Season One, Episode Six
There’s a very dangerous device that can trigger weapons from a distance, and Agent Ward and Fitz are the duo for the job. There are reminders that not everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. have the clearance for certain information, and that really pisses Skye off. She hacks the system (because that’s really all she’s good for) and finds out that there is no extraction plan for Fitz and Ward. So Coulson and team go and save them without the go-ahead from Victoria Hand and everyone gets safely. Mission accomplished.
We are now six episodes in and it’s about time to start stressing out what’s been going wrong with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. First, the missions every episode seem to lack a real importance, or at least there is never a doubt in my mind that S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to come out of every situation successful. This is problematic because it makes a joke when the show tries to hook us into how dangerous a mission is. Oh my God, there’s no extraction plan! They’re just going to bomb the place and kill Ward and Fitz! – said no one. It was obvious that they were going to be rescued, just like it was obvious Simmons wasn’t going to successfully commit suicide. The series has to inject a sense of vulnerability so we don’t always know how every episode is going to end.
Second, no one likes a complainer. Skye has become that character that we all wish would just shut up. Even though she might have some points, does she not understand how a secret agency works? There are security clearance levels and it jeopardizes the mission if everyone knows it. Come on! Also, why the hell is she still there? We have an agency with great technology and power, surely there is someone else who can hack computers the way she does. This is a longer story arc that’s really been sluggish, to the point where I don’t even care anymore why she was chosen by Coulson. Nor do I care about why Coulson miraculously came back to life. These are story-lines that the show has to answer soon and move on.
Not everything is bad though. I enjoy how the show attempts to put different pairings together every week, though it seems like whoever teams up with Ward just tries to prove they’re as tough as him. The Fitz and Simmons almost-romance plot is boring, but I must admit that Elizabeth Henstridge as Simmons has really stepped up her game the last two episodes. “I shot a superior officer in the chest.” I’m still cracking up at that scene! But everyone is still very one-note. Melinda May barely talks, Ward is still macho, Fitz and Simmons are awkward brainiacs, and Coulson is some robot version of himself since he came back to life. Is there anything else we know (or care) about these characters?
I understand this is a family type of show so it’s tougher for it to take risks and break free from its formulaic ways, but something’s got to give soon. It’s not terrible television, but it’s painful to think of the potential a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has.