REVIEW: Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D-Episode 7-The Writing on the Wall
It’s divide a conquer this week as May (Ming Na Wen), Hunter (Nick Blood), Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Trip (B.J.Britt) go out into the field in a bid to capture a dangerous Ward (Brett Dalton) and the rest of the team continue in the quest of solving the mystery behind all the alien symbols Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been possessed into repeatedly carving. The symbols are part of a mysterious puzzle that Skye (Chloe Bennet) points out in the clip below is all connected to her super human and unstable biological father, to the alien obelisk HYDRA villain Doctor Whitehall is after and to the life resurrecting GH Serum Skye and Coulson have been previously injected with.
This episode was dark and edgier than most S.H.I.E.L.D episodes with Coulson nobly going back into the machine that brings to the surface hidden or erased memories but at the cost of physical pain. This unearthed disturbing scenes of the T.A.H.I.T.I project, which Coulson was a part of. After trying to save dying agents’ lives by injecting them with the apparently life saving GH Serum they began to display erratic behavior, compelled to carve the alien symbols. It emerges that Coulson wanted to shut the project down, realizing it to be immoral and destroy the alien host, but instead agreed to wipe the agents’ memories so they could resume living normal lives. After coming to the conclusion that one of the subjects in the T.A.H.I.T.I project has been murdering the others as part of insatiable drive to discover what the alien words mean, after discovering inflicting pain on the subjects helps them remember the alien symbols,Coulson rushes to save the only other survivor, a former agent turned family man and welder.
The pace of this episode was effective as it was varied, cutting between the chase for Ward and the journey in unraveling answers to the alien symbols, without spending too much time on one narrative thread for the audience to get bored and crave more of the other one. This installment was probably almost as necessary as it was action packed, given that the audience most likely needed a fresh hook into the series, after seven episodes of hinting and building up, things really did need to come to a head. This episode was the perfect shove in the right direction.
Although previous episodes in this series have focused on Coulson, sometimes Skye and occasionally May, with their histories being integral to the bigger picture of the series it would be interesting and entertaining for the series to let newcomers like mechanic Mack or Agent Triplet to take the lead as the S.H.I.E.L.D team has expanded so much since the first series it would be nice to get to know some of the characters a bit better-as all we know about Mack(Henry Simmons) is that he likes his bosses “unjumbled” as he reveals to his new buddy Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and unjumbled isn’t something he’s going to get with Coulson.
The seventh part of the series did end on an intriguing note, with the alien symbols finally explaining themselves and being revealed as a map to a city, most likely alien and the end tag hinting that Ward has got plans for his elder, most likely corrupt, senator of a brother. I’m curious to find out what his plans are and what the significance of this mysterious city is in the next episode!