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'Agents of SHIELD' and 'The Flash' Lay the Groundwork for their Spin-Offs

By Craig Wack | TV | October 22, 2015 |

By Craig Wack | TV | October 22, 2015 |

In case you didn’t know by now, Marvel and DC’s network shows have spin-off shows in the works and this week The Flash, Arrow and Agents of SHIELD spent a significant amount of screen time laying the groundwork for these upcoming programs.

Marvel’s Most Wanted and Legends of Tomorrow are coming to a TV screen near you in 2016. Before these pilots are rolled out to the public, there’s some significant housekeeping that needs to be done first. Characters need to be beefed up or brought back from the dead. It’s not always a pretty process and at worst it can be downright clunky. This week’s superhero shows didn’t reach those depths, but the signs of spinoff setup where everywhere.

The Flash’s treatment was the most unobtrusive since an appearance by Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold is always a welcome occasion. This time Cold was up to no good, but doing so under duress. The show went to great lengths to paint Leonard Snart as less of the calculating, amoral thief of previous episodes and more of an antihero who has a “code” and shows the good deep down inside him when pressed.

While dine-n-dash and patricide are not part of Snart’s code, he does save the life of his beloved sister and ends up in Iron Heights where he boasts he won’t be there for long (you can take that as an allusion to Legends of Tomorrow or a wink to Miller’s breakout role in Prison Break, either one works).

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Arrow did its part by getting two characters spinning in the direction of Legends of Tomorrow. Most obvious was Sara Lance’s resurrection in the League of Assassins’ Lazarus Pit. She went in a withered husk in a tactical bustier that was dead for a year and came out a feral wet ball of anger in a tactical bustier. There’s going to be some plot to milk as Sara comes to terms with her new state of existence and the bloodlust that comes from a bath in the pit.

Sara’s journey from rage zombie to White Canary is going to be fun, but the glee of her return is blunted by the knowledge that once they no longer have to chain her in the basement, Sara is going to depart Arrow again leaving us to deal with her wannabe sister, Laurel.

Secondarily, Felicity’s phone has been acting up and at the end of the episode it went all Matrix-y and flashed her name. This will undoubtedly be the work of presumed dead super-genius Ray Palmer who we’re going find out is only really really tiny.

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Agents of SHIELD is tackling a different issue with its spinoff setup. Bobbi Morse (played by Adrianne Palacki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) are projected to be the leads for Marvel’s Most Wanted. Bobbi has been in the forefront since her introduction, she is already a fully realized character and spinoff-ready. Introduced as a mercenary, Hunter has been a semi-reluctant participant in SHIELD operations with a hot-and-cold relationship with his ex-wife Bobbi. While that’s enough characterization to make him a contributing part of SHIELD’s large ensemble, it’s not exactly lead of series material.

In the last few episodes, the show has put Hunter front and center in one of the three revolving plots in the recent storyline in order to beef up his character. Hunter’s tale of vengeance laced with duty as he hunts down HYDRA director Ward with the help of a reluctant May has been an entertaining one.

The seeds of Hunter’s departure were planted when his storyline hit its climax this week. The SHIELD base isn’t going be big enough for Hunter and Agent May after he sacrificed May’s estranged husband for the mission and managed only to wing Ward rather than take him out. Despite his newfound scrappy nature, this is not a fight Hunter is going to win.

These plots and characters will linger around for a few episodes more before they a shed and sent on their way to sink or swim on shows of their own.

Craig Wack hopes Bobbi’s arc gets beefed up soon. She’s a boring lab assistant. Please follow his Twitter.

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