BRETT DALTON, MING-NA WEN

In its first two episodes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. teetered on brilliant, spy-centric fun, but towards the end it falls flat on its face. “Girl in the Flower Dress” successfully integrates some smaller characters and developing plot points. Unfortunately, it fumbles when it comes to changing the main story line and keeping us invested in what a choice few are doing.

The Players:

  • Director: Jesse Bochco
  • Writers: Brent Fletcher
  • Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Ian De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Ruth Negga

Episode Title: “Girl in the Flower Dress”

A man with fire powers is found in the middle of Hong Kong. He’s apprehended by a secret organization hoping to exploit his abilities for a strange plan. S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to save him but deals with a few problems of their own as Skye’s (Bennet) criminal past pops up in the present.

The Good:

  • Hey, I Remember That Group!: It’s nice when a show reflects and keep continuity going, like with this secret organization that’s trying to perfect Extremis. The vague ending shows we’re not done with this group yet, but there’s still no real motivation behind them other than making money? Nobody is sure but we’ll probably find out at some point.
  • Stern Coulson: It’s nice to see that Agent Coulson isn’t always a cheerful, go-team kind of person. In the end, he’s the superior and can lay some justice down on anyone who screws up on his watch. He’s still stupidly too soft on Skye but hopefully that will change.
  • Shifting The Tone: There’s a number of things that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is lacking, and one of those is the courage to go darker. They took their first step by killing a character in front of us. We saw a girl burn to death. Her body turned to flames and ash as she screamed in pain. We also dealt with Skye’s history with a member of The Rising Tide, a lover of sorts, whom she leaks information to. Instead of smothering us with silly dialogue, we’re faced with the more serious spy world where you can’t trust everyone. There’s always somebody around the corner ready to screw you over. Glad we got that this episode.

The So-So:

  • Our Villains: We’re all for bringing lesser known Marvel characters into the mix, like they did with Scorch (Changchien). At least they gave him one episode instead of turning him into some crazy villain in waiting. Surely some of these super powered people dream of getting famous, the same as Captain America, but it doesn’t always happen for them. Scorch’s drive and descent into insanity worked fine, but the Extremis concoctors didn’t. What’s their true purpose? Explain it or just get rid of their story.

The Bad:

  • Skye, Why Are You Here?: When it’s revealed that she’s been on the search for her parents, it was supposed to appear as a big “shocker.” Let us not forget that she’s been looking to leak information about S.H.I.E.L.D. to The Rising Tide. Instead, let’s just throw this parents red herring into the mix. Actually, we hope it’s nothing more than a red herring that way she can try to royally screw the team and get kicked out. At the same time, Agent Coulson’s reasons for keeping her on the team, are becoming weaker. Everyone else is thoroughly convinced she should be given the boot, but Coulson still believes in her. Why is that? He doesn’t have any personal connection to her, so the basis of having her in the show is unjustified and should be fixed.

Overall:

“Girl in the Flower Dress” did the job in terms of entertainment value to a degree, but boy are we tired of seeing Skye’s story. At least use some of your other characters like Agent May. Just take the attention off the still incredibly worthless Skye.

Rating: 6.5/10

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.