Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Uprising Review
ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 4, episode 3, ‘Uprising,’ wasn’t quite what the title suggested; but that only matters if you didn’t buy into the basic premise. I didn’t; but I played along, anyway.
First of all, I’d like to think the Info Age set would know the difference between a blackout, and an EMP (the former doesn’t blow your smartphone). The problem, in this case, was that the affected focused on weren’t the smartest people to hang with. They weren’t the most noble, either. Elena ‘Yo-Yo’ Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) would find this out the hard way (eventually), as the focal point of the main plot went heavy on the witch-hunt aspects, like nationalist fear/ hate mongering (y’know, the whole Mutant hysteria thing, that the MCU can’t get into).
This would set Coulson (Clark Gregg) on his first real mission for Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) directly, ahead of the Agency going public. It will be a while before I get used to Coulson taking orders, shut-downs, and shut-outs, just yet. I’ve gotten quite used, however, to seeing the likes of Coulson, Mack (Henry Simmons), and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) teaming up for field work. Yes, there was drama to deal with, for the Yo-Yo-Mack; but it didn’t overshadow nearly as much as it could have. Besides, that came later, and was besides the main plot.
Having nothing to do (with the main plot), and being around for a while, meant the Daisy (Chloe Bennet)-Robbie (Gabriel Luna) team-up could afford a little family matters detour. since this didn’t involve powers, or violence, talk of just such things occurring – in the event an EMP hit their neck of the woods – naturally meant such things occurring. Plot timing.
Did Gabe (Lorenzo James Henrie) seem a little too comfortable with everything (the bad behavior, the violence, powers on display) to anyone else? Well, I may be just a little prejudiced, after Lorenzo’s last role; but either his character knows more than Robbie thinks he does, or Lorenzo’s just too cool for Agents (again, with the me prejudiced thing). That sub-plot ended leaning towards the former scenario; but also with a bit of dickery. Maybe I’m not the one with a problem, regarding his character, after all.
Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) did get something to do, this ep – his Aida (Mallory Jansen) secret proving more practical, rather than becoming an Asimov plot device. He also got to play Wonder-Twin for a day, with Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), while Fitz was busy upping his MacGyver game. It was kind of fitting that, with all the getting-by-without-tech going on, the treatment of May’s (Ming-Na Wen) ‘mystical’ problem was IT 101. Or, at least it would’ve been. Again, plot timing.
For all of its bad timing, here’s the problem with the entire main plot to the episode: we were already primed for a Watchdog connection, before it even began. Throw in the use of technology, in carrying out the ‘Inhuman’ threat, knee-jerk political reactionism/ civil unrest, and oingo-boingo: Red Flag operation. Why this was never even considered by… anyone, from the beginning, I don’t know.
The good news, is that when the field team caught up (after running into & beating down the flaggers), we got our first indication of cloak & dagger shenanigans worthy of the series, this season. It didn’t hurt that all the analogue action left Fitz with the MacGyver award, for the seamless blending of brain & brawn (how a seasoned old-hand, like Coulson, doesn’t know basic survival improv, I don’t know).
The better news: things got better. Yo-Yo must’ve pulled her punches at the hotel, for her cover & friend’s sake (for what that was worth); but she made up for it. Never mind the Ghost Rider, Yo-Yo Time was the first really impressive powered SFX of the season. Knock-Outs between Black-Outs is one of my favorite go-to action conventions; and it was also nice to see it well executed, for the climax.
The resolution was a mixed bag, however. For Team Coulson (and Team Mace), it was a win – with the Yo-Yo-Mack still keeping it at least cordial. It was also good to see May back to her cranky self – her thread could’ve dragged. Somewhere in the middle, there was a case of a certain someone that doth protest too much. On the other hand, however, Daisy’s abrupt handling of the Reyes situation seemed pointless. Neither her current status, nor the Ghost Rider arc, is going away; so why drag them out? Are we getting three distinct sub-arcs (Daisy, the Agency, the Ghost Rider) going forward?
I’d rather things be kept more focused – less anchors, to plots with wind in their sails, that way.
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