Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “A Wanted (In)Human” is a Transitional Episode that Suffers in Service to the Arch

As May and Hunter continue their search for Ward, Daisy and Coulson work to keep Lincoln out of the hands of Rosaline and her nefarious organization.  Meanwhile, Simmons struggles to get used to being back on Earth after her accidental exile to an alien planet she doesn’t want to talk about and is totally not suspicious at all.

All right, tell me if I’m wrong, but am I supposed to be rooting for Lincoln’s safety?  Am I supposed to be rooting for Lincoln at all?  The guy’s a shmuck and has never been that great of a character — someone hired because he has a pretty face and can piece sounds together to form English words.   It’s hard for me to get too involved in a quest to protect some idiot that turns down obvious safety at every turn because his feelings are hurt.  Rosaline can have him as far as I’m concerned.

The rest of the episode is a pretty decent juggling of competing storylines, but it’s hard to get too excited about these transition episodes – the episodes that exist solely for the purpose of setting things up for later.  It’s the same reason I usually get bored with the middle chapter of a trilogy.  Serialized storytelling is tricky and, far too often, writers forget that every story – even the episodic stories in a serialized story – need some sort of beginning, middle, and end with at least a modicum of resolution.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is struggling with that big time… not to where the show is about to go off a cliff like Heroes Reborn has, but enough to where it’s at least tonguing the rim.

Still, this is a quality show.  There were lots of character moments that worked, the gag with the subtitles were hilarious, and there was enough action to keep it from stumbling off that before-mentioned cliff.  The series is still riding that new energy it seems to have garnered from the season opener as well and it’s an infectious energy.  I just hope that cliff doesn’t provide the easy and lazy way to bring the arch of this season crashing down to the canyon floor.

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