But that was last week. Let's focus on all of the things that S.H.I.E.L.D. did well!
Look! The Rising Plot!
I know I'm not the only one relieved by a wild plot appearing in the tall grass. Finally, we get more information on the Rising Tide and Centipede, albeit not much. The episode did serve to establish them as a formidable and shady power whose reach is much longer and deeper than we suspected. Well, than we were supposed to suspect.
And look! An Iron Man 3 tie-in! Extremis continues to be a threat, and the shadowy agency tracked down a super-powered human who could light himself on fire without destabilizing. Though we still don't know who the puppet master is, this episode was solid. It hinted at a greater story while keeping us engaged and providing us with, you know, information.
The action of the episode was much more evenly paced than preceding weeks, too. There was balance to the dialogue and story development and the action. The action furthered the story instead of attempting to resolve it.
The Rising Tide was also given a human face when we meet Skye's not-boyfriend Miles. Miles is the first look we've had at the attitudes and organizational structure (i.e. none) of the Rising Tide. For the first time, I was actually interested in this group and their role in the story. Although I still find the lack of reference or involvement that this supposedly major plot device actually has in the plot frustrating, I am less frustrated and more forgiving than I was last week.
Finally, we come to Skye, the only character that apparently matters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Again, we have forced chemistry with Agent Lone Wolf and unfounded trust from Daddy Coulson (although they tried to dial it back). The episode did reveal that she fits everyone's favorite comic book trope: orphaned outsider. It also gave us insight into her infiltration, yet the writers still manages to make her big reveal irritating. Infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. to find out about her seemingly non-existent parents? Interesting. Playing the victim card when you lied to the top secret organization about your reasons for joining them? Treason.
I seriously don't understand the focus on her. I really want to like Skye. She has a potentially good story, and a female hacker could be a really fun character to explore. I am having such a difficult time pinpointing why I want to shove her off of the plane over the Atlantic and make her panicked screams my ringtone. Maybe it's because the actress can't seem to nail the biting sarcasm that so many of her lines rely on. Maybe it's because she's forced into the spotlight on a team show. Maybe it's because she lacks chemistry with all other characters.
I really want to hear from you guys on this one. Can we talk about Skye so that we can move on? The show is making strides to be better, but she's an anchor that I just can't seem to shake.
P.S. The entire conceit of "Ugh, they gave him a name" is fantastic. I hope it becomes an ongoing joke.
Marvel is doing a crossover episode with Thor, airing on November 19th. We'll discuss the daring adventure more then, but for now it's a timely reminder of how the execution of this TV show is unprecedented and has endless possibilities. Check it out.