Tahiti was not a magical place, more like hell in my opinion, a robot rewriting your memory hell and it was terrifying. Yes, S.H.I.E.L.D is back, and it came back strong in terms of a fun plot and revealing a lot of information about the big mystery of how Coulson was revived. More than that though we got a bunch of really fun and interesting character moments. “The Magical Place” forced our team to work outside the box and allowed Skye to develop some real on the job skills rather than just be a basic tech solution. All of the big reveals seemed to pay off or be rewarding in some fashion, especially the beat at the end. Although this episode was not without it’s faults it managed to succeed where others had failed. It was definitely a satisfying ride so lets dive in.
First off, Nick Fury you are a sick sick man. I don’t quite know how they brought Coulson back, but the seven surgeries were definitely not a good thing. Clark Gregg did an excellent job of portraying the multiple sides of Coulson this week, from the state of pure bliss to the horror of what had been done to him. This emotional imbalance had to be done correctly because of how important Coulson’s story has been to the entire concept of the show. It was psychically painful for me to watch Coulson getting his memory re-written by that machine and Gregg managed to capture the perfect amount of pain and sadness during that exchange. If even one note or idea did not mesh with the view everything could have been ruined, but thankfully everything worked out. Also major props to Ron Glass during all of his scenes, you could tell that his confliction about what he did to Coulson was tearing him apart.
What was even more impressive was Skye’s development in this episode as for once she was forced to be a spy, a true honest to goodness no tech spy. I have to say, I was slightly annoyed when May had Skye booted off the plane but in the end it had a true purpose. It caused Skye to have few resources and thus caused her to rely on her intellect and ingenuity rather than her hacking skills. It was exciting to see her try to circumvent her bracelet only to have to rely on others in order to get the information she wanted. More so, it shows that Skye is not a one trick pony and truly has the potential to be an outstanding agent. I did feel that the fact Coulson removed her bracelet was a bad move. I want to not see Skye revert to her normal behavior and instead actually hone her non-tech skills. Hopefully we won’t see a regression next week.
As for my main gripe, Centipede once again proved to be the most confusing big bad in the history of Whedon work. In the course of one episode we had two major players removed from the field and we no longer have a face to our faceless organization. It’s not like The Clairvoyant is going to show up any time soon, so how are we supposed to legitimately be afraid of an army without a true leader. It just seems so haphazard that I am truly afraid we are just going to have a famous person show up as the bad guy and be told we should be afraid. That is not clever writing that is just dickishness in my humble opinion, we need more Malcolm Merlyn and less Smoke Monster. I am guessing though that Mike is going to be picking up the bad guy slack although I don’t know what Centipede is going to do to him to heal up his leg and such. It will be interesting to see how the back half of this season plays out, I just hope the bad guy gets nailed down sooner rather than later.
Overall it was a very strong return with a few minor stumbling blocks.
Final Grade B+
+Skye the spy
+Tahiti is a terrible place
+Clark Gregg was magnificent
-Rest of the team really superfluous.
-Bad guys dropping like flies
–Rob Hubel popped up for a little bit, sadly he was not used to his full potential.
-Shouldn’t Onstar confirm some info about the driver before sending help. Little bit too easy.
-Mike really needs to catch a solid break because his life has sucked since day one.