Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Agents of SHIELD: SHIELD looks for their window of opportunity

Agents of SHIELD S06E02: 'Window of Opportunity'
May is back and ready for action!

by Brandon Coulson

Okay guys I am back on board!

A recurring theme with SHIELD that seems to happen at least twice a season is the inevitably disappointing episodes that make me think the series is burned out, that it's time to hang up the old hat and call it quits. Luckily this is usually followed by an episode with such amazing sequences that all those feelings instantly evaporate.

‘Window of Opportunity’ was the latter and it felt like old SHIELD again, back before they changed stunt coordinators. For one thing, Sarge / Bad Phil actually did come off as a badass this week. I got kind of a Terminator vibe from him going into the convenience store with his shades and strapped for trouble. Some of his smaller details really helped me cement who his character is, from his line about a world’s currency telling you a lot to his repeated speech about not being a hero. It came across a little No Country for Old Men but I read something else there too. This guy has seen and done a lot of bad stuff but I feel this wall or facade up in front of him.

Much like how he reacts later to hearing the name Coulson, it’s hard to read exactly what he’s feeling but I get the sense he’s a bastard out of necessity rather than desire. The layers of emotion playing out over his face said nothing while saying a lot. It was very impressive.

My single biggest problem with the episode came from Sarge’s mobile base, a giant semi truck … that turns invisible! Okay, I get the want to be mobile and not be seen, but I think any normal intelligent person can see the problem with a giant eighteen wheeler speeding down the highway with no drivers able to see it? Or even when it was parked at a junkyard? If we don’t get at least one shot of some poor soul smashing their car right into that thing then not only is it a wasted opportunity for a little levity it also is completely unbelievable. Oh and May found it because she noticed GIANT FRICKING TRACKS!! Though May stealing the old Last Crusade 'throwing dirt to show the invisible thing' trick was a nice touch I still kept thinking, 'Man they must get run into literally all the time on every world they go to.' Okay, rant over.

Fitz’s storyline was … decent let’s say but I don’t really need him to be 'mister lets sacrifice ourselves for the greater good' guy every week. I know most will say he’s overcompensating for his old VR Nazi days but let’s move on and have him do something other than be the moral compass of the universe. I did like the way he negotiated and plotted his way through the situation. I saw the airlock twist coming a mile away, reversing it so his airlock was safe and his potential slaver got sucked out was smart. It also was the same twist from Superman II, a film I adore so I kept waiting (unsuccessfully) for someone to start saying Luthor’s lines about reversing the doors. It was a clever bit though not completely thought out as Enoch points out the crew would be court-martialed for killing the captain, so while Fitz saved their lives (after putting them in danger to begin with) they will now have to live on a foreign planet and basically hide forever ... not the greatest outcome.


Hands down the best part of the episode belonged to May. Ming-na Wen looks to have healed from last year's injury and was back to kicking ass. The entire jewelry store sequence was just fantastic. From Sarge’s side, the initial confrontation with the store employee was tense. The reveal that they wanted junk crystals rather than jewels felt a bit 80s tongue-in-cheek to me but that’s fine. Hopefully they realize those things are cheap garbage and no killing is required.

The portal tech used in the vault looked great. I’m sure the effect was as simple as building two sets next to each other but the implementation was superb and the use of the portal, flipping it on the floor and against a wall was as great here as in the Portal games from which it is obviously, let’s say, borrowed. The camera moves, the acting, May just kicking the crap out of everyone, it all worked here so well. I cannot wait to see more of this kind of set piece as the season goes on.

The episode also flatly stated that Sarge is a genetic match for our Phil so we can assume multiverse alternate reality type stuff is about to arise. Maybe this will explain the lack of connection the the greater MCU, though I’m not holding my breath. We also saw Sarge’s crew recorded on another world that seemed to be destroyed. While the implication is that they did it, I’m betting that we find his group is trying to outrun something that is the actual cause and that will be the big twist -- they aren’t evil but just trying to survive by world hopping.

And just to take a big old swing at the cause, let’s say that the world destroying force is another worlds version of Quake. Back-up predictions are alternate Talbot or Ruby from last year in full blown 'Destroyer of Worlds' mode. Again probably completely wrong but If I nailed it the bragging will be mighty come end of season.

All I know for sure is SHIELD proved to me they still have it. Whether they can keep it up or not is yet to be seen but I do think we realized here just how much May’s action sequences add to this series. Lets keep this big implausible semi rolling!
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