A gut reaction, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “T.R.A.C.K.S.”
There are a few things that I’ve learned in my literally thousands upon thousands of hours spent watching television. One: When Canadian actor Carlo Rota shows up, there will be blood, and it will be his fault. I don’t care if he’s introduced holding a basket of puppies in the first few minutes in whatever show he’s guest-starring on (Bones; 24; Castle) before the end credits roll, he’ll have been revealed as the devil.
So, when he showed up, all super co-operative with Agent Coulson as Italian special ops guy Luca Russo, making nice and not being at all upset about losing escort duty to our agents of SHIELD for some package traveling on a train in the Italian countryside, I knew immediately something was desperately wrong. Rota was sweet and adorable as the doting father on Canadian favorite, Little Mosque on the Prairie, but he’s pretty much the harbinger of doom on everything else he’s involved with. I’m pretty sure if I saw him at a dinner party I’d been invited to, I’d just sneak out the back door with a pocket full of crescent rolls and some cold shrimp.
Secondly: If you’re on a spy show and there’s a train involved, things are going to go south like whoa. Trains are just giant trouble machines, period. People get thrown off them; people get shoved into the luggage compartment. And have you seen the washrooms in a train? Heavenly Father, there is not enough Purell in the world. But I digress. Ask Bucky Barnes how he feels about trains.
“T.R.A.C.K.S” reminded me of the Archer episode where Sterling was so excited because he finally got to live out his dream of having a fight on a train, and it turns out that fighting on a train really, really sucks. Basically, trains are silver bullets of awful.
But, good news, “T.R.A.C.K.S,” as Â an episode, was one of the better Agents of SHIELD so far. Splitting the team up into groups of two made it possible for the characters to display more personality without the handicap of getting lost in the crowd that is SHIELD. Ward, without the twins, is amusingly vexed by technology, May gets to let loose and kick the living crap out of everything around her and it is beautiful; Coulson is warmly paternal with Simmons, much the same way he is with Skye, and it makes me wonder about what sort of previous personal life he may have had. He’s mature enough to maybe have had a young family at one point. He’s developed a deeply nurturing and caring relationship with Skye fairly quickly and even in these quick scenes with Simmons he’s fallen easily into a certain Dad vibe, chiding her gently about announcing his predilection for ‘prostitutes’ plural.
And Skye gets to demonstrate more of the focus and maturity we’ve been told she’s developed since that whole, “Whoops. You’re an object of unknown origin. Maybe you’re a Frost Giant’s drinking gourd; who knows?” incident (alright, that last part was unfair. I’m actually warming up to Skye since she found out she’s the human equivalent of Thor’s hammer. She’s lost some of that hacktivist immature brattiness and seems to have dedicated herself, somewhat, to actually having a job and working towards something concrete and real. Just couldn’t resist a Frost Giant jab).
The pairings themselves worked well enough, although I was nervous about the Fitz/Skye team. Those two just don’t have enough field experience to be left to their own devices, especially when you consider another pair was May/Ward, the two warriors of the team. An argument could be made that the job was supposed to be simple enough so the kids should have been ok, but the truth is: The jobs are never simple and the chance isn’t worth taking. One experienced field agent per rookie next time, please, especially in light of what eventually happened.
But the Coulson/Simmons duo could have their own show as far as I’m concerned, and Jemma’s dedication to her “character” and her choice of method acting and character research to get her through her part was simply a delight. It was good enough to fool the nameless Stan Lee character, who, while taking advantage of the boss’s prerogative to have a cameo role in every Marvel’s production, had a few choice words for absent father Phil Coulson, who evidently preferred work and hookers to his now-deceased wife, Simmon’s beloved mother. If this science thing doesn’t work out, Jemma, the bright lights of Hollywood beckon.
I liked the technique of telling each pair’s story between commercial breaks and felt it was strong in demonstrating the characters’ differing points of view. It was especially effective near the end of the episode on Ian Quinn’s (David Conrad) compound when it became clear that the “package” in question wasn’t a parcel or box on the train, but the SHIELD team itself, mostly Skye, specifically. It was most apparent in Quinn’s shooting of Skye in the gut.
This is something else I know: If you want to kill something, you shoot it in the head. If you want to hurt something and make it suffer before it dies, you shoot it in the stomach (before you ask, my dad was a hunter. I’m perfectly safe to be around).
Quinn, under orders from the Clairvoyant, wanted Skye there so he could shoot her and Coulson could find her before she died. More than he wanted Skye dead, he wanted Coulson to suffer. It was Coulson he wanted to hurt. Skye was just the package, the little gift the Clairvoyant had Quinn leave for Coulson.
â€¢ Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) is alive, awake and officially Deathlok. His creators also won’t let him see his son. One last thing I know: That won’t go over well.
â€¢ I wish I were clairvoyant, so I could know what was going on with ‘The Clairvoyant,’ because all these references to ‘The Clairvoyant’ are working my last nerve. Just reveal already. It’s like getting what looks like could be a really awesome present at Christmas, but it’s wrapped in so many layers of paper as a joke, by the ninth layer you’re ready to throw the box against the wall and give up; you don’t even want the dumb present anymore.
â€¢ I worked against every instinct I had not to use the phrase “Skye Train.” You are welcome.
Marvelâ€™s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…