Aired on 22/10/13 on The CW
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is into its fifth episode and has just started to pass the stage where the stories are contained to one per episode. Now a story arc for the whole season is slowly being introduced. Plus, as an added bonus, the characters were a lot more bearable this week. Progress, is that you?
The spine of the story was based on a Japanese street performer, who had the ability to produce fire in his hands. He got taken by some hazmat suits to a place where a seriously manipulative woman gave him his own superhero name and talked him into being a lab rat, all under the guise of helping ‘Scorch’ become more powerful. Turns out that it was the mysterious company, Centipede, who were still trying to perfect the serum from the pilot that caused Gunn (yeah I said it) to go a bit crazy. Because of the nature of Scorch’s powers, his platelets were fire resistant – something which would stop making the serum go boom! They let him play with fire for a bit, but it wasn’t long before Scorch was strapped down to extract the platelets from his blood.
S.H.I.E.L.D. got wind of it as Scorch was already in their Index (a list of people and objects with power under watch), so they set out to rescue him. But really, it was just a base to shine a light on Skye. The episode made me flip flop between trusting Skye as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and thinking that she was working from the inside for The Rising Tide, but it did manage to make me like her a bit more. She wasn’t as in-your-face as she was previously, and the game of Battleship between her and Ward was a cute little friendship moment, even if it was meant to be a hint for an upcoming romantic relationship.
It was revealed that the Centipede agents got Scorch’s information when someone hacked into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s databases and they all immediately suspected Skye. She defended herself by pointing out that she’d been on the plane with them all, but she offered to use her hacking skills to find out who did it (does no one else know how to hack? They all act like computers are the work of the devil. What did they do before Skye got there?). This led her to fellow hacker and previous mentor Miles, who was then forced to use his super hacker skills to evade Coulson, but he couldn’t avoid Skye who was waiting in his hotel room. But instead of taking him down, she angrily called him out for almost ruining her chances of infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside, then leaped into his arms and engaged in a bit of sexytime.
However, they were caught by May, handcuffed and taken to stew in the cell on the plane. Miles, who ended up being the most annoying person ever with his endless preaching about freedom of information etc., started to question Skye’s motives of being there. Was she really there to take it down from the inside? Or had she crossed over to S.H.I.E.L.D’s ideals? It honestly wasn’t too clear as she was very convincing to both sides, but at the end of the episode when she was taken to the Principal’s Office to talk to Coulson, she pulled out a sim card she kept in her bra that contained all the information she had on herself. Turned out not to be that much, but it did reveal that she was adopted and her adoption papers had been blanked out by order of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now we know why she’s really there and it provided a little intrigue over her past for us to ponder on.
The rest of the episode went down how you would expect, except that when May and Coulson continued with their mission to rescue Scorch, he’d gotten a bit too used to the taste of power and went slightly homicidal on everyone. I felt bad for Coulson as he kept getting hit after hit throughout the episode; first Skye let him down – he’d taken a chance to trust her even after she broke into S.H.I.E.L.D., then Scorch turned all murderous and exploded himself before Coulson could help. The poor guy just wanted to help everyone but, as May pointed out, you can’t account for the crazy factor.
We were left with a couple of new players as the mysterious, manipulative woman visited an equally mysterious man in jail and told him that the serum was going to plan and they were closer to creating the perfect soldiers. She said to contact the Clairvoyant, something which he seemed hesitant to do, but she just smiled that evil smile and waltzed out of there. Who are they, who are Centipede and who is the Clairvoyant? Who knows, but it seemed like it could be a season long thing.
Overall progression was made, both in story and characters. FitzSimmons didn’t have much to do which was probably why they were bearable and Ward just did his usual super soldier thing. It’s slowly improving, but it needs to pick up the pace a bit more before it gets too slow that no one bothers to keep up.