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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Magical Place (1x11)

Dani Langlie
January 10th, 2014 4:01pm EST

I'm making the call right now - unless something drastic happens soon, I'm quitting this show at the end of the season. I'm sorry, I tried, but nothing is grabbing my interest. Nothing is interesting. Even the big dramatic reveals are not big and dramatic. There was barely any Fitzsimmons in this one, either, and that's basically the only reason I tune in at all! Okay, sorry, let's take a look at the plot...

Coulson is in the hands of Centipede, and the team works hard to get him back. Coulson learns what really happened when he died... sort of... apparently he really was dead for several days, but Nick Fury pulled some serious strings and resurrected him. Apparently it was super painful and Coulson was asking to die while the operation was taking place. But, then they erased his memories of the whole thing and replaced these memories with memories of Tahiti.

To get Coulson back, S.H.I.E.L.D. works on taking out Centipede. Skye gets kicked off the plane by Agent Hand, but it turns out that May (who supported Hand in doing so) just wanted to give Skye a chance to work outside of the system, for better results. Skye does indeed get better results, and S.H.I.E.L.D. defeats Centipede and retrieves Coulson. However, in the episode's button, we see that Mike Peterson didn't actually die in that explosion that happened in the last episode, and that he now has a missing limb and is getting messages through a bionic eye.

Alright, so... what was good about this episode?

I liked Raina a little bit more this week. I don't normally enjoy her all that much. I also really admired Clark Gregg's acting in this one. He always gives a solid performance, but he did a very good job showing Coulson's distress and his fear in this episode, so I liked that. I was also genuinely touched by Skye finding Coulson. Their bond isn't very well established, but the actors do an okay job of playing on their emotional connection. I also liked the fact that May believed in Skye and was willing to subvert some of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rules to get Coulson back. I like the fact that May is coming around to Skye, but at the same time, I don't know if it's been developed quite enough yet. The team dynamics are more interesting when they're slightly volatile, and if you solve all of the problems too soon there won't be anything to build upon.

I did like the little bits of Fitzsimmons that we did get, even if they were sparing. Simmons had some adorable moments, what with her inability to lie on the phone with Skye. That was cute. And I thought Fitz's single-minded determination to get Coulson back was an interesting character trait... if only it had been explored just a bit more!

And what was bad about this episode?

Virtually the entire setup and plot. Skye's antics when pretending to be May could have been really funny and clever, but instead it just reminded me of how boring Skye is and how potentially interesting but thus far under-utilized May is. Honestly, this show chose to focus its energy on the wrong characters. Ward was boring as hell this week. I can't remember a single thing he said or did that was of any interest to me. If we could spend more time on May and Fitzsimmons, I might actually enjoy this show a bit more.

Centipede is not a threatening villain. The Clairvoyant is not a threatening villain. Particularly since we don't know anything about him in the context of this show. Keeping secrets is only effective if there's a reason to keep secrets! Our bad guys have no depth, no complexity! Think about the depth and complexity of Loki, the villain of The Avengers. That dude had a whole other movie to be the bad guy (the first Thor film) and he's such a well developed villain that it makes him much more interesting to watch. None of the villains from this show have that distinction, and it would probably help a bit if we could manage that.

And the big mystery reveal for Coulson? That didn't tell us anything! It basically just confirmed that yes, he really did die in The Avengers, and that he was never really in Tahiti. Well, duh... but what I want to know is why did Nick Fury go to such great lengths to save him? Also, why is Coulson all pissy about it? It sounds like S.H.I.E.L.D. did him a huge favor, here. They brought him back to life and then erased his memories of the pain! Sounds like a good deal! All this Coulson stuff had such great potential, but as of right now I am not impressed.

And I could go on. But I won't. Bottom line? This show needs to shape up, and fast, or it will be losing me as a viewer.

4/10