With the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. close to its midway point the show should have found its feet by now and should really know what kind of show it wants to be. Sadly, ‘Repairs’ continues to be a fairly lacklustre adventure of the week that fails to impress.
The main problem with this episode is that the tone feels skewed, trying to mix together the humour of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) deciding to prank Skye (Chloe Bennet) as the new girl on the team with the past trauma that Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) has experienced. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always done a good job of combining together humour and more serious elements, but this particular episode feels like a large misstep.
Whilst we have yet to be told, or shown, what exactly happened to May in her past, we know that it was traumatic enough to make her give up on field work and shut herself off from other people. The event must have been something traumatic to have this kind of effect, yet Fitz and Simmons seem to find it something appropriate to joke about. It’s bad enough that they’re making up stories at the expense of someone else, but to do so with something that was deeply damaging to someone they regard as a friend just makes them look like jerks.
The main mystery of the week isn’t too inspiring either, with the focus being on a young woman named Hannah (Laura Seay) that appears to be displaying telekinetic powers. As the episode unfolds we learn that she is actually being stalked by Tobias Beckett (Robert Baker), a man that was obsessed with Hannah before being caught in an experimental explosion that has caused him to become trapped between dimensions. Shifting between this world and an alien reality, Tobias acts somewhat like a ghost, able to disappear and reappear at will.
The concept isn’t bad, but it’s not especially well executed. Instead of making the most of the concept the episode appears to have been reduced to a bottle episode, with all of the major action beats and plot points taking place within the confines of the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane. With power out on the ship the team are reduced to sneaking their way through darkened corridors with very little sense of where they actually are within the structure. For a set that’s used so often it’s hard to get a real sense of the layout or scale of The Bus.
‘Repairs’ also doesn’t seem to know what to do with Skye or Coulson (Clark Gregg). The team leader is pushed to the side, stuck at being reactive rather than proactive. The show also seems to have admitted that it doesn’t know what it’s doing with Skye, reducing her role on the team to being nice to people. There are a few moments that are quite good in the episode despite the many flaws it seems to be suffering from, while Iain De Caestecker and his terrified scream at his own mop prank is quite amusing.
It’s easy to see why the early days of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had trouble keeping viewers when it was producing episodes that misfired as much as this one. Sadly, it took the first season a long while to find not just its tone, but its overarching narrative. Things do get better, especially when the series falls into line with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier but at this point the show is very much treading water.
Are you a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What do you think of this episode? Let us know.