Welcome back, true believers! After a week off, the agents return, as well as the antagonist from the first episode, Michael Peterson (played by J. August Richards). This episode will mark Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first two parter, promising a big cliffhanger leading into the next installment, which airs January 7th. Will the nefarious Centipede prove to be too much for our agents, even with the help of a failed super soldier? Will more about Coulson’s secret resurrection be revealed? Hit the jump to find out.
Our episode begins with a “Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” intro, which is the first time the show has had one of these if I can recall. It’s a good way to get people caught up to speed with the going ons of the main story arc had they missed it prior, and hopefully they make it a habit as there are quite a few subplots developing over the course of the season. We then move to a number of super soldiers breaking the formerly revealed head of Centipede out of prison in a slick action piece. This scene also helped to display the calm character that is the lead antagonist, Poe, asking for his rescuers to address him as sir as he slowly lifted his head up from his meal in the mess hall. The leader of Centipede, Poe, is another good antagonist for the show, in addition to the recent “Berserker” and gives off an almost Hannibal Lecter vibe.
Meanwhile, with the rest of the gang, Coulson has the typical talk with Skye that goes nowhere, as May and Ward train on the mat for a few rounds. The relationship between these two agents is a bright spot of the show and helps to overshadow the lackluster “Skye searches for her parents” subplot, which is spinning its wheels at this point. Ward trying to figure out a way to win May’s affection, added additional comedy to the situation and opened up a fairly important scene with Coulson.
Now I’ve harped on the constant references to Avengers before, but the mention of Coulson’s relationship with the cellist falling to the wayside is important, in developing his character, and the show as a whole. Though it does lead to the question, if Coulson needed to be underground in order to sell his death to the Avengers, what’s changed that allows him to be working on field missions? If any of the Avengers were to get wind of this, wouldn’t they be beyond pissed? Questions to be followed up down the road I suppose.
If you look way back at my review of the first episode, you’ll note that one of the strongest parts of that episode, that I noted, was J. August Richard’s performance as Peterson, the faux super soldier created by Centipede, so it’s great to see him on the show once again. Playing the part of a repentant hero, Peterson blends in with the rest of the team pretty well. He manages to effortlessly bounce off each cast member, forming relationships in the first half hour that seem stronger than some of the stuff we’ve seen in this entire season. The producers of the show have gone on record that they’ll be expanding the cast in the future, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he’ll be one of the permanent additions.
Its funny, but you can almost draw a line down the middle of the cast and see which members belong and which don’t. On one hand, you have characters like Coulson, May, and Ward who are hardened agents who clearly have a breadth of experience under their belts. With these characters, the humor springs organically from the situations they find themselves in. On the other side, you unfortunately have Skye, Fitz, and Simmons who just never feel like they mesh into the storylines that are presented. Their story arcs are either boring or they’re pushed to the side to deliver the occasional punchline that falls flat. I get a sense that the show would do a lot better if they were to trim some of the fat (Skye and her subplots for example). I just don’t feel any connection to them.
The villains, Centipede, on the other hand are a great addition. Throughout the episodes this season, there’s been something of a seesaw effect when it came to who the agents were tangling each week, with some being interesting and others being outright boring (the Peruvian army in episode two for example). Poe, the lady in the flowered dress, and the mysterious Clairvoyant add a nice level of danger and intrigue to the show. I legitimately am curious as to who or what the Clairvoyant may be. If it turns out to be M.O.D.O.K., the rest of the episodes would have to get “A” ratings simply by default (kidding, kidding).
Another nitpick I have is the agents are seemingly always on their own for some reason. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a huge organization and when the final tense confrontation between the agents and Centipede happens, the team is still on their own. One would think that Fury would be a tad more interested in making sure that this huge threat would be taken care of by adding a few more agents to watch the deal go down. It’s a minor nitpick as the final scene of the episode does act as a nice cliffhanger, with Peterson being asked to deliver Coulson into the hands of Centipede for the return of his son. With a bomb going off seemingly killing Peterson (say it ain’t so!) and Centipede making off with Coulson, we’ll have to wait until the next episode to see who lived and who died.
Overall, I felt this episode suffered a bit from its usual problems, but acted as a decent mid-season finale.
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– “Stabbed his friend’s eyes out with a steak knife…then finished his meal.”
– “Did I beat Captain America’s time?”
“Not even close”
– “Last time you saw her, you threw her into a brick wall.”
– “A whole class…on women.”
– “Psychics are a myth!” “So is Thor.”
– “Having powers is cheating, but it still looks pretty cool”
Watch the promo for the upcoming episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. below: