A quick review of tonight's “Agents of SHIELD” coming up just as soon as I'm left with truncheon duty…
Early in “Who You Really Are,” Coulson shows Lady Sif a photo of their adventure from the show's first season, and for quite a while, this felt like a throwback to that directionless pre-“Winter Soldier” phase of the series – when it was less a TV show in its own right than a collection of footnotes for the more successful parts of Marvel's live-action empire – mixed in with some of this season's more frustrating traits.
I get that Jaimie Alexander is one of the few recognizable actors from the films who's available to periodically stop by “SHIELD.” And I get that using an Asgardian's knowledge of the larger Marvel cosmos was an easy way to explain a lot of the backstory involving the Kree and the Inhumans that's driving what's going on with Skye. But even with Eddie McClintock playing interestingly against type as Vin-Tak of the Kree, the info dump of it all was clumsy, and the idea of an amnesiac Lady Sif wasn't nearly entertaining to justify the amount of time spent on that (including her acting very much like an Earth teenager with her “Shut. Up!”), or on the various Superhero CSI antics that were better left behind in season 1.
And too much of the episode involved characters making big emotional decisions based on secrets, whether they were ones characters like Skye and Fitz were keeping from each other for reasons the show never did a good enough job justifying, or ones where characters like Bobbi and Mack were keeping secrets from both the other characters and the entire audience. There comes a point where the latter stops seeming intriguing and just becomes a protracted, annoying tease, and we reached it here. Bobbi and Hunter have made for an entertaining couple, but how can we be expected to care about her being torn between her feelings for him and her devotion to whatever her hidden agenda is if the show won't tell us anything about it?
That said, the episode's last 10-odd minutes had some strong material, including the pleasant surprise of Skye's powers being revealed to the team only an episode after she learned of them, rather than them dragging it out the way I expected them to based on prior history (or current practices, as evidenced by Bobbi and Mack). I'm not saying secrets have no place in serial dramas, and particularly on shows where it's a professional habit of most of the characters, but seeing the other team members react to this information – whether out of protectiveness like Coulson, suspicion like Bobbi and Mack and Hunter, or something in between like May – was a lot more compelling than watching Fitz and Skye's brows furrowed as they waited in terror for the moment when they would be found out.
Haven't really loved either of these post-hiatus episodes, but between Skye outing herself to the team and Hunter confronting Mack – and getting placed in a sleeper hold by his very large opponent – I'm hopeful we've gotten past the throat-clearing stage of season 2.1.
What did everybody else think?