Monday, April 7, 2014

Agents of SHIELD: End of the Beginning Review

Anyone that stopped watching Agents of SHIELD at the mid-season finale are really missing out on some great Winter Soldier crossovers and high quality stories that feel like a comic book!
End of the Beginning is yet another top notch episode from Agents of SHIELD! Now the series is probably my favorite show on network TV, or at least tied with The Blacklist. It is almost like an entirely different series. The tone is vastly different and it is a lot more serialized, which is a major positive right now. The actors are really into their roles and the characters' motivations are clearly defined. Plus, Bill Paxton is probably the best thing to happen to the series because ever scene he is in, he owns it! There is such a big difference between the beginning of the series and these recent episodes, and I am loving it! 

*Spoilers Ahead*

After last week's fun Asgardian crossover that ended with a seriously big "WHAT THE HECK!" moment with May reporting to a mystery source. My guess is that she is reporting to either Nick Fury or some other good guy that is watching over Coulson because I seriously doubt she is bad. The end of this episode definitely confirmed my suspicions with the team discovering her special phone line. Agents of SHIELD is finally moving at a good pace by not holding back on the secrets for so long. 

As for the rest of the episode, it was a good balance of fun and intense. Some scenes had some good jokes and others where majorly intense, yet the tone never clashed. 
Having all of major SHIELD agents (not including Hill and Fury of course) was a cool moment. Stillwell, Blake, Hand, Garrett, and Coulson all in the same room discussing their next move felt like a very comic book inspired moment since it is not uncommon for a lot of characters to appear in one story due to how easy it is to pull off multiple characters in comics. Bill Paxon's veteran presence as Garrett is more than welcome in the series. Wouldn't be great is if he could be a series regular next season, if that is even possible. 

After Agent Blake almost being killed by Deathlok, I was being to wonder if he was going to die. Titus Welliver as Blake this episode was particularly noteworthy, and him using the tracking bullet on Deathlok was ingenious writing, especially since Jacob noticed that Blake reloaded after only firing five shots. 

Some people are still complaining about Skye's character, and while she is certainly the weakest aspect of the series now that everything else has improved, giving her SHIELD agent status was a good thing for the character to move forward. She is far from a bad character, but she is still my least favorite character of the main cast.

In terms of action, Agents of SHIELD yet again delivers in spades. Aside from the Walking Dead, there is not a better action series on TV. The Deathlok scenes, while still featuring noticeably standard TV special effects, nonetheless give a great imposing presence to the character. He is a legitimate threat to the team and a character is that not easy to kill, as evident by his encounter with Garret and Tripplet. On top of all that, Mike Peterson was such likable character before his transformation, that he is now an effective tragic villain. His costume could use a little work, but there is not a lot to compliant about for a TV series.
While only fans of the comics noticed this, when Fitz's x-ray things scanned Deathlok, you can clearly see that under the skin, he is exactly like his comic book counterpart. As a fan of the comic, I loved the reference!

Now for the Clairvoyant confrontation, which turned out to be a nice surprise. Thanks to Blake and the tracker bullets, the team finally found the Clairvoyant, or did they? My first reaction was that the character was a little disappointing since he was not based on preexisting character, and that the character was not especially original. With yet another unexpected turn, Grant kills him, which shocked me quite a bit. What else surprised me is that Brad Dourif played the character, and if you are familiar with the Lord of the Rings, he played GrĂ­ma Wormtongue (picture below). Considering that the role literally had no speaking lines, I wonder why he was chosen; strange but still cool. 
Having not seen the Winter Soldier yet, the ending featuring, what I presume is a clip from the film, makes me even more excited for both the film and how the events of the film will affect the series. Speaking of that, from what I have heard, The Winter Soldier film is going to reveal the identity of the Clairvoyant, who Coulson realized is apart of SHIELD. Please do not post anything that could spoil The Winter Soldier in the comments.
Overall: 9.5/10- Overall, End of the Beginning was yet another very strong entry in the series that effectively uses The Winter Soldier's events to drive the plot forward, as well as providing some great comic book style action.

In the upcoming episodes, Coulson's cellist girlfriend is going to be played by Whedon vet Amy Acker, and I am absolutely freaking out about it because I love her as an actress!

Note: This is going to be the last Agents of SHIELD review until I get to see The Winter Soldier, but be assured that my reviews will come at some point.

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  1. 'End of the Beginning' was a fantastic episode, at first looking back, I thought that it started off slow pacing, but when I went back and watched it, it was just awesome all around. I've never actually read any of the Deathlok comics-to be honest I didn't know who Deathlok even was- (I normally stick to the MC2 universe in comics), but I did hear that the x-ray thing made him look exactly like the comics, and from the picture you posted, it does look practically identical.
    (Spoilers for End of the Beginning)
    While the 'Clairvoyant' didn't do much, he was very menacing with his threats, and was especially cruel to Coulson. I wonder who the 'Clairvoyant' is-someone we know, perhaps? As much as I'd hate to admit it, I think Hand is far too obvious to be the Clairvoyant-despite my wish that she would be. I've never liked Hand if you couldn't tell-but she is definitely up to no good.
    The show ended on yet another cliffhanger, and-this amazed me more than anything, sadly-we actually have an episode next week, so awesome!
    I'm, hopefully, going to see Cap 2 with my parents this afternoon, and I'm really hoping spoilers I've accidentally read aren't true.
    Fantastic review as always James!

    1. Agreed, it was so all around awesome!

      Yeah, Hand is not the Clairvoyant, but I think she is unknowingly under its command. Or maybe she knows that she is working for it. I suppose we will find out in Captain America or the next episode!

      Awesome! I hope you enjoy the movie! And thank you.


  2. Great review! :D I agree, this episode was awesome and the show just keeps getting better and better as it goes along! I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the upcoming episodes! :D. I have noticed a lot of people not liking Skye, but she's actually one of my favorite characters(second after Agent Coulson) and I am too glad that she was officially made a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent. I also can't wait to see Amy Acker- she's a fantastic actor and I've loved all the roles she's played so far! :) :D.

    1. Thank you as always! :) Hopefully the series will continue its upward tread of quality. :)
      I like Skye, but not as much as the characters, especially since she has been sidelined. But I am glad you like the character so much!

      Acker was in Angel right? She is also great on Person of Interest. :)


    2. You're welcome! :) I hope so as well! :) Yeah, she has been sidelined hasn't she? Hopefully they'll use her some more. Thanks :)
      Yes, Acker was on Angel and she played an awesome character on that show(she appears in season 2, towards the end). Surprisingly, the first time I saw her in something was her guest star role in Once Upon A Time. Glad you've seen her before :) I'll have to look at that show.

  3. I haven't seen The Winter Soldier yet but I'm glad I've caught back up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D....End of the Beginning is one of my favorite episodes, it kept me guessing, and just in general it was awesome. :)


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