Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Repairs" Review: Mayday, Mayday

By Kaitlin Thomas

Nov 27, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: S01E09 : "Repairs"


Called it. May and Handsome were doing it. And this wasn't their first time! Apparently this is an ongoing thing. Some of you liked this development last week, but I hated it. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about it, which is probably why I hate it so much, but I think I've figured out why: May and Handsome are Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s two least-developed characters, and their jumping into bed together felt like too obvious of an attempt to shock viewers. Yes, they bonded over their emotional trauma and pain, but there was no build up to this development, and it felt weak. It was a new character pairing we didn't see coming, which is probably just about the only thing I like about it, but this liaison was meant to jump start their stories and make them more interesting, but it failed. Just like last week's "The Well," "Repairs" continued to only give out frustratingly small amounts of backstory. Needless to say, my interest in this particular dalliance remains on par with my interest in stabbing myself in the face with a rusty fork.

Last week, thanks to a well-placed Asgardian berserker staff, we learned that someone in Handsome's life was once in a well and either he prevented someone from saving him right away, or someone prevented him. And that's all we know. We don't know which of the boys Handsome was supposed to be, and we don't know whether or not the boy lived. It was only a glimpse behind the curtain, and that was my main problem with the episode. My dislike for "The Well" continued this week when all of Handsome's rage issues seemed to have disappeared overnight. I'm pretty sure Agent May's ladybits aren't that magical that they can erase that hatred and rage, but then again, maybe she's an unregistered gifted with the opposite power of Zoe Benson on American Horror Story. I don't know her life. Which is kind of the reason I disliked "Repairs."


This week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took one of the few things we've learned about May since the beginning of the series and turned the spotlight on it, but it wasn't enough. During "0-8-4" it was revealed that Agent May was called the Cavalry. We know this is supposed to convey that she's a badass who charges in to situations without fear, but why is she called that? What did she do to earn that nickname? 

Like most often repeated stories about heroic acts—like the one about Coulson's death at the hands of Loki in The Avengers—the events have been greatly exaggerated. The events surrounding that mission have been inflated to make May seem more heroic than she was. "Repairs" began to tell us the real story, but it wasn't told by May, it was told by Coulson to Skye, and it read like a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. document with the who, the what, the why, the when, and the how blacked out. We know May is responsible for taking out an enemy on a former mission, and that the result was that she was no longer warm and fierce, but cold and detached with a shoot first mentality. But we need more. I have no doubt this particular story will resurface at a later date, but the execution of it this week was poorly done, and would have meant more coming from May herself.


Going in, I was really excited for an episode that promised to shed some light on the mysterious Agent Melinda May, but ughhhhh. I didn't expect Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to draw me a map and show me her psych evaluation, but I expected more than what we got. It makes sense that the writers don't want to reveal all of their secrets so early in the game, and they probably think they're whetting our appetites with the small hints they're dropping, but really, they're just frustrating the hell out of me. When I'm more interested in the case of the week about a man stuck between words trying to protect a girl he had a crush on than I am about what's going on with the main characters, that's a big warning flag. And this week, that's exactly what happened.

So far everyone's talking about May, but only Skye seems to be interested in finding out what happened to her that drained the spark from her eyes and made her such a cold person. If we saw more of May outside the cockpit and outside her fighting, I think we'd care more about her. It was nice to see her be the person to talk Tobias into letting go of his love for Hannah and to stop trying to protect her from what he perceived to be dangerous situations, but we still don't know why it is she identified with him. Oh sure, we can infer all we want from this week's events, but I'm tired of inferring. I'm tried of trying to figure out what the writers are trying to say. This is one of those instances that I'm begging for them to show me and tell me. "The Well" used flashbacks to tell Handsome's story, and "Repairs" used exposition to tell May's. Neither of them worked particularly well, so here's an idea: use both? 

But lest you think I hated the entire episode, I would like to draw your attention to Fitz and Simmons and their desire to prank Skye this week. Those poor kids were too smart for their own good and graduated early and never had the chance to prank people, so they chose Skye as their new target since she's new to S.H.I.E.L.D. and wouldn't know any better. But their pranks weren't really pranks, and they weren't really all that good either. Fitz's ideas sometimes felt on par with Winston's on New Girl, though I did love the mop dummy he placed in the closet to scare people only to then scare himself too. His scream was hilarious (and reminded me of this particularly funny moment on Supernatural). Love you Fitz.

