Agents of SHIELD: Repairs, review

A villain with some teeth, some more fallout from Thor: The Dark World, and we learn a little bit more about May in this week's Agents of SHIELD.

Well, Agents of SHIELD upped the ante on the villain this week, but it seems to be a one off, so it’s back to the drawing board. What “Repais” did succeed in doing was to fill in Agent May’s backstory, humanizing a character that was held in an almost mythic regard by her fellow Agents. When a young woman is believed to have accidently killed a number of people with her new found telekinetic powers, the Agents must rescue her from her angry town and, ultimately, herself. The episode starts out like an X-Men riff, with an angry mob ready to take down the girl they blame for their friends and family members’ deaths. When the girl, Hannah, seemingly fights back, Agent May coldly tranquilizes her.

How the different Agents handle Hannah, who believes she is possessed by demons, reveals a great deal about their character, May coldly accepts that taking Hannah down was necessary, while Skye sees the girl as a lost and frightened innocent in need of a warm shoulder. Where the episode temporarily goes off the rails is when Skye goes after May for doing her job just minutes after she poured on the compassion for Hannah, a stranger. Is Skye the rebellious brat or empathetic hero? Her treatment of Hannah and May contradicts each path as Skye’s character arc continues to be a bit of a mess.

May is just the opposite. The showrunners seem to have a clear path to who May is and why she has become an almost robotic warrior. The lovable Fitz and Simmons seem to be loosening May up and adding a layer to her humanity while Coulson continues to act as friend and mentor.

“Repairs” also added a villain that had some real teeth: a ghost-like killer who secretly caused the industrial accident everyone blamed Hannah for. The villain, Tobias Ford, is trapped between dimensions in part because of inter-dimensional shenanigans from Thor: The Dark World. The show brings the special effects goodness as the real world application of Tobias’ powers was pretty cool to look at, and his showdown with May was freakin’ awesome. The only disappointment for old Tobias was that he could have, should have, been the Iron Man villain, the Ghost. One supposes it still could be as the Ghost’s real name has never been revealed in the comics.

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Having Tobias’ power tied to Thor is another reminder that Agents of SHIELD is taking place a in a larger landscape of events and conflicts that will trickle down and affect the Agents. Stuff like that is what makes the show special. Tobias seemed to be defeated rather permanently by episode’s end, so the show will once again be without a recurring threat, but the power set and ominous presence of Tobias was certainly a step in the right direction.  

There was some silliness with Fitz and Simmons trying to prank the newbie Skye, but these lighter moments were pretty nonintrusive and were used to contrast May’s aloofness, so they can be forgiven. The only effective scenes with Skye continue to be the ones she shares with Coulson as her character is still a bit annoying and uneven. It’s hard to imagine why as May and Coulson, and even Ward and FitzSimmons have become rather nuanced and layered.  

But the inclusion of a real villain that was both frightening and a bit tragic made this episode a winner.

Marvel Moments:  

– The gateways from Dark World giving Tobias his powers.

– Coulson’s call sign being SHIELD 616. Well played.

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3.5 out of 5