VOD TV review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 16 (End of the Beginning)
Neil Brazier | On 24, Apr 2014
Agents Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Triplett are back with the S.H.I.E.L.D crew and together they are trying to track down the Clairvoyant, following three possible leads. Standing in their way is Deathlok, the man-made machine who claims Mike Peterson is dead and sports a swanky new arm pistol to make him even more dangerous.
Much like the previous episode, the biggest issue that slaps the viewer in the face is the low quality effects, making the show look like a really poor B-movie. The standoff with Deathlok ends when he blasts himself through the ceiling, the cheap way out – and boy, did it look it. While the show is never going to have the budgets of its big screen equivalent, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still carries the Marvel name and even if the show isn’t getting the number of viewers as they are cinema-goers, allowing poor visuals like these is only going to be a detriment for the product.
Nonetheless, the show has made great strides in its back run, although some of the plot points from this week do feel slightly desperate. The issues of trust and the exploration of moles within the group is a well-worn issue; it allows us to see other sides of characters that were getting a little bland, but we also saw in the first few episodes how well that worked out for Skye. Does it need to be touched upon again?
Character development continues when Agent Ward makes a snap decision based on his own judgement and not on behalf of the team. Could Ward be developing emotions in his generally stoic frame? His job doesn’t often call for it but hopefully, he will start to offer something more than just routine protocol. Agent Sitwell also makes another appearance this week – which, if you’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will either confuse you or make you watch his every move.
If Deathlok is just the beginning of Marvel villains to take to the stage, improvements need to be made in terms of budget: they need to look believable and like they can pose a real threat. The lack of effects doesn’t cover up the flaws in the acting either. Tidy these up and the show’s steadily improving form may continue to prosper.