Another episode of Agents of SHIELD goes by and it remains steadfastly solid. This episode, much like the last one, was nothing special but was still a solid piece of entertainment. It is a testament to how far this show has come that these kind of episodes are no longer being hailed as a marked improvement but are now par for the course. I just really wish the show would actually keep up the momentum it built in the second series and actually start turning out extraordinary programming. I guess I should just be happy it has not gone back to series one awfulness.
One of the standout bits of this episode was Simmons. This time she completely stole focus from Fitz and once again their story is the best part of the episode (what a departure from series one where the best thing that happened was that they got thrown in the ocean). The episode handled her return from the alien planet perfectly. The small things that she had forgotten about get under her skin but not in a way that she does not know what they are, but rather that she has not been around them for a long time. I like that they did not go down the path of making her a feral creature, but merely someone who spent a long time away and needed time to re-acclimatise. She still knew how to shower and clearly missed the enjoyable things about the world. It felt very natural and this is something shows often mess up on. Furthermore, watching Fitz try to help her acclimatise was heart-warming and echoed back to series two where the roles were reversed.
I also really like how the Hunter and May’s story is playing out. These two characters have always been the combative tough ones who play fast and loose with the rules and they are in their element. Both the Fight Club-esque scene with Hunter having to fight and kill his friend and the one where May singlehandedly took out three guys who were about twice as tall as her were nice to see and both supplied some great action that reminded me why I like these characters so much. The assassination mission is becoming very interesting and it is nice to see that Hunter is not acting like a SHIELD agent but genuinely living like the Mercenary he has always been a good part of his character.
Additionally, the scene where he and that other British merc he killed were talking and being very stereotypically British was very funny. The subtitles were perfect and reminded me of the third Austin Powers movie. Additionally, as an American who has moved to the UK, I knew what they were saying but I remember how years ago when I first heard people saying those sentences I would have also been a bit flummoxed. It was a very good way of easing the tension and providing some comic relief into the episode.
Finally, I really liked what they did with Lincoln: actually developing his backstory beyond ‘zen guy who shoots lightning’. Having him be on the run and crash with some guy he knew fleshed out his backstory. We can see that he had a troubled youth and nearly committed suicide once and that adds layers to what was just a pretty bland character. As Lincoln is going to be around in more episodes that is quite useful.
The one bit of criticism I have is about the whole scene between Lincoln and Daisy. I do not buy that they have any actual chemistry whatsoever. No one has seen it. Maybe during series two, but he clearly walked out and now we have to believe that they like each other. That is just beyond stupid. Hopefully we will see this improve in future episodes, but right now it felt like a complete fudge.