Butler County Times Gazette
  • Costello: SHIELD delivers best episode yet

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  • It was an intriguing plot line from the beginning of the series.
    Can Skye be trusted? Does her previous involvement with Rising Tide, an organization bent on exposing organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D., make her more of a threat than an asset?
    The latest episode, "The Girl in the Flower Dress," shows how lying and deception cause problems, compromises principles and damage relationships. The fact that the show is dealing with this issue so quickly is nice; it isn't being dragged out, but it may not be fully resolved, either (is anything ever resolved in this show?).
    There's a lot going on in this episode. First off, Mr. Chan, a street magician who's tricks involve "real magic" (i.e. superpowers), gets seduced by a mysterious woman who wants to make him famous and give him a name for himself, similarly to how Skye talked to the first superhero in the pilot episode (Rising Tide members must be taught to recite the same how-to speeches).
    Chan, who gets renamed Scorch, has the ability to summon fire balls out from the palm of his hands, and without burning himself (he has fireproof plating in his skin). So of course, this mystery woman turns out to be interested only in this technology. The answer as to why becomes clear after discovering she's in on the Extremis project.
    Chan eventually harnesses his powers to their full potential, and the episode gets more graphic than any other so far. Chan burns a woman trying to escape, and the CGI and camerawork aren't shy when it comes to showing how a body can get burned up.
    Meanwhile, Rising Tide gets busted for hacking S.H.I.E.L.D., and Skye apparently was a part of it. The twist is she is working with a former (and momentarily current) lover, Miles. Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) is disappointed in Skye, and Gregg does some fine acting in a couple exchanges with her. One scene was emotional as Skye explains why she truly tried to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D., which has to do with knowledge S.H.I.E.L.D. has on her parents.
    If there's one thing this episode teaches, it's that information has a price. Miles, a seemingly purist who's fighting for the right cause, has an altercation with Skye that reveals monetary motivations that shakes up Skye's faith in him and Rising Tide. The two of them have a brilliantly delivered heated exchange of dialogue. In fact, the whole cast stepped up its game in delivery throughout the episode.
    More cool tech stuff is present and accounted for. This time, S.H.I.E.L.D. has stuff that can control the traffic lights, a ripoff of Live Free or Die Hard. A nod to Captain America was made. There also was a cool reference to Iron Man 1 when Coulson uses door-latching grenades.
    Page 2 of 2 - And of course, the episode ended with a teaser, this time a reference to the "Clairvoyant One" who undoubtedly will appear at some point down the line. With tenions rising, villains popping up and lines getting crossed, the show is continuing to get better.
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