Agents of SHIELD: TRACKS review

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD gives fans a little service with plenty of action, gadgets, and DEATHLOK!

So fans of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD finally got a bona fide member of the Marvel Universe that fully embraced the source material and concept. Hey! You in the back, we know Arrow does it every week, but we don’t play the Marvel vs DC game here! Seriously, we don’t.

Not often, anyway.

Whatever the case, even though Marvel publicized the appearance of Deathlok from here to Kree space it was still a fangasm moment when the camera focused in on Mike Peterson’s newly installed bionic leg to revealed the word “Deathlok.” Oh, and what was the printed next to the name? Does that say “Version 1?” 

A very cool introduction for a very familiar Marvel character in one of the better episodes in recent memory. Most of the action focused on a SHIELD train heist as Coulson’s team tried to extract a mysterious package from a moving passenger train. The show opened with the usual character schlock, some of it amusing some of it excessive, but as Coulson and company were made by agents of the evil and recurring head of Cybertek Industries, Mr. Quinn, things got very real, very quickly.

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[related article: Deathlok – The Marvel Comics Phenomenon That Almost Was]

“TRACKS” told the tale of what happened to each grouping of agents on and off the train in a manner that only unfolded when viewers got each Agent’s point of view. From May and Ward’s sexual encounters, to the growing competence of Fitz as a field Agent, to Coulson’s fatherly view of Skye, “TRACKS” covered all the ground fans would need to know when the action began in earnest.

Speaking of action, not enough is said about Agents of SHIELD’s featured stunt work. The show continually has the best and most fevered fight sequences on television, and the shot of May parachuting off a speeding train was truly breathtaking. There are tense moments when the Agents are in danger that really grip a viewer as the humor and banter between characters has created depth and familiarity with most of the cast.

The heroes are rich and becoming more nuanced, but still, and this is repeated over and over, there is still no villain that fans can grip as a counterpoint to the well established heroes. Quinn is utterly generic and Deathlok, while awesome and welcome, is more of a tragic hero in the making than a true menace. Yes, Quinn does do the unthinkable and shoot Skye point blank, twice, but the moment is filled with concern for Skye rather than loathing for Quinn. The moment made me realize I do care about Skye and don’t want to see her get Whedoned, but the emotions end at concern not hatred for the generic menace that perpetrated the act.

All in all, the inclusion of Deathlok is moving the show in the right direction with a more effective use of humor as more fantastic elements are being introduced that take the show closer to the Marvel Universe proper and away from being a standalone, inconsequential quip fest.

Marvel Moments

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Coulson’s exasperated Asgard reference.

A reveal of the current location of Emil Blonsky, aka, the Abomination.

Cybertek is a division of Roxxon Oil that created the Deathlok tech in the comics. Well played Marvel.

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3.5 out of 5