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February 04 2014

(SPOILER) Discuss this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The episode is "T.R.A.C.K.S." and it was written by Lauren LeFranc and Rafe Judkins.

\Y'all ready?
Fun. Fitz is loving being Skye's fake boyfriend.
May's trying to grab Quinn's package.
So this is the kind of undercover where you're really conspicuous and loud about the fact that you're agents on a mission?

The ol' "Disapearing train" trick.
So we're non-linear tonite, huh?
Now I'm confused. Didn't that already happen?
What did May say after she whacked the Italian guy?
The train is headed to my home town, woohoo! I can recommend a few romantic restaurants :)
Loved Simmons' overacting and her "Bad at Improv, Great at Preparation" and the bit with the holotable.

Loving the non-linear story telling.
Time dilation grenade. Nice
What did May say after she whacked the Italian guy?


"Wheels up in five." Growled, actually.
Tight story telling. nonlinear structure. Off to a great start.
Loving this episode. Best so far.
I have my orders too.
Maybe Skye's superpower is not dying when shot.
It's a Whedon show.
This show is definitely finding its footing. Agreed that this is the best episode so far.
Ooh!!! Best episode thus far!
I think this was a amazing episode.The best so far.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2014-02-05 03:02 ]
Yes, the show is /has been getting way better. Scripts / plots are a big part of it but the other part is how much more invested we are in the characters.

I'm really happy about this and so so hope we get Season 2.

In other news, Agent May continues to delight me (not to mention Mr. Javelina).
That was ****** awesome!!
I have been watching TV along time I don't remember these huge breaks in between new episodes. Is it just me, or does anyone find it odd that the next new episode is March 4?
That was pretty fun, except for the part where the next episode is in March. Enjoyed the non-linear storytelling and Mike returning.
Wow. Quantum leap in ........ everything. Action. Humor. Big Stakes. Special Effects. It was like watching a different show.

More great lines and character beats in this episode than the first half season combined

Did I hear right that next episode isn't until March??
I mean, they may as well have just pushed this episode off. There's no momentum built by placing one episode in the middle of a two month break.
"Is it just me, or does anyone find it odd that the next new episode is March 4?"

Well, crap.
This monthly schedule of episodes is kinda... weird. Its stretching the audience a bit even in America... or is this practice common? Dont mean the waits, i mean THIS kind of waits.
I was totally expecting Skye to show off her 0-8-4 power when she got shot. It was a cool subversion of expectations when she didn't. Hopefully once the Olympics are over, we'll get the final 9 episodes in as many weeks.
Next 2 weeks is Olympics. Only a few shows will have new episodes and most likely none of them will be new shows*. Not sure about Feb 25th but given that its sweeps weeks this is odd.

*unless they are being burned off.

[ edited by JDL on 2014-02-05 03:49 ]
Yep... two excellent episodes in a row. Unfortunately, it will probably get terrible ratings because it's the lone new episode in a space of about 2 months.

I have a feeling whatever power Skye has is going to manifest itself next episode to save her. Not a healing factor, apparently. Maybe regeneration upon death?

Wonder who Deathlok is tasked to kill?

Stan Lee's cameo was fun. I had a feeling when he mentioned he had a "big role" in this episode he meant he had two lines instead of his usual one. :-)

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2014-02-05 03:33 ]
You guys would not have been able to handle Buffy as live TV. :P
That episode was phenomenal. Best so far.
I'm only half way through the episode but after I saw May kill that guy and the holodeck scene(there is NO way Joss did not write that scene. It was so Joss.) I had to pause the episode, log onto here and proclaim this as the BEST episode of the series so far! I am loving this episode. This episode is EVERY THING I've wanted this show to be since the beginning. Ok. Now to finish watching the 2nd half of the ep. Hope it stays consistent.
Just finished the episode. I was soooo worried Skye was a goner after that 2nd shot to the gut. The writers got me good. Great great episode. But whats this about no new episode until March...What?!?! Thats insane. Grack21 normally I would agree with you when people complain about the breaks but only airing one episode in February sweeps is unheard of for a Whedon show. The last time only 2 episodes of a full Whedon season only had 2 episodes in February was Angel season 4 which was scheduled alot different than other Whedon seasons in the fact that each part of the season aired in long stretches with minimal breaks which helped build the plot momentum of that full throttle 24-lite season.
That was a thoroughly enjoyable episode. A few notes:

