Wednesday, November 27, 2013

TV Recap: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 'Repairs'

Plot: When a particle accelerator explodes in a small Utah town killing a few workers, the citizens become enraged and immediately blame the safety operator Hannah Hutchins. Hannah is haunted by the accident and believes God is punishing her for what she has done. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team however think that Hannah might have developed some telekinetic abilities because of the accident. Now they must extract and comfort her before any more people get hurt. Meanwhile, Skye (Chloe Bennet) wants to know more about Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen).

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Throughout this first season, each character has been given their own episode or two to provide him/her a little backstory. While characters like Skye have been given more attention over others, we still know a bit more about what makes each team member tick. The only notable exception to this is May whose been an enigma since episode one. She's the only person who hasn't had much development, even if the development we have had in other characters isn't that significant. Last night's episode sought to change that by putting May in charge and providing a bit more insight into how she got her nickname "The Cavalry." The end result was a fairly fun episode that had a creepily enjoyable bad guy and a bit more humor, but was still just as vague on the character backgrounds as before.

"Repairs" starts off immediately after last week's "The Well" with Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) and May cleaning up after their little tryst in a hotel room. Turns out those two have been hooking up for some time! Can't exactly say I saw that coming. This is our first actual relationship within the team so it does provide that extra layer. It's not long until the team is called in to investigate an increasingly violent incident in Batesville, Utah. Turns out the town is rioting against Hannah who they believe is a monster. The team doesn't know exactly what is wrong with her but their theory is telekinesis which means Hannah needs to get briefed on her growing abilities as soon as possible. Long story short, the trip to Utah goes south and Hannah has to be sedated by May before things get worse.

Once Hannah is on the plane, the rest of the episode takes place there. This is in stark contrast to the constantly changing settings we have seen prior. The fact that Hannah might have telekinesis was enough to keep me focused, making the beginning of the episode particularly enjoyable, but I feel like the actual source of the problems was much better. It's quickly revealed that Hannah doesn't have telekinesis at all. She's being tormented by a former co-worker named Tobias Ford who is now stuck between two worlds because of the accident. His ability to teleport to different sections of the plane was really cool. There was also a scary vibe infused in this episode as Tobias cuts the power to the plane and then attacks each team member in small, dark corridors. You could really feel the claustrophobia. To be honest, I didn't even need an explanation as to why Tobias was doing what he did. I already found his teleporting abilities, that slowly took away a piece of him every time, incredibly enjoyable.

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

Unfortunately for us, the writers couldn't help but provide some backstory as to why Tobias was terrorizing Hannah. I was all ready to accept that he blamed Hannah for the accident and wanted to torment her to insanity out of rage. That didn't even need to be said either. Yet in the last few moments, Skye realizes that Tobias filed his constant safety complaints against Hannah because he had feelings for her and wanted to get together. He didn't want to torment her as a "ghost", he wanted to protect her. Truthfully, this just undercut the whole situation by making Tobias the tragic victim as opposed to the creepy villain. We have no reason to believe that Tobias was anything less than a perfectly intelligent individual, and yet he decides to unscrew a few bolts from a dangerous particle accelerator and kills four people. All in the name of love! This even lead to the most anti-climatic ending ever as Tobias let's go of Hannah and disappears into Hell after a previously intense fight between him and May. Thanks for ruining the fun writers.

Skye also had a definite "I'm holier than thou" vibe going on last night too which rubbed me the wrong way. Her big complaint of the night was how May knocked out Hannah with the Night-Night gun and she was being held captive on the plane. Skye was none too pleased with it and thought that the best way to connect with Hannah was through words, not violence. But what was May supposed to do? All signs pointed to Hannah being telekinetic and she looked ready to destroy everyone with her mind. There was even a cop pointing a gun at her ready to shoot! Her inability to understand that May did exactly what she had to do was annoying to say the least. However, I did enjoy that scene between Hannah and Skye and thought that it was cool that she figured out the lame ass reason why Tobias was all angry.

Photo Credit: ABC/Kelsey McNeal

As for whether or not this episode gave May any backstory, it provided as much as people should come to expect which really isn't that much. We learned about how May got "The Cavalry" nickname but none of the details were really that fleshed out. May was on a mission that went poorly, snuck into a compound with a bunch of people worshipping an individual with powers, and then came out a changed person. According to Coulson, May was someone who would break the rules and act recklessly. The incident in Bahrain changed her into an agent that wouldn't take shit from anybody. I would've liked a bit more, especially from May herself, but this is probably the most we're going to get for some time.

Peppered in throughout this episode was Agents Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) trying to prank Skye for being a freshman. Thankfully this didn't take too much of the story, and it was actually where most of the humor last night was based. I definitely had a few more laughs last night than I did with some of the more recent episodes. If anything, it was cool seeing Fitz-Simmons have fun for once. May pulling a prank of her own was the real icing on the cake though. Glad to see she still has some fun inside her.

All things considered, I really enjoyed "Repairs." I thought that the episode was both exciting and a bit creepy at parts, and that the humor was more on point than normal. It was also nice not having the team live in the shadow of The Avengers or Coulson sulk about regarding his survival for a change. Tobias was an enjoyable villain as well, though the explanation for his actions nearly sank the episode like a freaking brick. I could have used more details into May's past too and Skye entered some supremely annoying territory, only to be saved near the end.

Rating: 7.5/10
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