Week of October 30, 2022:

S.O.S. Part 2 (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2 e22) released May 12, 2015 (where to watch)
WHIH: NEWSFRONT Promo - July 2, 2015 (WHIH Newsfront s1 e1) released July 2, 2015 (where to watch)
Newsfront Top Stories (WHIH Newsfront s1 e2) released July 7, 2015
WHIH EXCLUSIVE: 2012 VistaCorp Break-in Security Footage Involving Cyber-criminal Scott Lang (WHIH Newsfront s1 e3) released July 10, 2015
WIRED Insider Interviews Darren Cross, CEO of Pym Technologies (WHIH Newsfront s1 e4) released July 13, 2015
WHIH EXCLUSIVE: Scott Lang Interview (WHIH Newsfront s1 e5) released July 16, 2015
Scott Hardie | October 30, 2022

S.O.S. Part 2: This episode is considered the very best of the series, which I just don't understand. It's not bad, but the characters are too underdeveloped and the conflict too routine for it to generate much excitement. Other than Zabo's face turn, I didn't find anything in this hour remotely surprising. Here's my reaction to each of the story threads:

• May eliminating Kara that way was satisfying in its poetic justice, but its ruthlessness doesn't jibe with May doing some psychological healing later in this episode. Is there a good vacation package for spies who just stone-cold tricked enemy agents into being murdered by their lovers?

• Morse taking a bullet for Hunter was nice if a bit inevitable, and his being so devoted at her bedside was welcome if expected. (And as a longtime ER fan, it was neat to see actress Ming-Na Wen rattle off someone's vitals again.) But until I know what Morse means by "I can't do this any more," I don't fully know what to make of this.

• Jiaying just doesn't have any fire or passion. For someone who is hell-bent on committing genocide (does anything think she'll stop with S.H.I.E.L.D.?), she is curiously calm and inarticulate about her reasons. She's an unsatisfying villain who meets a boring end. The only nice touch was Zabo's explanation that Jiaying used to be a good woman and came back from the dead an evil one, Pet Sematary-style, which explains his endless attempts to make a connection with her all season long. I suppose I should credit Jiaying's casual mass murder with finally vindicating S.H.I.E.L.D.'s paranoia; for once, their heavy-handed tactics and blinkered worldview turned out to be justified. Ugh.

• Zabo's turn here was my favorite part of the hour, after "other dad" Coulson's convincing argument at the beginning. Zabo really does care about his daughter most of all, and knows that Jiaying will kill her if she won't join the cause. He deserved his happy ending. I'm very troubled by the ethics of using the T.A.H.I.T.I. technology again after all of its serious problems, but at least the show paid lip service to that ethical quandary, which is more than it typically does.

• It's nice to get confirmation that Ward really did love Kara, but otherwise, his ending is very disappointing. He's going to stick around on the series, and he's going to relaunch Hydra? The show needs badly to move on from both of them.

• I said I'd stop complaining about the problematic shipping of FitzSimmons, so I'll skip the overall rant about them dating and focus on a single detail: When Simmons finally wants to discuss romance with him, Fitz asking "now?!" and walking out on her is such a dick power play that men use to prolong the pretense of victimhood that gives them an upper hand. Ugh, I hate that this show and its audience can't see Fitz for the serial asshole that he is.

• Lincoln siding with S.H.I.E.L.D. was predictable but still pleasant. When Skye persuaded him, why didn't she argue that Jiaying left him for dead while S.H.I.E.L.D. agents risked their lives to rescue him? When he came to after Mack violently knocking him out (seriously; that looked skull-fracturing), why didn't he have slurred speech or concussion symptoms? I wonder if Lincoln will be the first recruit in Skye's new division.

• The leaking crate of terrigenesis crystals at the end was a nice touch, playing just a little bit on our society's simultaneous fear of toxins in our food supply and embrace of dubiously-supported additives in our food supplements. And yet, I'm not going to hold my breath for Skye to get one ounce of blame for causing it. Her poor judgment caused the mid-season accident that transformed her and Raina while killing Triplett, but Coulson completely excused her for that, so why would she get any blame for spreading toxic alien magic crystal powder around the world and the inevitable storylines to come?

• Coulson lost an arm? Meh, I'm sure he'll get a prosthetic and it won't matter. Simmons got taken over by the alien rock? Meh, wake me when it's more than just a MacGuffin that can do whatever the plot needs. Mack stuck around? I like him, so I'm glad, but it's not like he's essential. Gordon is dead? It was nice to see the transporter finally buy it in a way related to his power, but like Jiaying I'm ready to move on. Did Agent Weaver even survive this? I'm not clear, nor do I really care; I expect the "council" that oversees Coulson to be forgotten going forward.

As the show looks to the future, I continue to hope that it improves, because I'm not enjoying it like this. Here's hoping for a better season three. (5/10)

season rating: 5/10 (It was ok.)
best of season: "One Door Closes"
worst of season: "A Fractured House"

WHIH Newsfront Season 1: These are as minor and inessential as MCU content gets, but they're kind of fun in their own little way, especially in the news ticker at the bottom of the screen. Paul Rudd's appearance in the last episode was the highlight, because he got to make actual jokes. What was the point of the Corey Stoll interview in the fourth episode other than to establish that this character is very serious? I liked seeing Leslie Bibb return to the MCU again, though I was surprised to see her praise Tony Stark here after the way he treated her in Iron Man. I am no more interested in watching Ant-Man after seeing these promos than I was beforehand, but I'm still glad that I spent ten minutes catching up on a tiny corner of the MCU that eluded me in the past.

"WHIH: NEWSFRONT Promo - July 2, 2015": 4/10
"Newsfront Top Stories": 4/10
"WHIH EXCLUSIVE: 2012 VistaCorp Break-in Security Footage Involving Cyber-criminal Scott Lang": 5/10
"WIRED Insider Interviews Darren Cross, CEO of Pym Technologies": 5/10
"WHIH EXCLUSIVE: Scott Lang Interview": 7/10
season rating: 4/10 (It was ok.)

Scott Hardie | October 30, 2022
This comment contains spoilers for Ant-Man. Reveal it.

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