Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Uprising Review
“My little brother rides the metro. He’s gonna be stuck in a bad part of town. You know what happens to people during a blackout. They think they can get away with whatever they want.”
The ending of Meet the New Boss promised further answers for Agents’s viewing audience, and after an extra week of waiting imposed by the Vice-Presidential debate… the show essentially asked us for a raincheck. Uprising isn’t a terrible episode, but even the promos for it had me skeptical as to what we’d be dealing with here. An episode about terrorist-imposed blackouts seemed like an odd follow-up to what we had seen in episode two, and, unfortunately, it proves to feel just as much like a distraction a one might fear. It serves to put a delay on the answers Robbie had promised Daisy, and instead focuses on the Watchdogs, a group that is theoretically interesting as a concept, but hasn’t been in the forefront in a while. Again, Uprising isn’t a bad episode. It has some fine moments that are enjoyable enough, but it relies too much on dramatic convenience and the few answers that it provides aren’t particularly captivating.
The episode begins with the Watchdogs causing a city-wide blackout in Miami, which Yo-Yo, who was attending an engagement party for her friend, finds herself caught in the middle of. The group responsible claims that it wants to end the registration of Inhumans, but most viewers will be able to guess the true identity of the culprit. While the Watchdogs haven’t been prominent for a while, Daisy’s references to their activities have ensured that, the moment a shadowy organization shows up with plans pertaining to the Inhumans, most of the audience will immediately guess who is behind it all. Uprising does hint at a few details regarding Ghost Rider that Marvel fans will pick up on, but the significance will likely be lost with casual viewers. It appears that, unlike in the comics, Robbie Reyes is, in fact, possessed by the spirit of vengeance instead of the soul of a serial killer uncle. I’ve considered the possibility that his uncle could actually be dead, but I’ve decided to believe that Agents wouldn’t go so far as to play coy with that detail just to set up a surprise twist. But aside from the minor details regarding Robbie’s history, the scenes in Los Angeles ended up feeling rather pointless. Seriously, what actually happens? Robbie promises Daisy some answers, before noting that it would suck if the power went out. The power goes out. They go to pick up Robbie’s brother, and have a forced fight with some idiots, and then Daisy stays the night before leaving the next morning. This is the narrative equivalent of a cul-de-sac. The fight with the looters was fun, but, even in the moment, it felt odd. The power has been out for what, 30 minutes? And yet, we already have wandering groups of looting gangs looking to steal wheelchairs.
I can’t seem to settle on a rating for this episode. Three stars seems too low. Yes, I’m disappointed by this episode, and it had some structuring problems, but the scenes in Miami were fun enough, and there was two decent fights that didn’t involve idiots trying to steal wheelchairs. Watching Fitz, Mack, and Coulson try to locate the EMP generator without access or use of technology (including Coulson’s hand) was fun. Unfortunately, the attempts to deal with May’s deteriorating condition are handled with relatively little tact, and the moment that they attempt to use a defibrillator on her only to have the power fail at that very second might be the most predictable scene the show has had in ages. Honestly, I almost can’t believe the characters didn’t see it coming given how cliche it is. Ultimately, while I don’t like the idea of giving this episode a three star rating, I can’t really justify giving it anything higher. Thankfully, the promos for the next episode appear to offer up a story that is more in line with what I had wanted with this one.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Seriously, what did the loss of power at Radcliffe’s lab actually lend this episode? You could argue that it heightened dramatic tension, but it did so at the expense of the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. And the idea that May regains consciousness with full and immediate cognizance is ridiculous. Seriously, I’m pining for the realism of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation at this point.
- I’ll admit that I forgot that the Watchdogs were tied to the Momentum Lab facility. Admittedly, this was only brought up during a brief exposition segment during Meet the New Boss, so, understandably, it is a detail that appears to slip my mind rather easily.
Uprising presents a conflict that just seems to abruptly lurch into the forefront. The actually story involving the Watchdogs is interesting enough, but manner in which it sidelines the events in LA feels extremely awkward.