TV Discussion

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1×16 – ‘End of the Beginning’ – TV Rewind

Dark days are on approach in the latest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV Rewind...

After an episode that put the main plot on the back-burner in order to feature some alien hi-jinks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns it’s focus to the main story of the mysterious clairvoyant and the hunt for Deathlok, the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mike Peterson (J August Richards).

The episode begins big, with Deathlok attacking a safe house and trying to kill Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt) before moving on to one of the best S.H.I.E.L.D. team-up in the series yet, bringing together a number of fan favourite agents. Knowing that time is short to capture the clairvoyant Coulson (Clark Gregg) calls together the agencies heavy hitters, minus Captain America of course.

The episode sees the return of Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows), Agent Garrett, Agent Blake (Titus Weaver), and Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez). It’s a good mixture, featuring characters that first appeared in the feature films, in the blu-ray bonus stories, and in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.

The group, with the help of Skye (Chloe Benett) formulate a plan to investigate possible candidates for the Clairvoyant, splitting off into two-man teams. The sequence where Blake and Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) come across Deathlok is a highlight of the episode, with the short but sweet fight being incredibly tense and brutal. There’s not enough time or budget to do a big, all out fight, but the smaller scale really works to the shows advantage, displaying the brutality of Deathlok.

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This scene is only topped by the surprise reveal that the Clairvoyant is actually a man named Thomas Nash, played by the iconic horror actor Brad Dourif. Nash is completely paralysed and unable to speak, and as such Doruif can do very little in his scene, yet manages to steal the episode is an incredibly subtle yet great performance. It’s a huge shame that he’s just a puppet that ends up dead by the end of the episode because he would have been a great addition to the show. Perhaps him actually having some kind of precognative powers and having him working alongside the real mastermind would have been an interesting direction that they could have taken the character. Any extra Brad Dourif is a good thing.

The episode feels like the season has begun to grow up, that it’s taking the story far more seriously and is going darker in tone, possibly to become more in line with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The mention by Sitwell that he’s having to leave the mission to head to the Lumerian Star places the events of the episode firmly at the start of the film, and makes the moment at the end when Hand hijacks the Bus take on a much more sinister tone.

This is the point in the season where things really change for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where there’s no more adventure of the week stories but a major focus on the overarching story and character development. With the major change in the status quo coming from the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier the series is sure to go from strength to strength.

Are you a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Let us know what you think of this episode.

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