Heavy spoilers have been detected in your proximity. Also, first spoiler: this won’t be a positive review. I will try to make this post as constructive as possible, but ranting may be required.
It’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 1×18: Providence. I seriously considered killing the recap/reviews of the series right here because although the change of dynamics would be welcomed, now it seems they’re just wandering around looking for a storyline. In all fairness, the weakness of this TV Series has already been exposed. The big bad for SHIELD was always going to be Hydra. However, the cinematic universe’s own Captain America: The Winter Soldier had that exclusivity to do the big reveal. The root of the problem is that the series is taking a back seat to big brother, the movie saga. As a result, we have a season mostly full of filler until we got around to the big reveal after the movie’s opening weekend.
And that was that. Once the big reveal was made, is there anything to watch?
Once again, we’re back in the Bus with Antoine Tripplett replacing Ward something I knew was happening last week. Ward still hasn’t been discovered as a baddie but the character has let go of his dull side and gone into scoundrel rogue territory. That would make him much more interesting if the story was going anywhere. Garrett has a plan. He’s freed Rayna from some unknown prison. He’s handed her the hard drive that Skye gave Ward and drugs and money to figure out the secret behind Tahiti. Hydra is on full sail.
SHIELD instead is near extinction and branded as a terrorist in a continuation of good-guys-dont-want-to-listen-just-overreact pattern. If I ever start a Spy Agency (it’s on my bucket list) first thing I’m going to do is not brand everything with a logo. We get rid of the SHIELD badges but we’re all wearing snow coats with the SHIELD logo. Listen, I want to like this series as much as the next Marvel fan but for the love of Loki, give me some quality writing. Yes, I’m jumping ahead. Let’s go back to the present.
Team Coulson leaves the Hub in a hurry as General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar playing a supporting character from Hulk) is soon to arrive. For a show that is supposed to be about SHIELD, I’m always under the impression that all they do is breach protocol on every step. I know it’s cool to “stick it to the man” but you ARE “the man” in this case. Basically we’re leaving with no destination and Coulson is not sure where. Only advantage to this is that Skye doesn’t get to tell this to Evil Ward when she calls him on the phone and of course Garrett is standing next to him.
We’re on the air with fuel running low. We’re secret agents, we should have some resources left in case of a panic situation, but I get that the show wants to set up the “against all odds” scenario.
Fitz is acting like a jealous brother with Tripp and that is not winning him any points with Simmons. May is getting the short end of the stick with Coulson right now and it’s hardly fair. The badges are collected and it’s up to Sky to notice (is Coulson really a level 8? I wonder sometimes) that his badge has lighted up. It’s Coulson at a gambling casino, putting everything on the line and expecting a miracle. I couldn’t be bothered to be concerned here though. In this show, when the team is in complete dire straits something appears out of the blue to save them.
Of course it turns out that it’s a secret base. Of course, first we have everyone starting to doubt Coulson – even himself. At the last possible minute with a plane that has no fuel and a NATO satellite about to give away their location, they ran into it. I would have had more respect for the show if it turns out that they find nothing. I would have loved if they had Coulson, May and everyone else starting to call upon old contacts to scavenge as much resources as they can and slowly re-build some sort of network. Perhaps even infiltrate a base overrun by Hydra just to take it over secretly. That would have been a plot. That is picking yourself up by your bootstraps and standing tall.
But no, we get a magical genie – ok, something close: solitary SHIELD agent Eric Koenig played by Patton Oswalt. He’s going to give them a secret base that stops being secret the moment that Skye calls Evil Ward to tell them where they are. Koenig tells them Fury is dead, then pulls Coulson aside to tell him the opposite.
Hydra is having a field day. Half a season ago, I would have felt a guilty pleasure at Garrett and Ward doing the villainous gig and taking down the Fridge with all their secret weapons. Even Quinn appears to reunite with his precious Gravitoneum. It felt like an afterthought, really. Ah, and Garrett has some Deathlok-looking plastic- oops, I mean, metal- on his stomach. Only flaw in their party is when Rayna tells them she can’t crack Skye’s hard drive. So, Ward has to assume his old persona again and go get the password from Skye.
There’s a good chance that Ward will redeem himself somehow and return to his original alignment. It should NOT happen, because Evil Ward is still better than Dull Ward but they keep suggesting it. There’s also Tripp who I don’t trust possibly being a double agent. I’m not sure what is in store between Fitz and Simmons but I prefer them as the quarrel-happy siblings. May needs to smack Coulson because Coulson needs to be smacked. Skye needs a fall from grace with Coulson just so she opens up to someone else.
Highs: When Rayna seems devastated after learning the Clairvoyant is just a con man, she calls him a liar. That summed up my feelings about the whole Clairvoyant supervillain character development. Not exactly a high, but showed Rayna has a soul of sorts.
Lows: I hardly care about any of the characters anymore. Oh, and the Tahiti thing may not be over yet as apparently someone other than Fury was in charge of Tahiti. Can we let May out of the doghouse already? This show seems like it was done back in the 80s. Things are bad, let’s bring on the cameo comic relief. The fake snow is embarrassing to those of us who know what real snow looks like. They look like they’re inside a Christmas window display at your local department store. Am I to believe that secret door covers itself with snow automatically after it closes?
Things I’d like to see: Coulson figures out Ward has betrayed them and shoots him dead. May has had enough of Coulson and walks away to become a lone assassin hunting Garrett and other Hydra agents. Fitz and Simmons have an adult conversation in which they remain the good friends that they are. Tripplett turns out NOT to be a bad guy, but a higher level SHIELD agent that Fury once recruited to keep tabs on Garrett. Skye starts formal training at the Academy. Rayna joins Coulson’s team.
Here’s a fair prediction: Deathlok dies but takes out Garrett in the process.
That will do for now.