- Not a big fan of Stan Lee's cameo. It seemed shoehorned in and very "THIS IS STAN LEE" in big, neon lights.
- Simmons would have been fine if Fitz and Skye had left her a brief note explaining the time dilation.
- May killing Russo was just nuts.
- The holodesk scene was fantastic. I laughed the entire scene and disturbed the cat.
- I'm glad Fitz and Skye were able to do more than just tech stuff, but I'm wondering why Fitz stayed under the car so long. Was the plan always for Skye to go in alone? Cause that was a dumb decision. If you wanted to keep them from leaving their rural estate, just disable all of the cars like Fitz was doing and wait for the rest of the team to show up. Of course, since her going in was part of the plan and had to happen, I think Fitz should have gone in as well.
The timing is odd. But man, I remember the TWO MONTH break between Who Are You and Superstar almost drove me bonkers.
Shouldn't this episode have been titled THE TRAIN JOB? Would have been a great inside joke...
Great episode! aitchbee, I was thinking the same thing. It does feel like there have been a lot of breaks. Going to be a slow month.
Maybe the delay until March is because the network doesn't want to put the show up against the Olympics.
My favourite so far. If they could keep this up, I'd be a happy camper.
This episode has raised the bar, in a pretty major way. I absolutely loved the narrative structure. May's was probably the best use of it, setting up suspense for what happened to Skye and Fitz, while simultaneously explaining so many things about Ward and Coulson's story. There was some amazing comedy weaves in there, and a great BANG! Or two. That said, I was surprised that Skye's powers didn't activate and heal her. We'll see if the trauma still may activate her powers in a month...

While I don't want to lose Skye, part if me hopes that a character dies off for real. Coulson, Mike Peterson, Simmons, and now Skye have all been put in places where it looked like they could have died for real, but have all been saved (though I'll concede Skye could die, despite the fact that doing this without resolving her arc seems unlikely). If the show is going to make use of so many death fake-outs, I feel it should be balanced with rare, occasional deaths to give them weight.
Good episode. It felt like one of the better episodes of Chuck. A few things were still pretty bad (May's fight scene), but overall I enjoyed it.

It was high time one of the team got seriously injured. Maybe now they will start to actually act like a professional outfit.

Could do with a lot less of the soapy melodrama they seem to be ramping up, but I'm guessing there's no chance of that happening.
This is is getting so motherfucking good! This one, "T.R.A.C.K.S.", is not only difficult to spell out, but is written by Lauren LeFranc and Rafe Judkins. They wrote "The Hub", which is my other favorite episode of the entire season. But this one raises so many stakes. Shit just got real!

They had a splendid plot device with the Cybertek gadgets, and where did the plot go? Damn, that made me moist in the eyes. These two should write more episodes, 'cause they have succeeded in scripting my two ever favorite episodes of the show.

The character development, suspense, acting, writing, directing; fucking EVERYthing that matters is GOOD. Like in "The Hub". This makes me confident in what they're doing with AoS. And it's so important, that little aspect of showing blood. Makes us care.
I guess you could say this show is on the right T.R.A.C.K
Wow!! Best episode!! Genuinely great I'm so pleasantly surprised. Great script, direction and the editing during fights wasn't as choppy
This episode was super good. I'm not exactly into having to wait an entire dingus month for another one, but if it's another episode of this quality, I'm more than happy to wait. I mean, I wouldn't say I'm happy to wait, but I guess I will. Because I have to. And I'll be pissed about it.
They should have rescheduled the winter Olympiad for the period before this episode.
Agent May is so unbelievably badass, I can't even comprehend it. Like, who gets stabbed in the shoulder and immediately thinks, "Hmm, I could probably use this to cut myself free"? This show. @_@ And it's only getting better from here on out.

Holodeck scene. Absolutely hilarious. Watching Ward and Coulson fumble around with the 3D models. =D
I enjoyed the groupings in this episode.

Ward is growing more and more on me. It's almost endearing how he and Coulson can't use the 3D hologram.

How in the world did Fitz and Skye follow cars on foot?! That bugs me.

Ward jealous of Coulson/May? About time! Him blaming Coulson for Skye - I get that. Because I do too. Skye never had any reason to be on the team but less on the ground team in the first place. I'm disappointed in Coulson. He's been messing up a lot more than I'd like. No wonder May is mother-henning him half the time.

Is it me, or are we going to see a more jaded Simmons? I think I might like that.

Part of me a was a little happy that Skye might die - albeit smaller than what could've been early the season. She has been growing on me too.

JAR was awesome! Poor guy. We will gave such dark fun with him.

I had hoped we'd have more from Stan. Oh well, maybe we will.
Even if they had been able to use the holodesk, how could they expect to understand what they were looking out?

"It looks like this... metal thing... fits into this... other metal thing."

