Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (“End of the Beginning”)

Season 1, Episode 16
Date of airing: April 1, 2014 (ABC)
Nielsen ratings information: 5.711 million viewers, 3.4/6 in Households, 1.96/6 with Adults 18-49

So much stuff happened in this episode. It was an hour that almost got separated by its two individual plots. At first it was a hunt for the Clairvoyant and a little bit of action involving Deathlok, but at the end this episode became an unofficial mole hunt, which seemed more intriguing than the first two thirds of the episode. Unfortunately, the mole hunt came a little too late and maybe could have been the premise of its own episode, or at least took half of this one. Coulson and Skye realizing that the Clairvoyant is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with high-level clearance was quite the thrilling reveal (finally, one among them is the villain, although the writers could choose to make the mole one of their own on the Bus, or a random high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, someone like Victoria Hand), and all of a sudden Melinda May is probably the one who should be considered the villain — seriously the thought of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent being the villain who was the minds of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents through psych evaluations is a huge and interesting thought, but it wasn’t played out very well, because it only had time to develop for one single act.

Someone is getting their S.H.I.E.L.D. wallet.

Anyway, Skye is now a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, which certainly was a touching scene with a happy end, but I wonder a little why it was so easy for Coulson to have her become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, or why the “ceremony” went along this easily for Skye. She never had troubles getting access to files when needed, but all of a sudden she needed S.H.I.E.L.D. clearance to get to even deeper files, as well as evaluation data of all the rejected Index people. That was a little bit convenient, and a somewhat unnecessary scene as well, but as long as Skye is officially a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent now, everyone is happy, and Skye is happy. I was certainly happy. By the way: It took Skye less than a year to become a Level 1 agent. Considering that S.H.I.E.L.D. is the biggest thing there is in this series universe, it’s a little surprising that she didn’t take long at all to get her shield.

The premise of having two agents teamed up to go after different suspects seemed like an interesting one, but it ran afoul midway through, when it was became slightly unnecessary to create this complicated plan, when it had no meaning for the story and episode. In addition, the Clairvoyant still had an in somehow, which could almost mean the Clairvoyant was one of the six people Skye teamed up, simply because it’s much easier to be the mole when you’re in the middle of some action. Sure, it was realistic that S.H.I.E.L.D. would go after the Clairvoyant and try everything not to let them see what is really going on, but if a Clairvoyant can see into the future, it can also see where and when a pair of agents came around to check on a suspect. So there wasn’t much surprise when Deathlok came around and attacked Blake and Melinda. And how convenient it was for Deathlok to not kill Blake at all and instead just crushed his nuts (that’s what it looked like from afar). Deathlok has superpowers, goddammit, it could have been so easy for him to just crush Blake’s neck and have the character be retired after this episode, just to showcase that in AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., S.H.I.E.L.D. agents do die. But apparently Titus Welliver is too much of a well-known face in television to just kill him off after two episodes and two Marvel one-shots. And why was Deathlok even running away? He got shot and it didn’t mind him at all, and it’s obvious that he can’t be touched either. He could have gone after May and made meat sauce out of her. He could have blown up the sub-levels to bury Coulson and Garrett. If this would be real-life, Deathlok would have won this fight easily, and S.H.I.E.L.D. had to deal with about a dozen or so dead agents. Then again, maybe his new rocket storage hand device was too small to carry enough rockets to level the entire building. Maybe the Clairvoyant should have given Deathlok the ex-wife instead.

Supervillain landing!

The scene with Thomas Nash didn’t bring anything either, especially after Coulson realized that Ward might have killed the wrong guy, before he realized that the Clairvoyant is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Okay, the whole thing with Thomas Nash led to that, but I would have hoped that Ward would be eyed a little more critically after what he had done on the race track. But now that he killed not only the potential Clairvoyant, but also maybe a witness, it would almost make Ward the mole, since his action just buried S.H.I.E.L.D.’s chances to get some answers. Coulson definitely had a few questions for this Clairvoyant, but Ward made sure he would never get to ask them. It’s suspicious.

But to be honest, the thought of May being the Clairvoyant was just a little bit intriguing. It’s not only about time to have a woman as a villain in a big-budgeted genre television show, but it would also certainly explain a few things. Though it’s a little obvious that May was all over Coulson and nothing else, making her the least possible suspect for being the Clairvoyant, despite Fitz finding the encrypted hardline in her cockpit. Despite Fitz having to see the two broken spots on the glass right before him, thanks to May shooting the icer at him. At the end, everything turns out to be somewhat predictable.

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