Agents of SHIELD Reviews
Episode 5 – The Girl in the Flower Dress
The Good Nerd
Did you hear that? It sounded like we actually got some answers in this episode. I am not saying that what they told us was interesting, but at least we are finally getting somewhere. This week the team was trying to track down a known “gifted” in Hong Kong who was put in harm’s way due to the meddling of Skye’s hacker boyfriend. In what could have been a really great episode, we got a watered down climax that felt the need to once again limit the abilities of the entire team of Agents.
First let’s talk about the good this week. The highlights of the show for me each week consistently belong to Melinda May and the tech Geek’s Fitz and Simon’s. Fitz and Simon’s are downright hilarious and the beauty of it is they don’t over play it. Sadly, they are genius’ that are not allowed to show just how smart they are because the script constantly requires them to need the help of Skye or in this case her hacker boyfriend. This needs to stop! Let you characters shine; show us why they were handpicked by Coulson for this team.
Melinda May has if nothing else been consistent. She feels like the one character that the writers really knew who they wanted her to be. Whether it is her command of any situation or her skill in a fight there has almost never been a ‘what the hell was that’ moment. I say almost because of the awkward line between her and Coulson about yoga and hitting the mats. That was very out of place and a forced attempt at showing they have history. A better moment was during a later discussion when Coulson asks if she came to gloat; this completely implies a working history and they both stayed true to their characters. Her best moment of the episode was when she caught Skye literally in the act of “betraying” the team. There was no anger or rage in her face, just control, and that makes it all the more intense.
Coulson was much better this episode and I think the writers dropped a fairly interesting hint about his behavior. The Coulson we have had since episode 1 is not really the same Coulson we saw in any of the MCU or marvel shorts. This week the writers finally acknowledged it, kind of. Episode 5’s weekly call back to the Avengers movie actually had a point this week. Instead of just reminding us that the Avengers happened, he actually said that he has been different since being stabbed and that his judgment, his gut, may be off. This is not the complete story but at least we are finally acknowledging that something is wrong here and he feels it too. Hopefully we will start to get more hints about Coulson and not just the same old line about Tahiti being a magical place.
Ward in this episode was fine for the most part. In combat he was very skilled and precise and on the bus he started to show leadership by standing up for his subordinates. However, when they first go out into the field he stands out like a sore thumb and his attempt at acting natural is absurd. Really! Mr. I work alone, that is how you track a target, by standing out in the open waiting to be seen. You lose 1 point of badass agent status for that.
That just leaves Skye. What did Skye do for us this week? If I were to say anything it would be that she manages to survive the single most awkward love scene I have ever witnessed. That wasn’t her fault mind you; I place all of that blame on the guy they cast as the world’s most elite super badass hacker. This guy came off as creepy rather than sincere. Besides that moment we did finally get Skye’s motivation cleared up. Despite her protests of “fighting the man”, it never felt like she really believed it. That is because of her true motivation, she is desperately searching for her parents. Finally Skye has a legitimate motivation and hopefully one that will be conveyed more believably.
If the show is going to really succeed from this point on it needs to decide what it wants to be. Is Agents of SHIELD going to be a serialized story where each week is dependent on having seen all the previous episodes; or will this be a villain of the week kind of show? If they can find the balance and keep their characters true to who they are then the show will get better. If not then Season 2 might be a hard sell to its audience.
GOOD NERD: THUMBS UP
The Bad Nerd
Anybody else hear the haunting tones of Bonnie Tyler in the wings? Because this show needs a hero! I’ve been told, “These are the jokes, folks”. For the fourth week in a row the ratings have slipped. And that’s unfortunate, because for the first time SHIELD showed its cards and it looked like the clear winner at the table to me.
It finally clicked. The show finally found itself. It needed a clear frontrunner hero. Found it. It needed to give up on Skye as a hero. Nailed it. And it needed to find a reason to exist. Getting closer.
Coulson is emerging (if sometimes awkwardly at times) as the show’s hero. He’s heading into battle, fixing his own mistakes, and generally leading by example. Reminds of Angel. He was both the show’s hero and team leader. I could’ve compared him to Buffy, but I thought I’d give him some dignity. And more to the point, he got a nemesis this week in the current face of the pseudo-organization Centipede named Raina, a cold, ruthless, calculating bitch. But more than a nemesis, Coulson needed to show he could make the hard decisions with his team. This is Agents (plural) of SHIELD, after all. And a good leader doesn’t shirk his duties or delay the inevitable. He takes action and responsibility for his choices. So, for me, it was a solid move forward in the writing this week.
Because Skye is about as wishy-washy a character as has ever been written. At least we got the reason for her duplicity tonight. Or did we? We now know why she decided to join the team, but we don’t know why she’s playing double agent with the Rising Tide. And I fear that this story has yet to be fully developed, which means more Skye-time. On the contrary, Melinda May (aka the Cavalry) continues to demand respect without too much attention or too many words. It’s the reason you get veteran actors to play tough roles. So kudos to both Ming Na and the writers in crafting an intelligent, powerful female character. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this was the character I was expecting in the Avengers when they used Maria Hill. Sorry Robin Sparkles, but you don’t have it.
From the first episode, I’ve been waiting for the arc to form. Who’s the big bad? Where are our heroes going? What will they need to overcome? Basically, the show needed to justify its existence. And five episodes in, we got the tip of the iceberg. First, we’ve been given the name of the big bad, Centipede. Sounds like HYDRA to me. Multiple heads/body parts that function as one, yet independently. Whatever. It’s better than what we had last week, which was nothing. Secondly, we were shown how the big bad operate. They’re smart, cautious, and willing to use anybody to advance their cause. My personal favorite part of the episode was everyone acknowledging how giving someone a “name” can only spell trouble. It was a good insider dig at the whole universe. I liked it. And finally, we were left feeling that there’s more to come from the big bad that needs a team to fight it. There. You now have a reason for your existence. Prevent Centipede from furthering its mission to create Extremis-powered super soldiers, or be prepared to take them down if you fail. Is that season 2 I hear?
Overall, great start to the actual show. Now, let’s get to leveling up our base characters like Fitz and Simmons (aka give them more lines) and we’ll have a runaway hit. That is, if they can get back the audience they’ve been losing each week. I smell a cameo!!
BAD NERD: THUMBS UP