Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review 1.10 - 'The Bridge'
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 12.11.2013
Coulson brings in a familiar face in order to help the team against the mysterious Centipede, but will he hurt more than he helps? 411's Wyatt Beougher checks in with his review of "The Bridge!"
Previously on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In the process of trying to solve a possible telekinetic incident that may also be a haunting/possession, the team learns more about May and why she is the way that she is.
Season 01, Episode 10: The Bridge
A group of soldiers wearing Centipede filters break into the jail that houses the mystery prisoner from the end of episode 5, “The Girl in the Flower Dress” (which explains why they re-aired that particular episode last week), freeing him. On the Bus, Skye continues to do research into who her parents were, but Coulson cautions her that she shouldn’t get her hopes up and that he’s brought May into Skye’s search. May and Ward are training, and May gets the upper hand, leading to some innuendo, which May immediately puts a stop to. Coulson calls them to the command center and shows a video of the jailbreak, revealing that the mystery prisoner is Edison Po (Cullen Douglas), a former soldier who specialized in tactics and was jailed for stabbing his friend’s eyes out with a steak knife. Coulson tells the team that HQ is sending in back-up, in the form of Mike Peterson (J. August Richards).
Mike arrives at the Bus while Coulson and May discuss Skye’s search. May leaves and Coulson warns Mike that no one gets a third chance. Ward, Skye, Fitz, and Simmons are discussing their dealings with Mike, when he and Coulson walk in and Coulson makes introductions. Mike thanks the team for being calm enough to let him live. The team has no leads on Po, but they did get facial recognition on one of the Centipede soldiers and tracked down his only living relative, a sister at Ohio University, who Ward and Coulson are going to see. Mike wants to get out into the field, but Coulson sends him to the lab so that Fitz and Simmons can get a better understanding of his limitations. Simmons is measuring Mike by hand when Fitz comes in and points out that they have instruments that can do that, ending Simmons’ swoon. They want to know how HQ was able to stabilize the Extremis in Mike, but he tells them that the Night-Night gun saved his life. Simmons continues to fawn over Mike, drawing Fitz’ jealousy.
Coulson and Ward banter about women on the way to meet the soldier’s sister, and Coulson warns Ward that romance with a fellow agent is “just asking for trouble”. Skye tries to talk to May about her search for her parents, but May cuts her off and asks about the mission. Skye shows her a video of Po’s only visitor during his incarceration and how he mentioned “The Clairvoyant”, and Mike reveals that it was Raina (Ruth Negga), the girl in the flower dress, who recruited him for Centipede after he had hurt his back. Raina joins Po in an abandoned warehouse, where he is eating dinner. She asks Po about the Clairvoyant and stage three, but Po tells her that the Clairvoyant can’t help her. She shows Po how they “recharge” their supersoldiers between missions (and how their soldiers have a much more involved system of implants than Mike does), and how it’s been difficult with S.H.I.E.L.D. constantly on their heels.
At Ohio University, Skye and May brief Coulson on Raina and Ward talks to the soldier’s sister, claiming to be from the Ohio Gaming Commission, saying that her brother won $50000. Ward doesn’t know why Coulson wanted to use the lottery ruse, and Coulson says that because it’s a hard sell. The business card that Ward gave the sister gives them access to her phone call, and they trace her brother to Oakland, California. Skye goes and talks to Mike about Ace, but Coulson interrupts with a suit for Mike. It monitors his biofunctions and gives him ballistic protection. Ward, May, Mike, and Coulson are going to raid the warehouse, but as the two teams (Ward/May and Coulson/Mike) enter the warehouse, it appears empty. They dial the soldier’s number and he knocks the doors off of a shipping container and then tosses the container at Coulson and Mike. As Ward and May try to help, they get attacked by another soldier, and it’s all the two of them can do to slow him down. Mike manages to fend off the head soldier when he tries for a killing blow on Coulson, but he gets stabbed with rebar through the side and Fitz and Simmons warn Coulson about how dangerous Mike’s condition is. The other two soldiers run off after Mike takes out the lead one, but before he and Coulson can get any answers, someone triggers the kill switch that Akela Amador was so worried about. Raina and Po see an image of Mike and Coulson from just before the kill switch was triggered, and Po says Mike has the key to stage three.
