Ah Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, it is ever the conundrum as to whether I truly enjoy you or not. I mean you can have some really poor outings, and then, out of the blue you come to us with one of my favorite types of concept episodes and mange to do it well. Yes, “T.R.A.C.K.S” was a fun Rashomon-esque episode that managed to build up the idea of our lower level big bads and at the same time tell a fun disjointed tale about the team on a train. Sure, it was not perfect but the sheer amount of escalation that happened this week was beyond satisfying. Not only did we get to see Mike continue his fall from wannabe hero to brainwashed muscle, but we also got a truly surprising ending which put one of our team members in a great amount of peril. So lets dive in, because that is what we do.
So there is a great quality to a Rashomon type plot as there is a constant question of how did we end up here. AOS managed to play that quality rather well and though some parts of the structure, particularly Ward’s, were weak overall the cliffhangers moving into each commercial break managed to play out rather nicely. The writers were smart to have the team pair up with their strongest counterpart as all of the dialog and interplay managed to pay off. Yes watching Coulson and Ward pair off was enjoyable as their tech-illiteracy was something that has rarely been touched upon, and watching Fitz and Skye work together proved to be an effective mechanism. My favorite by far though had to be the entire May section as not only was her reveal was awesome but her mowing down that entire troop really elevated her skills. It is often easy to forget just how powerful she can really be.
Of course all of the major material came in the last few minutes as Mike was further pushed to the dark side by the Clairvoyant. Yes the man who only wants to do the right thing has finally succumbed to the pressure of the evil organization. With his new found abilities Mike easily decimated the goons who had failed his boss and made a strong point that it will take more the teams usual antics to bring hime down. Of course it was kind of easy to guess that Mike’s son was being held over his father’s head as leverage as that is the only person we know Mike cares about. I do wish there was some other force pushing Mike to be the villain but I guess we will have to go with the wait and see approach moving forward. I would assume that there are more pieces to the Deathlok robot that Mike is being transformed into and I hope they are just as cool looking as his leg.
Now we come to my least favorite part of the episode Skye being put on death’s doorstep after being shot twice by Quinn. I mean sure, this is a Wheedon show but I am fairly confident they are not going to kill her off because of how much time the writers have invested in her. But you know what, I kind of wish they would have the balls to do it, not because I dislike her character but because it would finally give the team a real reason to go after Centipede. Everytime the team has gone up against them they have come out all together stronger, but this could be a real blow, a driving force for all of the member of the team to want revenge. I want consequences to these actions, not for them to simply be pushed to the background moving forward. I now also want Skye to be the one to put a bullet in Quinn and I will assume that is the stronger possibility.
Overall it was a very good episode with a fun cliffhanger.
Final Grade B+
+Fun character work
+Solid use of a Rashomon
-Which will probably not lead to anything major
-Mike needs a stronger reason to be evil
–Stan Lee showed up for his traditional Marvel Cameo. I wish it was a bigger role each time or that Stan Lee would run into himself from another Marvel movie.
-Skye held out a really long time after being shot, guessing that has something to do with the 0-8-4.
-Seriously though I would watch an entire episode of Stan Lee running into himself in multiple Marvel roles. Automatic A material right there.