Todd Karella writes...
In this week’s episode, we find the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents conducting an Index, Asset Evaluation, and Intake Process on Hannah Hutchins (Laura Seay), a woman who has been exposed to unknown amounts of radiation as a particle-accelerator program she was heading exploded, killing four workers and may have given her hidden telekinetic powers. The town’s people blame her for the accident, and when strange things start happening, such as gas stations exploding and uninhabited cars start trying to run over people, the agents try to evaluate and explain to Hannah she has developed powers.
But of course, their first contact goes awry and Melinda is forced to tranquilize her. And the only place to keep Hannah's powers from manifesting outwardly on anyone else is an impenetrable cell aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft. While Coulson and his agents look for ways to get through to her, it becomes evident that Hannah really doesn’t have any powers and that some other person who seems to disappear at will is stalking her and causing all the bad things around her to happen. And unfortunately for them, he is aboard the aircraft.
After crashing the plane, beating up the agents, and chasing Hannah and May into a barn, it’s revealed that the mysterious man is one of the workers that was caught in the explosion and is now stuck between two worlds. One is our reality and the other some sort of hell dimension. He was never trying to hurt her. He was in love with her and is trying to help her, but obviously is going the wrong way about doing so.
While the episode centers on this plotline, there is a side story that blends with it. In this episode, the character of May is expanded. Oddly, she doesn’t reveal this herself, but it comes about through the interaction of the rest of the team and their telling of the story of how she got the nickname “The Cavalry”.
Fitz and Simmons decide to initiate Skye since she never went through proper training by hazing her and telling her the story of how May rode into battle on horseback and by herself killing hundreds of enemy agents. Ward later corrects the story by saying a much lesser number and eliminating the horse aspect. Coulson sets the record straight revealing the mission that went wrong is similar to the one they are currently on and that she was trapped and had to do unthinkable things in order to escape with her life.
Last week I was satisfied that they had done enough characterization to keep me interested in continuing to watch the show and had not expected them to venture much into May’s back story, but I was pleasantly surprised that they ventured into that territory and felt a huge payoff during the last seconds of the episode when May pulled off a prank. I know it seems simple, but a moment of humanity was something I needed in that character.
Overall, I didn’t feel like the main story line was that new or exciting, but when mixed with the hazing and prank-pulling it worked for me. Previously, the comic relief felt forced and thrown in rather haphazardly, but this week it flowed together exceptionally well. There’s still plenty of room for improvement and I’m hoping that the show has finally started to find its rhythm. Well, that’s what I was thinking, but after seeing that the following episode is going back to the Mike Peterson character from the pilot episode, which was pretty terrible, I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
Gordon Miller responds...
I was initially interested by the gas-station incident because it seemed like Hannah was dealing with powers similar to Carrie, but it soon became disappointing when revealed that the extra-dimensonal figure who is causing the events to occur is some lovesick sap unaware his helping her is just making things worse for her. It would have been nice for the viewer to see things from his perspective to understand how he could be so oblivious to what was going on.
Hannah thinks what is happening to her is a punishment from God, but considering last week's episode dealt with the after effects of a "god" fighting in London, I was surprised there wasn't more reflection/disscussion about how God might now be viewed differently in this world where events like The Avengers saving the planet from an alien invasion happen. Certainly that might skew a few people's understanding/relationship with God.
While I enjoyed learning more about what makes May so hard and seeing her soft side as Skye warms up to her and as she reveals a sense of humor, I couldn't figure out why, aside from a limited budget and a limited imagination, the viewer wasn't shown what happened during the other mission rather than have to hear three versions of it. The "vision" in television series means things should be shown. Otherwise, it's just a radio drama. At least we got to see May put on a top and Ward get out of the shower to hint at what occured the night before.
I am happy to see Mike return in the next episode, so they can further explore the characterbut am even happier we get a week off.