I have to admit, this week’s episode of “Agents of SHIELD” left me feeling very confused. Don’t get me wrong, this is another really good episode; however I’m starting to suspect that the show is progressing down a completely different route that may end up creating a whole new way of examining the show, or could end up being the main reason for a possible cancellation. I fear that this week’s episode may have taken one too many dark turns yet it still managed to be extremely engaging with plenty of plot twists, new characters being introduced and a very good cliff-hanger that is sure to keep you tuned in for more.
This week’s episode deals with a street magician in Hong Kong that is a pyrotechnic. He is approached by a girl in a flower dress who can promise him power, fame and a code name (Scorch… seriously?) He accepts but it all turns out to be a ploy for the main baddies of the show: CENTIPEDE. The Agents are tasked with finding this guy before something bad happens to him and during the hunt we discover more about Skye’s hidden intentions.
I want to applaud this week’s writer Brent Fletcher for the ways in which Skye’s character is developed throughout the episode. Skye’s past with her hacker group The Rising Tide comes back to bite her in the ass and she realizes that she has betrayed the team that has come to love and respect her so much. It’s refreshing to not only see Skye questioning her past and trying to make amends for her lies but also to see the infallible judgement of Coulson show signs of cracking when his infamous gut-feeling is called into question. This is the first time in the show where you see him get confrontational to the point where it looks like he is going to put a gun to Skye’s head in order to get the truth out of her. And this is where we lead into the dark elements of the show…
This episode seemed a tad more mature than its previous episodes. Not only is the context dark with showing us that Skye has betrayed her team in order to gain access into secrets regarding her past but we also get some really fucked up scenes where we see Scorch (wow, that name keeps getting dumber) burning up parts of his body to a crisp and not twenty seconds later we see the CENTIPEDE scientist from the pilot episode BURNED TO ASH IN THE MOST AGONIZINGLY PAINFUL WAY POSSIBLE! I was stunned after I saw that; it looked like it belonged in a scene from “Platoon” and not a show by ABC Studios. It was very disturbing and I think it would have been a lot better for the theme that “Agents of SHIELD” is trying to attain if director Jesse Bochco had implied her death instead of showing it in such a gruesome fashion affiliated with a horror movie.
I also didn’t like how, at the episode’s resolution, Skye’s punishment for betraying the team is that she has to wear a bracelet that shuts off any electric equipment in her possession if she is suspected of doing something fishy. Considering the only purpose she serves on the show, this is the equivalent of taking your master sword-fighter and cutting off his arms. I believe this will be rectified at some point but it just seems a bit extreme in hindsight. Also, Skye’s parents having a link with SHIELD and her infiltrating the team to find out the truth? *cough*CLICHE*cough*.
Other than the super dark tones and a few odd decisions on the writer’s end, I still think this was an enjoyable episode. We got to see way more of the villain, we may have a new femme fatale and we get to see the team come to grips with a possible traitor amongst them who must now prove herself worthy and earn back their trust. I’m still hooked and I cannot wait to see what the team stumbles upon in next week’s episode.