Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.10: "The Bridge"

“Having powers is cheating. But the suit’s pretty cool.”

The winter finale of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was a valiant effort by the creative team to tie together previously established pot threads and propel the show forward for the second half of the season. This episode was more mythology-focused. We saw the return both of Centipede and Mike Peterson. There were also some intriguing cliffhangers at the end which make me excited to watch the show again when it returns in January. I think it basically accomplished everything that a winter finale of a television show should accomplish. In the next half of the season (which Sarah will be primarily covering…we didn’t think it was fair for one of us to keep all of a Joss show to herself!), I’m looking forward to learning more about what happened to Coulson when he “died” and who Skye’s parents might be. I’m also looking forward to much, much more FitzSimmons banter and character development. More FitzSimmons and less Skye and Ward, please!

The episode opens in a prison, which made me think about my day job a bit more than I’d care to (long story). A team of commandos busts a strange, rather quiet man named Edison Poe out of the Havenworth Federal Penitentiary. Poe was eating in the mess hall when the commandoes rappelled in and got him out. It was kind of impressive and scary, really. Poe asks to be called “sir,” which leads me to believe that he’s someone of some importance. He’s a former Marine and a convicted murderer. Come to think of it, it’s probably the former Marine part that led to him wanting to be called “sir.” The commandos had implants which link them to Centipede, the group that is trying to create super soldiers. This means that the mission of the week for Coulson’s team is to get Poe back from Centipede. The catch is that their back-up is going to be none other than Mike Peters, aka Gunn from “Angel.” You know, the guy with superpowers from the pilot?

There’s also an undercurrent throughout this episode about Skye continuing to try and find her parents. She’s all enthusiastic, but the actual S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the team seem to just wish she’d forget about the idea already. Skye tells Coulson about how she narrowed down who her mother could potentially be by sorting female agents by age and marital status. I’m not quite sure why she’s convinced her mom was an agent. Did I miss something? I know her parents were mixed up in S.H.I.E.L.D. somehow, but I didn’t know they were definitely agents. Anyway, Coulson says that Agent May has agreed to look through more classified files for while Skye doesn’t have clearance. Coulson warns May that he told Skye this, and May’s not happy at all. She says they agreed not to tell Skye anything about her parents. Skye brings it up to May later when they are supposed to be concentrating on the mission, and May pretty much just blows her off.

The team isn’t especially thrilled about Mike joining them, mostly because he wreaked some serious havoc (and not in a good way) during their last encounter. Most of them try to take Mike at his word when he says he’s a different person now, though. FitzSimmons are especially nice and build him a pretty sweat superhero suit that is supposed to monitor all his bodily functions. They seem to take more of a liking to Mike than most of the rest of the team after he tells him that their “Night Night Gun” saved his life by stabilizing his superpowers (so he won’t spontaneously combust). Anyway, the team was able to get an ID on one of the commandos who broke Poe out of jail, so they head to Cleveland to talk to his sister. Ward pretends to be a lottery agent who wants to locate the commando to give him his $50,000 prize. The sister tries to play it like she and her brother don’t talk much, but as soon as Ward seems out of earshot, she’s calling her brother to tell him about the money. The team is able to trace the call, of course, and they find that the commandos are in California.

While all this traveling is going on, there is an interlude where Coulson and Ward basically talk about women. I’m not a fan of Ward, but I liked this scene because of what we learned about Coulson. Ward is reading a book about how to understand women (good luck with understanding Agent May just by reading a book, buddy), and Coulson starts talking about the cellist he used to date before he “died.” As a cellist myself, I appreciated Coulson’s monologue on women playing the cello. Anyway, The cellist couldn’t know about anything that happened while he is with S.H.I.E.L.D., so to her, Coulson just stopped contacting her one day. Coulson doesn’t think that dating another agent is the way to go, either though (cue some uncomfortable shuffling from Ward), because that can just get incredibly messy.

Skye finds some surveillance footage of the woman in the flower dress visiting Poe, and Mike recognizes her as Raina, Centipede’s recruiter. Mike and Skye bond a little as Skye doesn’t have her parents and Mike doesn’t have his child (Mike’s son is staying with relatives because Mike is embarrassed at how he acted the last time his son saw him). Raina and Poe, however, are currently busy trying to set a trap for Coulson’s team. Arriving in California, Coulson’s team finds themselves in the middle of an ambush. Mike gets injured, but he takes one of the commandos down with him. Doing some research later, the team discovers that the dead commando had the same self-destruct connected to the eye doohickey that Coulson’s former protégé had. This eye splodey device, though, is untraceable, which means that Centipede is making crazy fast technological developments.

Poe talks to “the Clairvoyant,” presumably some sort of leader of Centipede, and puts in a good word for Raina. Raina’s flattered, but she starts asking too many questions about the Clairvoyant for Poe’s taste, and he threatens her a little. Meanwhile, Ward and May get into a fight over how it looks like Ward was trying too hard to protect May during the ambush. May says Ward’s attention needs to be on the job, not her. Ward assures May that it was a tactical decision (he needed to preserve her mad skills), and May accepts that as an okay reason to help her. I really feel like being in any kind of relationship with Melinda May would be kind of exhausting. Skye overhears a bit of this conversation, and May lashes out by telling Skye that Coulson isn’t telling the whole truth about her parents. She warns Skye that she needs to decide whether she’s with S.H.I.E.L.D. for the mission or for herself.

Mike finally decides to call his son right before the big Centipede take-down, and he gets a rather nasty surprise. His son isn’t with a relative – he’s with Raina. Raina threatens to kill Mike’s son if Mike doesn’t do exactly as she says. Mike tells the team that Raina wants him in exchange for his son, and he’s willing to pay that price. He thinks that even if Centipede captures him, he can figure a way out. When the exchange is in progress, however, Raina’s team grabs Coulson. Mike threatens to kill Raina if she doesn’t let his son and Coulson go, but Coulson tells Mike to stand down. Mike needs to be around to be a dad to his son. Mike leaves his son with Skye, then he rushes back towards the Centipede convoy, determined to rescue Coulson. Then a truck blows up, and Mike is presumably killed in the explosion. As the episode draws to a close, Raina tells Coulson that Centipede wants to know what happened on the day he died.

No comments:

Post a Comment