TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 9 / November 26, 2013)
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EPISODE 9: "Repairs"
SYNOPSIS: Coulson and his team are haunted by a mysterious force that threatens to destroy them all, and only a secret from May's past can save them.
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 THOR: THE DARK WORLD-centric adventure, I was hopeful that this week we would get back into the swing of the whole S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy struggles between Coulson's team and the organization at large. Or, maybe they would revisit the Centipede/Extremis group that has popped up here and there this season. No, it starts right out that we are back in Case of the Week mode as the teaser sequences highlights a woman with seemingly telekinetic powers straight out of an early season of THE X-FILES.
Before we get into the episode itself, we need to acknowledge the sexy time from the end of last week's episode. After feeling the effects of the Asgardian artifact, Melinda May and Grant Ward had to exercise their remaining rage somehow. That somehow was knocking Marvel boots which in this episode appears to have become a repeat exercise. The sex seems to be purely a physical relationship as May doesn't seem to crack a smile towards Ward when he references tactics to keep the rest of the team unaware of their exploits. Outwardly, I figured hooking two characters up would eventually happen, I just didn't expect these two. Surely there has to be some reason for matching the two most boring characters on the show?
As the team investigates a woman who is the sole survivor of a particle accelerator accident, Coulson enlists May to help deal with the woman as they sedate her and bring her in. During this time, as Fitz and Simmons decide to initiate Skye by pranking her, May's nickname of The Cavalry is explained. Whether this story is true or not it is hard to tell, but they are definitely trying to force May on the viewers as a surrogate for Black Widow. I like the potential that May has as a character and she has flashes of being cool, but overall she is falling pray to the flatness we keep seeing in all aspects of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D..
The woman in custody, Hannah, reveals that she thinks she is being punished by God for causing the death of her employees at the accelerator. But, as Skye finds out, one employee named Tobias Ford seems to have had it out for Hannah. We begin to see Ford appear as a ghostly apparition on the plane, phasing in and out of reality. Fitz and Simmons discover that the explosion somehow opened a gateway between worlds. At that moment, Ford attacks Simmons claiming the other world is Hell and disables the plane. May crash lands the plane and the team they begin their hunt for the "ghost".
As the team position themselves to defend the plane from Ford, Skye goes to Hannah to let her know what is going on. Hannah is convinced her faith is being tested and Skye relates her childhood experiences with nuns and the only message that stuck with her was "God is love". Hannah listens intently as Melinda May looks on. May interjects and sends Skye to help Coulson begging the question to how deep May's scars run. On the other side of the plane, Ward battles Ford as he goes in and out of reality before being knocked out. With Ward, Fitz, and Simmons locked up, Coulson and Skye discuss the true story behind May's nickname, revealing why she is the way she is.
With everyone taken out, May is left to take Hannah of the plane with Ford in pursuit. Skye deciphers, completely randomly, that Ford is actually trying to protect Hannah because he has a crush on her and didn't have a better way to get close to her than to cause a meltdown in a particle reactor and fake safety issues. Quite possibly, this is the absolute stupidest motivation behind trying to get a girl to notice you in history and an awful plot device as well. Ford spouts the words sin, Hell, and forgiveness as the show tries to forcefeed us some religious subtext. May convinces Ford the only option is to let Hannah go and everyone can move on. Blah, treacly bullshit. May says they were the same words Coulson told her when she was suffering, but still bullshit cheese.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
Nothing. Is this the first episode to not reference anything from the Marvel movies, even in passing? Looks like it.
"1990s technology at it's best." - Coulson as his emergency radio transceiver stops working.
Coulson explaining how Melinda May got her nickname of The Cavalry: despite Ward and Fitz explaining the story as May killing 20 or 100 enemies with a single gun to save some people, the true story is she killed "plenty", including civilians, under the influence of a superpowered cult leader. She also did it without a gun. The chilling delivery proves once again why Clark Gregg is perfect for this role.
DO WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 5/10
I know that I have said that this show can stand on it's own two legs without relying on Marvel characters or tying into the movie franchises, but this Case of the Week episode just doesn't cut it. I realize that network series need to have a couple of filler episodes here and there, but I would much rather cut them out entirely and focus on mythology episodes only. Not only that, but the resolution to this case is so f*cking stupid that it drags down everything positive in the episode.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
"The Bridge" (December 10, 2013) - Coulson takes the war back to Centipede, and this time he brings in Mike Peterson for some super-soldier support. As they get closer to the truth, startling secrets are revealed and an unexpected twist threatens the team.
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