ABC‘s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Turn, Turn, Turn TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1, Episode 17: ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ started out at the fairly deep end of the pool, then headed for open ocean. With Ward (Brett Dalton) in a holding cell, for executing a red-herring Clairvoyant, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Triplett (B.J. Britt) at The Hub, and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) having exposed May (Ming-Na Wen) as a plant – resulting in a Mexican stand-off between her, Skye (Chloe Bennet), and Coulson (Clark Gregg) – major events went into effect.
More to the point, Captain America: Winter Soldier happened. Those events brought Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) back to the Bus, even as the Bus was now under hostile control. The growing crisis allowed some air to be cleared, among the core cast, along with a genuine sense of danger and paranoia, better suited to super spies than chasing ‘X-Files.’
There was also a lot of wish fulfillment, where some characters and plot development were concerned; but I shouldn’t have to be reminded, by a show like Agents, that you should always be careful what you wish for. Frankly, I would’ve preferred to have some of these characters live as villains, than die as heroes; but I have to begrudgingly thank Agents for the ride (you bastards – he said, smiling).
As there are likely some among you who still haven’t seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier (shamefully exercising your free will in such a manner; well, HYDRA has an app for that), I’ll try not to step on any spoiler eggs. The bad news, then, being that there is only so much about the episode that I can pick apart in detail. The good news: this might be a less long winded review than usual (you’re welcome).
One thing I can say, without giving anything away (toes crossed), is that the show is likely not going ‘SkyeWard.’ Deal with it, shippers. For what it’s worth, both characters have come a long way. It occurred to me that Skye hasn’t been any more annoying, since this home stretch, than Ward has been a boring slab of beef.
I can also say that you should never handcuff someone like May with her hands in front, death squads should never worry about fratricide, while covering someone like May, when the lights go out, and points to the good guys for being as ruthlessly decisive as the bad guys (special thanks to Fitz).
Fans of the classic characters involved in the Uprising arc may not take too kindly to how agents like Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández), Hand (Saffron Burrows), and Garrett have been handled. Their classic status has, however, granted them a certain irreproachable credibility, which, in turn, has allowed a considerable flexibility to their respective roles. Kudos, then, to Agents (and Winter Soldier) for playing that credibility for suspense/ plot twists.
It was also nice to see some old fashioned grit – character interaction & stunt work – picking up some of the SFX slack. Agents had always been a little scarce & sanitized, with its use of SFX, and the combination of cinematography and choreography, in making up for this, was inconsistent, at best. I suppose that would be one more thing to add to the show’s succesful patch list, since the break; but I don’t think the creative team will ever admit to having resorted to fixes (Uprising being their plan all along, and all). Even if Agents remains very much sanitized, by comparison, with not as much blood, sweat & tears (more thanks to Fitz, for providing some of that last element) as Winter Soldier, the Uprising arc has clearly taken the show out of Avenger‘s shadow – and the spectacle aspect of the MJU – and fitted it for a focus on the more down & dirty aspects of the spy world
If anything proves that Agents has turned a corner, it revolves around the question of what comes next. When the initial disappointment set in, it was a matter of seeing if the show had anything left to offer. At this point, it is very clear that there is something being offered, I genuinely want to know what it is, and how the showrunners plan on getting us there, after leaving us here.
I’m not exactly filling up on nail bites, but I do want to see where this goes. Add the fact that the “no one is safe” light is on, and the writing is not on the wall, regarding the season one outcome. Not a bad place for the show to be, given its shaky beginnings.
Whether or not Winter Soldier has set the new tone for the Marvel Joint Universe, it couldn’t have helped but take Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with it, and that’s probably for the best. If Agents never could fully live up to its potential, as an extension of the Avengers, then it may find being an extension of The Winter Soldier a better fit.