Friday, April 01, 2016


I may not have been thrilled by last week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the awkward departure it gave Morse and Hunter, but at least the show springboarded well from it into this week, using that departure to fuel some good character moments.

On the one hand, I'm disappointed that, for the second week in a row, the new "Ward" has been MIA, giving us no momentum on the series' most significant ongoing plot. On the other hand, the series really seems to be making good use of the upcoming Captain America: Civil War to spin up something else. "How do you deal with 'supers?'" seems like an intriguing question that a two-and-a-half hour movie alone couldn't completely contain, so I like that the show is willing to run with that torch too.

To that end, enter the Watchdogs, a militant group of super-haters with some awesomely dangerous tech. (First thought: "so what, they shot the building with paintballs? Ooooo." Followed moments later by: "OOOOOO!") I'm definitely intrigued by the group. Still, it doesn't yet mean much to me that they're being wrangled by Blake; while I'm aware he has been around in the Marvel universe before (on this show even?), he didn't make much of an impression on me. Part of the problem is that the actor who plays him, Titus Welliver, is one of those hard-working actors who has been on virtually every television show ever made; I remember him much more clearly, for example, from Lost.

Our Heroes were split into small groups this week, showcasing how it will be easier to serve all characters from now on, now that there are two fewer characters to serve. While Mack's brother seemed a bit of a cliche, first resenting then respecting him, it was a cliche that mostly worked to flesh out his emotional side. The same plot line saw Daisy slipping down a dark path, stopping short of full on Jack Bauer-style torture, but definitely not on the up-and-up. I like the gradual moves being made with her character since the return from the winter break.

Coulson and Lincoln made for an interesting pairing. I like having Coulson voice the concern I myself had -- why does Lincoln even want to be part of this group? I don't know that the show really answered it, but I feel like it's now at least clear that they know they need to answer it. I also appreciate that the writers found a way to let Coulson take his feelings out on the wrong person just a little bit, without making him a bully about it. He gave Lincoln an arguably rougher time than he deserved, mired in the pain of losing Morse and Hunter.

As for May and Simmons, I liked the emotional content of their subplot. My only quibble would be with the timing. This was the fourth episode since either of them dealt with Lash, and we're only just now finding out that this was a breaking point for Simmons? At least they didn't drop the ball on this completely; I do like Simmons' resolve to no longer feel like the damsel-in-distress. (Even more, I love the way she expressed that desire, talking about being the only woman on the team who can't kill with her bare hands. Fun line.)

So, all told, some interesting material here. I give "Watchdogs" a B+. I was intrigued at the "possessed Ward" story, but I'm now feeling invested enough in the Civil War run-up that I'm okay if they stick with this for a while.

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