TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 12 / January 14, 2014)
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EPISODE 12: "Seeds"
SYNOPSIS: Coulson and May uncover startling information about Skye's past, while the team is swept into a storm at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
After last week's letdown of a reveal regarding Coulson's post-AVENGERS resurrection, this week's AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. had the difficult job of taking what we learned and building on it. But, first a mission needs to be undertaken. While Fitz, Simmons, Skye, and Ward investigate a mysterious attack on cadets at the S.H.I.E.L.D. SciTech Academy, May and Coulson go off on their own.
Now that AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is building a world of their own, more of the agency's heirarchy needs to be established. In this case, the various S.H.I.E.L.D. academy branches and their Hogwarts-like rivalries and connections. Fitz and Simmons investigate a device using technology they both developed that is being used to carry out attacks on the students that freezes anything in it's path. As Fitz and Simmons are treated like royalty, it becomes apparent that the victims of the freezing attacks are not what they seem.
Fitz and Simmons started out as annoying characters on the show but are quickly growing on me. One of the strengths of Joss Whedon series is making the outcast and the nerdy cool. Fitz and Simmons fit that mold perfectly and are the relatable characters in the group while also pretty good agents. But, they do make stupid mistakes. In this case, Fitz mistakenly helps the cadets who staged the attacks complete their massive ice weapon. Good move and one that the writers telegraphed from the moment the episode began.
May and Coulson travel to Mexico City to find a missing agent who may have background on the death of their colleague, Agent Avery. During their stakeout, Coulson questions what he learned about his death and May tries to convince him to trust the report and what Director Fury told them. They find their target and May goes toe to toe with the guy who almost escapes. Coulson uses Lola to catch the guy who references "the baby girl".
It seems we are now getting some more on Skye's backstory. After a dozen episodes of build-up, can they screw this up as badly as the Coulson reveal? As the agent recounts his story of a mission to retrieve an OA4 (Object of Unknown Origin), he tells May and Coulson the baby was that object. He mentions the child had powers of some sort that they were not witness to. When they returned with the infant, the agents began being executed, they faked Level 8 clearance and left the baby with foster care.
As the team comes back together, they deduce that Ian Quinn, the millionaire scumbag who appeared in the third episode "The Asset" is backing the two cadets to build the device and sell it to him. When Quinn backs out due to S.H.I.E.L.D. getting involved, the two cadets trigger the device. The weather goes out of control, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS style, As the device is destroyed in the storm, May lands The Bus in the middle of the storm and saves the two injured cadets, one of whom doesn't survive. He is then taken to The Sandbox for observation but only after displaying that the freezing powers are now within him.
Skye asks Coulson why he has been asking odd around her. Despite May telling Coulson they should not reveal the truth to her, Coulson feels a kinship after his ordeal and relates the story of what happened to Skye as a baby. While we still don't know exactly what happened to her, the way this scene plays out actually works really well and gives an emotional depth to a subplot building all season. This makes Coulson's reveal even worse in comparison.
The closing scene has Coulson giving a warning to Ian Quinn to not come near S.H.I.E.L.D. airspace. Quinn's response is to tell Coulson that The Clarivoyant says hello. Dun, dun, dunnnn!
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
While looking at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Wall of Valor showing agents lost in the line of duty, Skye notes the name Bucky Barnes, aka the future Winter Soldier.
During a speech about S.H.I.E.L.D. history, Fitz and Simmons reference HYDRA and AIM.
"Agent Ward and I have been having sex." - May to Coulson who doesn't hear her as they find their target.
May flying The Bus right into the eye of a hurricane was pretty damn cool. After weak CGI early in the season, the VFX crew seems to have hit their stride.
DO WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?
Coulson spends time reviewing his file and questioning what he learned last week, but no new information.
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 7/10
The prospect of Skye being more than just a hacker is a damn good idea. We have all been clamoring for this team to have something more than just the stereotypical bunch. Developing Skye as a superhero could be the push in the right direction that the series needs. The Skye we have come to know with her search for who she was can now be left behind and she can continue her path to discovering her potential. With this episode, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. went from being Coulson's show to being Skye's as well.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
The series returns on February 4th with an episode featuring a cameo from Stan Lee and the promise of a major cliffhanger/reveal.
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