After playing a crucial role in season one of the show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. paid tribute to the late Bill Paxton in last night's episode. All season, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been slowly building up plot elements that are only now coming to fruition. While the Ghost Rider and LMD plots have concluded, their ramifications are still being felt in the final arc of the season. Now inside the Framework, the work of Radcliffe, the journey of AIDA, and the introduction of the Darkhold all have key parts to play in the build-up to the finale in just a few weeks.
Last night saw the most overtly political S.H.I.E.L.D. episode yet, as the show's writers used Hydra to once again explore the rise of nationalism and fascism all over the globe. Part of that came thanks to the return of Sunil Bakshi. Once a top Hydra operative and assistant to Daniel Whitehall in his brainwashing experiments, the Bakshi of the Framework uses a Hydra-controlled media channel to spread propaganda and control the masses in a somewhat more subtle way. For eagle-eyed viewers, however, the scenes within the studio offered a nod to the late Bill Paxton and his former character.
Thanks to Screen Crush, anyone who missed the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Bill Paxton Easter egg can now check it out below:
Back in season one, we met Paxton's John Garrett as an elite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who once served as Ward and Trip's commanding officer. Eventually, we learned that he was a Hydra agent, had groomed Ward to be the same, and even possessed the original Deathlok tech, which was keeping him alive. It not only tied together many elements from throughout the first season, but gave S.H.I.E.L.D. a personal angle into the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
While we've known for awhile that, even before is death, the show had no plans to bring back Paxton, it makes sense that it would honor him in some way. This episode was also a fitting time to include the nod, as it heavily featured Trip and made mention of an inversion to Ward's origins in S.H.I.E.L.D. Rather than having Garrett recruit him, it was Victoria Hand, the agent he killed on Garrett's orders back in season one.
It's a small mention, but an apt one for a character whose presence still resonants. It also ties in nicely to the themes introduced in the Framework, which call back to many of past moments from the show. With the return of Trip, Bakshi, and even a nod to Garrett, now all we need is to see Bobbi and Lance come back.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues with ‘Farewell, Cruel World!’ May 2nd on ABC.
Source: Screen Crush