Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: ‘The Magical Place’

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.DIf the blogosphere is any indicator, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be on rocky ground.  That sentiment appears reflected in its ratings.

Speaking of which, they have dipped precariously since its premiere high of 4.7 (representing millions of households) to a rating of 2.1, tying a season low.

That may seem a bit grim, but keep in mind that network television overall has been getting pummeled by cable, video games, and the Internet for awhile now; so while a 2.1 isn’t great, its not terrible either and as a marque series for the network, it will probably be renewed as long as it remains stable (it doesn’t hurt that the ABC network is owned by Walt Disney, which Marvel is a division of).

If future episodes are as engaging as “The Magical Place,” ‘Agents’ may begin to recover some of that lost audience.  The episode, directed by the remarkably prolific Kevin Hooks (“Passenger 57,” Black Dog”) is action-packed and should help to redeem it in the eyes of those willing to stick with the series, and may even reengage viewers interested in seeing if the series has improved.

And while the jury is still out, this episode is possibly the strongest so far.  That being said, nothing is perfect because, while “The Magical Place” is engaging, it often felt rushed, as if Hooks had to quickly move things from one point to another.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing, though it’s not something that you want to be too obvious.

What’s most important, the question of how was it that Agent Coulson survived his “death” in 2013’s “The Avengers,” was answered.  It was also done in a particularly clever fashion, in that you see what happens, but don’t quite understand the how of it.

This leaves room in future episodes to exploit this storyline further.  Another question raised in the last few episodes, that took on a greater meaning, was:  Who is the Clairvoyant?  Are they fans of the Blue Öyster Cult?  Iron Maiden?  Where is their organization (Centipede) getting its advanced technology (which is even more advanced than the cutting-edge tech of S.H.I.E.L.D.)?

The questions answered, as well as those that are only hinted at, definitely make “The Magical Place” a place worth spending time.

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