Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nothing Personal

After a bit of a stumble last week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got well back on track with this week's installment. The emotional weight that I felt was only strong last week in the Skye/Ward storyline was present throughout this new episode.

If Ward is really the super agent he's said to be, then there was really no way Skye was going to be able to fool him long. So the show gave us just enough of her stringing him along -- and just enough of us wondering if he knew she was stringing him along -- and then had her let loose with both barrels. The insults she slung at him in the diner made clear just how much she'd been hurt by him. Possibly she even came on a bit too strong, since she later wasn't willing to let Ward die. But then, Skye isn't really as hard as she pretends to be; so long as her reason to save Ward's life stemmed from her unwillingness to kill anyone, rather than just "some part of her still loves him," I buy it.

Perhaps even more interesting was seeing how hard Fitz took the revelation of Ward's betrayal. I love that the show has made Fitz and not Simmons the most emotionally vulnerable member of the team, and how losing Ward after losing so much else was really more than he could take. First, he simply couldn't believe it, and then he couldn't process it. Good stuff for both the character and the actor playing him.

Cobie Smulders made a fairly organic appearance in the episode. Despite the "Special Guest Star" nature of Maria Hill's appearance here, she really felt like she fit in. Hill and Coulson had more interaction here than they actually did in The Avengers, but it certainly felt like they'd had a vast history together we'd never seen. Solid work in both script and performance.

But of course, the always reliable Clark Gregg stole the show. This week, it was mostly his nimbleness with the tossed-off humor that impressed, but the big revelation in the epilogue was great too. So, we learned that Coulson himself was the man originally behind TAHITI, only to become its subject/victim. The contrast of past Coulson's revulsion and present Coulson's shock was well played by Gregg.

There were a couple of weak spots. I couldn't quite buy that Ward really cared that much to be seen as a good guy here. And although May had a fun scene early on with Hill, she mostly drifted out of the episode after that (until the epilogue). Still, I'd call the episode an A- overall. Good movement toward the season finale in two weeks.

1 comment:

Anthony said...

After a really dull first half of the season I've been impressed with the pace and complexity this second half has picked up. I was ready to drop it, and now it's one of the few shows I'm watching that I actually have interest in.

That said, I've never liked Cobie Smulders - I think she's just a poor actor - and it was Fitz's emotional moments in this episode that really stood out to me.