Wednesday, October 12, 2016
I mean, you can hardly call it a "slow" episode when it featured multiple ticking clocks -- the race to save May's life, the threat of the Watchdogs in general, and the particular threat posed to Yo-Yo. Plus, the episode concluded with Director Mace announcing the return of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the world. There was plenty of momentum here.
But on the other hand (and all to the good, I think) Robbie's brother Gabe threw a wrench in the Ghost Rider/Quake team-up plot thread (that was needing more time for me anyway). No progress at all was made in tracking the "ghosts" that made May insane -- there was no time for that with her life on the line and another global crisis in play. And when it seemed likely that Radcliffe would bring out his "Life Model Decoy" in the final act to save May's life (rapidly accelerating that plot line in the process by revealing his invention to Simmons), he instead brought out just the battery that powers it, leaving bigger revelations for another day.
I was definitely entertained most by the Watchdogs story line, even acknowledging the raft of cliches it incorporated. Blackouts are an old standard from the book of TV tropes, only slightly behind villains with convenient identifying tattoos. Then there's the particular comic book trope of the evil senator with a hatred of super-powered people -- though it's a welcome and meaningful twist for that character to not be a white male.
Familiar though it all may have been, the show managed to serve it up into a satisfying way. Coulson, Fitz, and Mac were a fun field team, and the little character details mattered -- Coulson's hand locked on the steering wheel, Fitz going "old school" to solve the EMP problem, Mack waiting until the crisis was actually over to pursue his grievance with Yo-Yo. Plus the Inhuman "coming out" metaphor, portrayed when Yo-Yo's friend rejected her once her powers were revealed, hit its message just right.
I'd call this week's episode a B+. It pulled me back on board for what's to come.