Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “T.A.H.I.T.I”

Another lengthy hiatus, but Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D finally returns so we can see the end of that sort-of cliffhanger, now part of a “maximum event” dubbed “The Uprising”, a tie-in with the upcoming release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Will Skye get the “T.A.H.I.T.I” treatment? How will those ratings fare after another lengthy break? Thoughts:

-“Oh dear I’m a mess” says Simmons as Skye is taken away. “No, you were great” replies Coulson. Two of the worst delivered lines in the show, utterly void of emotion. What happened there?

-Liked that early scene where Fitz, Simmons and Ward are playing the self blame game, when May suddenly reminds them that “the person to blame is the man who shot her”. Pretty much yeah.

-“We’re her family” says Coulson when told Skye is on the verge. Thing is, I don’t think enough time has been done to create this sense of family, in the eyes of the audience anyway. I’ve been open in my general distaste of the Skye character since this show started, and part of that means it’s hard to see why she should have such a connection with the others.  Coulson is acting like Skye is his daughter, when she’s really just been a frequently troublesome employee.

-Clark Gregg is really bad in this episode, with a succession of really turgid deliveries. I’ve practically stopped mentioning it, just because it’s so consistent, but he is not a good actor.

-So, the problem with Coulson’s resurrection becomes obvious here, as the manner of it leaves open an option to defy death. So we have an episode about stopping Skye from shuffling off the mortal coil. What about the next time somebody buys it? What’s to stop anyone from being brought back?

-Coulson and his team break orders with a remarkable consistency in “T.A.H.I.T.I”. It’s actually a little crazy, going far beyond the subtle way Coulson has become more order-adverse in the last few episodes.

-And here’s Bill Paxton as John Garrett, a minor S.H.I.E.L.D agent from the comics, here in a recurring role. A fairly well known actor, perfectly suited to the role of a grizzled but carefree veteran? Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D could do with some of that. If I’m being brutally honest, Garrett is the kind of main character the show  could have used from the get-go, minus all of the baggage Coulson brings (not to mention in terms of the acting ability of the men playing them). Paxton is great.

-Not sure what to make of the Trip character. It’s interesting to have someone onboard who has some kind of history with Ward, and who might form some kind of connection with Simmons if he gets the chance to pop up again, but he didn’t really get the chance to do much in this episode.

-Weird moment too, the fight between him and Ward, broken up and forgotten as fast as it started. Not sure what the purpose of that was.

-Amazingly fun, if just a little unsettling, seeing everyone get physical with Quinn, Garrett being the best, grabbing the bad guys tongue when he gets snarky.

-So this episode has a decent dilemma to it, namely that trying to save Skye will play into the hands of “the clairvoyant”, the only thing he/she can’t see being how Coulson came back from the dead. It left Coulson with that very direct choice of what to do, which was fine, he just made up his mind very quickly.

-Brainless stuff with the hologram interface that Fitz and Simmons use. Just flashy effects to distract, which are beyond moronic in context. I’d prefer a search engine and a keyboard over waving my arms about thanks.

-Speaking of which, a huge amount of this episode takes place on the plane, with really only the final act being somewhere that wasn’t airborne. Just a little bit dull at times.

-So, the “Guest House”. The search for it doesn’t take very long, but its overall operation remains a bit of a mystery. And why was Nick Fury not available? You’d think this would be the kind of situation he can’t ignore.

-Skye is absent in this episode, obviously, but I found it rather telling that, when confronted with three separate incidences when her “hacking” talents were missed, the team found a way around it. That speaks to Skye’s deficiencies as a character.

-Bit of an oddly choreographed gunfight inside the Guest House. Took place in darkness, but seemed to lack the right kind of camerawork for that kind of situation, leading to a somewhat limp action sequence.

-Are we just going to breeze past the fact that the team shot and killed two S.H.I.E.L.D agents? I hope there is some kind of repercussions for that.

-So the final moments have a “race against time” angle, but it lacked a little something for me. Maybe it was just because I had no real fears for anyone, seeing as how one permanent cast member is already on her deathbed.

-Why in God’s name was that door marked “T.A.H.I.T.I”? Can’t wait to hear that acronym spoken out loud.

-Nice ending with the explosion.

-Important that Coulson actually has some second thoughts in regards treating Skye. This episode skirted the discussion on medical ethics when it comes to such miracle cures, and only Coulson’s last ditch turnabout stopped it from being ignored completely.

-Quinn gets taken away, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing him before too long. He’s too good a bad guy, now, for him not to make some kind of return.

-So, Coulson’s resurrection was accomplished by liquid harvested from some kind of blue extra-terrestrial. One suspects it might be a Kree, due to make an appearance in the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy. Coulson’s dazed and shocked reaction was just perfect, and it’s a nice set-up for the rest of the season.

-And the stinger for the next episode is the appearance of Lorelai, renegade Asgardian with powers over men. You know that any glimpse of a newly married couple will invariably end in tragedy. Lorelai’s an interesting one to go for anyway, and sets up the coming appearance of Lady Sif, next week, rather well. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’s better efforts have involved the Asgardian race anyway.

-I’m calling the Garrett character as the clairvoyant right now. His position would allow him access to the kind of details only the clairvoyant could know, the murders of his own agents are the right cover and Bill Paxton is a bit too big an actor to be relegated to a small recurring role.

A decent episode, but not especially great in my view. It keeps things ticking along and introduces some decent plot elements, but the whole episode was framed the wrong way and had some parts that really dragged it down. Another thing going down is the ratings, which have hit a series low with this episode, unfortunately.  But the appearance of more solid elements of the cinematic universe next week might well see them go back up. Here’s hoping.

To read my thoughts on other episodes of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.Dclick here to go to the index.

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5 Responses to Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “T.A.H.I.T.I”

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