Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 21: “Ragtag” Review”


In “Rag Tag”, the team goes on the offensive to stop Hydra. Meanwhile, the secret to Garrett’s (Bill Paxton) mysterious origin is revealed.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled recap of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 21.

Let’s Discuss What Happened!

Rag Tag: I started watching Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. because Joss Whedon’s name was attached to the show and I liked the idea of a TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that could fill in the blanks in between movies.  But it hasn’t been until the second half of the season that I could say I was invested in the show because of the show itself.

I Told You It Was Going To Be Fun: Last’s week “Nothing Personal” packed some dramatic weight with Fitz’s emotional reaction to Ward’s betrayal and Skye calling Ward a Nazi. “Rag Tag” brought back the lighter moments amongst the drama. The most amusing moments are May smiling (I knew May could smile) while posing as a lab nerd, Coulson geeking out over the Howling Commandos spy craft gadgets and “prepare for a large file transfer”. Not everything worked though, it’s cool to see May do a double flip kick but the race to the red telephone wasn’t the most logical decision on the security guard’s part.

We Have To Go Back!: We previously seen Ward’s flashbacks in “The Well”, but this time it’s utilized more effectively as it better defined Ward, explored his history with Garrett and informed his present day decision-making. Garrett spent more time tormenting Ward than being a father figure. Maybe the victim mentality of being an abused kid with abandonment issues explains why Ward is so attached to Garrett as much as getting rescued from the detention centre.

Regardless if this paves a way for his redemption, I like this nuanced take on why Ward does the terrible things that he does. If Ward was simply evil as Skye said, it would be easy to dismiss him as a disposable villain. Whereas the inner struggle between being a lone wolf lost in the woods and believing getting too attached to people is a weakness helps to add a layer to his character. Fitz’s belief in the goodness within Ward is quite endearing. It may be a little too on the nose for some viewers, but I liked the analogy between having to put down his faithful dog and Fitz-Simmons.

Deathlok 1.0: The flashbacks also helped to explain why Garrett crossed over to Hydra’s side. S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to be stopping their enemies but after leaving Garrett to stuff his intestines back inside with duct tape, they created a traitor/monster. In the penultimate episode, we finally get a clear picture of the end game for the Centipede super soldiers and why Garrett’s personally obsessed with Coulson’s resurrection miracle. It all makes sense, nothing really surprising here – well except that Garrett is the original Deathlok! Speaking of reveals, I’m curious about what Raina has in common with Skye but without more details to go on it’s a bit underwhelming to find out Skye’s parents were the monsters who took out a village.


Say Yes: Without the writers overemphasizing it, or maybe I’m reading into things too much, I do like how this episode revolves around the degree to which a person has the free will to make their own decisions. At the juvenile detention centre, Garrett presents Ward with the offer to either come with him or stay locked up, with the latter having a long list of reasons for not being a good option. At the end, Garrett is faced with the choice to inject the serum or not but if he wants any chance to live it’s a risk he must take.

As for the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they aren’t following orders given by their superiors to stop Hydra. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. The choice to freely act for the greater good rather than obeying directives helps to better define them as heroes. Of course, the biggest decision of the episode belonged to Ward. It may be a bit ambiguous but the way that I saw it was that Ward freed Fitz-Simmon, he didn’t leave them to die in the ocean. Perhaps the confusion is that the cross hairs on the dog ended with a loud bang, but it sounded more like the pod getting released from the Bus than a rifle firing.

The Wrap Up

The road to the season finale has been long, full of bumps and perhaps a few more detours than expected.  But for those that stuck with show, the latest run of episodes are an entertaining ride with some fun twists and turns. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follows a traditional Joss Whedon finale, we can expect next week for the major story line of the season to be resolved, the conflict with the big bad to have wrapped up, and possibly lots of heartbreak.

Was Ward’s intention to free Fitz-Simmons or kill them? Any predictions for the season finale?

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Posted on May 6, 2014, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Good write up, buddy! I missed last week’s episode but tune in this week. Overall, I agree with you, “Ragtag” is a good episode with fine twist and story telling. But, despite the efforts the writers pour on this show, I still can’t like Ward. I have problem with the actor and his acting haha. I am certain Ward will choose the good side by next week’s finale and they all will go back becoming one happy SHIELD family. But, I might be wrong (I am hoping I am wrong, because if Ward die, I will be one happy camper).

    • Thanks a lot buddy! Haha, I guess you’ll be rooting for Agent May because if she gets the chance she’ll put down Ward like a sick puppy! It’s pretty much up in the air if Ward will get killed off or stick around for next season. It wouldn’t feel right if he gets forgiven after all the people he’s killed, even if he didn’t kill Fitz-Simmons. Let’s see what happens next!

