‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Finally Got A Shock In Its Latest Episode

It’s not a secret that Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start. But there’s been steady improvement, and this episode finally does what we’ve wanted from the beginning.

OK, yes, made with that sweet, sweet continuity; we see Agent Blake and a Chitauri souvenir. But it also finally seems to be firing on all cylinders, even if the continuity nods do help.

The focus of this episode is a seemingly invisible killer that turns out to be a virus that’s communicated through electrostatic shock. In addition to being a novel little threat, giving this episode a pleasant X-Files feeling, there are some actual, personal stakes: Simmons gets exposed and much of the episode is taken up with trying to cure her before her brain explodes.

The virus comes from a Chitauri helmet; it turns out they’ve got all sorts of unpleasant little microbes. But more importantly, everybody in the cast got something to do, a character moment that defined them a little better. Coulson’s quiet counseling of a man about to die is a standout and unexpected moment, but Ward’s struggle with his own need to protect those around him and Fitz finally realizing that, yeah, maybe the incredibly hot chick who has been following him around might just have feelings for him both really added to the episode.

Another nice touch also is that Coulson isn’t nearly as chill about getting the crap end of the Loki stick as he’s seemed. He knows something is wrong, but he can’t put his finger on what, and it’s bothering him. Not all of it was great; Coulson being the shouty middle manager is both grating and dull, and the episode apparently just had to end on that note. But this is starting to become the show we were promised, and it’s about time.

Some more thoughts:

  • One really hopes they’re not setting up a Fitz/Skye/Simmons love triangle.
  • The running gag of Ward impersonations really paid off at the end of the episode, both humor-wise and character-wise. Hopefully we can finally retire his Space Mutiny names.
  • I may have misheard, but this episode seems to have rather heavily implied May died in the field and was brought back to life. That would explain a lot about her interest in office jobs.
  • The complete lack of bad electricity puns was both welcome and somewhat surprising, this being a Whedon show.

Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments.