Oh, S.H.I.E.L.D., you were doing so well. You had a strong pilot and sure, you lagged for a few episodes, but you picked yourself back up and brushed off the proverbial dust to resemble a half decent show. You were shaping up to be one to watch. That was effectively ruined by this episode.
The word that comes up when thinking about ‘The Bridge’ is cheese. The dialogue was cheesy, the story was cheesy - everything was cheesy. The main problem was the return of Gunn (technically Mike Peterson but he will always be Gunn in relation to Whedon). We last saw him in the pilot where he went super soldier thanks to Centipede and went on a rampage before getting shot by FitzSimmons so he didn’t explode. Turns out that what they shot him with froze his state of body so that he could still use his extra ability without going boom.
This is exactly what Centipede are trying to do and they’ve halfway succeeded as they used a bunch of super soldiers to break out that guy that the lady in the flower dress went to visit in jail (it’s probably best you refresh your memory now as this episode ties in a lot of storylines from previous ones). The lady, Raina, showed him that they had managed to use the platelets they stole from fire bearer Scorch to stop the exploding part of the serum, but they were still having issues keeping up the energy of the soldiers. All of this is being headed by The Clairvoyant, the person they spoke about before, and the jail guy is an ex-marine who communicates with them. Finding them was the main focus of S.H.I.E.L.D.
For this they recruited Mike, who had spent his time between the pilot and now training in a government facility. Judging by his character in the pilot, it should have been a welcome return but 90% of his exchanges with other people in this episode were just pure cheese, especially with Coulson. The terrible dialogue kept pulling me out of the episode from the God awfulness of it, and they really didn’t do his character any justice. Maybe they realised this though as they went and killed him.
While he had been training he hadn’t seen his son for fear of him thinking he was a monster. Just as he had his breakthrough thanks to one of Coulson’s heartfelt speeches, he called his son only to find Raina had him. They proposed a deal to exchange his son for him, and so with no back up, the team went to the meeting point on a bridge. It was then revealed that the deal wasn’t in exchange for Mike, but it was actually Coulson they wanted. So they carted him off while the rest of the team slowly began to figure out what was happening, but Mike decided he needed to make things right and be a hero who fixes his mistakes. He handed his son off to Skye and ran back to try and save Coulson, when the petrol tanker next to him exploded and engulfed him in flames. A helicopter flew off with Coulson, shooting Ward a few times and Raina revealed that they only wanted Coulson to tell them about the day after he died. And that was the end of the mid-season finale.
I guess it was kind of an ok-ish ending, but Coulson’s state of being has been hinted at so many times with no information given that it feels like it’s been dragged out too long. Same with the Centipede storyline: it was nice that episodes were starting to be linked and form an over-arching plot, but again, we’ve had next to no information, only names we can’t put a face too and people that don’t seem to be massive players in the organisation. For it to be truly effective there needed to be more details given. As it stands, I’m only a little bit curious about Coulson’s answer and I couldn’t give two monkeys about Centipede.
Other little bits in the episode were the revelation that Centipede were behind the eye cameras as well, May basically told Skye to suck it up about the mystery of her parents and Ward kind of brushed off his relationship with May as no big deal. Not riveting stuff, but when paired alongside the cheesy Mike Peterson dialogue, they were welcome reliefs, and that sums up how much improvement this show needs to have when it comes back after winter break. We can only hope.