This week, on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In a shocking cliffhanger episode, Coulson takes the war back to Centipede, and this time he brings in Mike Peterson for some super-soldier support. As they get closer to the truth, startling secrets are revealed and an unexpected twist threatens the team
Diego: So close… I enjoyed a large part of this episode. I wouldn’t say it was good, but it wasn’t plain out bad. I enjoyed watching the hugely charismatic J. August Richards back as Mike Peterson. The action was basic, but serviceable, and I liked both that the Centipede guys were explicitly weaker than Captain America, and that they still took down May and Ward. First time the team is a genuine underdog, and not just dumb.
However, it all went downhill quickly. The team was outclassed in the climax. Their sniper took position in the building *exactly* where a cement mixer stood. The rest of the team was just sitting in the car! A crack team, with a technical and a biological genius, a super Level 8 spy, and a experienced hacker. They all were just as useful as we the audience were.
So the midseason finale offered no resolution, just more hints. At this point, platitudes like “He just gave you the next stage of our plan”, or “We want you to tell us about the day after you died”, infuriate me more than intrigue me.
Look, you can either sell S.H.I.E.L.D. as a top-notch organization defending the Earth, or as the underdogs in a super-powered world. Not both. The Coulson that stood up to the Destroyer, or the S.H.I.E.L.D. that confined Iron Man wouldn’t do this. Nor be this.
Captain America would defeat Centipede in the day. Low-tier villains like Obadiah Stane would defeat *this* S.H.I.E.L.D. team in an afternoon.
Matt: This was supposed to be my saving grace. This episode was supposed to be redemption for the bumpy road we have had. It wasn’t.
There were definitely some strong points of the episode, and half way through, I was enjoying it quite a bit. By the end it had derailed, and I lost some interest. They seem to have taken the Michael Bay approach at the end. “Let’s blow things up. Loud noises and fire will get us viewers! Yay!”
This is not the image of SHIELD I had in my head when I was a kid. This is not the image of SHIELD I had when watching the Phase 1 films. I need some of that magic back, or this is going to be a long season.
Laura: I definitely felt like the episode was going somewhere for awhile, and then it just kinda seemed to die. The big twist ending would’ve been exciting, if it hadn’t been revealed and then…talked about…and then a few more moments….ok and now it’s finally actually happening. This show really hasn’t learned the “show don’t tell” rule that was essentially the first thing we learned in screenwriting class, and it’s starting to really frustrate me.
I’m not sure I have much else to say because I’m fairly disappointed right now.
Diego: It sucks that we are all disappointed, given that we started this because we all three were excited about this show and its capabilities. At this point, I wouldn’t mind if they aborted the experiment and just did Season 1. Both as a SHIELD show (as Matt points out) and as a standard TV show (like Laura mentions), this show so far is underwhelming.
Matt: Do you know what we have in common that the showrunners of SHIELD do not? We are all on the same page. Yeah this is short. I wish I had more to say. The show needs to give me more to say.
Laura: I definitely had the same thought as Diego when it came to the team. A really experienced sniper would’ve checked out the location earlier and known to get an angle that wouldn’t get in the way. Even if the team was meant to stay back, they would’ve raced forward much earlier, when it became obvious something was off. And I’m shocked they didn’t at least have May figure out the plan earlier, considering she’s supposed to be this brilliant but quiet agent. Oh well.
Diego: Uuhhh, watch Arrow? I’ve read a ton of pieces on “how to fix Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, with suggestions ranging from impossible to quite good, but the message is clear. This isn’t the show we want to watch. I don’t care if it doesn’t feature more Marvel characters. I don’t care if it doesn’t have the budget the movies have. I don’t care if it doesn’t have any references to the movies. It just has to be a good show. That’s it. Get that, and then work from there.
Matt: I am nowhere near done with the show. I’ll see out the season. I want to see the Captain America “crossover” (I use that word loosely after the Thor one). I want it to work, I want them to have a purpose in season 2. The only reason most people are watching is to find out why Coulson is still alive. They will need more than that for season 2….if there is one. Let’s hope it finds its footing.
Laura: I have the opposite instinct, Matt. Typically, at this point in the show (in terms of quality, not episode number), I’d just give up and say, “well, if someone I trust says it’s gotten better, then I’ll pick it up again.” Sure, I care about what’s happened to Coulson, but seriously, if this were actual SHIELD, at this point they’d probably call in the Avengers. It definitely wouldn’t be up to Coulson’s team to rescue him, not after how this episode went down. So really, there’s only so much more benefit of the doubt I can give the show.