Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Dirty Half Dozen

This week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a pretty good episode, if you get over a couple of contrivances.

Getting the original core six characters back together was a bit of a tough sell. I mean, if even Simmons wants to kill Ward (and I believe she would, if for no other reason than to try to make things right with Fitz), then it seems like all the rest of them would too. Perhaps not Coulson, but certainly May, Skye, and Fitz.

Perhaps an even bigger ask is believing that Gonzalez would allow an "all Coulson" team to go unsupervised into the field. Bobbi even asked to go with them! I could buy it when it seemed as though what Gonzalez might really be hoping for was for them all to die in action. But once he revealed at the end that he actually did want the mission to succeed, then it defies logic that he wouldn't send at least one of his own people. The only reason not to was for the narrative purity of the team consisting of just the original cast members.

But like I said, if you get over those contrivances, there was an awful lot of fun here. The infiltration into the Hydra base was executed very well. And a big tip of the hat to the long single-take fight scene featuring Skye. (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently isn't going to just let itself be upstaged by Daredevil in that department. Granted, this single take wasn't as long, but on the other hand, there didn't appear to be any place they could have substituted a stunt double for Chloe Bennett.)

The name dropping and teasing for Age of Ultron worked fairly well too. In particular, the Maria Hill cameo was a nice way of having our TV heroes pass information off into the movie without any of them actually having to appear in the movie (or, I'm guessing, make "required viewing" of the TV show).

Raina's powers continued to develop. It's interesting that the writers have actually given her the ability to see the future, when a major red herring of the first season was "the Clairvoyant," and a supposed future-sight ability that everyone insisted couldn't actually exist. Indeed, there's great dramatic symmetry in Raina -- who was so disappointed to learn the Clairvoyant wasn't as advertised -- becoming an actual clairvoyant. Plus, Raina basically gets to see Age of Ultron before anyone else in America, so she's got that going for her.

It's a little hard for me to invest in the Agent 33 storyline. Not only have we not seen her real face for most of her on screen appearances, but we've hardly ever seen her real personality either. First she was a victim of brainwashing, then she was a misguided disciple of Ward. Perhaps having Bobbi reach out to 33 will pay off in future episodes; Bobbi, at least, we care about. A great deal. Indeed, I quite look forward to the Bobbi/Hunter conversation that will need to happen soon.

So that's it until the movie. As for the episode, I give it a B+.

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