Review: “T.A.H.I.T.I.”

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This week, on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Coulson goes on the attack to save Skye—enlisting the aid of Ward’s former S.O. John Garrett —and uncovers shocking truths about his own life and S.H.I.E.L.D.

General Thoughts

Diego: Well, this was harmless, wasn’t it? It didn’t quite achieve the high T.R.A.C.K.S. did, but it was serviceable. Okay action (even if a gunfight in a non-descript office with a bomb timer is a big cliché). The team worked, again, as good at their jobs. Both Ward and May had good scenes, even if the latter seemed too naive. A Level 7 agent, years of SHIELD experience, and she gets this worked up over Skye? Again, I feel the show is trying to sell emotion where there shouldn’t be; or, worded differently, they are trying to set emotional stakes that feel fake. I’m sure May has lost a lot of people along the way. She’s a veteran. I felt she acted as a rookie, both in the way she expressed her emotions and her statements.

And I also feel the show missed an opportunity, even though it kinda alluded to it, in weighing the lives of one non-agent versus two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. I know Coulson is going a bit rogue, and I understand that they needed to get the medicine…But they killed two people, good people, to save Skye. That should be a moral quandry the team should confront, but…they didn’t.

But of course, the show gave us a positive moment: a genuine shock, in that of the blue alien in the tank. I’ll leave it here for you guys. What did you think?

Matt: So it finally looks like they want to play in the big leagues. I think I’ve figured out part of the problem with the show. It was the promotion. ABC kept promising “big answers” and “huge secrets” and “incredible tie ins”. Agents of SHIELD has been doing what they always do. Is that an excuse? No. They got off to a bumpy start. But this episode was a big payoff to a slow season. It was personal to the team and the audience. I liked they mythological aspect of it. I’m always a fan of when the “bigger picture” becomes a bit more clear; and the penultimate scene, with Coulson and the lead singer of The Blue Man Group did just that.

We don’t know for sure what that was, but the consensus is that he was Mahr Vehl. (Also known as Geheneris Hala´son Mahr Vehl). I suppose it could be any “Kree” but I’m not sure what the rights issues with the Kree are as I thought that Fox had the rights to them with the Fantastic Four.

I’m surprised this episode didn’t take place in space since there was no Skye in it. (I’m sorry.)

Laura: I thought the episode was fairly strong, but definitely not as strong as the one before. I definitely felt it struggled without Skye awake and active, who has generally been the emotional centerpiece of the series besides Coulson. However, Agent Garrett and Ward’s replacement Tripp with his little crush on Simmons were actually great additions. I spent the entire episode hoping the show wouldn’t do the usual “the agent sent in to help betrays them and was evil all along” twist, and it was nice to have people on the team’s side for once. 

On the other hand, the big reveal certainly fell a little flat for me. A regular viewer who might not have any extra knowledge of the greater Marvel universe just sees that perhaps this drug that saved Coulson (and now Skye) came from this big blue probably alien thing that just exploded, right? And wasn’t remotely connected to SHIELD but Fury signed off on it so it also has to be connected to SHIELD in some way, but not? It was overall just a little confusing.

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Replies

Diego: Laura, I didn’t have the same issues you did. As far as I understood, that was a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility authorized by Fury (who I’m guessing is the only Level 10 operative). But you’re right in how you feel about the alien. We are all supposed to feel that way. It’s important to know that in the MCU, 2011 was the first time we saw an alien, in the figure of Thor. Then in 2012 they met the Chitauri. So a *third* different kind of alien, and worse than that, one we don’t know anything about, colors the big picture in a huge way. What else is S.H.I.E.L.D. hiding?

And Matt, I agree the promotion didn’t help the show. I liked that this one wasn’t hyped, and the surprises landed so much better. However I don’t feel this is that big of a payoff. It was a good shock, alright, but what’ more important is how they’ll follow it.

Matt: Diego – I felt the same way about May, but then again, as you’ve pointed out before too, SHIELD doesn’t seem to be the big bad no holds barred fearless corporation we thought it was starting with Iron Man. Coulson’s rag tag team easily gets the best of them every time they intersect. So I don’t know if the writing is consistent, with May being written as “inexperienced” if you will, as SHIELD, or if it is all on purpose for a reason we don’t know yet, but to me, it feels the TV SHIELD and the Movie SHIELD are two completely different entities.

Yeah Laura, the Fury part is confusing. It might become clearer after Captain America 2, but right now we are under the impression that Fury is SHIELD, so why is Fury doing things against SHIELD?

Laura: I get what you’re saying, Diego, about the whole killing two lives just to save one of their own. I definitely think it’s partly the result of Coulson’s being changed a bit from his weird resurrection, partly explained by Garrett’s “pretty please” with guns method, and partly those two men were clearly given instructions to fight back if there were ever intruders. So I would assume their “shoot before asking question” method may potentially be explained in the future if we ever find out where this Guest House facility originated from?

Parting Thoughts

Diego: The show is still on the rise, which is good. And with Captain America 2 coming soon, they’ll need to step up their game. I’m pumped for the next episodes, for the first time in a while.

Matt: 

Laura: It was still a very good episode, but I’m way more excited about next week, since I assume Skye will at least be awake and we’ll be getting Sif! More tie-ins please, let’s do this!

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