Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: “The Only Light in the Darkness”

     April 22, 2014


Welcome back, True Believers!  Last week’s episode gave us an in-depth look at Agent Garrett’s, aka Bill Paxton’s, Hydra.  Fun was had by all as the charismatic team took over a S.H.I.E.L.D. installation and rallied behind the idea that the once nearly omnipresent agency was unraveling at the seams.  Meanwhile, the Agents tried to pick up the pieces and were met by Agent Koenig, aka Patton Oswalt, in a secret base set up by Nick Fury.  On tonight’s episode, the often mentioned “Cellist” (love interest of Coulson originally brought up in the Avengers movie) makes an appearance, played by Amy Acker.  Also, another villain from the funny books makes his Marvel “movie-verse” premiere. Hit the jump for our recap of “The Only Light in the Darkness.”

marvels-agents-of-shield-the-only-light-in-the-darkness-amy-ackerWe start our episode off with what I consider to be the episode’s weakest and strongest parts, in the arrival of Blackout and the return of Ward to the team, respectively.  Whereas one feels like the standard “monster of the week” routine, the other made for some tense and nail biting scenes as Grant continues to worm his way back into the team after being revealed  (to the audience) to be a Hydra agent.  As I said in previous episodes, this has really been the best thing going for the character as “Evil Ward” just seems to be having that much more fun as he relishes in accomplishing his tasks of deceit.  Blackout (Patrick Brennan) seemed to almost be a reminder of what the show was prior to the big Hydra/Captain America 2 reveal and that’s not a good thing.

Before the team could leave to hunt down Blackout, who is stalking the infamous “cellist” of Coulson’s heart, Agent Koenig needed to perform some lie detector tests on them to make sure that everyone was who they said they were.  This of course cued loud sweating from Agent Ward having been sent back to capture Skye.  The lie detector test scene was really the best scene of the night as we were shown more of each character and were given more insight into each of their personalities organically for the purposes of the story.  The reveal that Agent Tripp was the grandson of one of the Howling Commandos (Cap’s soldier buddies in WW2) was nice as well as the idea that May had once been married at some point.

Of all these small exchanges, the best, and most tense, was when it came time for Ward to step into the chair.  Koenig grills him pretty hard regarding his true intentions, even pulling a handgun at him at one point, and the acting was great across the board, making it unclear as to who the audience should be rooting for.  Ward manages to masterfully dance through the questions and gets his very own lanyard, and continues his romantic pursuit of Skye. He even runs into Fitz, who is still secretly pining over Simmons and hating on Tripp. This subplot really needs to shit or get off the pot as it’s been going for nearly the entirety of the season with no end in sight.

marvels-agents-of-shield-the-only-light-in-the-darkness-clark-greggMeanwhile, back to the B plot, Coulson, along with Fitz, Simmons, and Tripp, pursue Blackout and use the cellist, Audrey Nathan, to lure him out of hiding.  Using a device created by Bruce Banner, for which Coulson is given a great line that I mention below, the team attempts not to cross the streams and blows Blackout back to kingdom come.  The day is saved and with a heavy heart: Coulson must not reveal that he is in fact alive to his love.  The episode does go into how the two met, but I found the lack of interaction between the two, while being necessary to the plot, sort of robbed us of seeing WHY she was so loved by Coulson.  The character and the relationship could have used more meat on its bones to really make us more invested in the predicament with Blackout.

Skye was able to bring some chops to this installment as she finds herself playing Ward, after his allegiance is revealed through his secret murder of Oswalt’s Agent Koenig.  SIGH.  I wish they hadn’t written him out so early in the game as he had some great chemistry with the cast and could have been an integral part of the show moving forward, but such is life.  Skye managing to stay one step ahead of Ward, especially with the “penny trick”,  went a long way in showing the resourcefulness of the character.

The final stinger of May leaving the team to run into her mom, who was doing her own reconnaissance for her daughter through a mystery organization she was a part of (crossing my fingers for H.A.T.E) was cool and offers the promise of Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) returning to the show once again.

Overall, the episode was OK.  I think it didn’t capitalize as well as it could have on the momentum we had building from the previous episodes and may have fallen a bit too close to its “early days”, but it was serviceable.  Definitely more to praise here than condemn.

Grade: B-

Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.:

marvels-agents-of-shield-the-only-light-in-the-darkness-blackout-patrick-brennan– Originally when I had heard Blackout was going to be the villain of this episode, my younger self got all excited because I got into comics with Ghost Rider books.  More specifically, the “Midnight Sons” era of the 90’s where Blackout was one of the main antagonists.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as Marvel went with a lesser known Blackout, even though they now own the rights to Ghost Rider and his crew since the rights reverted from Sony.  Hopefully we’ll see the old flaming skull come back sooner rather than later.

– Skye’s real name is MARY SUE Poots. *rimshot*

-I about died laughing when I saw that the “Cellist” had a cello image on her hoodie. You know, just in case you forgot who she was. Good thing she’s not a part of some secret Cello organization, otherwise, they’d have to stamp the symbol on her trucks as well!

– “He wanted a lie detector Romanov couldn’t beat!”
“Did she?”
“Fury didn’t say.”

– “If I was grandson of a Howling Commando, I’d have that tattooed on my chest.”

– “And you gave yourself the name Skye?”

– “The TARDIS!”

– “Nothing bad ever happens when you work with something called ‘Dark Force’.”

– “Guy disappeared into thin air.”
“You just described every mugging ever.”

– “Who made this?”
“Bruce Banner.”
“Oh well then, I’m sure nothing will go wrong.”

Watch the promo for the next episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled “Nothing Personal”: