'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Recap: Cyborgs, Magic Tricks, And Counterespionage

Senior Contributor
04.02.14 36 Comments

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back with three new episodes running through April 15th. And, honestly, this April Fools’ Day episode actually largely delivered the goods, which only made the flaws more glaring.

The episode kicks off with Agent Garrett and Agent Triplett hitting up a S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse, only to have Deathlok crash through the door. And then, just as promptly, crash through the ceiling; it appears Deathlok can take a lot of abuse. This will just be the start of the guest spots; pretty much everybody from earlier in the series and the Marvel One-Shots shows up, from Victoria Hand to Agent Blake.

Coulson decides to find the Clairvoyant once and for all, using Skye to analyze patterns. Apparently that’s her magical ability that had an entire village die to defend her, data mining. Anyway, Skye gets promoted to full S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, conveniently paying off an arc we weren’t invested in, and then promptly gets some moral support from Coulson. Apparently making us roll our eyes really hard was a key mission statement for this episode.

To Skye’s credit, she comes up with a fairly smart plan, a double-blind where random teams are assigned to random targets. It pays off: Blake and May run into Deathlok and Blake gets a fairly nasty beat-down. Not helping matters is his latest upgrade, a wrist-mounted missile launcher.

Deathlok is tracked down to an abandoned racetrack in Pensacola, and a thrilling chase leads to… him escaping in the sewers, and supposedly the discovery of the Clairvoyant, some Canadian bond trader. The episode pulls a Se7en on us by, for no reason other than plot convenience, Ward shooting him.

Meanwhile, Fitz has discovered May’s encrypted line, while Skye turns up proof the Clairvoyant is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The Law of Conservation Of Guest Stars will tell you who that particular traitor is, or at least who the episode wants us to think it is. We’ve got five more episodes this season, so we’re guessing there’s a bit more to the story.

Honestly, the episode is dumb but solid: If nothing else, it’s a demonstration that the show is slowly pulling together its own continuity with a supporting cast of characters, and they’ve finally been given enough of a budget to have some actual action scenes. But so little time has been spent on the characters that a lot of this falls flat.

For example, Ward’s moment of rage is something the show has been building up to for months… except they’ve barely mentioned or discussed it except for the occasional five-second aside about how Ward is getting angrier. It would have been nice for the show to, you know, elaborate a bit.

If nothing else, the show’s improving. And next week’s episode promises to give this show a needed shake-up, although don’t click on that link if you don’t want some fairly major spoilers. Also, it appears it may behoove us to watch a certain Star-Spangled hero’s next movie, as this episode seems to fairly directly tie into events from that movie.

A few more thoughts:

  • This episode doesn’t really spend too much time on the idea Ward blew away some poor brain-dead schmuck. Uh, guys? That’s murder?
  • I’m starting to suspect Skye’s magical superpower is the ability to suck experienced character actors into poorly written scenes where they act like a surrogate father towards her. Bill Paxton had better be getting his kids some good Marvel loot for this. Especially since that entire scene is basically there to provide the title for next week’s episode.
  • Does anybody really think May’s secret phone-call buddy isn’t Nick Fury?
  • Also, if the music on next week’s preview was bothering you with how familiar it sounded, it’s from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, specifically Rinzler’s theme.

Any thoughts yourselves? Let us know in the comments.

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