Heyward (the soldier who was just killed) did indeed have the same optical implant as Akela Amador. Unfortunately, they upgraded their technology and Skye can no longer trace the feed. The team laments their inability to get a leg up on Centipede as well as wondering about their manpower and money. Po rejoins Raina in a car and tells her what the clairvoyant has said, but he warns her not to pry for more information about the clairvoyant, because the last person that tried to do that took a knife to the eyes. Back on the Bus, May confronts Ward for taking a punch from one of the supersoldiers for her, but Ward says that he took the punch for tactical reasons, not personal. He tells May not to flatter herself and leaves, but Skye comes and May flips out on her again about her search for her parents. Skye goes back to her room and starts ripping up her research, and when Coulson goes to talk to her, he hears her crying and decides to leave her alone.
Mike comes to talk to Coulson, and Coulson compliments him for having their backs at the warehouse. He also warns Mike about the dangers of not seeing his son, telling him about how he made the choice to live this life and not the family life, and how Mike didn’t get to make that choice because he already had Ace. Mike calls Ace to tell him that he’s going to be coming home for a while, and Ace tells him that maybe Mike can meet his new friend, who is Raina. Coulson tells the team that they want a trade - Mike for Ace. The team is totally against it, but Mike convinces them that they have to do it or else they’ll murder his son. FitzSimmons have a non-electronic tracking scent that will allow them to track Mike after the exchange. They head to a bridge that is closed down for construction, and Mike and Coulson make their way out to the bridge. Ward is stationed on higher ground with a sniper rifle, but the meeting itself happens behind a cement truck and he has no line of sight. Once they meet with Raina and one of the supersoldiers, Raina reveals that they didn’t want Mike at all, but Coulson. Mike tries to exchange Raina’s life for Ace’s, but she says that if he kills her, Ace will die in a much worse way. Coulson talks Mike down, and Raina sends for Ace. Mike walks him off of the bridge, and the team realizes that they were misled as Coulson gets dosed with some type of sedative and dragged back to Raina’s car. Mike gives Ace to Skye as May tells Ward not to take his shot because they’ll kill Coulson. Mike goes back to try to save Coulson but the cement truck and a bulldozer both explode, apparently killing Mike, and, seconds later, Raina’s car explodes. The team fears Coulson’s death, but a helicopter comes from beneath the bridge, taking a shot at Ward before flying away. In the chopper, Coulson warns Raina that whatever she thinks she’s doing won’t work, as he won’t give them what they want. Raina says that he will, and what they want is for him to tell them about the day after he died.
“So we were right - Chan’s platelets solved their combustion problem. Now they can create supersoldiers with no fear of combustion.” “Maybe don’t get so excited over it.”
“Agent Coulson, Agent May.” “Last time you saw her, you threw her into a brick wall.”
“The last time we saw this guy, he was a raging homicidal maniac...he’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?”
“You solve a lot of puzzles in your day?” “A few, some more rewarding than others. One was especially rewarding.” “What happened?” “I died.” “She wasn’t level 7, sir?” “She was a cellist.”
“Having powers is cheating, but the suit’s pretty cool.”
Theory of the Week
I’m starting to think that May may be Skye’s mother, as someone suggested several weeks ago. Beyond that, I’m at a loss. Fortunately, we’ve got a month to speculate, as S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking a winter break.
Wow. Hopefully this episode will silence all of the naysayers, as it featured more action than any previous episode, supersoldiers, ties to the rest of the MCU, callbacks to previous episodes, and a whole heaping helping of mystery leading into the month-long hiatus. I’ve watched this episode three times now, and that scene on the bridge still hits me right in the gut.
This show so far reminds me of the second season of The Walking Dead, and this episode especially reminded me of the mid-season finale from that show. I know that season two is the most-widely maligned season of TWD, but I still contend that without the character development that season two provided, the ensuing seasons wouldn’t have had nearly the emotional impact that they did. As I mentioned last week, I think the past few episodes of this show, with their attention to Skye, Ward, and May’s pasts and also the budding relationship between Fitz and Simmons, have been essential for laying the groundwork for whatever happens during the rest of this season.
As for this episode, really my only complaint was that the characterization for May was so wildly out of sync with what we’ve seen to this point - why was she so shaken by Ward telling her to get over herself? Why was she so kind to Hannah in the last episode, yet so cruel to Skye in this one? Aside from that, though, I think pretty much everything else clicked in this episode - Fitz’ jealousy over Simmons’ clear fawning over Mike, J August Richards’ guest turn was much better in this episode than in the pilot, and I hope that this wasn’t his final appearance on the show. Overall, a great episode that finished with a satisfying cliffhanger.
The 411: This episode should’ve rectified nearly every complaint that people have had with this show thus far. The action was frequent and well-paced, the Centipede mystery advanced, and this episode tied together the events of several other episodes in a logical way.