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MAR
5
10 MOS

Jim Steranko on 'Agents of SHIELD': 'Does Anyone Care What Happens to Skye?'

In his "THR" recap, the comics veteran writes that, with "T.A.H.I.T.I.," "it's a helluva kink when a 30-second 'Winter Soldier' trailer makes you forget a full hour of 'Agents of SHIELD.' "

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Episodic Jim Steranko Inset 3/4 - H 2014
ABC/Kelsey McNeal; Courtesy of Subject

Sometimes on Tuesday nights, I think the world splits into two factions: those who have given up watching Agents of SHIELD after a half season of lackluster scripts, stretched-to-infinity personnel backstories and so many salted clues, they need an atomic abacus to keep score -- and those who believe in miracles!

I'm not saying miracles happen without at least a couple serious novenas, but just eyeballing the 14th episode seems to suggest that Joss Whedon and company have picked up the pace, possibly spurred by diminishing ratings and the April release of the new Captain America flick. (Nonetheless, it's a helluva kink when a 30-second Winter Soldier trailer makes you forget a full hour of Agents of SHIELD.)

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So, you want a fix on what's happening with Deathlok? And what insidious manifestations are being hatched by Centipede? Perhaps what malevolent juggernaut is on Rising Tide's agenda? Or maybe some national catastrophe worthy of SHIELD's attention? Sorry, Junior, this week's long-awaited plot cold-shoulders those plotlines to concentrate on gut-shot Skye (aren't flak jackets de rigueur for SHIELD agents?).

The offering was predicated on Skye's imminent death, but as anyone with an IQ of 15 knows, Agent Coulson (too inefficient to get his boss on the damned phone) beat the Grim Reaper previously through SHIELD technology. So what's to worry about? For that matter, does anyone over the IQ of 15 care what happens to Agent Skye anyway? (And haven't any of the SHIELD thinktankers even realized she still has no last name?)

And how about Coulson advocating T.A.H.I.T.I. for Skye, while still denouncing it vehemently from a personal viewpoint. And to complicate matters even further, he has to make the decision to revive Skye at the cost of giving the Clairvoyant the Secret of Life and Death or sacrificing a terminal, sort-of agent for the cause of National Security and the safety of more than 300 million Americans. Is there any doubt Mr. SHIELD will opt for the former? Betcha never woulda guessed!

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Bill Paxton's spit-in-your-eye Agent Garrett pumps up the ep by doing his impression of Nick Fury! Think about it -- if they can't shanghai Samuel L. Jackson, Paxton will walk the walk and talk the talk instead! You bet your GH325!

Despite such thigh-slappers as, "What would Skye do in this situation?" and "We are her family!" "T.A.H.I.T.I." tries for a faster, harder edge (Quinn's sanguinary make-up aces Brando's in On the Waterfront), but may have only succeeded in creating more teeth-grinding, connect-the-dots conundrums.

So, let me ask you this question: If America were really under attack, would you actually want these SHIELD geeks calling the shots?