Jim Steranko, a comic book writer and illustrator best known for run with “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” back in the 1960s, recapped the mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week for The Hollywood Reporter, and he wasn’t a fan. To be fair, neither was I: It was a mess, and as I mentioned on Twitter after the airing, the writers have apparently mistaken “unpredictability” for “totally fucking random.” None of what happened at the end of the episode made any goddamn sense, not that it really matters that much: The series has not in any way made good on the promise that it once held, and the ratings have been sliding each week. After the mid-season finale, I may be out, myself.
Steranko’s criticisms of the episode, however, are … well, they are weird. He basically calls the series a bad soap opera, and suggests that the problem may be that women were behind the episode.
This particular complaint has merit:
“It’s obvious by episode 10 that the SHIELD audience is looking for explosive, fast-moving, plot-twisting, high-tech adventure. And not getting it. And perhaps it’s equally obvious that the Whedon audience is looking for complex character studies and mega-issues. And not getting it. Both directions are valid, but combining them successfully may be as vexing as reading the definitive study of quantum mechanics in a hammock during a hurricane.”
This complaint, however, is … well, kind of messed up:
“Have I just developed a severe allergic reaction to soap or must I accept being flayed to smithereens by every soporific, on-screen character’s romantic history? … Sufferin’ Succotash! I tuned in Agents of SHIELD and got As The World Turns! … Could the avalanche of terminal touchy-feely have anything to do with the fact that the ep was exec produced by a woman (Maurissa Tancharoen), scribed by a woman (Shalisha Francis), and directed by a woman (Holly Dale)? Or am I sexist scum for even asking?”
Why yes, yes you kind of are, actually. There are a lot of problems with this show, but the fact that three women were heavily involved in the episode isn’t one of them.