When Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned last week, it returned with a strong episode that played to the show’s strengths. And now, true to form, the show follows that up with a muddled episode that puts all its weaknesses front and center to leave a bad taste in our mouths until February.
Seeds is a hastily written filler episode, and it shows. The cast splits up, with Fitz, Simmons, Ward, and Skye going to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s version of Hogwarts to investigate whoever is freezing the students, while Coulson and May head off to Mexico City to tie up Skye’s missing parents plotline.
The Coulson and May plotline actually works fairly well; Ming-na Wen and Clark Gregg are a good duo, and Coulson’s struggles with the reveal he got handed in the last episode, and how it’s changing him, are interesting stuff. The Hogwarts visit, on the other hand, takes up most of the episode and is a complete mess.
First of all, it commits the cardinal sin of any comic book adaptation: Trying to create a mystery out of something anybody familiar with the source material can see through like paper. True, the show’s version of The Blizzard is definitely not the Donnie Gill we know from the comics, but come on. We know he’s involved. Marvel put out a press release that all but tells us so. The episode spends way too much time trying to mislead us before essentially giving up.
Worse, the plot is almost painfully shoddy. It turns out the mysterious freezings striking Hogwarts (I refuse to call it anything else) are to lure Fitz to the facility so he can solve a battery problem for Donnie. Really. That was their master plan, freeze the crap out of people until Fitz shows up.
Donnie is doing this under the bullying of a fellow student with ties to Ian Quinn, the arms dealer from the first half of the season. You’d think S.H.I.E.L.D. would run a background check before handing the keys to a highly dangerous lab to its rookie scientists.
The actions seem mostly driven by the writer’s room making the characters do it with a cattle prod, instead of any logical motivation. Fitz and Simmons are called in to consult on the investigation, because the freeze bomb in question is based on their technology, and the first thing they do is… deliver a celebrity lecture to their fellow nerds. May pilots the superjet through a rainstorm to pick up the blizzard device, and instead they forget all about it to try and save the douchebag ultimately to blame for it; the storm itself is never resolved. Apparently S.H.I.E.L.D. just let a supercell tire itself out over some section of suburban America. Because screw public safety, amirite?
Also, it’s kind of amusing how, in a highly secure facility, the first reaction to a hailstorm is to run to the semi-secret nightclub S.H.I.E.L.D.’s uber-nerds built in the basement. You guys don’t have anything better?
Just to cap it off, the episode ends with Coulson telling us something Skye said that basically boils down to “Yay S.H.I.E.L.D.! I really like S.H.I.E.L.D.!” Seriously, there’s an entire monologue of Coulson relating to May what Skye told him, which is terrible screenwriting on multiple levels. This isn’t even getting into the fact that this episode reveals that Skye was rescued from a village in the Hunan province because she was “an object of unknown origin.”
In other words, this episode ends with Skye becoming Wesley Crusher. Great.
Some more thoughts:
- At least now we know Ian Quinn is tied to the Clairvoyant.
- Apparently, HYDRA is still active in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, and AIM got it together post-Iron Man 3 if Fitz and Simmons are to be believed.
- The show is beginning to hint the season finale will be a bunch of supervillains breaking out of the Sandbox.
- This show really needs to establish S.H.I.E.L.D.’s actual jurisdiction, because presumably Coulson could order Quinn blown out of the sky right there instead of just making threats.
The next episode arrives February 4th, and features the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. Also somebody gets shot. It’d better not be Coulson.