Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep5: Girl in the Flower Dress

This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D … Things get a little heated , in more ways than one. Centipede comes crawling out of the woodwork. And Skye is forced to reveal herself, both literally and figuratively, as we discover why she really joined the team.

This week’s mission

A Hong Kong street magician capable of spontaneously creating fire is abducted and S.H.I.E.L.D. must do everything they can to recover him – or stop him.

Raina (Ruth Negga) proves to be a ruthless face of Centipede (Image: Marvel Movies Wikia)

Raina (Ruth Negga) proves to be a ruthless face of Centipede (Image: Marvel Movies Wikia)

Burn, baby, burn

Like last week, this episode is darker in nature and highlights that not everything S.H.I.E L.D. does is morally pure. Here their surveillance and suppression of those with abilities such as Chan Ho Yin sits in a grey moral area, ultimately resulting in Coulson and May making the pragmatic decision to limit the damage and allow Chan – now going by the name Scorch – to destroy himself.

The somewhat nebulous threat of Centipede from the pilot also begins to coalesce and intensify in the form of Raina. She’s quite happy to extract the blood platelets which prevent Chan from burning himself and then to sacrifice her team’s doctor when he breaks free seeking vengeance. The scene in which Scorch incinerates her is as macabre as anything we have seen on the show so far. And the coda referring to ‘the clairvoyant’ and stage three of the Extremis project promises further escalation of the Centipede menace in coming episodes.

Elsewhere there are heavy allusions to Wikileaks, Anonymous and Guantanamo Bay in Skye’s interactions with her mentor and boyfriend Miles Lydon. His actions reveal him to be less than the idealist he professes to be. Her abrupt loss of trust by the team and the setback in her developing brother/little sister relationship with Grant Ward will take some rebuilding.

More arcs (sic) than Noah?

Five episodes in, it now looks like we have three developing long-term story arcs under way: Centipede/Extremis, Dr Franklin Hall/Graviton and the unseen organisation behind Akela Amador’s activities last week.

In addition, we have exchanged one mystery about Skye for another. It was a wise move by the writers to ensure the question over her ambiguous allegiance didn’t outstay its welcome. Now that we know her parents were either on S.H.I.E.L.D’s radar or agents themselves, we’re left wondering as to exactly who they are. It’s too much of a cliché for her to be related to a member of the team, surely?

As episodes go, this was okay but lacked the fizz of last week. On the plus side it advanced another ongoing major threat for later in the season while moving the ongoing Skye plot along a step. On the down-side, we’re now long overdue a Fitz-Simmons-centric story – the pair urgently need to be made more than two-dimensional and interchangeable spouters of exposition.

Marvel mentions

We revisit both the pilot and Iron Man 3 as we learn Centipede is trying to stabilise the effects of the Extremis serum on it subjects.

Scorch has previously appeared as a minor villain in Marvel comic-books. He was also an Asian pyrokinetic, named Tommy Ng.

Best line

Oh crap. They gave him a name.

Coulson is displeased that Centipede gave Chan a name to feed his dreams and ego.

Rating: 6/10

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews

Preview: Can Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. work without Avengers?

1.1 Pilot

1.2 0-8-4

1.3 The Asset

1.4 Eye-Spy

4 Comments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 Ep5: Girl in the Flower Dress

  1. I found this, and last week’s really average and hope the next one starts to return the show to the form of the first three. This one lacked thrills and the usual snappy dialogue. The new Skye plot looks promising.

    • Jury’s out on the new Skye plot – it feels like a very familiar trope to me. But it was definitely a good move to close off the is she/isn’t she Rising Tide plotline.

      I liked the balance of last week’s episode, in particular the opening visual of the men in red masks and the subversion of making them the victims rather than the perpetrators. Episode two was the low point for me, since when the show has gradually improved in my eyes. This week was a definite notch down though.

      There’s still loads of potential in the series and I wasn’t complaining after the first two or three episodes, but it feels like there needs to be more of an acceleration now, particularly with character and dialogue.

  2. Specifically character, I’d say. They really need to give the supporting cast something to do and flesh them out a bit. The dialogue can be a bit hit and miss, but it’s generally OK at least.

    • Yeah, I think dialogue gets a bit of a hard time here. Some of the dialogue in season 1 of Buffy was certainly funnier but also just as uneven.

      I’m resigned to Fitz-Simmons always being the least developed characters. Il sure they’ll get an episode to shine here and there, but the key to this show is Ward/Skye and May/Coulson.

      I am glad though that they didn’t take the easy out here of having Fitz-Simmons do the ventilation control override just because they’re ‘scientists’. Too many shows use their science geek as an excuse to write them out of any corner, regardless of whether they’re computer geek, engineering geek or whatever.

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