Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 13: “T.R.A.C.K.S.” Review

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In “T.R.A.C.K.S. ” the Agents board a train in Italy to track a mysterious package to be delivered to Ian Quinn, a businessman who’s connected to The Clairvoyant. Also, one of the agents is on the brink of death.

Continue reading for a spoiler filled review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 13.

Let’s Discuss What Happened!

• Train Travel: Every adventure show has an episode aboard a high speed train. SHIELD’s take on a tried and true setting works because each agent’s scenes are fun, highlights an aspect of their character and adds a piece to the bigger story.  To keep the train mission from being something that could be done on any other adventure show, the impulse grenades throw a sci-fi wrinkle to the story.

The agents in undercover hasn’t been an overplayed hand on the show so far; it’s mostly played for light comedy in this episode. The “American or British” bit with Skye and Fitz is slightly amusing compared to Simmon’s embittered daughter act.  While Simmons recognizes she excels at preparation and not improv, she took it too far with her elaborate back story.

• That’s Just What I Needed:  The overlapping time lines are intriguing as to how the pieces would fit together. The best example is cutting to commercial on a close up shot of May’s battered face right after she throws a knife into the back of Italian agent Russo.

May is a scene stealer and she’s fast becoming a living highlight reel. The way May responds after getting stabbed below the shoulder and then proceeds to obliterate her torturers is simply amazing. I love that snarly expression of hers when she’s pissed off.

Bullet The Blue Skye: Although the show has it’s share of suspenseful moments, Skye’s bullet wounds bring to mind how there’s been a lack of gut wrenching, life or death danger on the show. Chloe Bennett (Skye) did a solid job selling the gravity of the situation and Elizabeth Henstridge’s (Simmons) teary-eyed breakdown at the end are heavy emotional moments I’d like to see more of on the show.

As Skye lay bleeding out, I wondered whether the writers have the conviction to kill her off. In the back of my mind, the story line of Skye as an 0-8-4 has not been explored yet, so I imagine she’ll be returning sooner or later. I didn’t really think she’d die, it would have been a huge shocker if she did. The use of the hyperbaric chamber to sustain Skye’s life requires some suspension of disbelief. I’ll have to assume the chamber uses some sort of advanced sci-fi technology or there’s more to Skye than we know.

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Deathlok:  Mike Peterson is a tragic figure. Physically he’s burnt, lost an eye and a leg, but the sympathy I feel for him is because of his good nature. His heart is in the right place, whether looking out for his son or trying to rescue Coulson when the bridge exploded but these decisions have backfired on him.  Adding to the tragedy is the loss of his free will; his strings pulled by master puppeteer the Clairvoyant. I like that a comic book character has been in the works right under our noses from the pilot episode.  Is there another character on the show who’s primed for super powered greatness or villainy?

The Wrap Up

The promos for this episode promised a game changing final act and a Stan Lee cameo. While it’s always great to see Stan Lee, especially as a Hugh Hefner type character with a young lady on his arms, his brief scene could have been more memorable like his funny appearance on Big Bang Theory.

“T.R.A.C.K.S.” is a fun, enjoyable ride especially in the first couple of acts with Agent May as the stand out. While the promos built up my expectations too much about the potential game changer and didn’t deliver on it’s promise, Skye’s life hanging in the balance gave the actors an opportunity to play a heavy emotional scene. I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is the best episode of the season but it’s definitely a very solid follow up to “Seeds”.

What do you think about Skye’s near death? What are your favourite parts of the episode? Are you looking forward to Bill Paxton next episode?

 

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