Also, Melinda May = awesome.
I have been wanting an episode like this. I've been kinda lukewarm on some of the previous offerings (not all of them; some have been pretty darn good), but this one really delivered on action, drama, comedy, stakes, everything. Really starting to warm up to the team more and more, too, so yay.

Also: the holodeck scene. So much yes.
I'm guessing the holodesk was inspired by a typo. Someone typed an s instead of a c and said, "Y'know..."
My favorite parts of the holodesk (I refuse to think of it as a holodeck) scene were how Ward looked so proud he knew where the on button was and Coulson didn't and when they tried to zoom in and it went blobby.

Jason_M_Bryant, you make a good point. Maybe they were just thinking it could look like a device they had seen before?

One of the problems I had with this episode was just that I had no sense of geography. Where can you just park the plane and what would have happened if they couldn't get to it? I know they could have improvised but it seems like the plane is often very conveniently located despite there being a limited number of places you could park a huge plane like that.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-02-05 13:41 ]
I can't honestly see how Ward blames Coulson for what happened to Skye (which is what it seems like, since Coulson was the one they immediately cut to when Ward said he wasn't blaming himself.)

It was her decision and her decision alone to try and infiltrate a heavily-guarded compound despite having absolutely no qualifications to do so. Coulson wouldn't have let her do it if he'd been there.

Ward can blame Quinn for shooting her. He can blame the Clairvoyant for coordinating the whole thing. He can even (unjustly) blame Fitz for letting her go in. But if this is a pretext for the writers to create some kind of rift on the team, or prompt everyone to do an intervention on Coulson, it's not going to work for me.

As much as I liked this episode, I have to admit the drama of the "cliffhanger" is somewhat muted by the fact that there's no way they're going to kill off Skye at this point.
I'm guessing Ward's argument will be that someone like Skye has no business being in field ops at all. You could make that argument about FitzSimmons as well, but at least they've had more training than Skye.
On the matter of who Ward wants to put blame on for Skye being near death right now, I think Ward's remarks to May while they were changing are telling about where Ward's mindset is; he's questioning Coulson's priorities and focus re: what their overall mission is, and his comment about Skye being holed up for days looking for signs of Quinn after talking to Coulson about an unknown-to-him topic shows that Ward feels Coulson is far from his best. Add on Ward getting smacked down by Coulson about his stress-relieving with May and needing to grow a clue - which I'm sure Ward will make out as being hypocritical since Coulson has apparently let things get personal - and he's gonna be a voice of dissension. Truthfully, as much as I like this show lots, almost no one on the team gets away with not having some guilt about Skye's situation in some fashion or another...barring Simmons. And even she was eager to prank Skye early on since Skye's a civilian consultant who never went to any of the SHIELD service branch academies.

Overall, I was very impressed with this episode, what with the first two acts being all Rashomon (though none of the parallel stories contradicted each other) and the twist of the MacGuffin not actually being a MacGuffin - we find out what's in the case and it's important to future plot elements - really showed off what the writing staff's capable of. Plus, May's big fight scene was definitely impressive in my eyes, with the delayed coup de grace of her taking out Russo really emphasizing just how bad of an idea it is to get Melinda May pissed off.
I like the parallels between Ward and May and Coulson and Skye, regarding personal feelings as weakness.

As Coulson pointed out, Ward dodges the issue and can't even say it's just sex. He doesn't know what to do about this. He doesn't know if he has a personal connection with May that goes beyond being partners and if that is even is a good thing. He seemed a bit jealous when he saw Coulson with May in the infirmary. He's frustrated because it's not something he can fix with the skills he has. And if he perceives personal feelings or connections as a weakness in himself, he's going to perceive the same in others, which is why he would blame Coulson for Skye's decision to go into the house.

Coulson seems to want to protect Skye regardless. He knows her story, and he admires her resolve to use it to provide herself with positivity and a purpose. But his personal connection to her has put her in his blind spot. He is probably always going to go to bat for her, and can a leader really know a person completely and trust completely?

As for who takes the blame, I put it on Skye and Coulson. Skye chose to go into that house. Fitz could have gone in with her. Neither of them needed to go into the house if they disabled the cars (what are the baddies going to do, walk?) Coulson's culpability in this scenario is that he did not adequately prepare Skye. He told May there wasn't supposed to be any combat involved; that, to me, is a severe hindsight. When you're pursuing dangerous people, dangerous things can and will happen. Not training or preparing your team for that is foolish.

