Published on October 29th, 2014 | by Sharp-O0
S.H.I.E.L.D Exposed – “A Fractured House”
This was probably my favourite episode this season!
A Fractured House works two-fold as a title, both in reference to SHIELD itself and to the familial trauma of the Ward family as we’re introduced to the oh-so evil older brother of Grant Ward, Christian. A Republican senator who is heads up a witch hunt for SHIELD after they supposedly attack the UN, killing several dignitaries. This is obviously a Hydra plot so the race is on to clear SHIELD’s name and get dirt on this potential new foe.
We get a fair bit of fun and mysterious BS in this episode but it balances out quite well. The Wards’ manipulations, Team MockingHunter bitching at each other while kicking ass, and a named villain! That’s right, we see Whiplash! Well, the ORIGINAL Whiplash. Marcus Scarlotti was the original Whiplash (later Blacklash) in the comics before Anton Vanko. He was killed after Tony Stark’s latest Iron Man suit gained sentience and crushed his throat against Tony’s wishes (Mask in the Iron Man, if you’re interested in reading it, it’s awesome) hence a new Whiplash and the one chosen for Iron Man 2. He’s a pretty one-note bad hired goon but he does have a sick fight with May where he wields some hunting knife variant of a kyoketsu-shoge (basically a big knife of a rope). They don’t name check him as Whiplash but this is a nice nod to it.
FitzSimmons have their talk and it’s pretty brutal. Fitz is so angry and hurt that Simmons left him when he needed her most but she can’t tell him why she left but it’s all too obvious when Simmons thanks Mack for helping Fitz. She left because he’s worse when she’s physically there, as opposed to HeadSimmons, who acts as a mental crutch and has been helping him since she left. The idea of her is a better help to Fitz than she actually is. I’m still loving the BROTP dynamic of FitzMack though and I hope Mack can help Fitz more in the future.
Team MockingHunter is the most entertaining part of this episode. Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki have a great onscreen chemistry as ex-spouses Lance Hunter and Bobbi (Mockingbird) Morse. Their near-constant bickering is mixed with care and mutual respect and it’s a delight to watch. Nick Blood especially exudes a certainly charm whilst tripping over his words that makes his already likeable performance that much more endearing.
As for the Ward brothers… I don’t trust either of them. Grant doesn’t deserve it after the shit he’s pulled and his brother, Christian. On top of the stories told to us by Grant (who Christian calls an unreliable narrator, in so many words) there are three things that make me distrustful of anyone in a position of power; Christian. Republican. Senator. You might as well paint the words “BAD GUY” on his face from my perspective but is he telling the truth about Grant? Who knows, Christian may be every bit the sadist that Grant has said but Grant’s doing himself no favours be escaping custody.
Post credits sees a stranger enter a tattoo parlour and ask for the rest of work to be done, against the advice of the tattoo artist and he reveals his torso is covered in the alien language! That’s going to be an issue in the future…
A Fractured House is a fun episode that isn’t simply going through the motions like many of the previous episodes have felt like they are. The next episode won’t be til November 11th but when we return, we’ll be looking at The Writing on the Wall.