Let me start by apologizing for being absent for almost two weeks. I was very busy for my masters degree which does have to take precedence over my love for Science-Fiction. Luckily it has been a quiet week with our favorite shows such as Almost Human, Person of Interest of course Agents of SHIELD only returning to air this week. I can highly recommend you check out he latest Almost Human episode as it almost feels like a reboot of the show. This weeks episode of Agents of SHIELD entitled T.R.A.C.K.S. also feels like a reboot. This come after the scathing interview lead actor Clark Gregg gave about viewers having turned away from the show. Well, this episode certainly experiments with new storytelling methods.
In order to find the Clairvoyant, Coulson and the team board a train in Italy where a Cybertek security group led by Carlo Mancini (TJ Ramini) is shipping an unknown package ordered by Ian Quinn. They take over the mission for an Italian police member named Luca Russo (Carlo Rota). The team splits into groups, with Coulson and Simmons posing as a father and daughter while Fitz and Skye work with Ward and May to track down the package. However, the group is exposed, leaving Coulson and Ward to flee the train, which mysteriously disappears afterward. May also goes missing, but when Coulson and Ward track her down, they learn the team was sold out by Luca Russo who is killed by May. Using the Bus they find the train and Simmons, but Fitz and Skye are gone. It is revealed that Fitz and Skye disembarked to pursue Quinn and the package. Refusing to allow Quinn to escape again, Skye goes into his mansion while Fitz sabotages the vehicles outside.
She discovers Mike Peterson asleep in a hyperbaric chamber in Quinn’s basement before being confronted by Quinn and Mancini who awakens Peterson and presents him with the contents of the package, a high-tech prosthetic leg. To test Peterson’s obedience to Centipede, Quinn orders him to kill Skye. He refuses, as it is against his orders from the Clairvoyant and instead leaves to execute the Cybertek security who brought the package as punishment for leading S.H.I.E.L.D. to Quinn’s location. Quinn then shoots Skye repeatedly in the stomach and leaves her for dead, only to walk right into a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on his compound. Quinn is arrested, but Skye is left near death and Simmons can only sustain her temporarily by placing her into Peterson’s hyperbaric chamber. In the final scene, Peterson covertly visits a playground and requests to see his son. However, the Clairvoyant tells him “not yet”. The view zooms in on his new prosthetic leg which bears the name “Project Deathlok“.
This episode manages to combine a traditional storytelling structure of beginning, middle and end with asymmetrical elements whereby the different character perspectives are each blended to give each new meaning. Sometimes this feels a little bit contrived but overall it proofs to be a worthwhile experiment for Agents of SHIELD which arguably suffered too far from familiar superhero elements. Skye’s near death does come as a shock, for a moment it really did seem as though she would die for real as this episode managed to keep viewers off balance with its unexpected plot twists. However, no real reason was given for her shooting other than hints the Clairvoyant was behind it. It can only be hoped that the creative staff don’t ruin the moment with a gimmicky resolution.
The continuing complications of agent Ward and May’s relationship was in fact a welcome treat. The tension between the two gives this series just the right amount of romantic drama without becoming an unrealistic burden. May (Ming Na Wen) seems to handle it better than Ward, giving each character more depth beyond their already established tough girl/guy image.
Score; 8.8 / 10.