Tuesday, April 1, 2014

REVIEW: 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' - Coulson & Skye Figure Out Some Details About the Clairvoyant in 'End of the Beginning'

ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Episode 1.16 End of the Beginning

Agents Garrett and Triplett are back to help Coulson's team track down S.H.I.E.L.D.'s nefarious enemy - the Clairvoyant. But will Deathlok destroy them all to protect his master's identity?

If fans have been speculating about a twist for awhile does it lessen the effectiveness of the twist once the show finally does the grand reveal? That's the question that must be asked during "End of the Beginning." One of the biggest theories about the Clairvoyant amongst fans is that it is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. That would explain the knowledge that he claims to "foresee" without having to make him an actual clairvoyant. And now, that twist is proven to be true - with it seemingly being Agent Victoria Hand.

To me, the big twist didn't really work because the show thought it was being clever in the reveal. It suddenly dawns on Skye and Coulson that the Clairvoyant could just have a high security clearance at S.H.I.E.L.D. Then, they go rushing to figure out who it was. The best twists are the ones that surprise you. This one felt like something necessary to happen in order for the next stage of the show to occur. And yet, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the show tries to squeeze out even more mystery with the reveal in the next episode. We don't actually know that Hand is the Clairvoyant. We just know she turned the plane around and wants everyone there to be executed. I feel like the show is still likely to pull out another twist saying that Character X is really the true Clairvoyant with Hand as just another puppet.

The only other thing this episode set out to do was show how much further Mike has turned into Deathlok. He has more technology now. There's an armor that protects him and an arm brace that shoots out missiles. And he says that Mike Peterson is dead now. Okay.

I've found the best episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are the ones that feature a lot of the characters bouncing off of each other during some exciting mission. The show teases us early into this episode with Agents Hand, Sitwell, Blake, Garrett and Triplett joining Coulson's team on the plane. They all start talking and I get my hopes up for an hour of them arguing about how to best capture the Clairvoyant. And then, Sitwell gets called away to go be in the new Captain America movie and Hand leaves to make the later reveal that much more "shocking." The hour makes up for their departures by pairing up Coulson & Garrett, Triplett & Ward and May & Blake. Those dynamics are interesting but only given about 30 seconds of screentime. Then, they find the supposed "Clairvoyant" and it seems like it's all coming together too easily and too soon. Instead of resolution, it feels like a prolongation that doesn't feel completely satisfying.

Some more thoughts:
  • "End of the Beginning" was written by Paul Zbyszekski and directed by Bobby Roth.
  • When Coulson and Skye trapped Melinda and asked her to tell them who she's been talking to, I was expecting her to say, "I can't tell you that until the next episode!"
  • Fitz and Simmons are also still trying to use S.H.I.E.L.D. to analyze Skye's blood. Yawn.
  • I just didn't understand that Ward twist. That he would kill the man he thought was the Clairvoyant just because he was threatening to torture Skye to Coulson just makes no sense. Unless you firmly believe that he's in love with Skye - which is probably the biggest thing that shouldn't happen on the show.