So far this season, Agents of SHIELD has focused on building the story around Ghost Rider while tying in subplots from last season’s Inhuman arc. The show runners have also thrown in a sprinkle of Civil War. Some of the interactions between series regulars has taken a backseat to the world building. For instance, the normally inseparable duo of Fitz and Simmons didn’t share a single scene in this episode. Fans of the on again, off again romance between the two probably feel like their hard earned relationship is far from paying off.
This week, the audience saw more screen time for the new Director of SHIELD, Jeffrey Mace. A quick Google search will tell you that Mace is the identity of The Patriot in the Marvel comics. Those who saw the previous episode already know that Mace harbors some pretty big secrets. However, it was refreshing to watch him this week deal with some of the minutiae of being a more bureaucratic director. Mace strikes an intriguing balance of being the guy concerned about public relations AND the guy who knows when to send in your best agent for a particularly sticky job. Also, his relationship with Coulson is surprisingly healthy. At the beginning of the season, the audience was made to believe that Coulson had suffered some sort of demotion that would put him at odds with the new director. Thankfully, we have come to learn that instead of animosity, the two have an equal amount of respect for one another. While not near the same level, their relationship definitely has echoes of Coulson and May.
Speaking of May, she definitely had a rough go of it this week. Without getting spoilery, it seemed as if her whole perilous subplot was just sort of cobbled together for no real purpose. Scratch that, it was probably a device to get that guy from The Mummy some extra screen time. People are still having trouble figuring out why he and his Weird Science girlfriend, AIDA, keep popping up on the show. Going back to May, it should be noted that her…strange…fever dreams shared an interesting characteristic with trailers from the upcoming Doctor Strange: in both, people were seen with dark circles around their eyes. Not just the “I didn’t get enough sleep last night” circles, but full on domino mask circles. May sees it as a hallucination, while the trailer depicts the dark circles on the eyes of Mads Mikkelsen, who will be playing one of the Sorcerer Supreme’s enemies in the upcoming film. Coincedence? I think not. Likely, SHIELD will be able to somehow tie in to the movie. It will be interesting to see how the scientific Fitz and Simmons deal with the supernatural.
The absolute highlight of this week’s episode came in the form of a fight scene. As Mack, Coulson, and Fitz close in on their objective, they naturally come across a squad of heavily armed goons. Of course, its also dark and there is a pulsating flash going off every couple of seconds. This made for a visually captivating fight scene. Flashes of the action were interspersed with moments of complete darkness. It was a refreshing new take on the usual Agents of SHIELD fight scene. Kudos to whoever idea it was to film the scene in such a disjointed, yet connected way.
Overall, it was a great episode. We still have no idea why they put poor May through the wringer. The flashy fight scene was a cool departure from the norm. The new Director of SHIELD is turning out to be an ok guy. Fitz and Simmons don’t act like a couple anymore. Mack got mad at Yo-Yo…again. Coulson seems to enjoy being an agent. All in all, the series got off to somewhat of a slow start but it feels like it is starting to hit all the marks story-wise.