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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E6 "Fractured House"

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HYDRA makes a deadly attack on the United Nations while posing as S.H.I.E.L.D., and a member of Ward's family becomes a potential threat.


Fractured Tropes:

  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Lance and Bobbi, despite all their snarking, do legitimately care for each other, as shown when they're worrying about and saving each other.
  • Batman Gambit: Julian Beckers, a HYDRA agent working within Belgium's government, turns the country into a haven for S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to lure agents in to be eliminated.
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  • Battle Couple: Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse are an extremely effective unit when in combat together...even when they're arguing with each other.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • While May is amused by Hunter's clear unresolved feelings for Bobbi when it involves the two bickering or him being discomforted at seeing her kissing a mark, when he starts venting to her, she cuts him off by simply stating that she doesn't like him, making him shut up.
    • Mack, as always, is completely straight with Simmons, telling her in no uncertain terms that her presence is making Fitz worse. She agrees, which is why she left in the first place.
  • Call-Back: Ward dislocates his thumb to escape his handcuffs, much like May does in "0-8-4."
  • The Cameo: Take a blink and you'll miss Mark Musashi of Kamen Rider and GARO fame as he appears as a HYDRA henchman.
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  • Casual Danger Dialog: Bobbi and Hunter get into an argument in the middle of a HYDRA safehouse, even having to pause to shoot someone.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Bobbi and Hunter get into an argument about his rescue of her at the HYDRA safehouse, as she feels he interrupted when she had the situation well in hand.
  • Continuity Nod:
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  • Continuity Snarl: Avengers Tower is absent from New York skyline, instead the MetLife building is featured in place of Avengers Tower.
  • Corrupt Politician: Julien Beckers is Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also a member of HYDRA.
  • Couch Gag: The final scene of the cold open has one of the splinter bombs flying at the camera. Then it cuts to the title card, which is disintegrated by the same disc.
  • Defiant to the End: Agent Walters headbutts Scarlotti before he can take his knife to her, then spends her last breath to state that HYDRA will never defeat S.H.I.E.L.D. before turning to dust from the splinter bomb.
  • Delaying Action: Hunter walks up to Scarlotti's kill squad and offers them beer, and information on where there are two high level S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
    Hunter: They just need 90 seconds to get into position.
    Scarlotti: Wha-? [May and Morse make a Dynamic Entry]
  • Dynamic Entry: May and Morse jump Scarlotti's team by bursting in through the windows.
  • Escape Artist: Shortly after being loaded onto a prisoner transport, Ward dislocates his thumb, slips out of his handcuffs, and starts attacking the guards.
  • Exact Words: Skye tells Ward that "it's time to get you out of here", making him think she's breaking him out of his cell so he can help her find her father. She gets him out of there all right...so Coulson can hand him over to Christian as part of a deal the two struck.
  • False Flag Operation: HYDRA attacks the UN while claiming to be S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to turn the world's militaries on them.
  • Foreshadowing: During Ward's morning routine, there's a conspicuous shot of him methodically rubbing the joint of his thumb. He later uses this trick to dislocate it and slip out of his cuffs.
  • Handy Cuffs: When Ward is handed over at the end of the episode, his hands are cuffed in front of him. It doesn't make a difference in the long run, since the first step of his break-out is to free one hand, but you'd think they'd take all the precautions they could with such a dangerous prisoner.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: By the end of the episode, the only member of the original Team Coulson who hasn't expressed how much they despise Ward in spite of his self-perceived role as The Atoner is May (who hasn't had the opportunity yet).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Scarlotti breaks out a combat knife attached to a chain to disarm and fight May. While he keeps May on her toes swinging it around, the tide turns when the knife gets stuck in a wall. She takes the knife off and pushes back. In the end, Scarlotti briefly chokes May with the chain before she turns the tables to restrain him with his chain and beat him unconscious.
    • Hunter throws a HYDRA mook into the path of a splinter bomb thrown by another mook.
  • The Insomniac:
    • Grant Ward wakes up every day at 5:30 AM, even though his cell has no windows and no clocks.
    • Simmons and Skye discuss how they're both always awake in time to catch this eerie morning routine, suggesting they're not sleeping too well either. Simmons in particular notes that she's done so every day she's spent at Playground Base since Ward's arrest.
  • Ironic Echo: "Hands." Spoken by Ward to Skye after catching her with a Rising Tide associate just over one season before, and now spoken by Coulson to Ward right before having him vanned with the help of numerous FBI agents.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Played with. Walters is hit by a splinter bomb then disintegrates in the middle of her last words to Scarlotti.
  • Kirk Summation: Coulson delivers a pretty epic one to Ward. When Grant starts up his "rebuilding trust" angle, Coulson tells him exactly why that can never ever happen.
  • Mandatory Line: Trip has only one line, when he delivers Simmons' message to Coulson rather than her doing so herself, seemingly just so that he can have some sort of presence in the episode before he's shown silently looking on during Ward's perp-walk at the end.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both Ward brothers make the claim against each other. Both are right. While which one was more so as a child is up for debate, as adults, Grant manipulated Coulson's team to gain their trust. Christian plans to use his brother's trial for political gain.
  • Mole in Charge: Belgium's Foreign Minister turns out to be a HYDRA agent.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The leader of the SHIELD impersonators, Marcus Scarlotti, pulls out a knife-and-chain to fight May in the safehouse. Scarlotti is the first Whiplash in the comics, though his weapons were closer to Vanko's Whiplash suits in Iron Man 2.
    • Bobbi Morse reverts to the blonde she is in the comics and debuts a new tactical combat suit with elements inspired by one of Mockingbird's costumes.
    • Bobbi notes that Scarlotti nearly killed Barton once.
