Friday, March 25, 2016

The Inside Man

As I've recounted my adventures in skiing, I've fallen behind on new episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'll start by backtracking a few weeks to "The Inside Man," the March 15th installment that focused on General Talbot's first mission with -- and immediate betrayal of -- the team.

I should say right away that Talbot has never really done it for me as a character. He just doesn't seem in the same league as villains and quasi-villains like Garrett, Ward, and Cal. And I suppose he was never meant to be. But he just seems borderline inept, a person that Coulson should be able to run circles around on even a bad day. So I was unimpressed by his "shocking" double-cross; if anything, I was disappointed Coulson didn't see it coming from a mile away.

But at least the situation had some depth lurking beneath it. If Talbot is going to be a more regular fixture on the show, he needs to be rounded out as a character. Giving him a family -- which was being leveraged against him to force him into a double-cross -- is a good step. At the same time, this also made Malick a more credible character too, getting him off the sidelines and doing something more menacing than twirling his figurative mustache.

Yet I'm still looking for more when it comes to "Ward." The final scene, where he devoured five victims to regenerate himself, was a good start, but I feel like I need to know what exactly he's doing to bring Inhumans to his side before I really start to respect him as an adversary.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the episode. Because, hooray, another heist! And it was loaded with pithy one-liners from May, Bobbi, and Hunter. ("I love you." "I don't hate you quite as much." -- That might be some of my favorite banter on the show, ever.) And if the sudden conflict between Daisy and Lincoln seemed a bit unearned, at least it served to put some nuance into their relationship. We're still definitely in the "build up" stage of a multi-episode arc, but it does at least seem to be building.

I'd say "The Inside Man" merits a B. On to next week... er, I mean, this week. Next episode. Whatever.

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