Actually, I don't love just Fitz. I also love Simmons. They are my favorite characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point. They're the main source of comedic relief, and although we still don't know a whole lot about them either, they're at least funny and warm while Handsome and May remain restrained and boring. This week FItzSimmons brought light into the dark abyss that was "Repairs" and for that I am truly thankful. If the series continues to dole out pieces of May and Handsome's backstories over the next few weeks, I'll be slightly more forgiving of these last two episodes, but I have a feeling, much like Handsome's rage, their stories will be boxed up and placed on a shelf until the next time the story calls for them to make an appearance. 



DECLASSIFIED CASE FILES



– I included the above image because I didn't want you guys to miss out on its beauty. A+ to whoever chose to include it in the set of publicity images ABC released for this episode. 

 "Repairs" was written by executive producers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, which makes me seriously sad. Come on, guys. You should know better. And for the record, I like that S.H.I.E.L.D. is attempting to develop its characters and their backstories, but right now it's just not enough. We need more.

– I don't really get the strong hate that people have for Skye. She's definitely not the who's worst character, and while she annoyed me a bit this week when she insisted that she should've been the person to talk to Hannah, etc. because she's still just a noob, I can also see that Skye's probably the most humanized member of the team, and that she understands people better than anyone else. So it was nice to see Coulson also point out her usefulness at the end.

– I never watch the "Next on..." promos in order to remain unspoiled for upcoming episodes while I write my reviews, but I forgot to turn off my TV and J. August Richard's character from the pilot returns in the next new episode! Please don't screw that one up, show!

– Oh hey, Handsome's Abs! You're way more interesting their his backstory! Come back soon!

– "They only made 20, I think." R.I.P. Coulson's watch.

thekaitling:list:agents-of-shield-what-are-your-thoughts-on-repairs/

 

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  • WayneMedeiros Dec 07, 2013

    The show is not perfect, but rarely is a show perfect in any genre - in fact I'd argue that there's no such thing as a "perfect" show. Despite its flaws I still look forward to watching SHIELD and in fact it's one of the few shows that I'm keeping up with this season (TWD being another one). Others just toil away unloved on my TiVo. Sometimes you can analyze things a bit too much and it ruins the combined whole.

  • anthem47 Dec 04, 2013

    Okay, thankfully I found this vague floorplan of the Bus that clarified things a bit http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/b/a0/524c5c1e0cd4b.jpg but at the time when they wandering around corridors I was left thinking "where are they? How big is this thing?" I think now we've basically seen everywhere (I gather the "mysterious maintenance corridor set" is on the bottom floor behind FitzSimmons' lab...but...accessed from above?) It's probably not important, haha, but I do like to know how sets piece together, and otherwise the Bus has a really clear Firefly-like layout.

    Otherwise I am still liking the show, but in a disposable, procedural sort of way. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but that's not always a bad thing. There's a time for awesome Breaking Bad serialised intensity and there's a time for fun case-of-the-week show.

    I do think a few characters need either a ton of development or a complete overhaul. I love FitzSimmons, I like Skye despite popular opinion, because all three of them feel like real people. Ward is actually not bad, he's growing on me, what we know of his backstory is actually pretty interesting...but he's just so boring when he's on screen. May even more so. But I think what makes them worse is having them both on the show together, they're both stern, emotionally closed off, by the book types and in a cast of six that's no good. But at least Ward's personality bounces well of the others, while May is just...there. I feel like she doesn't have interesting chemistry with anyone.

    Another thing...yeah, I really love the Bus, but it's very empty, which is paradoxically good and bad. It really plants the focus squarely on the core characters, which is great, but it also isolates them and makes the show feel a bit empty. I feel like a few extra people around would go a long way, a co-pilot for May, one or two techs in the lab, a redshirt guard or two. On the other hand, the Bus is probably just big enough to do what they're trying to do with it, I can't imagine it having many more than six bunks.

    Anyway still on board, liking it for what it is.

