Agents of SHIELD
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 19 "The Only Light In the Darkness"

Bob Chipman | 23 Apr 2014 13:40
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Parting thoughts

  • Memo to the showrunners: Your target-audience already hated Ward because he was the obvious "hot guy" character. Having him kill Patton Oswalt? That's overkill.
  • Okay, yes - the episodes immediately before and continuing after Winter Soldier are on the whole as good as the show has ever been, and they should be taking notes on how the response has shifted if/when they start planning a second season (which the entertainment press is largely treating as a foregone conclusion.)
  • Speaking of another season: If there is one, it's easy to see the setup already. S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone, but it's easy to imagine Nick Fury turning up in the finale to task Coulson and Company with continuing The Agency's mission covertly - making them, at last, *THE* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I'd watch that.
  • For my own part, I like these characters more when they're being they're own thing that happens to exist in The Marvel Universe rather than said Universe's hangers-on. We get it, by now: These guys share a planet with The Avengers. Give them good stories of their own, bring in Marvel stuff when it'll help or be fun but don't strain to tie stuff in half-heartedly.
  • Triplett is already a better-written, more interesting character than pre-evil Ward was in the same basic role. The detail that he's also smart enough to at least hold his own in a conversation with Fitz and Simmons is a genius touch, because of the obvious (yet subtle) panic it incites in Fitz. It makes perfect sense: That they both speak the secret language of smart people is probably what he considers the only appeal he might have to her over stronger, better looking suitors.
  • I'm disappointed in both myself and in the show that I just don't care that much about Coulson vis-a-vis Audrey. The scenes are well-played, and a nice reminder that Phil's new "renegade" personality is based on having given up everything for a S.H.I.E.L.D. that was not, on multiple levels, what he thought it was... but it's like the death/rebirth thing. At this point, I care more about his character in relation to the events of this series than I do in relation to things mentioned in The Avengers.
  • New info: Ward's abusive older brother didn't beat his younger brother - he made Ward do it. This probably isn't a lie, since he told fellow HYDRA loyalist Rania about Garrett rescuing from a hellish family life, and it nicely shatters the moment from earlier in the season where Skye used Ward's backstory as a metaphor ("some Big Brothers are good!") for how S.H.I.E.L.D.-style spycraft wasn't so bad after all. Incidentally: Odd how they haven't really mentioned that Skye/Rising Tide were sort of more right than we thought about The Agency.
  • I'll admit it: Dalton is much more interesting playing Evil Ward than regular Ward, to the point that I wouldn't mind if he stuck around a bit in that capacity. Sure, he's probably dead meat by the season finale (he killed Patton Oswalt, for pity's sake!) but fortunately this is occurring in a universe where getting killed doesn't mean you can't come back as a cyborg. Or a zombie. Or a ghost. Or whatever.
  • It took long enough, but we're pretty much out of major mysteries other than "What was that thing in T.A.H.I.T.I.?", "Why did Fury revive Coulson?" and "What is Skye?" Conveniently, none of those can really be answered without also answering the other two. If that, plus most of the season's background story being HYDRA manipulation tied to Winter Soldier, really was The Plan all along? Kudos, well played. Still doesn't excuse the early less-good filler episodes; and if there's a Season 2 it really can't spend half its run standing around marking time waiting for something we can't know about until Age of Ultron.

Next week

Maria Hill, Colonel Talbot and Deathlok return for Nothing Personal. I really, really want to see Coulson mix it up with Talbot - the breakout "woobie" of the Cinematic Universe versus one of the most eminently hateable Marvel heels of all time.

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