ETA: If Mike is going to be writing messages to his watchers, he should probably carry around a mini dry erase board, like everyone did in "Hush." Be eco-friendly, Mike.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-02-05 18:31 ]
Not bad, not bad at all:)

+ Melinda May, the pro

- Coulson and Ward, amateurs in 3d.
I think Skye went in to try & keep eyes on Quinn. Fitz stayed outside to disable the cars in case they tried to leave. No, she didn't have to go in, but Sky isn't supposed to do a lot of things. I can see why Ward would focus blame on Coulson, for reasons stated above. But when Coulson said there wasn't supposed to be combat it was because they weren't planning on engaging anyone. It was a heist. I have a feeling Fitz & Simmons aren't the only tech SHIELD personnel to end up in field situations without the same training as Ward or May, so their involvement (and Sky's) doesn't bother me as much as another failing of Coulson's. Fitz was tasked a few episodes ago by SHIELD to go directly into a dangerous situation. So clearly it's not unusual.

Loved the holo desk scene.

Also...MARCH?!? What the FOX! *sigh* Fine. Whatever. I'll wait.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2014-02-06 01:37 ]
"The Train Job" WOULD have been a much better title. They already did a little shout-out to Dollhouse fans, why not show the love for the fans of the Firefly that refuses to die. Then we'd all be on our toes looking out for references to other Whedon shows - and Coulson quoting Shakespeare at some point.
That episode was unpredictable and very good.
Steranko, meanwhile, still appears to be sleeping through most episodes but then still pretending to review them. I like especially how he dismisses what he called "the time-bomb bit" as not being visual. The entire point of the bit was that it initially was visual (train go poof!) but that turns out just to be a WTF mislead, so I'm not sure where his viewing comprehension has gotten off to.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2014-02-06 01:18 ]
A very enjoyable episode - I liked seeing the same events seen from different perspectives.

The holodesk bit was gold!

I was also expecting Skye's 0-8-4 power to kick in once she was shot...I guess maybe it'll happen in the next episode, and have I mentioned how much I hate sport and how it delays shows I actually WANT to watch??
That Jim Steranko fellow does seem to have a sort of dogmatic hostility towards this show. If he didn't see anything of value in this episode other than Stan Lee, then I don't think he is being objective. He might as well be a troll.
I just re-watched the episode, and it struck me... when Stan Lee sternly tells Coulson, "you've got a chance to be better... I suggest you take it," was that intended to be a humorous self-referential bit of meta, with Stan representing the fans who have been critical of the show?
I think my favorite part of the holodesk bit was that when Ward finally turned it on, he found that FitzSimmons had left a mess. It's a virtual projection and yet they left a mess. I love little nods to how futuristic technology would actually be used in imperfect ways.
Good television, finally.
Wow, this episode really brought it. I thoroughly enjoyed it - the non-linear story telling where each part reveals a little bit more, the misdirect with the disappearing train, the character interactions... overall great pacing and plot development. I as well thought an 0-8-4 power would kick in, but when it took so long for them to find Skye, I really thought she was dead. I'm glad she is not, but at the same time, there do seem to be a lot of near death encounters. And I know they don't have any control over it, but having to wait until March is rather annoying - I want more now!
@AndrewCrossett: I don't think it was that self referential. I think it was simply a reference to Coulson having a second chance at living.
This was the first episode that really worked for me. Good writing, funny stuff, even the action scenes looked better to me.

At the end of the day I got the feeling that the Clairvoyant planned everything. Quinn said something about following his orders when he shot Skye, and when Coulson and the others finally arrived he seemed to expect them. My guess is that the whole setup is more about Coulson than about Skye being a 0-8-4.
oh my god that was terrific! I knew if I just hung on this show would get there, and this is the episode where it happened for me. Hell yeah! I loved the non-linear set up and the use of the train announcement to anchor us. Plus a shout in in favor of the schmoopy emotional stuff- I think I'm actually starting to care what happens to these people and that's all down to their emotional entanglements with each other, for me.
I can't honestly see how Ward blames Coulson for what happened to Skye (which is what it seems like, since Coulson was the one they immediately cut to when Ward said he wasn't blaming himself.)

This. I'm hoping it's just a little misdirection and he means Skye (for going in there in the first place) and Quinn. Coulson isn't completely blameless, the Scoobies were a better run team than this unit has been so far, but he didn't make Skye go after Quinn.

Unfortunately the writers seem determined to portray Ward as a total idiot any chance they get.

when Stan Lee sternly tells Coulson, "you've got a chance to be better... I suggest you take it," was that intended to be a humorous self-referential bit of meta, with Stan representing the fans who have been critical of the show?

