I still don’t know how to feel about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. At the beginning of the season I was expecting a scrappy little show with a lot of heart. What I got was a show that was technically solid, written smoothly, and with all the right packaging and parts, but it had no soul. The characters were flat which was a shock since the Whedons were at the helm.
Having seen half a season, I’m not quite sure what the problem is. I tune in every week and am either deeply frustrated at the flat, technical, robotic machine of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or I watch an episode with some emotional depth and hope that the pattern will continue which hasn’t really happened yet.
“The Bridge” had a bit of both with a blocky, dull beginning and some wonderful, real moments between characters, particularly Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson and the returning J. August Richards. Agents May and Skye also had some tense moments, and I’m beginning to think my theory about Skye’s parentage is correct.
While “The Bridge” tried to make the CENTIPEDE super-soldier mission exciting, it didn’t quite measure up. It’s another technical phenomenon, and, honestly, Almost Human has way more exciting gadgets and tech and it’s a cop show (set in the future, sure, but still). My frustration is mounting from all the focus on human tech when there are much more exciting things to explore like aliens, superheroes, and unexplainable mysteries of the universe like portals.
I hope all this technology builds to something, like a TV movie or mini-series about a new race of human superheroes (or explains Coulson’s resurrection of New York). Otherwise S.H.I.E.L.D. is providing a yawn fest to those of us who are used to the bright heroics of the Marvel movie universe.
Despite the technically excellent and somehow boring writing of the job portion of “The Bridge”, there were some lovely moments. J. August Richards returns to help S.H.I.E.L.D. gain some information on CENTIPEDE and has a chat with Agent Coulson about his choice to join S.H.I.E.L.D.
They talk about family and the reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents don’t have families. They have to make a choice. It’s easier to choose the hard call if there’s no one at home. Coulson lists off all the things he’s missed – PTA, recitals, birthday parties, holidays…I teared up thinking about Coulson as a dad.
This ties into his talk with Agent Ward who is covertly trying to understand his relationship with May. Coulson mentions the cellist he talked about with Pepper Potts in The Avengers, bringing more tears as I realized that he hasn’t seen her and that she thinks he’s dead. He’s still keeping tabs on her, however.
“The Bridge” then ties in Skye’s storyline, as May and Skye have a confrontation about Skye’s search for her family. May thinks she should leave well enough alone. Their mission isn’t about finding Skye’s family. May catches herself before she can reveal anything, and I think that’s rather telling. Coulson almost stops by Skye’s room to check on her later, but he can see she’s upset and he lets her have her space.
Here’s a wild theory: are Agents May and Coulson her parents?
At this point, I’m intrigued enough to keep watching. I want to know who Skye’s parents are, what happened to Coulson, and how Ward and May are going to keep their relationship secret. I’m also not averse to seeing Fitz and Simmons being adorable which they have managed to do every episode.
I just don’t want to see more tech. I want the agents to be confronted with the unknown, the wild mysteries of the universe. Introduce more fantasy, more emotional moments between the characters, and keep the witty humor. This show could be great. It’s just not there yet.