For most TV shows that are still trying to get their bearings and leave an impact on the gritty asphalt of mainstream broadcasting, this is usually the point where things start to flounder. Fingers can usually be pointed at poor ratings, behind-the-scenes squabbles or just pure, unadulterated incompetence. However, “Agents of SHIELD” just keeps improving with quality over and over again without any major problems or setbacks. I actually find myself at certain times begging for a crappy episode so I can at least have something else to talk about; but why bother? A good show deserves good praise so let’s analyze why this weeks’ episode is another successful addition to this series’ run.
This week’s episode focuses on the team having to take down a former SHIELD agent who has gone rogue and is committing crimes for a faceless puppeteer who controls her every move. The team must find out a way to bring her down while also finding out who is piloting this former agent. She also has a link to Coulson’s past (former protégée) and his insistence on treating her as an innocent will force him to butt heads with his other members, especially Agent May.
This was a really suspenseful episode right from the beginning shot; the scene where a dozen men in suits and bright red masks are walking together in formation, hand-cuffed to briefcases will leave you guessing immediately who they are and what involvement they may have with SHIELD. This proves to be a red herring (heehee) but still provides enough intrigue to keep you invested as to how this sets up the events for the episode. The rogue agent also adds a lot of espionage to the show with her ability to fight with her eyes closed thanks to the X-ray vision in her artificial eyeball; her character will actually cling on to you quite a bit. The writer for this episode, Jeffrey Bell, actually does a pretty bang-up job of making you feel a ton of sympathy for this supposed bad guy agent who is actually just caught up in a mess that she has no control over. She may be bad but her circumstances are what makes the team put their heads together once again and work to solve the problem using the power of science and witty banter.
I was actually shocked when I found out that actress Roxann Dawson (B’Elanna Torres from “Star Trek: Voyager”) directed this episode. Her directorial choices are not lost on the viewer; she knows how to film a good fight scene, she knows proper pacing and she actually manages to capture some really good Whedon-esque moments; the scene with the detached robotic eyeball is enough to make you squirm in your seat with glee. This episode is also amazing because, FINALLY, we get to see Agent May kick some serious ass when she goes toe-to-toe with the rogue agent. I’m actually glad that Fitz-Simmons switched off their annoying qualities in this episode and actually gave me a legitimate chuckle here and there. Skye is still witty in her way and Agent Ward kicks ass as usual, but he also gave me a good guffaw at a certain point.
The writing for each episode actually does a really consistent job of balancing seriousness with humor in an equal and steady pace; each episode knows exactly when to be sad, when to be funny and when to be insightful. It’s also nice to see a weekly gadget being shown off and used later on in the episode. It’s a good sign that “Agents of SHIELD” is trying to come up with new ways to keep the viewer interested while not having to rely on references to random Marvel characters in a desperate bid to keep you awake.
This week’s episode of “Agents of SHIELD” was once again a very enjoyable adventure. A great premise filled with the right amount of action, humor and sympathy delivered by a stellar writer/directorial team. I’m really happy to see that this show is finding its pace within the world of television. Even though this show may turn out to be too much of a good thing, I sure hope that it keeps going with an unstoppable force of entertaining quality.