I don't think so. That would mean to suggest the PTB's having to admit there are problems with the show. I haven't seen much evidence of that.
Ward blaming Coulson is a bit irrational, but Ward has doubted him before, and he didn't look too happy to see him help May tend to her wounds. There is obviously something going on.
When is the next open call for quotes? I highly suggest adding "You are the least supportive pretend girlfriend I've ever had."
Is it March yet?
So, is this the "Man on the Street" moment? or too early to tell?
Maybe the Clairvoyant has been the one behind the hunting of Skye since she was a baby. Maybe he's manipulated her into a near-death experience because that is what it takes to trigger her super powers, just as Alpha was manipulating Echo into experiences to expand her resistance to being wiped, and then he expects to add her to his army of supersoldiers. Why does he want an army of supersoldiers? To rule the world? Why do bad guys always want to rule the world? It takes so much effort to get there and then what do you get out of it? More work. I mean try running an office, and then think how much more complicated it's going to be to run the world. I mean, chill out bad guys. Do some slow breathing. Go someplace warm and tropical, NOT Tahiti, and get a nice massage. Vampires and demons I understand. They're evil because it's their nature to be evil. But running the world type guys, I've just never gotten. Much less why anyone would be willing to sign up and risk their own lives not only in armed struggle but for a boss who may toast you himself if he gets a little testy about your job performance.
But we could run the world so well, barboo. And so evilly.

[ edited by viewingfigures on 2014-04-11 21:02 ]
Maybe he's manipulated her into a near-death experience because that is what it takes to trigger her super powers, just as Alpha was manipulating Echo into experiences to expand her resistance to being wiped, and then he expects to add her to his army of supersoldiers.

My thoughts didn't take me so far as the supersoldiers, but I was pondering the rest myself.
Awesome episode. I've been a big fan of the series all along, enjoying everything really, but also trusting that it would reach greater heights. IMO, this episode marks the 'beginning of the proof'. It had everything. Humor, character development, plot development, action, suspense - and Marvel, with Stan Lee & Deathlok and an excellent reference to the Edward Norton Incredible Hulk movie (Coulson threatening Ward to send him to Alaska to guard Blonski's cryo cell (said guy being Hulk villain 'the Abomination' - good reveal on his post-movie status!))
Valentijn, thanks for explaining the Blonski reference. I knew it was a Marvel thing I just wasn't getting. I think it's great when they drop those little things in. So many layers. :)
And, oh yeah, for great quotations: "Prostitutes?"
Finally got a chance to see it. I agree, it was a strong episode and I enjoyed the to & fro with time. But my, Fitz and Skye must be able to run quickly to keep up with the cars. Also had problems with how easily two amateurs infiltrated the house. And does the plane sneakily follow behind the train that they could get back onboard so quickly?
But loved it otherwise. And is Ward right to be jealous of May and Coulson? After he helped with her bandage (did she stitch the wound herself?), she was looking at Coulson in a fairly significant way, I thought. I loved seeing FitzSimmonds grow more comfortable in being part of the action.
Some people are really overrating this episode. It was another good episode in a show that generally IS good, but it's no "Man on the Street" and I still don't feel that this show is reaching its potential yet, but I'm still optimistic about it. They really need to start going somewhere with this story arc. We haven't even SEEN the big bad yet, and the show really needs to stop teasing this Coulson and Skye stuff. I'm patient, but it's officially gone on for too long now. This show needs some big reveals NOW. What EXACTLY was done to Coulson. What IS Sky?

C'mon, kick this show into high gear already. Let's pick up the pace. And as someone who isn't a hardcore Marvel comic book fan, I honestly can't care less about whoever this Deathlock character is.

I'm a little more ranty than usual, as I'm usually pretty positive about this show, but the time shifting stuff felt kind of gimmicky. It's similar to that stupid TV cliche where a show starts with a scene, then spends the rest of the episode getting back to that scene. It's not "cool" anymore and this show would be better served just focusing on good story telling rather than gimmicks.

If I sound particularly down on this episode, it's because I'm tired of waiting for this show to really show people just how awesome it can be. It's still not quite there yet

[ edited by viewingfigures on 2014-04-11 21:03 ]
This episode was also my favourite so far. Watched it twice already and wouldn't mind a third time. I loved the story-telling device they used here, and this is the first time I found myself really caring for Skye and the team. Also, J. August Richards, ugh my heart is breaking yet am so so happy to have him on this show!!!!

This one month waiting is really really bugging me but I see that as a very good sign :)
@Angel&Faith Please don't tell OTHERS how much THEY should or should not rate a show, or episode, and then claim to be speaking "officially" on THEIR behalf, particularly when YOUR comments are excessively ME, ME, ME.

viewingfigures, your comment is really out of line here. No more of this.

[ edited by viewingfigures on 2014-04-11 21:03 ]

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