Agents of SHIELD
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 10: The Bridge

Bob Chipman | 11 Dec 2013 10:43
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Early December in the U.S. is the time of "Winter Finales," the point where network TV shows that aren't coming back for a full season say goodbye while shows that are going to make it to (at least) a full season try to give you a reason to look forward to their return to the air in January... and me a reason to not be too resentful toward them for giving me one less distraction from the holiday "cheer."

In any case, that means it's time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - the Marvel Cinematic Universe's answer to those several weeks of nourishing but just not that tasty salad-centric meals in between big bloat-out carb-heavy dinner parties - to end on a mid-season cliffhanger (hence the meta-cute episode title.) Presumably based around one of the series' approximately 616,000 mysterious loose-end story threads. SPOILER ALERT: It appears we will finally find out... how much longer it will take to find out what happened to Agent Philip Coulson.

Sidenote: This series had an initial order of 13 episodes - pretty standard for a network hourlong - and this is only number 10, meaning that we're still three episodes away from seeing what this show looks like now that it knows it has a full season (and, given the ratings, a pretty likely second one) to work with.

But I digress: We open this week with a brief montage recapping the series' near-handful of "mythology" episodes thus far: i.e. all the stuff concerning "CENTIPEDE;" the mysterious evil(?) organization that's grabbing up every scrap of super-science the Marvel movies have left lying around (most notably the Extremis formula from Iron Man 3) to make strength-augmented super-soldiers. This leads to our cold-open, wherein a whole team of said soldiers bust into a federal prison to liberate one Edison Po (Cullen Douglas), the mystery prisoner whom sexy CENTIPEDE-recruiter Raina (aka "The Girl in The Flower Dress") swung by to talk to about "The Clairvoyant" at the end of her episode.

This, naturally, is Team Coulson's job - good thing, because things are getting uncomfortable on The Bus. Skye is having a good time busying herself trying to suss out who her biological mom might be from a roster of former female S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, blissfully unaware that Coulson has lied to her about wanting to help with the search - he and Agent May have already solved the mystery, and have elected to keep the truth from Skye because it's (apparently) not good news. Things are also looking uneasy in the clandestine Teammates-With-Benefits relationship between May and Agent Ward, mainly because he's not being cautious enough about keeping things clandestine: When he slips-up and vaguely acknowledges that a hot n' heavy sparring session is something like foreplay for the team's resident badasses, she reacts as though he'd just registered them for engagement gifts at Macy's.

Going up against three (or more?) CENTIPEDE super-soldiers is, of course, going to take more muscle than this team typically employs, so S.H.I.E.L.D. authorizes the use of a more formidable asset: Mike Petersen, the early-stage CENTIPEDE-augmented superhuman from the pilot episode, has had his conditioned stabilized while under observation ("Have I broken Captain America's record?" he asks, after shoving around a tackling-dummy attached to a bulldozer), and will be coming aboard The Bus to help the team should anything need super-punching. Some lip-service is given to May and Ward still not trusting the onetime public-menace (and to how much that ship has sailed since Skye is still on the team,) but the episode is more interested in Agent Adorkable Simmons developing an instant-crush on him.

Coulson and Ward go off on a mission to hunt down the sister of a guy they think might be one of the CENTIPEDE soldiers. The whole thing seems kind of needlessly elaborate, but it's mostly a setup for the two men to have an expository back-and-forth about women. Short version: Coulson is still pining for "The Cellist," the maybe-The-One girlfriend mentioned in The Avengers, whom he has been unable to inform of his non-deadness because of S.H.I.E.L.D. security protocols... which for whatever reason don't have anything to say about him constantly walking around in public, in his company uniform, without an alias.

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