Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “The Light In The Darkness”

The endgame continues with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D rapidly heading towards its conclusion in less than a month (now with a title: “Beginning of the End”, airing May 13th). Can this show keep that upturn in quality going? Will it be enough to get that second season, which network heads seem to be hesitant on? Thoughts:

-We open with an intro for “Blackout”, the villain of the week whose arrival in the outside world was heralded last week. Simple effective stuff here, as the lights go out and he kills a man just by touching him. So, we know his powers and a bit of his mindset. All that’s required.

-It is a weird trope, that crazy serial killers love to listen to opera/symphony orchestra music. Thanks Hannibal Lector!

-Back in “Providence”, Ward gives people the lowdown on what’s been happening out in the world, but only his version of it. This is done in a decent fashion with flashbacks of his conversations and actions with Garrett telling the true story, away from an expanded “Previously on…” at the very beginning.

-“Quinn is the least scary person on here, and he shot me!” I did like this line.

-It’s good that May actually lands on HYDRA’s plot of distracting the remnant of S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s still competent, and “The Light in the Darkness” sets her off on her own mini-arc.

-Koenig telling Coulson “Nice speech” when he hears the “We are the shield” line is a nice bit of self-referential humour – those speeches can get kind of tired. I generally liked Oswalt a lot more here.

-“He wanted to make a lie detector even Romanoff couldn’t beat.” “Did she?” “Like Fury would tell?” A lot of namedropping in this episode, but I liked this exchange.

-So Trip is the grandson of Gabe Jones from The First Avenger. I’m not sure why they felt the need to link up two of the only black characters in the continuity. Does it really add anything to the Trip character?

-A bit too self-referential with Koenig’s “If I was a grandson of a Howling Commando…” line. Yes, we get it, Erik Koenig is a Howling Commando in the comics.

-The “orientation” scene was interesting. It allowed the audience to learn (or relearn) some of the key aspects, traits and goals of some characters, almost like they were appealing to new viewers. Simmons is a bit nerdy, Fitz has a thing for Simmons, May has an attachment to Coulson, Skye’s never had a home till now.

-Coulson’s right. Anything called “dark force” can’t be good. They never really did do that much to explain what it was, apart from some indecipherable technobabble.

-Their description of Blackout’s powers made him sound more like Sebastian Shaw than anything really.

-Ward’s interrogation was good. Nice amount of tension with the lies, the coming into play of the gun and the final resolution. Some good wordplay there: Ward is there “for Skye” which is true while still being a negative intention.

-“The Light in the Darkness” is just chock full of this Fitz/Trip rivalry, and it’s all getting rather petty. Ward tells Fitz to suck it up and tell Simmons how he feels. Doubt that’ll happen.

-Coulson and May seem to have a final sundering of their relationship. Coulson just doesn’t trust her anymore, and in a world where trust is now more than everything, it seems like they’re done.

-Audrey Nathan is our person in peril of the week. I do believe we’ve found our cellist. Amy Acker isn’t given her best role ever here, but she does just fine.

-Blackout’s been made stronger, so it’ll take a bit more to bring him down. Thanks Fury!

-Skye and Koenig share a nice scene where she chides him over his nerdy ways. Looks like he’s on the way out then, seeing as how he’s being humanised and all. Ward’s close to being rumbled, so it was sort of obvious where this was all headed.

-It becomes even more obvious when Skye tells Ward that the hard drive is geo-locked. They’ll be going on a little field trip.

-So Audrey gives an outline of her and Coulson’s relationship. Sounds like the kind of thing that will come up again in a flashback episode. Coulson comes off as far more warm and human in her description of past events than he ever actually has in person.

-May leaves. Ward barely tries to stop her. Things are falling into place now.

-The plan to stop Blackout seems simple enough. The namedropping of one Bruce Banner doesn’t seem very necessary though.

-There follows this little three way intersection of the relationship plots. Coulson explains to Fitz why he doesn’t want to re-enter Audrey’s life, Fitz starts coming closer to a decision regards Simmons from that and Ward and Skye get closer. That seemed to be the theme of the episode, and it worked well here.

-Ward’s backstory gets a little more airtime in the next scene. Bad home life creates HYDRA agents apparently, though it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he is, in fact, the torturing older brother.

-A nice bit of cello music accompanies the following scenes. I don’t know if Acker can actually play, but whoever was doing it made a nice tune.

-And Koenig’s dead. Not even a full episode of screentime. Shame.

-The gang take on Blackout who, thanks to Coulson’s delayed intervention….explodes? That was messed up.

-Skye’s panic upon realising that Ward is a HYDRA agent was one of her best scenes in the entire series so far.

-From there, the stuff in Providence takes on the feel of a horror movie, with the music, being trapped in a place with a creepy serial killer, trying to hide. It was the right tone.

-A little bit of a cop out for Audrey to not see Phil again. She’ll be back though, count on it.

-Sp Skye decides to just bluff Ward and go along with him. I suppose her options are painfully limited at this point, and it does add a lot of tension to the end of the episode (and presumably to next week’s “Nothing Personal”.

-Coulson’s been inspired to “make things right” with May. Awkward…

-Fitz, true to form, chickens out of saying anything to Simmons about how he feels about her. And on and on this turgid sub-plot goes.

-“Where’s the bus?” Looks like we know how the Field Trip team will be spending next week’s episode.

-May, having somehow walked through the Canadian wilderness, gets picked up by her mother of all people. OK then…

-And it seems like she’s split off from the rest of the cast for the remainder of the season. She’ll be going after Maria Hill, which will presumably lead her to Fury, which will then lead back to Coulson.

Another decent episode. The stuff with the cellist was a bit rushed and the villain was dull, but the Ward/Skye stuff was great and they’ve managed to keep a lot of momentum from the last few episodes going. Ratings up too. The network’s continued stalling on whether Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D is getting a new series is a concern though, as other shows, like Arrow for instance, got next season’s delivery orders a good while ago. Hmm. We’ll see. Three episodes left.

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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One Response to Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “The Light In The Darkness”

  1. Pingback: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode Review Index | Never Felt Better

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