‘Agents Of Shield’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 3, Episode 17: ‘The Team’
Welcome back to another Agents of S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G., where Comics Alliance’s Special Agents Chris Haley and Ziah Grace debrief you on all the things to like and complain about in this week’s episode of Disney’s ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
This week, the Secret Warriors go on their first field trip, we learn that Mack has been studying Spanish, and there’s a locked door mystery! Which Inhuman has been compromised?! “The Team” was directed by Elodie Keene and written by DJ Doyle.
Ziah: Chris, I’m gonna go ahead and say it: This wasn’t just a good Agents of SHIELD episode, this was a good episode of television period. There were actual twists and turns that surprised me, character moments that resonated, banter that actually felt realistic and fun, and superpowered fights! I enjoyed this episode a whole bunch, what about you?
Chris: Uh-oh. I guess that I didn’t think it was a bad episode, but the fact that a big portion of this episode was devoted to one of my biggest pet peeves in TV and movies, it made it really hard for me to enjoy. That being the “no one will listen and everyone flies off the handle and jumps to conclusions when the problems could easily be solved with a calm conversation” trope. I absolutely hate that. Maybe it’s just me. I certainly don’t mind a good mystery or “someone’s a traitor” episode, but taking that path to tell the tale always gets under my skin.
Ziah: Well, we can talk about it later, but in the context of those characters, I kind of bought the “flying off the handle” trope.
Chris: There were definitely some things I liked though, so I’ll try to join you on the positivity train.
Ziah: So we last left the majority of our cast on a plane getting captured by HYDRA while Daisy and Lincoln remembered that they had superpowered friends for the first time in weeks. Daisy stages a break-in, Lincoln does some lightning wrestling moves, and Yo-Yo and Joey bonded over being newbies. How’d you dig this action sequence? I thought there were a ton of fun moments, from Yo-Yo and Joey making a bet on how many guards they run into, to Lincoln getting punched in the chest; lot of good stuff here.
Chris: I definitely liked the Joey and Yo-Yo stuff. Though, it’s a little odd you’d send the two people with the least experience off together instead of pairing them up with a more experienced agent each. I was also a little shaky on Lincoln suddenly being able to do something with his powers besides just zap people. Has he done that before and I just missed it? Has science found new uses for electricity in the last week and I missed that too?
Ziah: That was definitely bizarre that he suddenly got “lightning rope” powers, but it was dynamic on a show that rarely is, so I didn’t mind.
Chris: I guess it’s fine if they want to say he can do that kind of thing with his powers, because why not, but it just seemed like a waste of time when he could have just zapped them like he’s done to every other person he’s used his powers on instead of messing with throwing them around and trying to punch them. Alright, moving on.
Ziah: So on the way out, Joey melts out a piece of pipe and stabs Mr. Medusa in the heart in a pretty surprising moment! RIP Spooky Eyes, we hardly knew ye. Juan Pablo Raba, who plays Joey, does a great job making the murder feel like a big deal, and it’s bolstered by a brief, wonderful moment where we all think that Lincoln is dead from the stone eyes (we were wrong).
Chris: Boy, wouldn’t that have been a delightful treat for us all! I liked the way they showed that Joey was acting in the moment without time to really think about what he was about to do, but then the look on his face when the reality hit him was really well played. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you want to hang on for too long in a show like this, but they found the right balance this week.
Ziah: Malick revealing that one of the Inhumans is controlled by Hive with the interspersed shots of the four Inhumans looking creepy and Children Of The Damned-y was really well done! It’s rare when I can compliment the show on its cinematography being anything other than present, so this was great! Add in the surprisingly gruesome autopsy of Eye Guy, and this was a pretty good horror-themed episode. What’d you think of this episode’s movie riff?
