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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review 1.09 - 'Repairs'
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 11.27.2013

Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: While cleaning up in the wake of the Dark Elves’ invasion of Greenwich, Coulson and the team found themselves in pursuit of the pieces of an Asgardian relic. Ward was forced to confront a painful memory from his past in order to control the effects of the relic and stave off the Scandinavian rage cult that was also attempting to retrieve it.

Season 01, Episode 09: Repairs

A young woman walks into a store and picks up a few necessities, but the clerk harasses her about the death of one of his friends, which he blames on the young woman. She tries to leave and he confronts her, only to be attacked by what appears to be a telekinetic attack. He runs outside, but gas is flowing out of the pumps and an explosion occurs as the girl cowers in fear inside the store. Cut to a hotel room, where May is getting dressed and Ward is showering. Ward recommends they follow the same plan, but May is already out the door. On the Bus, Skye is skeptical about telekinesis in general, but Coulson explains that it’ll be a learning experience about S.H.I.E.L.D. intake protocols. The girl is revealed as Hannah Hutchens (Laura Seay), a QC engineer at a particle accelerator plant, and the town blames her for the deaths of four of her co-workers. Fitz and Simmons discuss the science of the accelerator accident, and Coulson impresses them with his knowledge of how the accelerator works and then drops the hammer on Skye, telling her its a sensitive situation and she’ll have to wait behind.

The team arrives at Hannah’s house to a semi-angry mob, and Coulson introduces himself to Hannah. The crowd escalates, throwing an egg and yelling, and as Hannah panics, a police car with no driver attempts to run down members of the crowd. Coulson saves the one guy who ends up in the way of the car, but the police officer that’s supposed to be controlling the crowd draws his weapon, but as Ward intervenes, May shoots Hannah with the Night-Night gun and they load her into their SUV and return to the Bus. Fitz and Simmons debate the merits of telekinesis as they investigate the particle accelerator complex and the talk turns to pranks, with them deciding to prank Skye to give her “the full S.H.I.E.L.D. academy experience”.

Ward and Coulson are discussing the cell, which has been upgraded since Simmons had her scare in “FZZT”, and May comes in. Coulson says he wants May with him when he goes in to talk to Hannah, so that she doesn’t think they’re hiding anything. May explains that she sedated Hannah, and Hannah thanks them for keeping everyone safe. Hannah says she wasn’t angry at the people at her house, and she blames herself for the deaths of her co-workers. Meanwhile, Skye watches the feed while Fitz and Simmons monitor their instrumentation inside the cell, with everything coming up completely normal. Talk shifts to May, and FitzSimmons regale Skye with the story of how May earned her nickname of “the Cavalry”, which supposedly comes from May killing at least a hundred mercenaries to rescue captive S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, armed with only two pistols and a horse. Simmons’ smile would seem to indicate that this is a part of the duo’s plan to prank Skye, but Fitz pulls up a three-dimensional model holographic model of the particle accelerator. Skye retreats to her room to research on her computer, and FitzSimmons talk about their next prank.

In the cell, Hannah tells the story of the accelerator accident, and she seems incredulous that she has any kind of telekinetic abilities. She reveals that she thinks she’s being tormented by demons for what happened at the accelerator. (She was raised and lives in a small, religious town). As the team discusses Hannah’s theory, a mysterious man is standing in the background, listening to them. He quickly disappears. Skye wants to talk to Hannah, but Coulson says no, because she’s dangerous. Skye counters that Hannah is seriously nice, based on her involvement with church groups and dog rescues and the fact that she was a QC engineer because she genuinely cares. May supports Coulson’s decision, but one of his souvenirs come tumbling off of a shelf to the floor.

Skye vents to Ward about May as Ward makes a sandwich. Skye suggests that May needs to “get laid”, which gives Ward momentary pause before he chides Skye about being less confrontation towards May. Skye tells Ward FitzSimmons’ version of May’s “the Cavalry” story, but Ward rebuts with the facts - it was 20 highly trained assassins, no horseback, and she only had one pistol. He says May’s not in it for the glory, which is why she doesn’t like the nickname, but he finds his knife missing. Meanwhile, someone or something attempts to break into Hannah’s cell, much to her horror.

