Week of March 12, 2023:

The Inside Man (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s3 e12) released March 15, 2016 (where to watch)
Bang (Daredevil s2 e1) released March 18, 2016 (where to watch)
Scott Hardie | May 7, 2023

The Inside Man: I rather enjoyed this. AOS has built several previous episodes around infiltrating a private party-like event, and they've run the gamut from terrible to kind of fun, actually. I'm glad to see that the show has worked out the kinks in the formula. I was surprised that I didn't see Glenn Talbot's double-cross coming, since it was hiding in plain sight, but the twist was effective. Unlike Talbot, I did foresee Gideon Malick's obvious betrayal. At this point, who would take Malick or any other Hydra associate at their word, ever?

Not so good: The B-plot with "Grant Ward" consuming live victims was really just an excuse to drench the naked actor in goo and surround him with some burnt skeletons because it would look cool on camera, wasn't it? The brief battle with Carl Creel at the beginning was neat, like Creel using rubber to avoid being shocked by Lincoln Campbell's electricity. It made sense why Talbot didn't say in advance that he'd have a bodyguard, and that's on S.H.I.E.L.D.; the agency has proven itself unworthy of trust and prone to abduction before, so of course Talbot would want some secret protection. The show laid on Talbot's racism way too thick; we very much get it, and we don't want or need to hear more examples. (7/10)

Bang: Wow! Now that's a thrilling way to kick off a new year! Much like the violence at the beginning of the series, the second season comes charging out of the gate with something to prove. The prologue depicting Daredevil's ongoing vigilantism is both a good way to establish the status quo and damn entertaining (I love the symbolic choice of a small candlelit church), but even better is the episode's slowly mounting intensity that finally explodes in a violent conflict with the assassin at the end, whose identity is so far unspoken but pretty clear if you know the comics. Matt Murdock, Karen Page, and Foggy Nelson all get moments to prove their courage and growth. Recurring guests Royce Johnson as Brett Mahoney and Rob Morgan as Turk continue to do a lot with a little. (Give these men more appearances!) Grotto transcends being a plot device through carefully observed writing and acting. And welcome to the cast, Jon Bernthal; your charismatic intensity should suit this show perfectly. I liked the shock of the ending, I liked the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. connection (the biker gang that Foggy questions is the same exact one that Lorelei enchanted in Nevada, now relocated to New York), and I disliked almost nothing. For once, I didn't even mind one of the show's annoying tropes at the end, the silhouetted generic fight scene that's obviously between two stunt performers, since it felt like a necessary and satisfying extension of what came before it. (8/10)

Erik Bates | June 22, 2023

Ok, but how did Grant/Hive get off the planet?

It's been a while since I watched an episode, and I see that I didn't write a review for Episode 11, so now I'm questioning whether I watched it at all, and if that explains my confusion about Ward.

When was the last time we saw Creel? I enjoy his character. I either forgot or just never realized that he wasn't an inhuman until they pointed it out in this episode, though.

So Talbot is mildly racist. Or was that part of the act? I'm not real sure. Scott, I'm with you that I did not see the twist coming. Or the twist on the twist.

And how did Grant Ward get off that planet?!

This was a pretty fun episode, all told. I'm still trying to figure out if I like the new Ward/Hive thing we've got going on, though.

Also, as an aside, this is an odd two-episode jaunt in the middle of our timeline. What's with that?

Erik Bates | June 25, 2023


Hold on to your hats folks: I'm not going to complain about this episode. I loved it. Seriously, this is an amazing cast doing great work with some skillful writing. I miss out on the connections that Scott mentions (my attention to detail with television shows is lacking, to say the least), but that is pretty neat about the biker gang.

I had forgotten about who the 'villain' was in this season, so in the lead-up about this being a small army taking out gangs, I fully believed it. And then I saw Jon Bernthal stroll into the hospital and it all became clear. I enjoyed him in The Walking Dead and I can't wait to see what he brings to this new role.

Can I also just say that I find it funny that, like Spiderman and Jessica Jones, Daredevil is a neighborhood superhero? Spidey, of course, goes on to do bigger things with the Avengers and what-not, and his territory is really NYC, but I still associate him with the hero of Queens, just as Daredevil and Jones are Hell's Kitchen, which makes them even more of neighborhood superheroes because they actually fight for a neighborhood, not a borough! Take that, Peter Parker!

Side note: Did Stan Lee just have a thing with alliteration? Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Scott Summers, etc.?

If I have any gripe, it's trying to figure out how Punisher got to the right location to set up a sniper rifle and know what car Karen and Grotto were in? It's a bit of an inconsistency in my head, but necessary to set up the fight between him and Daredevil, so I'll let it slide.

I can't wait to see the rest of this season. It's incredibly promising so far!

Scott Hardie | June 26, 2023

I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but you're right to point out that AOS neglected to justify Grant/Hive escaping from Maveth. We know that he got out in time because Malick's car nearly hit him in the street afterward, and I guess we're meant to assume that Hive took over Grant's fresh corpse and either crawled or walked out, but there really wasn't much time before that portal closed and reaching it in time should not have been possible. I guess it's hardly the show's first time lazily skipping the explanation for something that shouldn't be possible.

Yeah, too bad about the weird scheduling, with two AOS episodes coming between Agent Carter and Daredevil. It's just a consequence of watching the MCU in broadcast order this way; ABC and Netflix were not coordinating on their release dates. The same thing comes up again soon after this, with the first two episodes of AOS's fourth season cut off from the rest by Luke Cage. Despite the disruption to our little project, I still strongly prefer Netflix's whole-season drops and I wish that every streamer would release its content that way.

Stan Lee really did have a thing for alliteration, for an amusing reason. Well, it's amusing to me as someone who uses little memory hacks myself. :-)

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