TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” Episode 13 – “TRACKS”

Written by Alex Bowman February 06, 2014

After going on a two week hiatus for reasons unbeknownst to a nigh benevolent creature like me, we are officially back on track (PUNS! I’m back, baby) with a brand new episode of “Agents of SHIELD.” I had almost forgotten that this is the show I had picked to review. I guess the previous episode did absolutely nothing to keep me engaged long enough during its leave of absence. Usually when a show I enjoy goes on a break I tend to morbidly obsess over its inevitable return as if I were its stalker. However, when “Agents of SHIELD” took a break, I just shrugged my shoulders and went back to surfing reddit for bewbs. But, holy shit, are we in for quite a treat with this week’s episode because it does everything spectacularly from beginning to end.

This week’s episode deals with the team performing an undercover mission on a train going through the Italian countryside. The train in question happens to be carrying a secret weapon to Quinn that SHIELD wishes to get in their possession first. The plan goes awry, hi-jinks ensue and surprises are thrown at us with such precision that it almost makes you pissed when the show cuts to a commercial. I am not going to go into too much detail about the plot; it is just that good and you have to see it for yourself in order to fully appreciate it.

This week really surprised me with the quality of pretty much everything. This was a nice episode for the team because everyone got their moment in the spotlight. Most episodes tend to have a protagonist that hogs the viewer’s attention for an extended period of time but, in this episode, all the characters were given an opportunity to have their own moment and have the story focus on their adventures for a good amount of time. This can be attributed to the unique way in which this week’s segment was told; the story jumps back in time at several points so the plot can be seen through the point of view of each protagonist. This sets up a really entertaining way of watching the episode because we, as the audience, can experience the story through three little chapters that neatly converge towards the climax. I tip my metaphorical critic’s hat to writers Lauren LeFranc and Rafe Judkins for integrating a top-notch story-telling method that really works for the pacing of this show. FYI, my critic’s hat is a Viking helmet… it helps the transcription process.

This episode also has a lot of great moments that really put your senses through the meat grinder. The episode starts off playfully with the typical Whedon-esque humor we have come to appreciate in this show. Then it flawlessly transitions to high-stakes action that doesn’t upset the pacing of the show and, finally, during the resolution, we are given a scene where something really fucked up happens which ends the episode on a decent enough cliffhanger.

I actually liked how the super-sad moment actually made me feel super-sad. Most TV shows try to get me to feel the same emotions as the characters on-screen but I couldn’t be bothered because it might interrupt my snacking. However, this episode has a really effective ending that is sure to tug on your heartstrings with enough force to squeeze out one, tiny, manly tear. Also, I think an honorable mention should go out to Quinn for actually doing something evil in this week’s episode. Instead of being the smug prick with a forgettable agenda to match his equally forgettable face, we see him do something nefarious that might actually cement him as a proper villain for the series. Here’s hoping his character goes through some more incredible development like this in future episodes. In fact, let’s hope the quality of this entire episode keeps happening in future episodes.

“I hate undercover”

After a mediocre episode that led to a fortnight of rest we are back banging on all cylinders with another great installment of “Agents of SHIELD” that is sure to be a highlight for any fans of the show. Fantastic and unique writing, superb character spotlights, great pacing and a cliff-hanger that is sure to leave you wanting for more is exactly what this week’s episode needed. Also, for all you hardcore Marvel fans out there, the pre-credits stinger is sure to make you squeal with giddiness.

My Rating: 9/10

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