Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "The Bridge"

Um . . . For an episode that was upping the overall mythology quotient of the show, this still didn't hold my interest much.

A man named Poe is broken out of prison by some Centipede-infused super soldiers. This is the man Raina had visited at the end of "Girl in the Flower Dress." Anyway, in order to get a line on things, Coulson & Crew hit up our old friend Mike (from the pilot episode) who is now training with S.H.I.E.L.D.

We learn that the Extremis in Mike was somehow stabilized through the weapon Fitz and Simmons had developed and Ward had shot him with in the Union Station fight.

We learn that the super soldiers fueled by Centipede also have kill switches in them. That Poe communicates with someone called "The Clairvoyant" whom we never see but who seems to be running things.

And then in the ultimate predictable move, Raina kidnaps Mike's son Ace and demands an exchange. Not Mike in return for Ace, but Agent Coulson. Because Raina and her people want to explore how Coulson came back from the dead.

Oh, and we also find out May is one of the only people in the world who gets crankier the more she gets laid. Geez, bitch, dial it back.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, big subplot about how Skye continues to try figuring out who her parents are while Coulson and May are hiding the truth and leading her astray.

So how is it this episode ended up being less than the sum of its parts? Even Mike's death as he attempted to do the right thing and save Coulson failed to elicit the feelings I'm sure it was meant to (is it wrong that I was hoping they'd finally added a POC to the team?) . . . I think the problem is, as I mentioned, just how rote and by-the-numbers the story was here, and has become overall. I mean, I like Coulson, but just as the relentless focus on Skye dragged the earlier episodes down (she's much more likable now in the smaller doses), now this intense focus on Coulson and "Tahiti" has become a bore. What should pass for tension and anticipation . . . doesn't. The pacing is off somehow.

Initial ratings results show last night's episode was a low for the show, and I'm beginning to wonder whether they'll be able to legitimize a second season given how expensive this must be to produce. It's a shame because I do like it, just wish they'd get a bit creative with it.

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