Week of May 1, 2022:

Heavy Is the Head (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2 e2) released September 30, 2014 (where to watch)
Making Friends and Influencing People (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2 e3) released October 7, 2014
Face My Enemy (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2 e4) released October 14, 2014
Scott Hardie | May 3, 2022

Heavy is the Head: Ugh. The show's fully back on its bullshit. General Talbot is the worst element here, a J. Jonah Jameson-like villain who exists solely to be wrong about the heroes at every turn and to be a manufactured obstacle for them; his methods and his stated motives make zero sense, especially considering all of the legitimate criticism he could level at S.H.I.E.L.D. if he wanted. Then there's Hunter, who quintuple-crosses (!) with no apparent conviction to a cause other than honoring a dead friend, and yet Coulson offers him a permanent job despite being betrayed by Ward so recently and having serious trust issues on the team. Raina is once again operating from the shadows for a mysterious benefactor; does this show really not have the imagination to do anything else with her? And Fitz's story is a Hollywood portrayal of brain damage that seems many miles removed from the real thing, among other problems. I liked a few small details here, including Coulson's line about budget restrictions ("We're lucky we still have the George Foreman Grill"), but there was precious little to like here. (2/10)

Am I being too hard on this show? There's a long way to go.

Scott Hardie | May 8, 2022

Making Friends and Influencing People: Most of this is fine, not particularly remarkable, although I liked the Fitz/Ward scene (well played by both actors), the banter of the background agents, and Donnie Gill's attention-grabbing means of being found. My one big complaint is Skye's sanctimony in her scene with Ward: She insists that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s refusal to kill is what makes them superior to Hydra, and then she kills Donnie herself. The show has been hypocritical about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s morality from the start, but this is the most glaring example yet; the writers had to be really obtuse not to see it by this point. And I don't like Skye's unctuous tone in her scenes with Ward anyway; it's somehow worse than their chemistry-free flirting in the first season. Maybe her taking a life, foreshadowed in conversation with May, will force her to get off of her high horse. (They could have titled this "Kill Gill.") Also: How is Coulson savvy enough to do dead drops to conceal Simmons's identity but still willing to meet in her apartment? (3/10)

Scott Hardie | May 10, 2022

Face My Enemy: I enjoyed this. Coulson and May make a great team, so it's fun to see their banter at the party and their teamwork afterwards. It was also chilling to see Coulson's tone take a dark turn at the end: For a show that too often indulges in TV clich├ęs, it was self-aware enough to have May give the traditional heartwarming and life-affirming speech at the end in which she promises never to shoot Coulson, and then have Coulson coldly reject that and give her a bracing assessment of reality and order her to do the unpleasant but necessary part of her job, all without blinking. The show needs more moments like that, in which it stretches beyond its comfort zone. Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen were pretty good throughout but especially in that scene. And the May vs. May fight was fun too, with that great slow-motion moment to cap it off.

That said, the show is still doing a lot of over-explaining for audience members not paying attention. Do we really need imaginary-Simmons to say out loud that Fitz doesn't feel like he belongs, or for Hydra to go around stamping their logo on everything? They're still wanted fugitives if I understand correctly; you wouldn't see al-Qaeda terrorists walking around Miami with al-Qaeda logos on their armor and cars and tablets. And I would think that Hydra nearly blowing up our heroes and their plane would rate higher than a C-plot, but I guess the rest of the cast had to be involved somehow. (6/10)

Scott Hardie | May 10, 2022
This comment contains spoilers for Ant-Man and the Wasp and WandaVision. Reveal it.

Scott Hardie | May 10, 2022
This comment contains spoilers for Daredevil, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. Reveal it.

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