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