In “The Magical Place” the team searches for Agent Coulson after he’s kidnapped by Centipede. Meanwhile, Coulson finds out how he was resurrected.
Continue reading for a spoiler filled review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 11.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back. After several weeks off the air how many viewers care enough about the show to tune in or will the promise of finally finding out what happened to Coulson spike the ratings?
By the time mid-season episodes are produced, the writing team can respond to viewer feedback and address the areas that require much-needed improvement. This episode will be a good indication if the producers are listening or not. I won’t be recapping every plot point so feel free to sound off in the comments and I’ll be happy to discuss with you in more detail.
Let’s Discuss What Happened!
• You Don’t Have To Assume The Worst Of Me: Got to hand it to Melinda May for calling Skye annoying and booting her off the bus. Turns out it was May’s hidden agenda. I’m not a Skye hater per se, I just like how May feels real compare to some of the other characters.
There’s a consistency to how May is portrayed yet she can still surprise us like hooking up with Ward. It makes total sense for her to want to put some distance between Skye & Ward but her decision is not based on emotions. May has the mission to save Coulson as her priority and puts her trust in Skye’s abilities to get the job done. Well played May.
• Coulson & Raina: First off, Po wasn’t incredibly engaging as a villain. I’m not surprised he got iced. On the other hand, Raina’s got a charming disposition about her. She has great persuasive skills that can find the unspoken truth, that deep desire within a person and use it to her benefit. This is a far out theory but did Po’s clairvoyant abilities get passed on to Raina?
My favourite part of the episode is the excellent chemistry between Coulson and Raina. In particular, it’s a strong moment when Raina describes the normal life Coulson lost due to his resurrection and how his death shattered his girlfriend’s heart. I liked how Coulson couldn’t deny the truth any more about how S.H.I.E.L.D. is lying to him. Maybe the Nuketown filled with fake people is supposed to represent his memories of Tahiti and who knows what else are not real?
There’s still a lot to be uncovered and I would like a clearer picture of what happened during the operations and how it affects Coulson. That said, the machine operating on the brain is a cool effect.
If you’ve watched Buffy Season 6, you’ll probably notice the similarities about how Coulson lost his will to live after his death experience. I guess it’s kind of dark to have the lead character literally screaming “please let me die”. Where is this is all going? To be honest I’m not that invested.
• Mikey’s Back: It wasn’t a surprise reveal since it was hinted at throughout the episode. But I like the character as well as the actor and hope the writers can find a good way to utilize Mike for the remainder of the season. Pulling back the bed sheet to see the amputated leg is straight out of Bionic Woman (other shows and movies have done it too). Nice creep factor with the message scrolling across his vision.
• Ouch, the Dialogue: I get irked when I read reviews that use words like ham-fisted and clunky, just because of the images it conjures in my mind. But in this case those words apply. I have to point out some of the dialogue in this episode is jarringly bad. In an interview, the executives joked that they wanted at some point to purposely give Clark Gregg a terrible line and see if he can pull it off. “I’ve gone surfing … that’s definitely not like surfing.” I think that’s the line they were talking about and you know what, Gregg made it passable.
• Skye Pretending To Be Melinda: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but there is nothing flattering about Skye’s scenes. It was just one giant, uncomfortable, unnecessary hurdle to find out where Coulson is kidnapped. Can’t she just do a quick hack job off-screen like usual? Her scenes are supposed to show how far Skye has progressed as an agent and dare I say make her more likeable. Did her storyline work for you?
At least, the loose end from The Hub where Simmons zapped Agent Sitwell is brought up by Victoria Hand. Even if there are no major consequences for their actions, it would have still been good to see Agent Sitwell square off with Simmons on the bus. Another missed opportunity for genuine comic relief.
The Wrap Up
By Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s standard this is a watchable episode that finally gave some tidbits on what happened to Coulson after his death. This could have been a turning point for the series to take a bold new direction or begin an engaging long story arc. However, instead of these events re-energizing the show I’m actually less invested in what happens next with Coulson and company. Looks like we are back to one-off case of the week episodes which may be fine for a casual viewer but to get me hooked I wanted a strong sense of where the rest of the season is headed.