“Repairs” actually scared me. After five episodes from other writers, we get a Jed and Maurissa episode that dances around the edges of religion, fantasy, and science fiction, while managing to deliver a few good scares and some really funny moments. I am hesitant in confidently assuming the show has turned a corner, but these last two episodes have been quite promising.
I don’t know how to feel about May and Ward as a couple. Have they been together since the beginning of the show, or longer? Why haven’t we seen anything between them before? And how are they going to keep this relationship secret? I’m glad there isn’t a love triangle between Skye, Fitz and Ward (or Ward, Fitz and Simmons), but at the same time, there isn’t any chemistry between Ward and May. We haven’t even seen any PDA, just a closed door in “The Well” and Ward in a towel while they converse about hiding that they’ve been together in “Repairs”. As Skye calls them, “Warm” and “Fuzzy” haven’t given us any indication that they’re capable of such a bond.
Other than that odd tangent, the rest of “Repairs” was enjoyable even if I kept turning my head to make sure the noises I heard in my house weren’t caused by an intruder. There are unanswered questions as to portals and where they lead (it reminded me of Angel), but maybe that means we’ll be hearing more about these enigmatic lands?
I appreciated the fact that there wasn’t a “bad guy” in “Repairs” but rather humans who have made mistakes and are living with the consequences. We see this idea explored in Hannah, who is sure that God is punishing her, Tobias, who only wanted to get close to someone he liked, and May, who did what she had to do in order to save her team.
I was also not expecting Fitz-Simmons to be pulling pranks on Skye, and I was thrilled to see them being a little devious, although their idea of pranks is very innocent. It was nice to see callbacks to the prank(s) throughout the episode and for Fitz to have to explain to Coulson that it was all done before the crazy portal-jumping guy hopped onto the plane. It was also a nice break from the horror of not knowing where the guy would show up next or what he was doing. It also set the groundwork to develop part of May’s backstory, which was a nice touch.
The best part of “Repairs” was the conversation between Skye and Hannah. Separated by a wall (similar to a confessional, perhaps?), they have a frank discussion about faith in God. While Skye avers that she doesn’t really believe in God, she goes on to explain that she spent some time with nuns and they were adamant that God is wrath. One nun, however, impressed upon Skye that God is love, so that’s the God Skye would choose to believe in. She comforts Hannah by saying that the God of love would forgive her.
It was refreshing to see a conversation about faith that didn’t end in an altar call or a denouncement of religion. It was instead a well-balanced look at how religion affects people, as well as opening up the possibility that there are inconsistencies in what people are taught about faith. It can help or hurt, depending on what is taught and believed and lived out among the faith community.
May caught the last part of the conversation, and I believe it played into the storyline about her history as well. Skye finally gets the truth of May’s past from Coulson who states that May “lost herself” in Bahrain after saving her team. No one knows what she did, but she has never been the same. This got me thinking about character development on the show, and I’m wondering if Skye is the only relatable character because she still has a soul, so to speak? What if this is what happens to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Are they so traumatized or numbed from exposure to the weirdness of the universe and the horror of losing team members that they become stiff and emotionally stunted?
Coulson is confident that Skye is capable and will become one of the best agents, but if she doesn’t find the answers she’s looking for, will she bail? Or is she going to become another team member with terrible memories and no hope of forgiveness? It might be a downward spiral from here, kids, but in a good, deep, psychological, Whedony way.
J. August Richards returns in the next episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., so I’m trying to keep my expectations low, but if it’s anything like these last two episodes, it’s going to be a blast.