Chris: I really liked the bit when Mack said “anyone looks suspicious if you watch them long enough.” That’s a nice bit of level-headed reason in the middle of the rest of this episode’s screaming irrationality. You’re right about that autopsy though, because holy hell was that more gruesome than I expected. They’ve been sneaking in a lot more of these “more gore than I was ever expecting” moments lately, and it’s fine by me. I still wonder if we’re laying a little too much credit at this show’s feet for thinking some of these moves they’ve been making in the last few episodes are intentional homages or references.
Ziah: I don’t disagree, but it’s made me much more involved in the show, even if it is just apophenia. So, with regards to the Inhumans freaking out over SHIELD, I really bought this. Joey was kept in a locked cell for weeks against his will, Yo-Yo was battling governmental corruption before SHIELD even showed up, Daisy felt betrayed that Coulson wasn’t trusting her with this (and was also Hive), and Lincoln is The Worst. While I agree with you that that trope is a bummer, it felt like it came from character work, rather than just laziness. Which… might be the first time I’ve ever said that about AoS? Chris, am I sick?
Chris: Nah, I think you’re going to be okay, and you bring up some good points. I hate the cliche of having characters act like that so much that it may have blinded me a little to the fact that these particular characters probably would react like that in this situation. I still think that the non-Inhumans acted in ways that only exacerbated the likelihood that the Inhumans would react the way they did (which irritates me), but you could maybe wave that away by saying Daisy was trying to move things in that direction. Plus I’m sure spy types are just generally high-strung all the time to begin with.
Hey, back to Malick for a minute, what’d you think of his scenes of he and Coulson just locked in a room acting at each other?
Ziah: The guy who plays Malick had such a weird way of saying those lines that I was just distracted, and I don’t really love either of those two actors, so here’s some negativity for you! I get that he has gravitas and a juicy monologue, but I was bored. What am I supposed to do? Pay attention? This isn’t a Tarkovsky movie!
Chris: Hahaha, fair enough. Speaking even more of Malick, how about his also fairly gruesome death scene?
Ziah: I’m glad they didn’t drag out his prophesied death for too long; he saw the vision, misread when it was coming, then accepted his death. Boom, character arc, even if it’s a small one. Goodbye to Stone Eye and Rich Old Dude. HYDRA’s really gonna have to hustle to make up for their demise.
Chris: Yeah, I guess Ward and Mag-not-o are just running things by themselves now. Speaking of, that bit at the end where they’re talking about spending Malick’s money was also pretty weird.
Ziah: Did you get excited when they implied that Lincoln had been controlled the entire time? I sure did. I was delighted. But instead, it’s Daisy, in a shockingly well-done twist that’s actually set up with some clever editing earlier in the episode. While this is objectively the more interesting and potentially exciting path for the plot to take, were you disappointed we didn’t get textual evidence for why Lincoln is a garbage bad man?
Chris: Haha, nah, I didn’t believe it was going to be him for a second. It was just a little too easy. Plus, the idea of him and Ward hanging out would just be visually boring because they look a little too similar in that they are both kind of generically handsome, slightly scruffy facial hair having dudes. Oh man, I just realized that Daisy is technically now Hive, which means she has another nickname!
Ziah: Take a drink!
Ziah: Fitz and Simmons finally have a romantic moment that I believed! Is it Christmas already? Miracle Monday? There has to be something, because I am stunned that I actually felt like they had chemistry and a relationship that mattered. That ending scene with them on the couch agreeing to just move forward was cute and almost made me understand why people seemed to like those two so much. Did you get the Feels in this scene, Chris? Is the sickness inside you too?
Chris: Hahaha, well, I mean, I’ve mostly enjoyed the two of them and have been continuously frustrated by things not working out between the two of them for no good reason, so I definitely enjoyed that little moment. And I couldn’t agree with you more that it really did feel genuine and earned and cute. Especially Fitz cutting the treacle a little bit with that joke about his map of space. Those two crazy kids are cute and it was delightful to see them have a moment of real happiness together… which I’m almost certain means that things are going to go terribly for them soon.
Ziah: It was definitely hinting pretty hard that one of them is going to die in space with all that space talk. Yay for happy endings?
And speaking of happy endings, we’ll see you next week!