Thanks to the Olympics we’ve had to wait a full month to find out Skye’s fate. To recap, she was only being kept alive by a hyperbaric chamber at the end of our last episode after Ian Quinn, still played with slimy-goodness by David Conrad, shot her in the gut … twice … at point blank range … because he’s a bad guy.
While this week’s episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been touted as a turning point for the series, I’ve got to admit, there were a few things I took issue with. But first, let’s talk about the good points.
Bill Paxton. Yeah, he pretty much kicks butt all the time. His portrayal as Ward’s former supervising officer and buster of Coulson’s balls was awesome, and brought a different energy level to the show. It was nice to meet a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who isn’t so weighed down by his own earnestness that he can be a little bad ass, a little menacing and a little less emotionally invested than our heroes. Paxton’s John Garrett is a welcome addition to the team and I really hope we get to see more of him.
More questions answered. So, maybe Coulson heading through that door marked with a biohazard sign caused extra head-scratching, but it feels as though we checked off at least a few boxes in our never-ending quest to discover what exactly happened to Coulson. I would say that making T.A.H.I.T.I. an acronym was genius, but considering what S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for, I can only imagine how bonkers the definition of this new moniker will be when revealed.
Melinda May turning Quinn’s face into cottage cheese. Let’s be real: Ming-Na is a bad ass and every week, we just get more proof. Although while this was an awesome scene, I had a bit of a problem with May’s motivation.
And that’s where most of my issues with this episode stem from: the character’s motivations. Considering how hot and cold May has been running in regards to Skye, I’m not one hundred percent sure that she would be that protective of her. Additionally, Agent Triplett’s attempt to hit on Simmons seemed to come out of left field. I didn’t for a second believe that Triplett was interested in her and I didn’t for a minute believe that Simmons was in an emotional or mental place to even remotely acknowledge his subtle pick-up attempt. Even more disturbing was that when Triplett makes the comment that he’d want Simmons on his side if he was in medical danger, I didn’t think Simmons had really done anything to warrant that type of confession.
I do feel that this week’s episode is more in keeping with the type of Marvel TV show fans want to see. I also think that next week’s episode featuring Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif has the chance to be a game-changer in relation to the potential for crossovers in the future. The show has had a long road back to the promises it made in the pilot, when it appeared we’d get a worthy forty-four minute superhero adventure mini-movie every week and then didn’t quite deliver in episodes two through twelve.
It has taken about thirteen episodes, but it seems that S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on track to delivering good character-based content. The trick will be for the producers, the writers and the audience to continue to let the show build slowly. We can’t lose character moments because there’s fear the audience won’t go along for the ride. I’ll be very interested to see how they handle Skye’s recovery and the revelation that whatever type of medicine they injected her with is extra-terrestrial. At this point, making her a 0-8-4 might be overkill as it appears she now has some Chitauri juice floating through her veins. (At least, I’m assuming that was a Chitauri carcass with all of those tubes flowing from it in the underground bunker. I could be wrong).
If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can stay the course they have a chance to finish season one strong and maybe even get a season two pick-up. While it’s true that there are better sci-fi shows currently on the air (I’m looking at you, Almost Human), no other show, genre or otherwise, has as much built-in history or ongoing potential as S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m making the assumption that both of these things will carry it to season two. But it’s the characters and story that will bring the audience back as well.