Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD TV Roundtable: “Girl in the Flower Dress”

Girl in Flower DressThe following is a written conversation between Editor-In-Chief Evan Tognotti and Senior Editor Matthew Milewski about this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Spoilers, you guys. Obviously. 

ET: Matthew, you and I both felt similarly about last week’s episode, “Eye Spy.” It was a cautious step forward in what has, thus far, been a hugely disappointing season run. It had enough interest in its characters, and it was matched with some of the best action set-pieces SHIELD has managed to produce.

Even as much as I enjoyed that episode, it left me a little worried about the future. They figured out how to structure an efficient procedural, but could they be able to capitalize on the show’s potential in the upcoming weeks?

It’s with a heavy heart that I report back about “Girl In The Flower Dress,” which has its moments, but also taps into a special kind of bad we haven’t really seen from episodes like “0-8-4.” There’s a lot more here to do with Skye’s backstory, and, I think, almost all of it is terrible. I’m starting to feel manipulated by her double/triple agent indecision, which is more of a well for end-of-episode cliffhangers at this point than any morally complex or interesting. And then there’s Miles, a character so poorly conceived and written that it hurt my brain listening to him talk.

Not to mention the villain arc, which is perhaps the lamest I’ve seen yet. Where do you fall, Matthew?

MM: I’m on the same page with you Evan. “Girl in the Flower Dress” was, while in some ways pretty competent, ultimately a huge bummer. It seems to indicate that the well of story material SHIELD is drawing from is poisoned to the core.

It’s particularly baffling how readily SHIELD shows its hand when it comes to Skye’s back story, especially considering how a double-agent angle might have resulted in some momentum on the character front. It’s instead replaced with “mystery parents”, which is about as uninteresting and nebulous a turn as what I could have imagined.

We also see more of “Project Centipede” here, and it’s as spectacularly dull as I feared. They seem to be set up as a counter-group to SHIELD, but their appearance is so typical and their goals so nebulous that it’s really hard to care. It doesn’t help that Scorch’s story is weak retread of Mike Peterson’s from the Pilot.

The things that were happening around the edges of “Girl in the Flower Dress” aren’t so bad; the main cast is getting more comfortable with their characters, which is a good thing, and there’s a hand-full of good lines (Coulson groaning about Scorch “getting a name” got a good laugh from me). It isn’t as uniformly dull as “0-8-4”. With that said, I feel worse about SHIELD than ever; when the early character work from the show is this flawed, it’s hard to get excited.