Well, that was certainly a cliffhanger. This week’s mid-season finale of Agents of SHIELD saw the return of the pilot’s Mike Peterson, played by Whedon alum J. August Richards, as a newly minted SHIELD agent. Things go sideways (as Agent Ward says) and we are left with an intense ending that will cause SHIELD fans to count the days until the show returns.
Halfway through the season, let's take stock: The mystery about Agent Coulson’s resurrection is in full swing; Agent May took her place as one of the most badass women on television; Fitz and Simmons continue to be a needed human element in the show; Ward has gone from robot to complex character in just a few episodes...and Skye just sort of exists.
Starting with Skye, this episode gives her some due diligence as she continues to seek out the secret of her parents’ identities. At this point, they better be She-Hulk and Galactus to warrant this level of wheel spinning. There is some interesting interplay between May and Skye regarding the parents, with May getting as exasperated as some of the viewers, but of all the subplots, this one is just not as gripping as the secret of Coulson, the identity of the Clairvoyant, or the fog surrounding May’s past.
The bulk of the action this week centered on Peterson. When fans last saw Peterson, he was taken down by the Agents after a rampage in New York. Now, Peterson is training to be an Agent and must help Coulson take down a group of Centipede super soldiers. Peterson’s path of redemption has been one of the show’s more effective character arcs and his need to make up for his time as a monster makes him a sympathetic character in a very classic Marvel sense. There is a sort of a "Hulk" feeling around Peterson, a man who fears his powers but wants to use them for good. Sadly, Peterson has a weakness, something the enemies responsible for Centipede can exploit: his son, Ace...which leads to the episode’s cliffhanger.
What is bad for the Agents might be good for fans, as Peterson betrays Coulson to save his own son to the Girl in the Flower dress. As she takes Coulson away in a combat helicopter, she tells him that she wants to know the secret of his return from the dead, something fans are clamoring to know as well. Could the mysterious Girl in the Flower Dress unlock the secrets of Tahiti? Fans will have to wait to 2014 to find out.
On to the Clairvoyant, the shadowy figure behind Centipede and many other threats that have faced SHIELD. The villain’s identity will cause much debate among pundits, and hopefully there will be a comic book connection to his or her true face. Fans have been clamoring for a deeper Marvel connection, and this is the perfect route to go to introducing a meaningful villain to the proceedings. As the helicopter holding the captured Coulson sped away, fans couldn’t help getting an Empire Strikes Back vibe with Coulson in the Han Solo role, a beloved hero in mortal danger with his only hope in his friends on the ground. Thiswas certainly a fiery, action packed climax...let's hope the rest of the season keeps the momentum going.
Coulson’s cellist. Seriously, the guy talk between Ward and Coulson while cruising in Lola was one of the best moments of the season.
“Did I beat Captain America’s time?”