Review: “The End of the Beginning”

(Some Captain America: The Winter Soldier spoilers ahead)

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This week, on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Agents Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Triplett are back to help Coulson’s team track down S.H.I.E.L.D.’S nefarious enemy – the Clairvoyant. But will Deathlok destroy them all to protect his master’s identity?

General Thoughts

Diego: Probably the most solid episode so far. It brought together threads from the whole season: the Clairvoyant, Deathlok, the agents of SHIELD themselves, in a satisfying manner. It still had issues (Ward dumbly shooting the great Brad Dourif aka Wormtongue, Coulson’s semi over-the-top reaction), but it had intrigue, action, and nice character beats. We finally get to see the team, and the organization, as a single, united force. Which brings us to Captain America 2…

Matt: Before going in, I viewed this episode as a prequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (minor spoilers ahead). While it can stand on its own, Coulson figures Clairvoyant is part of SHIELD, and we see that a lot of the SHIELD Agents have ulterior motives, which plays perfectly into Captain America 2. The tension between Coulson and Ward was great, and the tension between Coulson and May was ever greater. They set up what was going to happen next personally, and now after seeing this, and Captain America 2, I think next week’s episode has the potential to be the greatest yet.

Laura: Matt, I definitely did the same thing – assumed this was kind of a prequel. Now that we’ve seen The Winter Soldier, might I dare to say that while the beginning of the episode definitely starts out before the movie, by the episodes end, I think the events of the movie have begun to take place. I love that the doubt is already in place as to who is trustworthy on the team even before the movie blows everything into pure chaos mode. The stakes were definitely raised a ton in this episode, for both the characters and the team as a whole. At this point, I doubt the full team will be together again, fully trusting one another.

Parting Thoughts

Diego: I’m not sure how I feel about The Winter Soldier being the reason this got kicked into high gear. I liked that, just as I liked the movie, but it doesn’t excuse the drollness of the first episodes. A solid episode, all around, and I’m excited for the next one.

Matt: The word “game changer” gets thrown around a lot – but one definitely happened with Fitz finding out May’s secret, and the status of SHIELD from Captain America 2. The next episode should have much more cohesion than the Thor “crossover” (term used very lightly).

Laura: Lets just say that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Captain America 2 since seeing it, and especially thinking about what that means for this show. I mean, Agents of SHIELD – it’s in the title! WHAT WILL THEY DO WITHOUT SHIELD? It appears that’s probably the main question for the last six episodes, as well as figuring out this whole Clairvoyant mess, and potentially a question showdown for Coulson and Fury. The movie gave them more than enough plot to deal with, so I’m hoping the writers take that plot and use it to develop the characters. This show still desperately needs that.

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