In Review: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Bridge”–Episode 11

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Bridge,” broadcast December 10, 2013

Written by Salisha Francis

Directed by Holly Dale

Havenworth Federal Penitentiary is serving a meal to its inmates when a chunk of the ceiling explodes and in come three Centipede enhanced soldiers. They tell Edison Po, last seen behind pexiglass talking to Raina, the girl in the flower dress, it’s time to go. He puts on one of the straps that are dangling from a helicopter and all four men leave. Cut to Skye and Coulson talking about her search for her parents’ identity. He lies and tells her May has been looking as well. Speaking of May, she’s sparring with Ward. Who teases about their relationship which makes her grouchier than usual. Their session is ended when Coulson appears to tell everyone is meeting. Po is an ex-Marine who dropped off the map some time ago until he reappeared in a restaurant, stabbing out his friend’s eyes with a steak knife. Seeing the three buffed up soldiers, everyone says they need some serious backup, which Coulson says he’s got. We then go to a football field where a man is pushing a bulldozer backward for one hundred yards at a rapid pace; it’s Mike Peterson from the pilot episode, who asks if he’s beaten Captain America’s time pushing the machine. He’s not even close, which disappoints him, but then Coulson arrives and says, “You could put that bulldozer back where you found it. We need you to suit up.” He removes his glasses like David Caruso as Lt. Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami and we go to the first commercial break.

This was a strong episode because it linked up a lot of previous episodes and brought things to a head for a closer: no new episodes until January 7. A big highlight was the return of J. August Richards as Peterson. He can act, he can do the action, and he can milk his lines for every emotional drop and I believe him. He’s great, and I’m hoping to see more of him for the rest of the season. Clark Gregg again delivers a terrific performance, who can say everything in a monotone/business voice, yet you can see the effects of his words on himself and others. This is a character you just can’t help but want to follow or please. He gets a really nice twist in the end of the story. It was nice to see the relationship explored a little more between May and Ward, and now, it seems, another character is aware of what’s going on between them. Ming-Na Wen got a nice little “in your face” moment which was long overdue: nice to see that her control of the situation is not as good as she thought. Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge were fantastic in their beaming scene with Richards; just great stuff. The weak link in the cast was again Chloe Bennet. I can’t tell if it’s the lines she’s being given or her acting, but I really need her to exit this show as quickly as possible. Her dialogue is so cliché-smart-girl. It’s bad Buffy writing. Sorry, Joss, but this character isn’t even close to what you were doing over ten years ago. She needs some rewriting quick! The villains were okay. Lots of conversations deep in mystery, leaving the audience dangling. I thought Cullen Douglas was pretty cool as Po, who’s the villain that’s “cool”, and we saw the return of Ruth Negga as Raina, who has a reveal at the end of the story about who is and who’s not in control of Centipede.

The good: Gregg, Wen, De Castecker, Henstridge, Douglas, and Peterson (who gets a big gold star this episode!). I’m loving May’s continual use of “This is a bad idea” line and mood each week. Fitz, Simmons, and Peterson’s scenes are gold. The business card was fantastic! Loved May’s honesty scene with Skye. I’m looking forward to fallout with Coulson from both women over this.

The bad: Are you kidding? You’re an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., supposedly one of the best, and you don’t notice that your line of sight on a bridge you’re staking out is impared because of a cement truck?!?! Completely ridiculous, though necessary for what goes down on the bridge.

The final line: A great cliffhanger, characters are down, and a lot of character interaction that was more interesting that the physical action. More episodes like this will raise this series in fans’ eyes. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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