Friday, November 06, 2015

Among Us Hide...

For those into milestones, this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the series' 50th. I believe it was also the first one of the season in which every character in the main cast made an appearance. Because of this, it did feel a bit overstuffed to me.

The less effective parts for me involved Ward and the Hydra conspiracy. When Ward is in an episode to actually do something, I can mostly get behind the fact that he's still around and hasn't been handled by our intrepid heroes yet. When he just twirls his figurative mustache for a couple of scenes, he starts to feel played out. The introduction of Powers Boothe into this plot may help (is he supposed to be playing the same character he did in the Avengers?), simply because anyone who has ever watched Deadwood will surely be thrilled to have him around as a recurring villain. But we'll see.

The most effective parts for me involved Hunter and Bobbi, each on a different intensely personal journey. Hunter's "rage issues" are becoming more severe, and while they played well for comedy this week, they seem like they'll be fuel for some darker moments in weeks ahead. Meanwhile, seeing Bobbi back out in the field for the first time since her injury was everything I'd hoped for. Bobbi and May on a mission to boot heads is a win all by itself, but seeing Bobbi riddled with some doubts (and, realistically, not too riddled with doubts) added some nice dimension to the story.

Everything else fell somewhere in the middle for me. The realization that Andrew is in fact Lash could go either way. I like that the show didn't linger on this mystery long enough for viewers to figure it out. (I certainly didn't.) But it's hard to judge how credible a twist this is until we know exactly what's going on with him. There's a risk this plot line could just wind up playing very similar beats to Kyle MacLachlan's Jekyll/Hyde routine last season. But if there's a good reason behind it, and things stay focused on the emotional fallout for May, this could be good.

The Coulson/Rosalind story continues to work for me, in large part because Constance Zimmer's performance (and the banter between her and Clark Gregg) remains excellent. This story also built up in a way that will drive a wedge further between Coulson and Daisy, which I continue to support. It's a nice, slow burn that's believably eroding one of the relationships that's been strong since day one, and changing that up seems like a great thing for the show.

One relationship that remains rock solid, though, is that between Fitz and Simmons. I'm not surprised that their story barely moved at all after least week's showcase episode. I'm nevertheless disappointed it didn't. As I noted last week, I now feel more invested in that story thread than any of the others on the show. It's going to be hard watching it dangle for several weeks.

In all, a decent episode, though not as solid as the series has been managing so far this season. I give it a B.

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