TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Episode 14: T.A.H.I.T.I. [ABC]

Brett Dalton Bill Paxton Ming-na Wen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T.A.H.I.T.I.

ABC‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T.A.H.I.T.I. TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Episode 14: ‘T.A.H.I.T.I.’ finally answered the questions that ‘The Magical Place’ only added to. In order to get to that point, however, two issues had to be addressed. The first: how to save Skye (Chloe Bennet), shot in the previous episode; the second: what to do with her would-be killer, Ian Quinn (David Conrad), being held on the Bus. The answer to both dilemmas had to come through one particular development: the arrival of a retrieval team to take Quinn off their hands. This team came in the form of infamous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent of action – and former S.O. to Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) – John Garrett (Bill Paxton), and Ward contemporary, Agent Antione Triplett (B.J. Britt).

Of course, some conflicts of interest and jurisdiction came with them, resulting in some verbal sparring, between Garrett and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) – along with a briefly physical one, between Ward and Triplett – before an arrangement was worked out. After a sit down with Quinn, previously “warmed up” by May (Ming-Na Wen), and finding common ground over the potential loss of Skye, Garrett got on board with Coulson’s plan. The plan was to uncover the secret of his resurrection, for Skye’s sake. Of course, this was the Clairvoyant’s plan all along.

Garrett, as expected, was an extremely watered down version of the source character; but that was to be expected. The original is not for broadcast television (and certainly not ABC). What we did get, courtesy of Bill Paxton’s familiar brand of evil charm, was a mix of bravado, gallows humor, and impulsiveness, better suited for a Whedon cast (even if that Whedon is Jed), than the twitchy-geeks-versus-by-the-book-jocks dynamic, we’ve been presented with up ’till now. The Show will need more Garrett, or a coupon of equal/ greater value, redeemable before the end of season one.

Got to hand it to the Clairvoyant, besides keeping ahead of the game – as a clairvoyant should – “Claire/Clarence Voyeur” understood that cure is better than prevention, when it comes to leveraging. I also liked the idea that Quinn was reduced to a disposable pawn. Smug can also be a form of environmental pollution (spread the word).

Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) makes for a much more watchable duo, when taken out of their collectors box and put on the same board as the other action figures. No more comfort zones, no more insular geek-speak babbling (or just plain babbling, for those of us who speak geek), just more gee-wizardry moments, like the discovery of the bunker where Coulson was “rehabilitated.”

As if S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t layered in secrets enough, this facility, as the site for the Coulson operation, was an outsourcing project; so Coulson, Garrett, and company were going in both blind, and unqualified. This meant direct confrontation with a pair of spec-op grade nightwatchmen that, frankly, might have deserved more air time. Here’s to hoping that I can keep saying that about series extras. Hopefully, there are enough layers of secrecy to cover the fallout from this confrontation.

I have learned to check my clock checking reflex, every time a doomsday clock starts ticking down. It never synchs up, regardless of commercial breaks. There was a lot of plot to cover, so they could have put 20 minutes on the clock; but we got 10, so, for plot revelation’s sake, disbelief had to be suspended. In this case, Father Time held his breath as Coulson followed the miracle drug to its source, behind a door labeled T.A.H.I.T.I. (there has to a web page, devoted to these acronyms, that I won’t be looking up).

Personally, I was hoping for a Life Model Decoy’s face to face with original Coulson, on ice. So yelling “corpus delicti!” over and over again (back off legal eagles, I know what the term actually means) came without a payoff; the actual avenue of Coulson’s return was a decent enough twist, I suppose (Easter Egg, served pickled). At the very least, it will mean one more thing for Coulson and May to fret over Skye about, in future. Speaking of futures, I can see where Coulson’s snooping may have given the Clairvoyant an opening (*grumble* wouldn’t be able to get a read on Coulson’s death from an LMD *grumble*).

Is it wrong that I think Skye being shot, and left for dead, could be the best thing to happen to her, along with the bombshell about her past? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if she wakes up with a harder edge to her. More bonding with Coulson is pretty much a given; but it may be too much to expect her to wind up on the Coulson/ May side of the Bus. Maybe she can buddy up with Ward, for a more symmetrical triple pairing of cast persons (Fitz-Simmons, Coulson-May, Skye-Ward… & Assoc.).

It would be a shame for Agents to go back to the way things were (i.e. before ‘The Bridge‘), beyond its current arc. I am still skeptical that the show’s current course & pace was planned all along (no shame in admitting you took the out, left by critics & fans, showrunners), but it has been a welcomed start. Now the show just has to follow through, and I suppose the teaser for the next episode, suggesting a stand-alone/ filler story (and some truth to the notion that blondes have more fun… but redheads are just trouble), will be the real test of whether Agents got a new pair of shoes to run with.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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