We start our episode off with agents of Hydra beginning to pick off former agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in order to bring them into their fold. Somewhat of a Clockwork Orange vibe, only to lead into a very upbeat and happy scene of the absent Agent Simmons, running through her seemingly normal morning routine. She wakes up, she brushes her teeth, she runs on the treadmill, and goes to her office, that just so happens to be run by Hydra. Above all else this season, one of the great things that the producers learned from the previous chapter was to put the characters into uncomfortable and out of the box scenarios. Having Agent Simmons go from studious lab rat of the team into being an undercover agent in the depths of Hydra is a nice twist, and gives us some nice moments with the character that were necessary from her being a cog in the ensemble wheel.
Recall, as the team finds itself joyfully on the outs with its sponsor, that this episode opened with the sounds of Alanis Morissette singing, "I'm broke, but I'm happy." And it ends with a song that has a similar vibe to TV and film soundtrack staple Nick Drake, but is in fact the Zamrock band Amanaz, from their one album: Africa. Very little in Ted Lasso has not been thought through.
Depressing, right? Fortunately, Julian Fellowes has found a way to force-feed us a cup of WWI history by sweetening it with sparkly Edwardian frocks and delicious infighting. Downton Abbey is not so much a history lesson as it is a (defiantly melodramatic) character study set in a historically significant time. Just as Mad Men oozes the swank vibe of the sixties without bashing viewers over the head with date markers, Downton Abbey attempts to be the kind of series in which we care more about the featured players than the events surrounding them. We are supposed to want to follow Matthew and Mary to outer space, if need be. 781b155fdc