I watched this to see if Season Two would be worth watching. And I still don’t know! Broadly speaking this was a mess. But, unlike three of the four season one episodes that I watched, this one was fun.
- So cool to see Reed Diamond, Lucy Lawless, Neal McDonough and Adrian Pasdar in the show. I love them. Lawless and Pasdar were given good material and a chance to shine. Which they did.
- So cool to have SHIELD agents that I actually liked. Izzy Hartley, Lance Blood, and Idaho was instantly likeable and interesting in ways that the Season One cast weren’t/aren’t. (Yes, I know that they are technically mercenaries. But for all intents and purposes they are agents of SHIELD for the duration of this episode. And I liked them.) And I’m sitting there thinking: well if they make these guys the focus of the show moving forward I’ll definitely consider watching it every week.
- The villain of the episode - Carl Creel - was great. Really well realised.
- Whenever the season one cast appeared I wanted to turn off. Coulson and Skye are fine. The rest suck. It’s a combination of actors who can’t act, and characters who say and do things that cynical network executives think will surely work. But actually don’t. I particularly despite Simmons and Fitz and found there scenes in this episode very, difficult to watch. Especially when - at one point - the shows cuts away from a good scene with Coulson & Talbot in a cell to show Simmons & Fitz instead. From a moment of genuine high drama, to a moment of - I dunno - faux teenage angst?
- The show is still self-consciously self-important. The opening minutes and closing minutes were embarrassingly bad. Dialog and speeches that have clearly been cut/paste from better productions. In these moments, you can clearly feel the hand of the writers/producers: putting in stuff that they think will make the show seem cool. But, actually, makes it seem rather naff.
It was an episode of highs and lows. And, strangely for a season premiere, it totally failed to make it clear what the show would be like moving forward. They successfully pulled two twists in the closing scenes. But neither one felt like it had a point. Yes, it was clever. But, rather than impress me, it left me confused. It made it seem as if things they had spent time establishing were suddenly meaningless. Elements, ideas, characters and stories that had taken up valuable screentime suddenly seemed as if they don’t really matter with regard to the big story, moving forward.
Almost as if the show is more concerned with being perceived as clever than it is with actually telling good stories.