  • EvertonCarter Dec 04, 2013

    What's the confusion about The Well? The boy in the Well (Who we are left to infer is his younger brother) Calls for help from Grant (AKA Handsome apparently) When Grant goes to help a 3rd boy (who we are left to infer is his bully older bro) tells the same boy, who he ALSO calls Grant not to help yet. So with boys calling the "chubby" boy Grant it seems pretty clear that Agent "handsome" AKA Grant Ward, was the boy desperate to help but "powerless" because of his fear of his older brother.

  • WildPict Dec 02, 2013

    I thought this episode was intriguing, though I have a few nitpicks:

    Ward and May actually hooking up, damn, didn't call that one did I? At least it looks like they're getting together for stress release only, and nothing more.

    I wish they Fitz-Simmons had at least tried to figure out which "otherworld" the poor guy was thrown into, and hadn't just tried to wait out him completely disappearing. I mean they didn't even try to save him?!

    Ward should be showing a bit more of his rage he inherited from the Berserker staff.

    Other than that, it was a cool episode. I really liked that we're learning more about May and her back story. I loved the whole prank thing that Fitz-Simmons were working on Skye. And I especially loved that May has at least cracked her self-control enough to prank Fitz. I just wish we could learn more of Coulson's back story, and I'm not just talking about Tahiti either.

  • csinner Dec 04, 2013

    I thought it was weird that they made no effort to save him too. Seems a bit like they just left him to die in whatever other world he was going to.

  • legersem Dec 01, 2013

    I had the same thought that May should have been the one telling her story instead of Coulson, but her story remains untold. We don't know what happened to her in that building and that reveal will be told by May, for sure, which will be fantastically emotional.

    I think, though, that you're nitpicking a little too much on what's been happening. I have to give SHIELD props for making the cases of the week more interesting and for utilizing them to develop their characters far better than the first few episodes did. Judging by how the show inserts small references to their past episodes on a weekly basis, they haven't forgotten Ward's anger problems, but rather put them on the back burner for now. They'll be back, and we'll get the answers we want about Ward and May, along with Coulson and Skye. Just be patient. SHIELD is moving slowly, but it is moving. And as with other shows (see: this season of The Walking Dead), sometimes moving slowly is the much more interesting route, let alone the one that is much more satisfying.

  • jochenschutz1 Nov 30, 2013

    I thought Simmons immediately refering to the bad guy as a ghost was very uncharacteristic and strange. She should have takena way more scientific mindset to that, as usual.
    Also Skye being the cliche Agnostic/Atheist, as being portrayed by Hollywood a million times before was very dissapointing to me. The whole "I just can't believe because of some bad stuff that happened, but the god is love nonsense is so cool", is so old and just totally wrong when it comes to real life nonbelievers.

  • mrbofus Nov 30, 2013

    "She's definitely not the who's worst character"

    Huh?

  • alcalde Jul 27, 2014

    Maybe it was a covert insult aimed at Robert Daltrey???

  • Lotti Nov 30, 2013

    When I read the reviews of this show, and people's comments underneath, I generally think "yeah I can see where they're coming from". When I'm watching it though I really enjoy it and if any of those flaws go through my mind, they're swiftly replaced by happy feelings. I look forward to Agents of SHIELD every Friday, which shows they're doing something right, by me at least! I agree that Fitz and Simmons are the two best characters, but I actually don't hate any of the others.

  • dama82 Nov 29, 2013

    omg i feel so betrayed :( the telekinetic police car was actually being driven by a stunt man dressed as a skin coloured car seat >:( god damnit!

  • Midnightdancer Nov 29, 2013

    Ward, Fitz and Simmons are my faves with Coulson trailing behind them. I started watching the show because of Coulson and now we barely get anything of him and it makes me sad. Instead the show focusses heavily on Skye who I cannot stand because we're supposed to like her and be on her side and them trying to force it on us just doesn't work for me. She has no idea about any of the stuff and wants to do it all and it just grates on my nerves.

    They really need to do a better job on May though. I expected a lot from her with the pilot but instead we just get this blank face all the time and it has me a bit disappointed in Ming-Na as well, because I expected at least a few facial twitches or something to convey more but there's nothing.

    May/Ward feels a bit odd to me but it didn't come completely out of nowhere. It all depends on interpretation though but I much prefer it to all the in-your-face Skyeward crap we got since the beginning of the show. I was so sick and tired of it that I actually considered quitting the show. Therefore I'm glad for anything that prevents those two to happen.

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