The only thing duller than the static dialogue scenes in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which make up most of the episode) are the action scenes. This is not a good situation for this show to be in, but here we are. Remember the set piece of the pilot, with Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) about to explode in Union Station? That was as tense and brilliant as The Wages Of Fear, compared to the molasses-slow nonsense on display in “The Bridge,” which marked the triumphant return of Richards’ character.
I love J. August Richards. This show makes me miss his performance as Gunn on Angel—he was an underrated and crucial part of that show. Nothing actually gets me excited on S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore, but I was not averse to his return to the team one bit. The ensemble is gelling fine, I suppose, but they’re just straight-laced company men, two chattering nerds and Skye, the one marginally conflicted character on the show. So why not bring back Peterson? He was definitionally a ticking time bomb in the pilot, after all, infected with dangerous Extremis technology and teetering on the brink of destruction.
Well, since then Peterson has turned into… a lame company man who wants to be the best SHIELD agent he can be. Yay! Exactly what the show needs. There’s some false drama stirred up by the other agents supposedly having a problem with him being on board, but really, who cares. He’s fine, and he’s going to be useful in fighting the super-soldier forces of Centipede, who are back in full force this week!
What’s that? You say the fighting is mostly going to be concentrated in a warehouse filled with shipping crates? And be totally completely utterly boring? Oh, good. Wouldn’t want things to speed up in between the interminable dialogue. Skye is trying to figure out who her mom is, and getting blown off by Coulson and May. Ward is making sure May realizes he still puts the job above their relationship, whatever that might be. Fitz and Simmons are twittering away at each other about nothing in particular. I just named all the characters of the show.
Now, to be fair, there is a slightly more exciting climax, although it does not really involve action. Mike’s kid gets taken away by Centipede and the lady in the flower dress (she is no longer wearing a flower dress). He bargains for the kid’s life by bringing Coulson as bait, and waiting until the switch is made to tell Coulson that he was bait. Maybe if he’d talked to him earlier, Coulson would have devised a better plan for his agents. Because what happens is, Ward perches with a sniper rifle behind a cement mixer so he can see absolutely nothing that’s going on. And the other agents, including supposed ass-kicker May, wait in a car and watch their boss get kidnapped. At no point do they even attempt to fight. They just sit there and watch.
There’s logical reasons for what’s happening on this show, but only sort of. Yeah, they’re trying to protect Mike’s kid or whatever, but it’s still a puzzlingly stupid move from a supposed crack team of expert agents. Also, these six idiots are the only ones who are being put on this mission? Centipede has a team of super-soldiers. I get that we can’t call in Iron Man because Robert Downey Jr.’s quote is too high. But we can’t even have a couple backup units? Jeez.
By the end of the episode, it looks like Mike is dead, which is a tremendous waste, although he dies in an explosion and there’s no body, so maybe I’m exaggerating there. Phil gets kidnapped and whisked away in a helicopter, where Centipede reveals its terrible demands. They want to figure out…WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON WHEN HE DIED. That’s right! They are fascinated by that! Why is that, I wonder? Maybe because SHIELD seems to have solved the issue of death? I guess other people might want to know just how that happened.
Ugh. This show is so boring and it’s not getting much less boring. Everything is competently done and Clark Gregg really is trying his best to keep his performance interesting, but there’s nothing to hold an audience’s interest here. Nothing that I can see, at least. Maybe once we find out the mystery of Phil’s resurrection, then things will get better. I live in hope.
- We get a “he’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?” in this episode. JESUS CHRIST
- A centipede honcho complains about eating steak in a warehouse. “We’re not here for the décor,” says flower lady. You said it! This is an ugly, ugly show.
- Ward complains about Mike’s super-suit. “Having powers is cheating!” He’s just jealous because Mike is vaguely slightly interesting. Just a tiny bit.