noted aspect of the episode(I mean the title screams this!) was the moment where Coulson gathers the old Season 1 crew back together again in the same plane we all knew. It’s amazing to see and feel the show is changing. Comparing the overall situation to Season 1 you could see that the crew has grown and changed, some not for the better. I really liked the way in which the tension and the judgmental stares were played out as Grant Ward gave the mission briefing, then after giving a speech, in true Marvel fashion the crew dished some witty humour about where they should have shot Ward. It was also interesting to see a much darker version of Gemma Simmons shine through in this episode, especially during the climax of this week’s episode. For a while now, we’ve been seeing some change from Simmons, probably likely to stem from the general angst around Fitz’s issues as well as general HYDRA troubles as well as the loss of Tripp earlier. In this episode all that came to a head when she tried to make a critical move. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Contrasting this greatly was the moment where Mack and Hunter buried the hatchet about the earlier animosity leading to the revelation of the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.”. At least we can safely say that one issue has finally ended on that front in a positive note.
Another great feature of the episode was the action in this episode. Directing this episodes among others was Kevin Tancharoen. He always does the best when it comes to the action, especially now when it comes to the final few episodes left. This episode had a really neat action sequence of Skye finally in action beating up HYDRA agents and using her powers like she was taught to by her Inhuman allies. Like I said earlier, it’s really great seeing the cast grow and change. What was once a simple hacker is now an bona fide asset that is kicking ass and making a name for herself as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
One thing I’ve noticed is that Ward, starting from this episode might start to show compassion and maybe hint at a possible redemption arc? After the end of the action, Ward felt that it was best that Agent 33 or Kara would be better off back at S.H.I.E.L.D. as an agent seeing as HYDRA did screw up her life and Ward leaves knowing he’s not a good influence for her. Audiences could probably agree given that Kara’s character was fleshed out a bit to reveal a good person. It was also interesting to see that Coulson is able to be civil with him during a phone conversation at the end.
As for the Age of Ultron tie-in plot details, there were key elements such as Loki’s staff as well as significant people like Dr. List with him name dropping the Maximoff twins as well as Baron Von Strucker. Along with that we hear of the country that is within the opening scenes of the movie as well as a Maria Hill cameo. We then pretty much know what Coulson’s role is for the movie. It was also noted that Raina saw “metal men” destroying a city. Fortunately, this tie-in is a lot better handled compared to the one that ties-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier where we were spoiled big time.