Hats off to Agents Of SHIELD this week. Usually in telefantasy when somebody undergoes some memory recovery process (whether that be through a dream state, hypnosis, or – as is the case here – pseudo science) the results are a tedious montage of weird, random imagery holding some tenuous metaphorical clues (“He was eating a bicycle inner tube so the master must be hiding on the Circle Line!”) that are slightly less tedious to watch than ITV quiz shows.
Coulson’s trip down memory lane here, though, is the highlight of the episode, directed in an intense and disorientating Jacob’s Ladder style (the moving glyphs on the desktop are especially effective). Bonus points for the fact that they make narrative sense, too, and villain-of-the-week, Sebastian Derek, is downright scary in them.
Coulson’s later, real-world fisticuffs with Derek feel rather banal by comparison, though the camera move that reveal the secret of the model train set (was that a Sherlock Holmes novella?) put some visual pizazz back into the episode.
So now we know that the alien symbols are a map, and Coulson won’t be craving to carve any longer, which is a relief. Watching him getting sweaty in his socks and shirtsleeves week-in, week-out was getting a tad repetitive.
Ward asks Bakshi, “Since Strucker is overseas I assume you report to somebody else.” We saw Strucker at the very end of Captain America: The Winter Solder and he’ll play a major role in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
Meanwhile, in B-plotville, May and co make a pig’s ear of bringing in Ward, who seems to be several steps ahead of them. He really is coming across like Hannibal Lecter’s less hungry, hunkier younger brother – a consummate manipulator. Makes you wonder how much of what he said to Skye in previous episodes was preparing the ground for future opportunities. Certainly the realisation that he was handing Bakshi over as a gift to Coulson is a nicely unexpected twist.
Mr and Mrs Smith bicker less this week, though they deliver at least one jab each, and it’s still fun. It seems Mack is being set up as someone who’ll turn on Coulson in the future if he doesn’t trust him, and Simmons’ criticism of his “grab what you want in life” attitude also points to him as a character who may turn out to be less than reliable in a tight situation. Shame – he seemed a decent character when he was just a grey buddy for Fitz, but now he’s being painted in a less selfless light.
A fun, better-polished (but still a bit grubby in places) episode of SHIELD that’s full of tantalising revelations and suggests that this season may well be heading into more exciting territory.
Hank Thompson/Cameron Klein is played by Joel Gretsch who was one of the main stars in The 4400 and Father Jack Landry in the V remake. He is William Shatner’s son-in-law. Oh and Cameron Klein was a (very) minor character and SHIELD technician in the Marvel comics universe.
Image Of The Week 1
We’ve been a bit mean about how drab SHIELD can look sometimes, but there are some wonderful visuals this week, including this reveal of what that overly ambitious model railway set-up was all about. (Go on, admit it, you worked it out long before Coulson did, didn’t you?)
Image Of The Week 2
Oh and just a thought. City? Atalan? Home of the Eternals, maybe? It fits with the fact that the blue alien (who could be Kree) is revealed to be thousands of years old, as the Kree created the Inhumans a while back. And, of course, Marvel just announced an Inhumans movie.
Just a thought here. Anybody else reckon that originally the writers wanted the map on Sebastian Derek’s body not to be a tattoo, but the scars from where he cut himself? So much about the episode seems to point to that but somewhere along the line someone must have decided such massive self-mutilation was not suitable for ABC in the US.
Skye tells Coulson the she receives the intel about the serial killer from, “One of my sources, Micro, he’s kind of a crime scene junkie.” There’s a character in the Punisher comics called Microchip, aka David Linus Liebermen, who is an overweight hacker.
Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD airs on Friday nights on Channel 4 in the UK and on ABC on Tuesday nights in the US.