COBIE SMULDERS, CLARK GREGG

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hopes to keep its momentum going, but in still falters. “Nothing Personal” takes us through the realm of suspense as Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) life hangs in the balance. The inconsistent pacing thrusts us back into reality and reminded us that this isn’t the finale.

The Players:

  • Director: Roxann Dawson
  • Writer: Jeffrey Bell
  • Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain de Caestecker, J. August Richards, B.J. Britt, Colbie Smulders

Episode Title: “Nothing Personal”

Agent Ward (Dalton) and Skye (Bennet) are flying to an undisclosed location to crack the hard drive that will grant them access to all of the group’s secrets. Thankfully Skye knows that Grant is working with Hydra and tries her best to stall for time while the rest of the agents piece together what happened to them. Meanwhile, Agent May (Wen) tracks down Maria Hill (Smulders) to help her with an interesting request.

The Good:

  • The Group Knows: One of the many highlights in “Nothing Personal” is their quick discovery of Agent Ward’s loyalties. Naturally, Fitz (Caestecker) throws a big hissy fit, and the others gradually come under a slight state of shock. It’s fine they didn’t let Ward’s true nature stay hidden for too long. If they were to keep playing it up, the story line would have withered away rather quickly.
  • Skye’s Tactics: In the past couple episodes we’ve seen Skye’s clever ways put into play to save the lives of herself and others. She was able to tip officers to Agent Ward’s presence and encrypt the data. It’s been proven that Skye’s a valuable asset to the team, something that never fully came into play until recently. She even strikes a few good blows to Agent Ward, so we know she’s physically up to snuff. The story advancements have helped Skye blossom into a full developed character, she’s finally turning into someone we can all root for.
  • Tension: In the first 20 minutes, we had no idea as to whether or not Skye would be making it out of this ordeal. Would Agent Coulson and the group swoop in and save her in time? The answer is no. After some serious interference with the sinister Deathlok (Richards), Skye had no choice but to hand the code over to the enemy. It was either that or see her beloved Agent Ward get killed by the hands of this cybernetic man.

The So-So:

  • More Maria Hill: Maria Hill has a powerful presence in Marvel Comics, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that we don’t see much of her on film or television. Thankfully, they brought her onto Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which makes the most sense. But she didn’t do much other than spout out a few lines and knock a guy or two unconscious. She’s a character that needs to be onscreen more often. Yes, she is a lady who’s lawful to a degree, but there’s more to her than that. If there is a Season 2, we’re hoping she has a bigger role in this television universe.
  • Coulson’s Discovery: Agent May tells Coulson that she found his secret T.A.H.I.T.I. file and who was behind it. The big reveal was that it was Coulson who was moving the project forward. But Coulson urges that they terminate Project T.A.H.I.T.I., saying the side effects were too painful and could mentally cripple a person. The only way they could prevent them from happening is by wiping the person’s memory, which is what happened to Coulson. Once the person becomes aware of the process, they’re at risk of being exposed to those side effects again. Could this be the beginning of the end for Coulson? The clock is ticking and it’s time to see whether or not he’ll be able to handle this ordeal. The explanation sounds rather silly. They’re basically sweeping under the rug any minor specs of a possible Vision story line.

The Bad:

  • The Second Half: The general interest in “Nothing Personal” began to quickly wane after the first half. There are several reasons this happened. The first had to be the pacing, which is difficult to maintain when you’re dealing with multiple characters at once. Skye is trying her best to keep Ward in one location so she can get her team members to track her down. When she’s brought onto the plane, and it’s apparent that they aren’t going to kill her, the suspense is ultimately lost. Why should we care about what happens to her if she’s not in any danger?

Overall:

Not every episode is perfect, and “Nothing Personal” is an example of that. It’s rough around the edges but there’s enough action going on to still keep our interest — at least enough to stick it out until the season finale.

Rating: 7.5/10

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

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