Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meet the New Boss

In last week's season premiere, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. suggested an interesting direction for the story to come. This week, they disappointed me a bit with where they started driving.

Ghost Rider made a big splash on arrival, but this week I'm not sure if the writers are being unrealistically mysterious about him or are mistakenly assuming the audience has some knowledge of him we don't necessarily have. I give them time and space to explain his connection with the angry Ghost-Not-Ghosts. But Daisy seems tolerant of an implausible degree of ambiguity as to the nature of his powers (demonic possession?) and degree of control over them (sometimes it's implied he's like The Hulk, sometimes not).

I guess what I'm really saying is that while Daisy messing with/interviewing him throughout the hour seemed like a Daisy thing to do, her just jumping in the car with him at the end seemed wholly unearned. Unless you totally buy into the notion that she's just out to commit suicide-by-supervillain at this point, which is another plot thread I don't think has been earned.

Meanwhile, the story back at HQ felt like a few minutes of content uncomfortably stretched to fill half an episode. May's decay into mad hallucinations was not as gradual as I'd been expecting... which is fine, except that it was so rapid that it really seems like it shouldn't have taken so long for the other characters to notice.

And then the rest of the HQ plot felt like so much tap dancing to stall until the big reveal: the new director is an Inhuman. That itself does feel like an interesting development, but one with a short shelf life. Coulson's logic for voluntarily stepping down seems like it tracks, but the idea of wasting someone like that in management, in a desk job, seems silly. I mean, they say in the episode that they would have wanted Captain America for the job, had he not vanished off the grid. Think about that for a moment, Captain America riding a desk and demanding TPS reports from his minions all day. Nope.

As for the most tantalizing (to me) thread from the premiere -- the robots and Fitz's pledge to keep them secret from Simmons -- we got nothing at all this week.

The pithy dialogue that the show is known for was still there in small doses to sustain me, but I was otherwise much less engaged by this hour than the previous one. I give it a B-.

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