Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Episode 12 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the baton from 11 and runs with it.
The team are sent to the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy where gifted youngsters train to become full field agents. Here, they investigate an attack on a group of students in which a swimming pool froze over and nearly amputated a kid’s leg. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), meanwhile, continues to wrestle with the news that S.H.I.E.L.D. had kept from him, now not knowing whether his memories are real or false. This inner conflict eats away at him, so when it comes to keeping a secret from one of his own team, Coulson decides to share.
This is another successful episode for Marvel’s series, which leaves you wondering why it couldn’t have started this strongly. Deep down, the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy is like any other high school with factions and rivalries. May (Ming-Na Wen) and Coulson leave the rest of the team there, so we get to see two sides of the company. The four at the school look like a bonded unit and can carry the story themselves without the acting chops of Gregg or Wen, while Coulson and May share one of the funniest moments of the episode and Gregg continues to prove why they had to bring him back.
Episode 12 also looks more at where Skye (Chloe Bennet) came from, bearing much more interesting results now than just “no parents”. We see Coulson’s reveal to Skye but it’s muted against emotional music, so how much he actually tells her is unknown. In a show where “not all heroes are super”, could we finally have one among us?
While it does seem slightly like the show has fallen back in on its “bad guy of the week” format, the reappearance of Ian Quinn is a nice touch. Back in Episode 3, he was responsible for turning Dr. Franklin Hall into Graviton and he has a hand in another act of creation here. These characters, along with the Girl In The Flower Dress, are being held at S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities. Will the end of season blowout see them riot and break free?
There are now more episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired than there are left to debut, a tricky place for a series to be. The show is still in need of a villain and the staff at Centipede keep changing; the faceless organisation with many legs is great, but chopping those legs off one at a time is less satisfying when we don’t know what effect it’s having on the head.
If the show can continue the form it’s been in for the past three episodes, though, then there shouldn’t be any need to fear. Still, there isn’t long left before the networks need to make their decision on the series’ future – judging by the other nine episodes, they might side with Centipede.
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