Agents of SHIELD – S1E21 – Ragtag – Recap

art of level 7 ragtag

Ragtag by Emma Rios (Art of Level 7)

We learn a lot about Ward’s back story in Ragtag, specifically his relationship to Garrett. Ward was recruited by Garrett straight from juvenile lockup. Ward had been shunned by his family, but I guess that’s to be expected when you ditch military school to set the family home on fire while your brother is still in it. I wonder if we’ll ever see Ward’s brother. I can see him growing up to be a burnt-face enemy assassin, like Game of Thrones’s The Hound or WWE’s Kane.

Garrett leaves Ward in the woods with nothing but a dog named Buddy and his wits. Garrett checks in him on the seldom side of periodic. Ward and Buddy live in the woods for 5 years. During this time, Ward manages to forage for food and supplies, build himself a cabin and finally get a decent haircut.

young ward

Young Ward’s hair is best described as “serial killer-esque.”

What’s really interesting about this back story is the order of Ward’s recruitment by Garrett. Initially when he meets Ward, Garrett says he works for a secret organization. But a few years later, he tells Ward all about Hydra before telling him about SHIELD, making Ward a Hyrdra agent first and a SHIELD agent second.

Back in present, we’re quickly reminded that while Colson’s team is back together, Garrett and Ward have the Bus and Skye’s hard drive. Coulson wants both back. Skye has developed a trojan horse that can take down Garrett’s network. It’s installed on her stolen laptop. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to finish it. But as long as she can insert a thumb drive with the patch into any Hydra computer, it will launch the malware across their entire network. In order to sneak in Skye’s thumb drive, Coulson and May pose as renegade SHIELD scientists applying for jobs at Cybertek, the company behind Deathlok. This job interview was quite possibly my favorite scene in the episode. Coulson and May are being fed lines by FitzSimmons, causing both of them to fall into brogues as FitzSimmons argue and talk over each other. It was especially great to see a flustered Fitz/Coulson defending his work over a Hydra knock off. Unfortunately, May and Coulson don’t get job or get the job done. There are no computers in the entire building! They do find the file facility on the fourth floor, where they find a cabinet dedicated to the Deathlok program and make a shocking discovery, namely that Garrett is Deathlok 1.0! They download the files the old fashioned way, throwing the entire cabinet out the fourth floor window to Tripplett below.


My other favorite scene came a little earlier when Tripplett retrieved his great-uncle’s Howling Commando gear. It’s all very James Bond by the way of World War II. Coulson is in heaven. And Fitz got to play comic relief by accidentally setting the curtains on fire with a laser cigarette.

The team tracks Garrett to an old SHIELD facility in Havana. FitzSimmons scout for the Bus, while May, Coulson and Tripplett check out the SHIELD base. FitzSimmons are three hours away from the team when they find the Bus in an airfield, too long for Coulson and company to rejoin them before the Bus takes off. FitzSimmons decide to sneak on the Bus. They’re quickly caught. While being questioned by Garrett, Fitz pulls out one of Tripplett’s great-uncle’s toys, a joybuzzer that’s also a short-range EMP. It shorts out the lights and Garrett’s Deathlok systems, giving FitzSimmons a chance to flee.

Garrett is not doing well. His Deathlok parts are fine, but his biological parts are giving out. That’s the entire reason for it all: Centipede, stealing the TAHITI information: it was all to keep him alive. Now that his Deathlok system is shorted out, he’s fading fast. Garrett wants FitzSimmons dead and commands Ward to kill them.

Cut back to the past, where we find out Garrett’s final test for Ward: killing his dog Buddy, whom Ward has been living with for the past 5 years. Ward can’t do it. Out of Garrett’s sight, he shoots his pistol in the air, which sends Buddy running. Ward can’t do it in the present either. He traps FitzSimmons in a cargo hold. When they won’t come out, Fitz’s pleading puppy eyes remind Ward of Buddy, and he ejects the cargo hold they’re in from the plane, seemingly dooming them in the ocean, but really saving them.

Flowers has managed to synthesize a single dose of the alien blood that helped resurrect Coulson. In order to save Garrett, Flowers injects him with the synthesized alien blood, mixing it with the Centipede formula already in his system. For a moment, it looks like he might explode like one of the Extremis soldiers in Iron Man 3, but he cools down and is good as new. Ward tells Garrett that he killed FitzSimmons. You know what? I don’t care that Ward let them live. He can’t be trusted. I don’t want him on Coulson’s team next season. Just sayin’.

Back in Havana, Coulson, May and Tripplett are ambushed by a guy holding what looks like an Asgardian staff. He doesn’t do anything except for smile menacingly. But ┬áin the dark room they’re in, suddenly single red eyes burst to life. They’re being ambushed by Deathloks! And it looks from the silhouette like these are classic Luther Manning-style Deathloks! Alright! I can’t wait until the next episode.

In the kicker, Ian Quinn is attempting to sell a Deathlok army to the US government and the higher ups in the military that he’s meeting with look very intrigued.