Wednesday, February 05, 2014


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned from a short break last night... only to frustratingly go back into hiding for another month, thanks to other networks running scared from the Olympics. This was just long enough to give us a hit and run cliffhanger to last us until March. But it was also one of the better episodes the series has managed to serve up.

The "same event from multiple perspectives" device is hardly new, but it was new to this series. Moreover, they used it in effective way that didn't just gradually unfold the plot at an interesting pace, it put emphasis on character moments. In particular, it let us see a few character pairings that haven't really received much focus before.

Coulson and Ward were played largely for comedy, but this was a solid writing choice. From the beginning, Coulson has been a solid vehicle for humor on the show (largely thanks to the skills of Clark Gregg in the role), so pairing him with Ward allowed for some of that to rub off. Ward has been such a steadfast stick in the mud, arguably even more so than May. (May at least gets a few deadpan moments now and again.) Watching Ward struggle with the holotable was such a ridiculous moment, and yet oddly may have rounded out the character more than anything outside of his childhood back story. (And it was just plain funny too.)

Skye and Fitz was an interesting pairing too. We've seen both "in the field" before, but not really together. Both seem to be getting competent enough at this that the writers won't be able to convincingly play the "fish out of water" beats with them much longer, but they nevertheless got some good juice from the fruit here.

I feel like my memory must be on the fritz, as my recollection of the previous episodes were that we the audience learned Skye was an "unknown object," but that Coulson had kept that particular information from her. But sure, let's just jump ahead to Skye chipping away at this newest mystery. Letting things simmer too long was a problem for the Coulson mystery, so if things will be moving faster with Skye, I have no objection.

Then there was the continuing saga of Mike Peterson. I'm intrigued at the possibilities of the critically maimed yet still superhuman soldier he has become. The whole "Deathlok" thing is meaningless to me (other than all the entertainment news articles that have touted how it's meaningful for comic fans), but as long as the writers keep focus on his personal, emotional torment and keep him a real character as opposed to a cartoonish cipher, I think I'll be satisfied.

Stan Lee's cameo? Whatever.

I'd give this one a B+. More so than for the "mid-season finale" cliffhanger of Coulson's abduction, I admit I'm interested to see what happens next.

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