    • As noted above, Bobbi mentions Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye informally, seemingly confirming that the two know each other. In the comics, Bobbi and Clint were married for years, and are largely regarded as the other's primary love interest. Bobbi's bickering with Hunter is similarly reminiscent of Bobbi's relationship with Clint in the comics, with Hunter's venting to May over working with her being similar to Clint doing the same to Black Widow in Secret Avengers.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: HYDRA set up the False Flag Operation to cause friction between the world's governments and SHIELD, but SHIELD managed to clear their names and build some trust with those governments, in particular two of the men who were specifically gunning for them, and revealed a high-ranking HYDRA mole in the process.
  • No Body Left Behind: The splinter bombs used by the HYDRA mercenaries completely disintegrate their victims.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Hunter discovering that Bobbi's HYDRA cover has been blown.
    • Grant Ward when he realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D. is turning him over to his older brother.
  • Offhand Backhand: Hunter and Morse simultaneously shoot Mori as he's trying to shoot at them without interrupting the argument they're having.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The normally bubbly optimistic Simmons' Death Glare is bad enough, but when she actually threatens Ward, you can see how much she hates him.
  • Reality Ensues: Ward thought he was making amends with Coulson by providing the team with useful info, but Coulson makes it very clear that Ward was only ever being used for intel and now he's gained a new use as a bargaining chip for Christian.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Coulson gives an impressive one to Ward in which he says that he isn't The Atoner who's making up for his misdeeds by giving up information about HYDRA and might one day earn forgiveness, he's an enemy who was being used as an intelligence source, and was now of more use as a bargaining chip.
    Coulson: My team? Y-you... You are not, nor will you ever be, on my team. You dropped Fitzsimmons out of a plane. You murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig. You betrayed every one of us, you deluded son of a bitch!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Talbot has doubts from the start that the attack on the UN was really S.H.I.E.L.D.'s doing. At the end, when May hands over the real attackers to him, he parts on a friendly note and a handshake and is genuinely sorry for the agents Coulson lost.
  • Running Gag: Everyone runs up to Coulson just to make sure the attack on the UN really hadn't been them. Subverted with Hunter; Coulson assumes he is going to ask this question but instead Hunter wants to confirm that he's really Working with the Ex.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Coulson grabs a Grumpy Cat mug and wonders who brought it.
    • Bobbi wears a Star Wars T-shirt.
  • Take That!: The last few minutes definitely feel like one to the people who give Ward the Draco in Leather Pants treatment, as we're reminded of his specific misdeeds and he gets at least a Death Glare from everyone he's perp-walked past.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Hunter and Mockingbird spend most of the episode being snippy, insulting, and snarky toward each other. When they fight Scarlotti's HYDRA kill squad at the end, the two are revealed to be a well-oiled machine that mows through their opposition.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • In story: Grant and Christian Ward call each other an evil manipulative psychopath that hides under a guise of normality, each blaming the other for the torture of their younger brother. It's not clear which man is telling the truth, but the flashback Ward had from holding the Berserker Staff last season indicates he's the one telling the truth about the well (unless it was a Self-Serving Memory), but Christian could be telling the truth about his story regarding Grant and the screwdriver as he avoids the topic of the well when Coulson mentions it. It's entirely possible they're both telling the truth.
    • Meta: the Grant/Skye and Christian/Coulson conversations are shown intercut with each other which seems to be setting up a conflict between Skye and Coulson in which brother they believe and which one they will assist. Then there's The Reveal that Skye was successfully playing Grant, again, and he's going to be turned over to his brother. It's possible that the two conversations weren't simultaneous at all and that Skye's act was to get as much information from Grant Ward as she could after Coulson cut the deal with Christian.
  • Wham Episode: As of the last ten minutes of the episode, SHIELD loses even more of its external resources as their assets are lured into a trap, Coulson makes a deal with Senator Christian Ward to get SHIELD cleared of wrong-doing and turn attention onto HYDRA themselves, and when they try to transfer Grant Ward over to him, he breaks out of his cuffs and attacks the security detail transferring him.
  • Wham Line: Two in a row when Mack and Simmons are discussing Fitz's recovery:
    Mack: Look, I know you two have a past. But from what I've seen, the only thing that makes him worse...is you.
    Simmons: I know. Why do you think I left?
  • Wham Shot: The episode closes on a never-before-seen man going to a tattoo parlor for some ink. What does he want? A new addition to the alien writing sprawling across his torso identical to the stuff Garrett and Coulson had been carving.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Simmons gets this treatment again, first from Fitz, then from Mack, since unlike the rest of the team, they haven't yet forgiven her for leaving.
  • Whip It Good: Scarlotti breaks out a whip with a combat knife anchored to the end.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Skye convinces Ward (and the viewers) that she's so desperate to find out information on her father that she's defying Coulson and may help Ward escape, so Ward gives her more information on her past. Once he's revealed what he knows, Skye curtly informs him he'll be turned over to his brother/the US government for trial...just as she and Coulson planned.
  • Working with the Ex: More notable here than previously, but both Bobbi and Hunter are uncomfortable working together due to their past history. As Hunter is clearly still hung up on it, it makes it impossible for them to talk without arguing.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Coulson is astonished to realize that Ward honestly believes he's on a Redemption Quest to earn the team's forgiveness and has to bluntly tell him the team is never going to forgive him for what he did.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Senator Ward offers amnesty to S.H.I.E.L.D. in exchange for custody of his brother, accepting the offer is an easy decision for Coulson, who is familiar enough with the younger Ward's treason to turn him over to the FBI for delivery to the Senator, having used him primarily for intel.

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