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'Agents of SHIELD' Is Back, And So Are Its Problems

By Craig Wack | Marvel Movies | March 4, 2015 |

By Craig Wack | Marvel Movies | March 4, 2015 |

After a couple of months hanging with our cool Aunt Peggy, we returned to the dysfunctional family of Agents of SHIELD and picked up immediately following the events of the midseason finale.

Following the lead of Agent Carter, the show has thrown a renewed focus on its female characters, most notably Skye and Raina, whose character arcs started parallel, twisted together then went back parallel but running in the opposite direction.

While quarantined in the glass case of emotion, Skye, who by the eye test seemed unchanged by her time in the temple, received respect and attention from every team member at one point or another, while Raina — misshapen and monstrous from her reaction to the crystals inside the Obelisk — spends her time alone and unloved skulking in the shadows.

By the end, the tables turned on them both, with Skye hiding in plain sight from everyone but Fitz, because the rest of team (especially Simmons) is surly and bloodthirsty over the death of Trip. (As a side note to SHIELD writers, Trip’s death would have had more impact if you gave him something more to do in the first half of the season.) Raina is moments away from committing suicide by secret agent before getting whisked away by the Inhuman welcome wagon, where she’ll get hugs and hot cocoa supplied by Skye’s mother’s protégé.

It was an interesting way to set up what’s in store for the stretch run of the season, but it all felt pedestrian, especially compared to the breezy storytelling that’s been in that time slot the past couple of months.

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The episode had its moments thanks to Fitz’s struggles recovering from his injury paying off in scenes with Mack and Skye; May being May during the “ambush” and Mockingbird bringing Mack into her adventures in shadiness (my guess is she’s working for Maria Hill and/or Tony Stark which could set up an RDJ guest spot at the end of the season).

Considering the momentum the show ended the first half of the season with combined with the buildup to the premiere would have equalled a more frenetic, flashier episode. Instead the episode literally cleared the decks of HYDRA leadership we just met this week in preparation for what’s next. This inability to change direction without devoting an entire episode to it has been one of the show’s biggest flaws and not the best way to help the fans who’ve been beating the “it’s better now” drum for months. It felt like a missed opportunity.

With the loose ends so conveniently and carefully tied up and Trip sufficiently mourned, Agents of SHIELD is ready to move on to greener (and hopefully more action-packed) pastures.

Craig Wack is a veteran journalist. Please follow his Twitter.

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