‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Review: ‘Uprising’ Adds a Dash of ‘Die Hard’ to ‘X-Men’
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Uprising”:
The 2016 Elections have scarcely proven convenient for anyone, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. taking an early break for last week’s Vice Presidential debates certainly didn’t help the momentum of an already precarious fourth season. There’s also the four DC CW series competing for attention now, and I’d imagine tonight’s “Uprising” was pitched as something of an event episode to compensate, but ended up feeling like three disparate stories with some notable reaching.
On the A-story side, we could always use a stronger focus on new members like Natalia Cordova-Buckley’s Yo-Yo, and I like the sort of Die Hard vibe the blackout sought to create with the Watchdogs taking over a bachelorette party. There was a good deal of fun to be had, between Fitz, Coulson and Mack having to analog-science their way through Miami, and the hostage situation itself made a great showcase for Yo-Yo’s powers, but the Inhuman prejudice thread in particular felt a bit forced.
I get it, Agents’ use of Inhuman registration as an X-Men story largely works; it’s just odd that Elena’s own cousin would so completely reject her over invisible changes, just as Agents overall tends to overreach with globe-spanning stories like S.H.I.E.L.D.’s reintroduction (that will never, ever be acknowledged by any other Marvel property). Throw in a transformation more akin to Lash, or a bit of backstory to Maria, and it might have worked.
I didn’t feel like “Uprising” had the strongest idea of what to do with Daisy and Robbie’s ghost-riding partnership either, as it rang equally false that a daylight blackout would so quickly create hostile looters to rescue Robbie’s brother from. The idea seemed to have been to flesh out Robbie’s home life with Gabe a bit, but it also didn’t really track that he’d end up so similarly prejudiced against Daisy for her Inhuman powers, or that Daisy herself would care enough* to heed Gabe’s warning to stay away.
*And for the eighteenth time, please don’t pivot Daisy and Robbie’s relationship into romance. There is no need to anchor Daisy with a love-interest year after year, and don’t think I’m ignoring all these Lincoln references either.
The third side of tonight’s “Uprising” picked up the tension around May’s growing possession/affliction/ghost snapchat filter, but only in the sense of Simmons and Dr. Radcliffe sussing out a scientific explanation of sorts for her spooky visions. Tying their plan to resuscitate May with the blackout made sense, and I thought for sure the use of AIDA’s power source would expose his experiments to Simmons, but neither thread really advanced our idea of where the AI or ghostly threads will end up.
A few things clicked better inter-personally over the hour, like Coulson helping Jeffrey Mace to navigate such a global crisis, or Mack and Yo-Yo sorting out the deception in their relationship, but as with May, neither came to any kind of meaningful resolution. If nothing else “Uprising” gave us a new Inhuman conspiracy to play with, courtesy of Parminder Nagra, and hopefully that’ll help Season 4 find its footing again.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Come on, Lincoln is the only known Inhuman who can affect electricity? There was literally a guy named “Blackout” in Season 1, even if he died in that appearance.
- Anyone catch who was playing Robbie’s uncle Elias? Bet we’ll see him again.
- I get that Ghost Rider can’t appear in every episode, so having Robbie burn thugs with the car was pretty neat.
- Coulson lamenting not getting to meet Ghost Rider is adorable.
- Cryotech is pretty prevalent in the MCU, that was never an option for saving May?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will continue Tuesday, October 18 with “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire,” airing at 10:00 P.M. on ABC.
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