Simmons says Hannah was right about what caused the accelerator incident, and she chides Fitz for not listening, but he was listening while trying to plan his next prank (which involved scaring her with a gas mask). Skye finds information about Tobias Ford, a technician at the accelerator who died - he had filed three safety complaints in the past month and they think that he had it out for Hannah. Ward goes to get couplings to run a simulation and finds a mop to use in his prank, but the mysterious figure looms behind him, only to disappear as soon as he turns around. Simmons discovers that the accelerator explosion opened a gateway to another dimension, but Ford, who is the mysterious figure, smashes the hologram generator with a huge wrench before disappearing again. Ford sabotages the Bus’ power, forcing them to make an emergency landing.

Ward and May land the plane as the rest of the team buckles in, and fortunately for Coulson, the Bus doesn’t sustain any major damage. Coulson hands out handheld radios and they try to figure out how to proceed. Skye bucks for another chance to talk to Hannah, and Coulson grants it to her. Simmons realizes Fitz is missing, and he finds himself trapped in a storage closet. He manages to force the door open, which reveals the location of Ward’s missing knife, which had been used to jam the door closed. He believes that Simmons was behind the prank, but she and Ward find him and reveal that it wasn’t her. Coulson activates the Bus’ emergency beacon, but Ford smashes the signal relay off of the top of the plane. Skye sits outside the cell door and tries to console Hannah, but it doesn’t seem to go well. Hannah asks if Skye believes in God, and Skye tells her that she doesn’t really. Skye tells her that she doesn’t deserve to be punished, and that she likes the version of God that inspired the “God is love” passage in the Bible. May comes to relieve Skye because Coulson needs help with the emergency beacon, and an angry Skye tells her not to hurt Hannah any more than she already has.

Simmons explains to Fitz about the alien world that she saw before Ford smashed the holographic generator, and Ward asks if they could’ve been trying to create other portals like the ones the Dark Elves used in Thor: The Dark World, and that seems to be the theory that Fitz and Simmons are rolling with. Simmons also thinks that all ghosts are people trapped between our dimension and another one. Ward leaves Fitz and Simmons to begin repairing the plane’s electrical system, but Ford materializes behind them and traps them in the closet before popping in and out to beat up on Ward. Ward momentarily gets the upper hand, but Ford dematerializes, rematerializes behind Simmons, causing her scream, and then nails Ward with his wrench whenever he goes to check on her. Ford traps the three of them in the closet as he dematerializes again (this time apparently against his wishes). Skye tells Coulson the problem is with the hardware and disparages May, which causes Coulson to tell her the true story of how May got her nickname: S.H.I.E.L.D. were to be the welcome wagon, but a civilian girl and some S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives got trapped in a building by the followers of a “gifted” individual, and May went in and got them out. Coulson explains that the incident changed May from someone more like Skye to the person that she is today. Before they can discuss things anymore, Ford traps them in Coulson’s office, smashes Coulson’s radio, and takes Skye hostage, demanding that they either let him into Hannah’s cell or let Hannah out.

May tries to assess the situation, and FitzSimmons explains that he’s trying to get to Hannah, and they think that if May waits him out, he’ll dematerialize altogether. As the emergency lighting flashes on and off, Ford appears behind May, ready to swing his wrench, but she disappears and he is left searching for her as she escorts Hannah off of the plane. May ominously says she’s going to “fix the problem” as Skye and Coulson search for a way out. Also, Ward wakes up and FitzSimmons fill him in on being hit by a wrench, which Ward surmises was used to loosen fittings and cause the incident at the particle accelerator. May tells Hannah she’s just using her as bait to draw Ford out and that she’ll do whatever it takes to neutralize the situation. On the Bus, Fitz uses one of Coulson’s old watches to detonate a charge and free Coulson and Skye. They free Ward, Fitz, and Simmons, and they continue to develop their hypothesis about Ford and Hannah, only to stumble into Fitz’ gas mask/mop prank, which causes Fitz to scream loudest of all. Skye realizes that Ford is childish, as Ford appears in the barn where May has taken Hannah. May attacks, taking the advantage, but once Ford starts dimension-hopping, he and his wrench gain the upper hand. Skye realizes that Ford isn’t trying to hurt Hannah, but that he likes her and he’s trying to protect her. Fitz sends out a bunch of glowing balls as Ford tries to make his escape with Hannah, but May intercepts and takes him down, only for Ford to tackle her again. However, doing so loosens a beam from the ceiling, which comes swinging down towards Hannah and Ford hops in front of the impact. May has Hannah tell Ford that she’s a friend and won’t hurt Hannah and he stops his assault. Hannah and May try to convince him that he needs to let Hannah go, and Ford admits that he caused all of the problems at the particle reactor to get Hannah to come and see him. May does her best Coulson from episode one and convinces Ford to let Hannah go, and May tells Coulson that she told Ford the same thing that he told her in Bahrain.

