Hydra and A.I.M. go to war with one another over the Cosmic Cube. The Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. get caught in the middle of the massive war that hits New York.
Credits & Solicit Info:
*New episodes of the show are airing in Australia. But I'm gonna wait till most air in the states in late May (right after the live action Thor movie hits). I'm going to try patience, no matter how tempting it is given that another Masters of Evil storyline is a coming.
After the events of Widow's Sting, Baron Von Strucker decides to avenge the betrayal of M.O.D.O.K. and attain the Cosmic Cube from him and A.I.M. Though really, this is the total conclusion of the Black Widow subplot, as she finally comes clean to the Avengers of her real allegiance. Whose side is she really on? Come on... It isn't that hard really.
So with the end of one subplot we get the seeds of two other big ones that'll rear their heads probably in season two. One is subtle, and the other just bashes the viewer over the head. Of course, I speak of Maria Hill showing up suddenly now in control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and displaying the elements that made her so despised in the comics before she "mellowed out." Which of course means only one thing, the creators of this show will attempt to do their version of Civil War. However, given Iron Man's reactions during this episode, it was kind of nice to see Tony stick it to her. I'm curious to see where they'll go with this in season two.
It's obvious also they're continuing with the Secret Invasion subplot since Nick Fury has gone A.W.O.L. and appears to have left S.H.I.E.L.D. How long Nick will be gone is unknown. I'm just surprised at this sudden left turn in the direction of the super spy group. I feel like I'm missing something (I probably am since I haven't see episode 20 yet).
Still, then there's the other subplot introduced in the]is episode, and I'll just let one of the captions above speak for itself. What does this mean? Well, I guess we'll be getting something from Ed Brubaker's Captain America, which will be awesome. My only regret is we didn't see the Red Skull be the one to pursue the Cosmic Cube. But in all good time, given the cube wasn't really destroyed. So here's hoping for some Red Skull action with said cube in Season 2.
As for the finale of the Black Widow subplot, I have to admit it was a great end. Yeah it was kind of predictable how they went about considering which side Widow took early on, but given how packed the episode was and the finale of Widow's Sting, you kind of figured which side she was on. Really, this was closure on her and Hawkeye for now at least. Plus we really got to see some sweet shots from Hawkeye in this (even a homage to a certain West Coast Avengers cover).
The whole war with Hydra and A.I.M. was really quite well staged too. Just when you figured Strucker was going to walk over M.O.D.O.K., that big head pulls some sweet moves to keep himself in the game. Of course anything involving the Cosmic Cube has to involve Captain America, so him fighting the winner of said villain brawl was sweet to watch.
Really the only off thing in the episode for me was Maria Hill. Seriously, they where going for her Civil War self here, as she's an utter bitch in this. I mean, seriously, she orders her agents to fire on the Avengers right in the middle of this freaking war between two super-villain powers. What the hell kind of thinking is that?! Let them do their freaking job.
The only other twist that you saw coming was Black Widow's overall fate at the end. You knew she couldn't stay with the team; but, come on, it was sweet having her around. Also after S.H.I.E.L.D. being such uber dicks, you knew she shouldn't go to prison either. So the only fate left was her departure, but it still felt off to me. I just wonder if they'll involve her during this Secret Invasion arc or go instead to the other subplot introduced in the episode. I'm hoping for the latter. Really, though, Hawkeye, the fights, and the new subplots made the episode for me. Only Maria Hill being an absolute idiot was the downside. I fear for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s direction until Fury or someone else replaces her. Though I do wonder if they'll go further into her idiocy in the comics, like mind-raping Spidey or calling Cap out? Hopefully not, and they give her a bit more dimension. Still, that was the only thing that hampered this episode for me.
4 out of 5
Review by: Zechs