Television, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Frenemy of My Enemy"

The more ridiculously complicated this stuff gets, the less I'm able to care. Nothing "entertaining" should require this much of my energy. Like, the whole Marvel universe . . . All this stuff . . . It's starting to be too much work.

That said, I want my entertainment to require some work. I want it to be at least partly thought provoking. So I realize I'm being picky and difficult and contrary. Media at large is about finding that sweet spot of something being massively appealing by being not too hard and not too easy. You have to be clever and not cliché. You have to avoid being predictable but can't be too far out there, either. People have to be engaged, but there's a tipping point at which it's too much and the audience no longer finds it worth the time and effort. A point at which the payoff, no matter what it might be, cannot be worth the work. It's tricky.

For me, S.H.I.E.L.D. is nearing that tipping point. There are so many characters (and now we're doing a spinoff with Bobbi and Hunter?), and it's all so complicated, yet somehow manages to be predictable at the same time. There's little to no "wow" factor for me. Now I watch and wonder what'll be important to know for the next movie. "Pop quiz, asshole!" Great, my TV and movies have devolved into tests of knowledge. (Which is what they've been for comic book fans all along, I guess, and those people love it—love showing off how much they know or whatever—but ugh. I love trivia, but this isn't my dream Jeopardy! category, nor do I aspire for it to be.)

Anyway, what can I say about last night's episode? The bit I was actually paying attention to, that is. Fitz is saved by Coulson and Hunter and Deathlok, then they go get Ward and Kara and attempt to use Bakshi for infiltration purposes, but that goes badly. And when Simmons tells May she switched the toolbox, May rats her out. Meanwhile, Skye and her dad take a trip to Milwaukee; she's supposed to ditch him there, but he figures out what she's doing and starts to lose it just in time for both Lincoln and Hydra to show up. Coulson and Skye spot each other, but Gordon sweeps in and transports Skye out. This was probably the most interesting story line, or at least the most comprehensible, which isn't saying much.

The whole thing has become so big and clunky, with conspiracy on top of conspiracy. What once felt sharp is now dulled, and watching it makes me feel dull, too, like my brain is going to mush. As with Gotham, I'm pushing through to the end of the season, but I don't know if I'll be on board for more.

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