ABC Television Network
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made quite the bold move when they revealed that strong-but-silent (not to mention super handsome) Agent Grant Ward was actually a mole for HYDRA. Few saw it coming – though as Skye pointed out, he does have a touch of Hitler Youth about him.
Fans all over the interwebs have noted each of Grant's (played by Brett Dalton) subsequent killings with a solemn "There's no coming back from that." He has shot Victoria Hand point blank, slaughtered several miscellaneous agents, strangled the beloved Patton Oswalt-portrayed Agent Koenig, and most recently, dumped FitzSimmmons into the ocean... and the body count continues to grow. As Skye notes (she has a lot to say about her evil almost-paramour) he's become quite the serial killer.
It may seem that so many cold blooded killings would be hard to come back from, but it's starting to look like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might just be headed for a redemption arc: this week's episode paints Grant as somewhat sympathetic, seeking to highlight his yet untapped capacity for empathy (or as Garrett calls it, "a weakness"). We're encouraged to sympathize with Ward after we see how brutally Garrett indoctrinated him from a very young age – after years of trials, including surviving alone in the woods for six months, Garrett forces him to kill his one loyal companion, Buddy. But does Ward actually do it? To me, it read as ambiguous, just as his treatment of FitzSimmons does. He speaks of his so-called "weakness" when he ejects their pod into the ocean, but A) they didn't fall very far, and B) they're more than smart enough to find a way out of the locked container, a fact that Ward should be well aware of. I'm not condoning the fact that he just dumped his two most adorable former friends into a situation worthy of Houndini, but the ambiguity of it all points to Ward eventually switching back to the good team.
There's also his love of Skye to consider – a love that he confides to evil bro/mentor Garrett, is genuine. And as much hullabaloo has been made about the Skye/Ward relationship (according to Chloe Bennet, they're soulmates), it would make sense that we might just be going down the "true love conquers all" route.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for true love – but will the Skye/Ward-together-at-last satisfaction be worth the capital A Angst that is sure to follow? He's always been something of an angsty guy, and to borrow a phrase from Agent Romanov, he's sure going to have a lot of "red in his ledger" to atone for if he comes out of this mess a good guy. Surely it will take at least a half-season of angry outbursts, silent tears, and sullen silence if he ditches HYDRA for S.H.I.E.L.D., and is that really something we want? Besides, he makes such a charming-yet-incorrigible villain!
What do you think?
Fun Size may be the only production from kid-centric studio Nickelodeon to also feature underage drinking (complete with red solo cups) and boob groping. The murky demographic for the movie ends up hurting the well-intentioned Halloween flick — it's not quite suitable for the young ones nor is it funny or wild enough for the Gossip Girl crowd which director Josh Schwartz (creator of the show) knows well. Instead we get a floundering trick or treat adventure that reduces the colorful twisted holiday to a meandering situational comedy.
Nick TV grad Victoria Justice (Victorious) stars as Wren a high school "geek" who finds herself unable to bag the guy of her dreams (who adores her) but finds a glimmer of hope in the big cool kids' Halloween party. Ready for a night out with her best friend April (Jane Levy) Wren thinks life is finally going her way until her Mom (Chelsea Handler) sticks her with her troublemaking little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) for the night. If chaperoning Albert wasn't already the worst thing in the world Wren finds herself in an even bigger dilemma when her brother wanders off into his own night of mischievous debauchery.
The "one crazy night" formula fits perfectly with Halloween but Fun Size struggles to find interesting material for its eclectic ensemble. Unlike many of the young actresses who have previously collaborated with Schwartz Justice seems unable to crack his voice and comedic style. She's too hip to too aware to play someone struggling with high school. The material doesn't serve her or Levy either; off-color jokes and a bizarre sense of entitlement turn them into two people you don't want to see succeed. Luckily for the audience during their sweeping search for Albert Wren and April cross paths with two true nerd-looking boys: Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau) who along with feeling like real teenagers actually land a joke or two.
Interwoven into this speedy adventure — Fun Size clocks in at a little over 75 minutes giving little time to flesh out our teenage heroes — is Albert's encounter with a convenience store clerk named Fuzzy. The adults of Fun Size see the ten-year-old Albert as a parter-in-crime rather than a lost little boy. Fuzzy recruits him for a raid on his ex-girlfriend's house; after running away he meets a lady who brings him to a nightclub. At one point a sleazebag kidnaps Albert and locks him in his bedroom. If Fun Size were madcap it may all make sense. Instead things just happen — and it's not hilarious scary or even deranged.
Nick's '90s sitcom Pete & Pete created an amazing sense of weirdness and heart in its exploits of two teenage brothers. Anyone could watch and enjoy it. Fun Size has a beautiful look (the colors of Halloween are mesmerizing) and Schwartz as always has impeccable soundtrack tastes but when it comes to telling a story that feels both relatable and wonderfully weird — what Pete & Pete did so well — the movie falls flat. It's stereotype humor (the movie packs many a fat and gay joke) doesn't cut it — when paired to Nick's best efforts the movie lives up to the title: a bite-size portion of a bigger better cinematic sweet.