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TV Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.18 “The Singularity”
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 3 Episode 18: “The Singularity”
Directed by Garry A. Brown
Written by Lauren LeFranc
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, Axle Whitehead, John Hannah, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Adrian Pasdar
ABC
Air Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 9pm

Last week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the team discovered that Daisy had been infected by Hive, causing her to follow him “blindly,” leaving the S.H.I.E.L.D. base in ruin with her powers. This week, the agents have two missions: find a cure for Daisy and prevent Hive from creating an Inhuman army. Just like this episode, their missions are failures.

Spoilers ahead!

Top Three Reasons Why “The Singularity” Fails

1. Too many plotlines = too hard to follow.

This has become the case with almost every episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. In a 45 minute time span (perhaps a few minutes less because of the long commercial breaks), viewers are overloaded with multiple plots — never an “A” and “B” plot, but instead all “A” plots — typically 3-4, that are extremely fast-paced and difficult to follow. I usually find myself having to “get the gist” of the episode. This week the three storylines were as follows:

Plot A. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and Mack (Henry Simmons) are tasked with locating a man named Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah) — a geneticist who specializes in cutting-edge human enhancements — because this man may have a cure for Daisy (Chloe Bennet). Unfortunately for this part of the team, Daisy and Hive (Brett Dalton) show up, kidnapping Dr. Radcliffe, threatening Fitz, and using Will against Simmons.

Plot A. Coulson (Clark Gregg), May (Ming-Na Wen), and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) need to find Alisha (Alicia Vela-Bailey) — Lincoln’s old Inhuman friend — to warn her about Hive. What they don’t realize is that Alisha has already been compromised, and she’s sent two body doubles to distract Lincoln. The ensuing fight ends in death for both doubles — one at the hands of her own doppelganger, and the other at the hands of Coulson.

Plot A. Daisy and Hive work together to confront James (Axle Whitehead) — Lincoln’s other friend who isn’t an Inhuman but becomes one in this episode — about the other half of the Kree weapon. During the encounter, James’ Inhuman abilities manifest, allowing Hive to take control of his mind immediately and subsequently, add numbers to his army.

All of this brings me to my next point:

2. The writers do not know how to manage an ensemble cast.

I listed eight main characters and two minor characters above. That’s a lot of characters. That’s The Walking Dead level characters. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. Remember when Joss Whedon used ensemble casts for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse? Remember how those shows worked because the episodes rarely had more than two plotlines? Remember how all of the characters were used expertly and to their full potential? I’m sorry, but just because Joss Whedon’s name is attached to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., doesn’t mean the large cast will work. There are two huge factors involved that this show just doesn’t seem to possess: writers who can handle a large cast and a large cast who can handle the writing.

3. Too much telling and not enough showing.

In this episode, Coulson and May are a bit at odds with each other. First, because Coulson makes Lincoln wear a suicide vest while being out in the field (he thinks this is the best way to prevent Lincoln from turning to the dark side) and he gives May the trigger — which she does not like. But also because of Daisy. May tells Coulson that he is not her father, but Coulson replies, “I know. But she’s the closest thing I have to a daughter.” We know this! This has been the story with Coulson and Daisy for so long and it never needed to be said. In fact, for years now their relationship has been some of the finest writing on the show; but this ruins it all! It’s telling us something we already know. If we already know, May surely knows, and the only reason Coulson is saying it is because the writers want us to be sure we know! It’s insulting!

S.H.I.E.L.D.ed Observations:

– Fitz and Simmons have great chemistry. For instance, in the beginning of the episode, Fitz goes on and on about how their personal relationship might impact their professional relationship and that they really need to talk about how things are bound to get “complicated.” To which Simmons replies, “You mean when we have sex?” The look on Fitz’ face, the embarrassment and shock…it’s all just perfect.

– Mack also tries to have a conversation with Simmons about her relationship with Fitz and it is extremely awkward.

– Fitz states that Daisy is “addicted” to her possession by Hive. This makes sense as to why she was acting so happy and blissful last episode.

Videos

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×18 Promo “The Singularity”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×18 Sneak Peek “The Singularity”

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