Bad Seed

1/15/2014 Stephen Colbert 2 Comments


I know, I know, I know, I know.  I just wrote a defense of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D last week.  I still stand by a lot of what I said, but this last episode.... This, Episode 12... "Seed." Damn.

Yeah, spoilers, because if you haven't seen it yet, you should skip this episode since it doesn't really accomplish anything.

Turns out, Skye might have "powers," a whole team of S.H.I.E.L.D agents died defending her from "something," "Death"  (probably not a nod to the character, because they clearly would never do anything that bold) follows her, May tells Coulson she's having sex with Ward, Blizzard is introduced, and Ian Quinn is brought back into the fold to tie him in with "the Clairvoyant.,"  and Blizzard is sent to "The Sandbox," so likely we'll see Gravitron and some other dropped elements of the first half tied into the story for the remainder of the season.

Don't get excited, this picture is far more epic than anything in this episode.

This is all accomplished in the most melodramatic way possible with some of the most painful exposition I've ever witnessed. Ever.  It was so bad... (how bad was it?) It was so bad, that they literally had to fade to music mid climax as Coulson is explaining Skye's past to her, because, you know, hearing him actually speak the words into existence would have been worse than having a tearful montage set to sappy music.

The worst part is it could have all been accomplished easier. And faster.  Blizzard could have been mostly introduced off camera, and the info about Skye could have been received anonymously, through some "hacking," references in S.H.I.E.L.D records, or something that took less than 5 minutes out of an entirely different episode where the team tries to track down the "Clairvoyant."

All fiction is a lie.  Think of it that way.  "I never had sexual relations with that woman."  Perfect lie.  When does it fall apart? "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is..." Every word after that sentence just digs a deeper hole.  Only good lies are worth elaborating.  If you are telling a bad lie, you make it as short as possible.  The worst thing you can do is over explain a bad lie.  The same thing goes for bad fiction.  Like removing a band-aid, just blurt out the plot point and move on.

Not that the story that has been laid out is inherently bad.  My brief spoiler description has some good nuggets in it, but the episode destroyed it all in presentation, which has been the biggest flaw of the show so far.  They spend so much time trying to build something bigger that we never get a chance to enjoy what is being built.  Imagine if half of The Avengers was taken up elaborating on some sort of explanation as to how Thor got back to Earth, because, you know, that's a plot hole.  No, screw it.  Stick in a throwaway explanation and show us what we all came to see!  Joss Whedon's lack of involvement in this show really shows.

I love the fact that every picture of Melinda May could be captioned "bitch, please"

I'm not ditching the show yet, though.  I'll continue to tune in, because I do believe they have established some good elements and I really would like to see them explore things.  I want to know more about Skye's backstory, I want to know what happened to Coulson, I want to know who the Clairvoyant is, I want to know what's happening with Michael Peterson.  They have me hooked on enough elements to run forward, build (and maintain) momentum and finish the season strong, but if this is the way they follow up on a strong episode, then that will never happen.

Despite all my normal positivity, that's going to be the biggest flaw in the show, is the storytelling is just lacking.  Not the story itself, but the telling.  Marvel got a strong response to The Avengers, and other Phase 1 films, so they made a TV show that ties into it, but it's almost like the TV audience is intended for a different audience than the one that gave the producers justification to create it in the first place.... That's how I summed the show up last night on Twitter.

2 comments:

  1. Hopefully they take the show and run away with it now. The last episode was a disappointing follow up to the midseason premier (as I said in the post)

    ReplyDelete

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