Agents of SHIELD S1x09 "Repairs"

I return to Agents of SHIELD in the first of my individual episode reviews for The Fictional Hangout in an attempt to see if Marvel’s current TV show has improved since I gave up on it with Episode 6.

I haven’t been keeping up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, I haven’t seen an episode since number six, and based on what I’ve seen from Repairs, the show isn’t doing its worth to show that it deserves a second season. However, from what I’ve seen, whilst not being a strong episode per say – Repairs was still better than some of the earlier episodes that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D threw at us – even if by better it still wasn’t very good. The show itself continues its ‘case of the week’ formula and throws us into a mystery where a woman who the team are called to investigate might be telekinetic. However – what if she’s not the person responsible for her crimes? What if, she’s a victim?
This episode is a simple and self-contained storyline taking place mostly on the aeroplane itself, and most of the time – this actually works – with a more tightly connected episode than those that I’ve seen before, allowing for an interesting storyline unfolding that doesn’t completely bore you and for once the show doesn’t ram constant reminders across at you to make sure that this is certainly a MARVEL series. You know what I mean – the Avengers and  everything else aren’t namedropped more than three times this episode even if there is a reference to Thor’s recent movie, The Dark World – which I haven’t seen. There’s also no further hints about Coulson being an LMD (life model decoy) which he almost most certainly is and neither do we learn anything more about Skye’s parents this time around. However, the show is certainly flawed regardless – with heavy handedness displayed quite clearly in other areas, such as the title referencing the fact that the plane is in need of repairs. It’s a problem that I have with most American TV series (Supernatural’s first Season is another example of this) that the one-worded episode titles don’t really have the viewer excited for the episode. I much prefer titles like The Doctor Dances and Asylum of the Daleks, two Doctor Who episode titles that both had me excited for the episode before I’d even had the chance to watch the trailer – however, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D still seems to be in that early stage where one or two word titles like Repairs and The Asset. Come on, Marvel – you can do better!

Ming Na-Wen as Melinda May in “Repairs”

Going into Repairs I was actually quite excited for an episode focused on Melinda May, who is probably one of my favourite – if not my favourite character on this show at the moment. However – this show once again proved to be frustrating and not living up to its expectations – not really explaining her back story in much depth which still clearly leaves questions over what motivates these characters to do what they do. May’s character isn’t really fleshed out as much as I like her which means the show’s still got problems to overcome. By Episode 9  in any TV series our characters should be well realised individuals and not just cliché stereotypes – something that Whedon has proved capable of managing before with Firefly in its first episode alone. However, I’m still waiting for that episode that will have me fully invested in the characters – because right now, May aside, they’re all annoying – and even Coulson’s character has become somewhat lessened in awesomeness since the start of the first episode.
Also, the show isn’t really doing its job to get me behind Skye as a character. She was certainly extremely annoying in this episode even moreso than others with some obnoxious/jerkish one-liners and to the point now where she’s barely even tolerable to watch – this is something that even Nicholas Brendan’s Xander Harris couldn’t match in Buffy. However, characters aside, the episode itself whilst being a fairly decent one despite the problems that I found with it – the action was quite fun and the pranking subplot didn’t really come across as too cheesy or overbearing – even if we could have done without it, with the main storyline being fairly neat as well. However – Repairs whilst not getting me overly excited for next week isn’t a complete turn off either, so I might be tempted to check it out next week depending on how things turn out.
The highlight of the episode for me was easily Coulson’s “I think they only made 20 of those” line, but in the overall scheme of things, everything else will probably end up being forgettable. Overall a decent episode but not an especially great one.

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