It’s not a major stumble, but I couldn’t help feeling like this one should have been better than the sum of its parts.
First of all, let’s get out of the way that I’m glad that Skye’s agenda is fully out there on the table now and we don’t have to keep playing the “is she or isn’t she a double agent” game anymore. Of course, finding out that Skye’s main interest in serving is to have access to the databases from inside to find out what happened to her parents isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking or interesting twist that the show could have done. But it could have a greater impact on the overall global mythology that the show is going for. Or it could lead to a point where Skye actually begins to develop powers of her own, leading to a conflict on if she should hide them and if and how SHIELD might react to having a person with certain abilities on the team.
The plot line also benefitted from the fact that it gave Coulson (in the form of Clark Gregg) a lot of angst and scenery to chew on. The scene with Coulson ripping into Skye because of her betrayal of his trust and telling her that she had one chance to tell him the truth was superbly done. And in a lot of ways, it really overshadowed my interest and investment in the power of the week plotline with Scorch.
Terrible name, potentially interesting plot. I have a feeling we’ll look back on Sorch as a stepping stone toward something larger when the entire first season arc comes into focus. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Part of my lack of interest here was that I wasn’t really all that interested or invested in Scorch himself. I realize that we can’t build up every person who is developing an ability in great detail each week, but I found the naive nature of Scorch and his desire to be famous a bit dull and tedious. Seeing how Raina took advantage of this desire and his vulnerability worked well and I think that plotline has potential to develop into something greater. But overall, Scorch seemed to hit some fairly obvious and easy to see coming notes.
With the exception of how far Mae and Coulson were willing to go to contain him. That’s interesting. It also brings into question a few issues related to SHIELD and raised a bit by the Skye and her hacker boyfriend plotline. For example, just how far-reaching is SHIELD’s sight and power and could that be abused or overextended? Could the agency that is starting with good intentions actually become a bit corrupted by its own power or sense of self-righteousness? And while we are inclined to see Centipede as an opposing force and philosophy to SHIELD, could it be that it and its followers have a point that perhaps SHIELD is too powerful? Or could become too powerful.
With Whedon behind this show, I’m hoping that some of these issues will be explored in the season to come and seasons to come, should SHIELD stick around long term.
Of course, in order to do that, there are some issues that need to be cleared up. After last week’s episode showed the team becoming a competent, professional group of spies, this week’s installment took a major step backward. I’m referring to the surveillance of Skye’s hacker boyfriend and how easily Ward is made by said hacker. Did he miss that day of basic undercover training? And how could they lose track of not only hacker man but also Skye as well. Or was May lurking outside the door while Skye and hacker man were having their hook-up?
I wonder if the data that hacker boy stole and set free will continue to haunt the team as the season continues. Could it now be a race for the team to try and get to certain people developing powers before Raina and Centipede do? If so, that could have some interesting potential for future development.