MING-NA WEN, B.J. BRITT, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, CHLOE BENNET, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, BRETT DALTON, CLARK GREGG

If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were a baseball team, they’d be in the middle of a winning streak. “The Only Light in the Darkness” is a soft around the edges but still provides big character development. It gives better insight into Agent Fitz (Iain de Caestecker), Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the now evil Agent Ward (Brett Dalton).

The Players:

  • Director: Vincent Misiano
  • Writer: Monica Owusu-Breen
  • Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain de Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, B.J. Britt, Patton Oswalt, Amy Acker, Patrick Brennan

Episode Title: “The Only Light in the Darkness”

The former S.H.I.E.L.D. team is hidden in a remote location, but Agent Coulson is determined to get them out in the field. When Coulson discovers that inmate Marcus Daniels (Brennan) is roaming the streets, he immediately runs after him. It’s not because he’s a criminal, but the fact that he’ll immediately target the mysterious cellist that he’s mentioned before – Audrey (Acker). Meanwhile Skye (Bennet) is starting to figure out more about Ward, or at least more than he would want.

The Good:

  • Fitz/Simmons/Triplett: This love triangle is beginning to take center stage. The way they drop information about Agent Triplett and the different aspects of his personality are great in this episode. He has a sharp mind and his grandfather was in the Howling Commandos. Those subtle but noticeable moments of chemistry popping up between Triplett and Simmons are great to see. If you hope that Fitz mans up and tells Simmons how he feels about her, it certainly doesn’t happen here. The anticipation of what could happen with the three of them, especially when they’re still at the top of Hydra’s list, could bring more interesting story developments as the season comes to a close.
  • Skye’s Suspicions: When it was revealed that Agent Ward was a bad guy in disguise, the surprise was a welcomed change for the character. At the start nobody in the group suspected that he could be playing for team Hydra, but when Skye’s clever mind figures out he’s killed Agent Eric (Oswalt), part of his plan is clear. The episode ended with one of two major cliffhangers, the biggest being the subtle kidnapping of Skye. She was able to lie her way into Ward’s good graces shortly after she found most of the truth. There’s no way she can last too long without giving up her game, but she was trained by Ward. The possibilities of where this could go between them are endless.
  • May Going Rogue: When Coulson found out that Agent May (Wen) was secretly telling Nick Fury about his status, he was furious. Coulson placed his trust in May. For the past two episodes she’s been trying to convince him that she’s on his side, but he still doesn’t believe her. May soon realized the only thing she can do is pack her things and leave. Agent May’s character development has definitely blossomed throughout the season. When she took a step out that door it was obvious that this woudn’t be the last time we saw her this season. The second twist was May being picked up by her mother who’s taking her to see Agent Maria Hill. Two of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s toughest ladies fighting side-by-side? I can’t wait to see this.
  • Direction: In some ways “The Only Light in the Darkness” is the final story before we get into the real meat of the season. The direction of this episode is a fine example of what happens when the person behind the camera gets creative with their shots.

The So-So:

  • The Chello Player: Fans have speculated as to whether or not Agent Coulson would one day transform into the Vision. When they announced that Paul Bettany would be taking on that role (in The Avengers: Age of Ultron), rather than Clark Gregg, it squashed those dreams. It’s been hinted that Coulson had a previous relationship with a cellist named Audrey (Amy Acker). The story revolved around her own stalker, one who was actually the villain Blackout/Marcus Daniels (Patrick Brennan). She tells Simmons that the reason she’s alive and well today is due to Agent Coulson, the brave S.H.I.E.L.D. man who ended up in an intimate relationship with her. Coulson has never revealed that he’s still alive to her, and sadly keeps it that way in a bittersweet ending that ties up the final loose end that may have connected him to becoming the Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a real shame that they wouldn’t be following through with that story. In some ways “The Only Light in the Darkness” is reflective of that plot. The story appeared a little slapped together with a not-too-threatening villain but still manages to give us a strong end.

The Bad:

  • Agent Eric: It always feels like such a waste when a well-known actor doesn’t have too many scenes on a show. Patton Oswalt is quite the talented actor, but his character didn’t really connect or last on screen for too long. He gave us a couple of laughs, but it would have been nice to see him last longer.

Overall:

“The Only Light in the Darkness” ties another loose end to Agent Coulson’s past. This episode is a slow burn; a gradual build-up to what will be a suspenseful two episodes that will wrap up the first season.

Rating: 9/10

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

What did you think of last night’s episode?