In previous episodes of Agents of SHIELD, they’ve attempted to squash in as many references as possible to Marvel’s cinematic Avengers franchise as possible. This week, they turn their stuff-mentioning expertise on themselves, attempting to shout-out as much from their own past episodes as possible. It’s the mid-season finale, you see, so it’s all got to be leading up to this.
So, did they create a semi-conclusion to blow our minds, after a couple of slightly dull weeks? Spoilers to follow, you can see the episode on 4OD for a week or so.
Mike Peterson and Coulson’s new balls
This week, Mike Peterson (the J. August Richards character from the first episode) returns, and good, he’s a likable presence. He’s drafted in because the Centipede people who gave him his powers are revealed to be behind both the eye robots and the flower-dress-girl from previous weeks. Little do they know, involving Mike plays right into Centipede’s evil hands (legs?).
The good news: this episode has an interesting cliffhanger which could pay off well next time. Centipede are after Coulson because of his mysterious death, and at the end of the story, they capture him. Does this mean answers are forthcoming? I’ll even accept more hinting if it isn’t phrased “Tahiti… it’s a magical place…” – I can confirm I’ve got that message. New balls please.
Mike Peterson doesn’t get as much fun material as he did in the pilot, he’s a straight-laced trainee chap now, but at least he’s a new voice on the plane, and his scenes with Coulson are mostly interesting. I hope he isn’t really dead at the end – that’d be a crap way to go.
The empty Skye
Alas, once we pass the Mike/Coulson/cliffhanger stuff, the rest of this is a bit ho-hum. Most ongoing storylines get a check-in, but barely advance or show anything new, which runs the risk of making the characters seem very one-note. Still like Agent May but entangling her with the dull Ward isn’t making it easy.
Skye, in particular, seems weirdly useless – is it me or are they running out of ways to make her important to the plots? This is the second or third time she’s done nothing except cheerlead from the back and moan about her backstory.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s another alright effort from an alright show, but in a world with more decent TV than you could watch even if you gave up both your job and sleep, it’s hard to get excited about Agents of SHIELD when it remains so relentlessly, complacently okayish. Now, next week: Coulson’s secret. Could it ever be exciting enough to make all the build-up worth it?