Back on the Bus, Skye tucks Hannah in and Ward checks on them. Skye sees Coulson fretting over the watch that Fitz destroyed to free them, and it turns to a conversation about May and how Coulson and Skye are both good at knowing what make people tick, and he wanted her to pay special attention to the intake evaluation process because he thinks she’ll be the best at it. Skye joins May in the cockpit as they take off, and they share a brief moment. Ward, Fitz, Coulson, and Skye are playing Scrabble when Fitz walks in with half of his face and one hand covered in shaving cream. The rest of the team (minus May who is still flying the plane) bursts into laughter and Simmons, Ward, Coulson, and Skye all say that they didn’t do it, before the camera cuts to a smirking May in the cockpit.

Weekly Whedon-isms

“It’s not like I haven’t done this before - I found Mike Peterson before you did.” “Remind me again how that turned out?”

“What? I read.”

“It’s a delicate situation, so you’re bringing along Warm and Fuzzy?”

“You screamed like a girl.” “I AM a girl.”

“I didn’t go to your stupid S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts.”

“Did she lose anyone in there?” “Herself.”

“Can Fitz repair it?” “Nah, this one’s a lost cause.” “May isn’t - if anyone can bring her around, it’s you. You know what makes people tick - pun intended.”

“She used her British-ness against us!”

Theory of the Week

Again, I’m all tied up in May’s backstory, and the biggest question that comes to mind is regarding the mission in which she earned her nickname - were the followers of the “gifted” individual X-Men, members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (I know it has a different name in the Ultimate Universe where this is ostensibly set, but I like the classic one), Acolytes, or some other group altogether? Perhaps May will tie in to the backstory of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2.


My biggest complaint about this episode is that it was a month too late. This episode, with its theories about ghosts and demons and its dark, atmospheric lighting and coverall-wearing, wrench-swinging madman, would’ve been perfect for Halloween, and it’s a shame that it came before Thanksgiving instead. Still, though, at this point, I think we should all know what to expect from this show, and if you haven’t found something to enjoy at this point in the season, it’s probably time to give it up. At this point, the team dynamic is pretty well established, and we’re finally to the point where each member of the team is at least given something to do in each episode, which fixes one of my biggest complaints from earlier in the season.

It’s still not a perfect show, and there are certainly things that could still be done better. I’d still like to see greater differentiation between the personalities of the field agents and the tech squad, but if they continue to gradually reveal details about each member, I think by the start of season 2, everyone on the team will feel like a fully-fleshed out character and we can get to the stuff that I want to see (and I think, from reading message boards and comments about the show, a lot of the people tuning in would like to see to) - a major nemesis organization and more tie-ins to the Marvel Universe. I know in the past I’ve complained about them not doing enough to tie in with the comic universe, but episodes like this one make me think that the way they’re doing things (slowly establishing the characters) is the right way, as these characters don’t have any ties to the comic universe, so it’s not the worst idea to establish their personalities and their relationships with one another before trying to integrate them with the rest of the established Marvel Universe.

The 411: Another very solid episode that continues the trend of focusing on developing one of the team members, showing more of their personalities and revealing more of their histories. The tone of this episode was perfect for Agent Melinda May, but it would’ve been better suited to a Halloween episode. Still though, this show continues to plug along and aside from a pair of missteps earlier in the season, the overall quality has remained on a gradual upswing.
Final Score:  8.4   [ Very Good ]  legend


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