A for Effort
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shook things up last night by giving us a different type of story. It was a bold move, and though it wasn’t perfect, you gotta admire the effort. It could have been much, much worse.
The framework for this episode was that Daisy got a glimpse of the future and the team needed wanted to fight against the future they saw in her visions. However their attempts to do so ultimately led to occurrences of the flashes we saw at the beginning of the episode. No, this type of story isn’t unique. We’ve seen it in everything from Lost to old Oedipus Rex. But we need to appreciate how well this worked, even if the episode wasn’t the most compelling of the season.
The challenge in a story like this comes when you need to create a striking visual to capture the attention of the audience and then craft a story that ultimately leads to those visuals in a CLEAR and LOGICAL way. Almost every one of those visuals occurred fairly organically (Coulson shooting his gun was a bit weak), so the story never felt jarring or unnatural.
The spacetime element of the story was, actually, the strongest part of the episode. It was the lack of a compelling threat that made the format feel wasted. Malick and his robo-enhancements were laugh-out-loud ludicrous and Lash felt wildly misused. The drama of the episode should have come from the characters fighting inevitability, rather than an actual person. The attempt to turn Malick into the Big Bad of the episode made the story a bit unfocused.
Conversely, the action was spot on this episode. We got a pretty great Daisy fight scene that was portrayed as one shot (although I think I saw a cut or two hidden there). The final rooftop visuals, while goofy, at least looked great. The burning sign and raining ash elevated the scene quite a bit.
Not every element worked this episode, but it was one heck of risk on the part of the writers, so you gotta respect their gumption nonetheless. Given Charles’ death, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll get another time travel(esque) episode anytime soon. However the series took a bold step forward here, and it certainly wasn’t a misstep.
Odds and Ends
- Coulson shouldn’t joke about kicking Lincoln off the team for not seeing Terminator. He should ACTUALLY do it.
- Fitz’s explanation of time, the fourth direction, was really great. As a lover of sci-fi and time travel stories, I’m glad to see the (pseudo-)science was respected.
- Though Lincoln hasn’t seen Terminator, it’s clear that Hive has see Raiders of the Lost Ark. It filled a face-melting quotient I didn’t know I required.
- The acting was surprisingly weak this episode, especially with May. Not sure what that is a byproduct of, so I’ll stick that note down here rather than up there.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.