ABC‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Bridge TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bridge” picked up where episode 5 (“Girl in the Flower Dress”) left off. With Po (Cullen Douglas) sprung from prison, by a trio of Centipede operatives, S.H.I.E.L.D. tapped Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team to deal with the shadow organization and sent back up. That back up came in the form of first generation Centipede subject, turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in training, Mike Peterson (J. August Richards).
Given the outcome of their last meeting (at the climax of the series pilot), Ward (Brett Dalton) and May (Ming-na Wen) were less than optimistic. The Fitz-Simmons duo (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge) was more excited about Mike having both survived and retained his Extremis abilities. Simmons was clearly smitten, but the jealous partner angle was avoided when they discovered their role in his status. Skye (Chloe Bennet) was happy to see her fellow outsider again, of course, but her focus was to be on learning more about her parents; a task Coulson would disingenuously assign May to assist on.
Mike was eager to prove himself, if only to undo his son’s last image of him under the influence of Extremis. His first contribution, however, was identifying Raina (Ruth Negga), the girl in the flower dress. Skye was able to get a lip reading from security camera footage of Raina’s prison visit to Po; but only one tid-bit from Po, concerning someone called the “Clairvoyant,” as he mostly avoided the camera and Raina’s back was to it.
I would have thought a hacker of Skye’s supposed caliber, with S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, could simply utilize Raina’s reflection for lip reading. Too much 24 and C.S.I. clones, perhaps.
Under constant pressure from S.H.I.E.L.D., the Centipede Project had been hastily relocating regularly. Po, supposedly a tactical genius, suggested they turn and fight, turning a Coulson ruse to their advantage. When that fight came, it was pretty impressive. Both Mike and the trio served their respective teams well. Unfortunately, Coulson’s crew did not take the ramifications of Centipede’s command & control, over its operatives, into consideration. Armed with the knowledge of Mike having transcended the Extremis process, Po and Raina engineered a swap meet, with Mike’s son as the hostage. Their target, however, was not the person the team expected. Po once again found a way around the team’s preparations, and made off with their quarry, leaving the fate of multiple agents up in the air.
There was a noticeable change in tone, to the episode, with more straight talk and less attempts at snappy one-liners or quirky bits. Either the rest of the team has followed May’s lead in taking the job seriously, the show’s creators “got the memo,” or simply thought such a relatively dark outcome merited a more serious tone. At the very least, May seemed to have had a positive influence on Ward. So much so that he even managed to dress her down, at one point, for another “amen” moment that has Ward really growing on me. Likewise, May’s pairing with Skye brought Skye down to Earth, some – albeit bluntly.
I still don’t know who Po is supposed to be, and that is a problem. I would have hoped that Agents had devoted some time to mining Marvel’s extensive catalog of villains (non-mutant or Fantastic Four related), this whole time, rather than trying to prop up some unknown quality. Worse, the continued insistence that there is no super powered population at large, for the world Agents shares with The Avengers, guarantees low expectations. Low expectations that Po and “Project Centipede” will be hard pressed to raise. As for Po’s references to a foreshadowy clairvoyant: my gut kept saying “Kuato.”
Overall, “The Bridge” sent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into its mid-season break on a high note. The badly needed shake up has been implemented (to a degree), the show’s only big bads, to date, had earned their place, and Coulson’s resurrection left front-and-center. Better yet, Extremis level combat, and “the Clairvoyant” (along with Graviton – still in the works) suggests an overdue update to come for “The Index” (or, preferably, the revelation that its sparsity was a lie). The vacuum left at the top should make for some interesting prospects, for the team. Personally, I’m rooting for a S.H.I.E.L.D. team according to May.