TV REVIEW: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.03 “Making Friends and Influencing People” | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.03 “Making Friends and Influencing People”

By Jason Pickup

TV REVIEW: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.03 "Making Friends and Influencing People"

 

Allow me briefly sum up this week on Marvel’s The Longest Most Cumbersome Title to Type Out as if it was a plane on approach for landing.

“AoS 203 you are clear for landing on runway one-niner.”

“Negative Plot Tower, we’re good up here.”

“Repeat AoS you are clear for landing.”

“No thanks Tower, we’re just going to circle for an hour.”

Now, I understand that no series can run full throttle every episode. But with two consecutive  episodes of advancing almost all of the major and minor plot points, this episode feels like an almost flat-out stall. Nothing about Coulson and his burgeoning art career. Not one whisper about the artifact that was the central focus of the past two episodes and something that, until this week, seemed to be something Coulson was willing to bulldoze heaven and earth to obtain. Nor do we see what Raina and Skye’s Father are doing with their prize. We get the little morsel at the end as Ward welcomes Skye to the “everyone but you knew your father was alive” club, but this episode was 90% filler. Obviously the big fear is a backslide into the unsuccessful story telling of the first half of season one.

Ouch, tell us how you really feel…

I know it sounds like I hated this week’s episode. But I didn’t. Despite the lack of plot advancement this is actually a very solid episode. At its heart it’s the age-old, “two people both trying to get their hands on one object, i.e. Belloq v. Jones for the Ark, Kirk v. Khan for the Genesis Device, The Flaming Ladybits of Sauron v Pesky Hobbitses”. The object in this case is young Donnie Gill, who you might remember as the one who built a weather machine in season 1 and was last seen being carted off by S.H.I.E.L.D. with the newly acquired ability to freeze things. Comic book readers will recognize Gill as Iron Man villain, Blizzard.

TV REVIEW: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.03 "Making Friends and Influencing People"

 

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The way it’s presented is actually fairly cool, as well. You’re seeing both sides prepare for the confrontation with Gill. You see Real Simmons in deep cover working with Hydra and eventually once its found out that she has a connection with Gill dragged alone to bring their wayward pawn home. On the flip side of the coin, you see Coulson and crew bent on making sure Hydra doesn’t get its hands on Gill. It works because as the audience we get to see all the pieces in motion and while we know exactly whats happening on all fronts, the tension comes from the fact that neither side has the full picture.

The Great:

Small Wrinkles that change character dynamics: Fitz and Ward were two of my least favorite from season one. However, a slight adjustment to his character has turned Ward from the vanilla-ist of leading characters into the monster in the basement. Ward is unrepentant and callous, explaining to Fitz how dropping him into the ocean was the humane thing to do; selling it like someone who broke your arm to make you forget about a toothache. Fitz from season one would have most likely slid into a corner, paralyzed with fear coming into contact with the man responsible for his new condition. We see a bit of that from Fitz, but then we see the light bulb go off and we see Fitz stand up for himself for once, clinically explaining to Ward what’s happening to his brain as the oxygen is being sucked out of his holding cell. Monster Ward and Stand-up Fitz are both welcome replacements to their season one incarnations.

TV REVIEW: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D 2.03 "Making Friends and Influencing People"

 

The Good:

Mack: I like the concept of Fitz having someone taking an active role in helping him try to get back to baseline. I’m sure they have staff working with him but it seems for the most part the main characters have almost written Fitz off. Mack, while not getting a huge amount of screen time, seems like he’s going to be instrumental to Fitz’s recovery.

The Bad:

Obvious foreshadowing is obvious: At two different times during this week’s episode we are hit with the fact that Skye, while training with Mae on firearms, has yet to actually kill someone. Now before I go any further, I want you to sit down, get good and comfy. You secure? Good. Skye ends up shooting and killing Gill. See I didn’t want the shock of that revelation knocking you over, I’m compassionate that way. Bringing it up twice is just a giant neon sign telling us exactly how the episode is going to play out. OK, killing is subjective in the Marvel Universe when it comes to super-villians, I know. And this could have easily been worked into the first two episodes casually and it could have turned this from something that Daredevil could have seen coming into a, “Skye coming into her own” moment.

While this week was mostly a holding pattern as far as the main plot was concerned, this one shot was exciting, allowing us to watch both sides of the same story unfold together. I’m not worried about backsliding into last season’s tendency to jump from one shot to one shot and I am willing to simply chalk this up to the ebb and flow of pacing. Next week it looks like Coulson and Mae will be on the hunt for clues about the mysterious symbols, so that knowledge helps re-affirm that there is no need to panic.

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D “Making Friends and Influencing People” earns 8 / 10

Jason Pickup

Jason just pawn in game of life.

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