The Flash & Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Posted on November 19, 2014

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Hayley Atwell in ABC TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

 

The Flash: “The Flash is Born”

Just so we’re all on the same page… Barry won’t reveal his identity to the woman he loves, even though it’s clear that keeping it from her endangers her and even though it’s clear she’s got the hots for his other identity. But he will reveal his identity to the guy who kidnapped and threatened Iris.

Creative team? We don’t think you’ve thought this one through.

Good news/bad news/good news/bad news time: Thankfully, the relationship with Iris remains the only wrong note in the show. Unfortunately, it’s also the central relationship of the show. But at least they’ve managed to round out Iris’ character much more. Except she and Barry still have no chemistry outside of the brother/sister relationship the writers inexplicably saddled them with.

We’re telling you, this whole Iris thing is giving us whiplash.How we wish they’d simply drop the idea of the two of them getting together. The writers are still defining Barry and Iris, and unfortunately, they saddled them with a few too many obstacles to any sort of romance. The moping over her doesn’t make Barry or her come off that well. Just drop it, writers. It’s easily done. All you have to do is have Barry come out as the Flash to her and realize that she’s got a boyfriend and he needs to step off. Focus on the friendship for now. Let her slowly come to a realization that she has feelings for him. This would instantly render and potential romance about a thousand times more believeable.

As for this week’s metahuman-of-the-week, well, he was nice to look at, at least. We don’t know… we don’t mind the show’s formula and he had a fun power, but all the Peter Parker-esque high school drama felt like such a strange fit for the show. And the whole deal with imprisoning these metahumans is not only deeply problematic because it completely ignores the law and the constitution while stripping these people of their basic rights, but it’s just so plainly a bad idea that’s going to (probably literally) blow up in their faces.

Despite our complaints, it’s hard not to enjoy the show, even as it’s offering up its weakest episode yet. If nothing else, that supersonic punch made the entire hour. A really fun moment and some more eye-popping speed effects. Hard not to love that.

 

Agents of SHIELD: “The Things We Bury”

Last season, we were convinced that the problem with the show was the bland cast and that at least half of them needed to be killed off. It turns out, the show creators half-agreed with us. Instead of removing any members of the cast, however, they simply doubled the size of it – and the show has benefited tremendously. We think it may be too large of a cast to handle in the long term, but we suspect there will be a culling before this season’s over. Unlike last season, they’ve taken the Buffy route of introducing a Big Bad, with all the storylines pointed in that one direction. It seems pretty clear that a major showdown is coming – and with Tripp almost dying this episode, we got a nice reminder of how deadly the stakes are now. 

We have to admit, having Ward kill his family was a bit of a disappointment. He was more interesting when he seemed to be playing both sides, but once a character kills his parents, it’s pretty much a given that they’re a bad guy – unless they’re Luke Skywalker or something. And the extended bit with his brother digging the well didn’t have the emotional weight we’re thinking the writers intended. We don’t really know these people all that well, so all this family drama from long ago might as well have been a puppet show to us. It’s not like we could have an emotional reaction to Ward’s brother admitting … whatever the hell it was he admitted. Something – something, you’re not evil, Ward. You’re now free to kill your family. But the family-killing tends to fit in with the much darker tone of this episode. We actually glanced at the clock to confirm that we were seeing a woman literally being eviscerated on network TV at 9:30. Clearly, the show is going all in on a much more intense season.

This was one of the best episodes of the series yet and that was in large part because of the additions to the cast this season. Adrianne Palicki has found a unique spot situated among the ass-kicking women on this team and both her interrogation scenes and her scenes with Lance crackled with sexiness and intelligence. We don’t know if Kyle MacLachlan is having the time of his life playing this nutball, but he sure looks like he is. And every single line uttered by Hayley Atwell has us salivating for the “Agent Carter” limited series coming next year. She’s almost too good for this show. Any scene with her in it is miles ahead of any scene with, say, Skye in it. Reed Diamond can play slimy evil in his sleep, although we cringe our way through his flashback scenes because his German accent is so, well, cringeworthy. Even so, now that we have his backstory filled in (with one of the most stylish sequences the show’s ever done- a haunting and poignant time lapse through 44 years of imprisonment in a minute), including the news that he killed Skye’s mother, all the narrative threads feel like they’re tightening up nicely.

The show still lacks a strong visual sense (something a show like this desperately needs), the main cast still could use some charisma booster shots, but the story is fun and the supporting cast are doing God’s work keeping things fresh and energetic.

Oh, and we’re back to thinking that something is up with Mack. Maybe he’s not HYDRA, like we originally assumed, but there’s something a little questionable about that guy; always pressing people for information or reactions; constantly undermining people’s faith in Coulson.

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