Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Frenemy of my Enemy

Well, on the plus side, this week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had lots of action and momentum in the plot. It also caused story lines to converge that had remained too separate for too long. And above all that, it was a hell of a lot of fun as it did it. But it did come at the cost of characters behaving in a logical and consistent way.

First, there was Jiaying. If she never had any intention of keeping Cal captive up at the Afterlife retreat, if he was too dangerous to have there, then what was the point of even bringing him there in the first place? And once there, why tell him Skye had been found and brought there at all? Residual feelings for their past relationship is sort of an explanation, but if she takes her job of protecting Afterlife at all seriously, she has to know that it isn't smart to cast him out into the world knowing Skye isn't to be found there. Better to send him back out on a fruitless search, thinking he can still find her somewhere.

Then there's the matter of how foolishly and completely Coulson trusted Ward. Repeatedly. He too easily assumed he'd coerced Ward into an agreement. He mistakenly assumed that the carrot that would entice Ward would be a brain wipe, when he already knows from firsthand observation that the one thing that truly motivates Ward to do good is Skye. He continued going along with Ward's plan even after a revealed double-cross. And then, at the end, he apparently left Ward alone with Fitz and Hunter! There's no way on Earth those two can keep him in check.

That last decision seems a particularly hard sell even as an act of desperation, since abandoning the group also meant turning himself in to "other S.H.I.E.L.D." I hope we get some rock solid explanation of his thinking next week, because on the face of it, his choice to give up after spending several episodes on the run leaves viewers to wonder what the point of any of it was.

I appreciate big story moves, but not so much at the expense of character. This felt like movement propelled more by a ticking clock: the end of the season is fast approaching, and the writers suddenly realized they have more story left to tell than time to tell it in. Fun, but not particularly well executed. I give the episode a B.

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