Plot: The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is put on high alert when a small group of super powered individuals break into a maximum security prison and take a man named Edison Po (Cullen Douglas) with them. Knowing they could be up against an entire group of super powered people lead by Centipede, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) recruits his own heavy: Mike Peterson (J. August Richards).
Hey look everybody! It’s Mike Peterson again! Raina (Ruth Negga) too! That’s right folks, last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actually brought back previous guest characters for the first time. It’s been eight full episodes since Peterson has been on screen so it was awesome to have him back. Not only that, but this is the third Centipede focused story we’ve had so far essentially making them the primary antagonists of our team. Why they couldn’t have been that way the whole time is beyond me, but it’s nice having that piece of cohesion. Promotion leading up to “The Bridge” essentially tapped it as being a big super soldier brawl with Peterson taking the reins for once. While we didn’t end up getting that much of a brawl, we did get some great plot development and an excellent twist ending, making this another enjoyable episode.
In terms of the show’s overall story, “The Bridge” took the biggest leap forward. Sure we still have some pretty massive questions but it no longer feels like the wheels are almost completely spinning. Centipede is back with three non-combustible super soldiers and they’re ready to bring the pain. The team has gone toe-to-toe with some of their members in the past, but this is the first time they actually came face-to-face with the big wigs beyond the madness. We learned more about Raina, Po, the conflict between the two teams, and even got some slight insight into the mysterious figure known as The Clairvoyant. Plus, the connection between Centipede and Akela Amedor’s (Pascale Armand) brainwashing from “Eye Spy” was also established. Does this mean that the widely diverse stories of past episodes will actually come together? “The Bridge” even ended without the team completely solving the issue at hand too, another first for the series. It’s a major cliffhanger that is set to be focused on when the show returns making me particularly excited for when that happens in January.
Mike Peterson’s return to the show was great too as the Pilot episode is still my favorite so far, but I couldn’t get his expendability out of my mind. Each team member has been in imminent danger before but their survival was basically guaranteed every time considering their main cast status. This isn’t Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Peterson? Not so much. He experienced every level of the “soon to be dead foreshadowing” like saying how much he loved his son and willingly wanting to jump into danger. Sure enough, one of the cliffhangers is his survival as we last saw him getting caught in a giant explosion. I’m a devout follower of the “no body, not actually dead” rule so unless I see his unmoving body I’ll believe he’ll come back. If he doesn’t though, that basically means he was put back in with the sole purpose of dying for dramatic effect, which is entirely not cool.
As I mentioned before, “The Bridge” was touted as the team coming to blows with a major super soldier group. The whole “coming to blows” thing only really happened once between three super soldiers and Agents Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Coulson, and Peterson. That fight was well choreographed as always and Peterson killed it being the real hero, but it seemed a bit too little than what was expected. What we did get was heavy amounts of dialogue which sometimes got pretty exhausting. The most interesting dialogue (until the end at least) was between Ward and May as they tried to keep their budding relationship secret. It’s nice to see some actual legitimate conflict that won’t be resolved in one episode pop up amongst this team. I look forward to exploring their relationship in more detail. Agents Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) had some good moments too as they were helping Peterson get acclimated to the team.
In fact, the only person who didn’t mesh too well with the story this week was Skye (Chloe Bennet). She honestly felt like that little kid who really wants to hang out with their older siblings but they keep knocking her away. Skye continued her personal crusade to find her parents last night but no one was willing to help her out, especially Coulson and May. Not only did Coulson and May desperately want to keep the truth hidden from Skye, but they also had more imminent things to worry about like super soldiers busting terrorists out of prison. Every individual conflict we saw last night was almost directly tied to the events going on except for Skye searching for her parents. That felt haphazardly thrown in and disjointed from the rest of the episode. I’m all for Skye finding her parents but forcing it in where it doesn’t belong isn’t good for anyone.
The big twist at the end was absolutely spectacular though. In order to strike a blow against S.H.I.E.L.D., Raina captures Peterson’s son Ace (Ajani Wrighster) and holds him for ransom. We’re lead to believe that Centipede wants Peterson to find out how he was able to stop the combustion alone (It was the Fitz-Simmons gun! Go them!). What Centipede really wants though is Coulson because of his shocking return from the dead. Once Coulson willingly lets himself go, everything goes to shit. Peterson is caught in an explosion, Coulson is taken away on a helicopter, and Ward is shot down. Ward will likely live, as will Coulson obviously, but I’m crossing my fingers that Peterson returns too.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t be back until January but I’m more excited for it to return than ever before. Centipede is coming back, the team will have to find a way to manage without their leader, and Coulson’s truth might actually be revealed. Do my eyes see the makings of a connecting story that will give this show the structured feel it desperately needs? I sure hope so. Either way, while I would’ve liked some more actual super soldier fighting, “The Bridge” was another good episode. It moved the story forward and actually laid the groundwork for something better in the future. Now if only they can find a better way to fit in Skye’s personal quest to find her parents.