  2. Don’t kill the puppy! I actually said it out loud. It was embarrassing. But it was a good episode. Good write up!

    • Aww that’s actually sweet of you. Garrett’s done a lot of evil stuff but ordering Ward to take care of the dog was really heartless. Thanks so much for commenting and checking out the write up!

  3. I liked that this episode gives reasons for all of the bad guys to be evil. It touches on each of the main Hydra five and why they are evil or nazis. I love the way that flower girl respects Garrett less and less the more human he becomes in her eyes. She was a true believer. How Quinn just wants power. He’s back in DC so he’s happy. How ward is just in search of a father figure but that he is not completely brain-washed. And even though he only shoots cops in the leg at 8 pm, he’s killed a lot of people at 9pm. (I wish they would pick a time-slot) and how Garrett felt betrayed and abandoned and is just looking for a way to survive.

    While at the same time Coulson turns to his main five and gives them a choice and mostly they just want revenge on Ward and to play with the new toys. I liked this episode.

    I watched last week’s episode again and the scene where Skye lets Ward know that she knows that he’s Hydra is my favorite scene of the show so far.

    All’s well that ends well. So, I’m hoping for a powerful finale.

  4. I also like how the episode fleshed out the motivations of Team Hydra. I wonder how the writers will handle Garrett after getting injected and “feeling the universe”. We’ve seen what Mike Peterson can do with cybertek technology, it’ll be interesting to see the abilities of the original Deathlok. Raina got to see the “insides” of Garrett but I don’t think she was impressed, like you said he became less than special in her eyes … but after the injection that might change?

    I think in some locations, episode 18 was reaired the following week in the original timeslot followed by episode 19 at 9 pm. But where I’m at, they didn’t air back to back eps, just the new ep 19 at 9pm.

    A lot of fans love that scene of Skye vs Ward, let’s hope the finale can give you a new favorite scene to top that one.

  5. I think Ward freed them because he assumed Garrett would kill them if he left them alive. This was the safest way to save them and still keep face with his boss. He’s become a lot more intriguing, and the back story was well done this week. Agents of Shield is becoming appointment viewing, and I’m excited to see what they do next season now that it’s been officially renewed.

    • Hi Dan! We’re on the same page about Ward freeing them. Add to his feelings about Garrett ordering Deathlok to kill him last episode it’ll be interesting to see how Ward’s loyalties play out in the finale. The flashbacks were good too and I liked learning that Ward set the fire in his house where his abusive brother was. Thanks so much commenting, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the finale.

  6. Looks like things are getting interesting! I wish that I can share my personal thoughts but since I quit watching the show and was part of the group who did not stick around…Well, I cannot. However, the progression of the characters seem great and I wish I stuck it out!

    • Hey man! The good news is that the show is renewed for season 2 so there’s plenty of time to catch up during the hiatus knowing the show isn’t going to abruptly end or leave fans hanging. The progression of the characters has been fairly good in the final run, maybe it’ll change some fans mind who thought Ward was boring and Sky was annoying. Thank you very much for commenting!

      • Dude….did you read my mind? Sky is the epitome of sexiness yet so frustrating! Or was at least when I was watching! And Ward was the generic and boring guy who is obviously going to get into her pants. I am glad that things changed a bit so perhaps I will give this a second chance.

  7. The writers are finally on the right track, but shooting a dog is never a good idea – ever.

    • I feel the same way that the writers are on the right track. Whenever an animal is in danger or gets harmed, there’s always strong viewer reaction and rightfully so. Can’t wait for the finale.

  8. Another solid episode. I liked the moments of humor, especially the “large file transfer.” 😉 Sometimes flashback scenes can bog down a narrative but I thought they were really powerful here, really helped to add some context to Ward and Garrett’s relationship. I think there still is some good in Ward, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to come back to the light after all he has done. The scene with the dog was really sad 😦 and I thought the actor who played Ward did a good job portraying the emotions the character has been struggling with. I’m looking forward to the finale, waiting for it to be posted on Hulu!

    • I laughed out loud during the “large file transfer”. When done right, I’m a sucker for flashbacks. I’m a huge fan of Lost and that show did a fantastic job with flashbacks. I was expecting Ward’s flashbacks to give insight on him so it was an added bonus to get some details on why Garrett joined Hydra. In an interview the producers wouldn’t confirm if the dog was shot and if shot, wouldn’t confirm if Ward or Garrett did it … I wonder why they are keeping it ambiguous. I hope Hulu posts the finale soon and that you have a blast watching it. 🙂

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