Review: Agents of SHIELD, “Bouncing Back”

Progressive/nerd/parent Review (spoilers!)

"Coulson, I came from Iron Man 3 to remind you to wrap up your season before your show gets all fucked up - again - by a new Captain America movie."
“Coulson, I came from Iron Man 3 to remind you to wrap up your season before your show gets all fucked up – again – by a new Captain America movie.”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 3, Episode 11 “Bouncing Back”

Bechdel-Wallace Score: 3/3 – There were a handful of scenes that got three points on a technicality: two named women talking over comms (Simmons & Daisy, Bobbi & Daisy); two named women talking to each other as part of a larger group that included men (May & Simmons, Daisy & Elena); two named women talking to each other through a male translator (Daisy & Elena again). Since these characters and their dialogue were critical to a few points of the episode, I am awarding three points. And I would still prefer to see at least one scene per episode where two women just talking to each other about stuff – the same way men like Coulson and the President did during this episode.

Shukla Score: 3/3 – Quite a few scenes passed all three Shukla tests this week with some of them doing so a few different ways. The standout for sure was the Spanish dialogue between Joey and Elena.

Russo Score: 3/3 – I am going to have to go back and correct some scores from the first half of the season because I forgot that Joey has been identified as gay. And he was certainly critical and not at all a caricature or token during this episode. He is also one of the best characters they have added to the show in a while and I hope he sticks around.

Kittehs: 😺😺😺😺/5 – I was having trouble deciding between three or four kittehs for this episode, but I decided to round up since I was really engaged the whole hour. I am so glad this show has continued to embrace and include people with super powers more and more – it really makes the show better and even gives the regular human folk more to do. And hey – look at those representation scores! Nice job.

Low points: The flash forward teaser at the beginning of the episode was the low point. I can’t stand this (ever more popular) storytelling device because I think it tries to substitute the stress of confusion for compelling drama and that just irritates me. I know Ward is Hive now, not Ward, but still he is kinda back and that sucks. At least it seems like a real personality shift, because the lonely-wounded-boy-as-creepy-villain thing I am really done with. Oh, also, Fitz/Simmons. Are they just going to reboot that relationship every half season? Get it together or drop it. This is absurd. Last but most – they tortured somebody to get information! This is not okay! When are we going to have post-post-9/11 stories on TV? Stop fucking torturing people! It doesn’t work anyway and that alien gadget is a poor fig leaf for torture.

Highlights: Coulson! At least he mentioned having a problem with using a device he himself was tortured in last season. As much as it makes me a hypocrite re: torture specifically, I am in general really loving watching Coulson become ruthless, ideological, and morally ambiguous all at the same time. The other highlight of the episode was the hold music when Coulson called Malick. 😂

Dad edits: I don’t watch this show with my son, but if I did we would talk about how torture is bad no matter what and also it doesn’t work in real life. We would also discuss the religious and cultural facets of this episode, which were surprisingly substantial. Oh and I would be sure to talk to him about how life is too short to waste love on neurotic bullshit. Seriously, not kidding, Fitz/Simmons need to get it figured out. Okay I am done now…

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 9/8c

What did you think of this episode? Tell TLP! Send an email, comment on Facebook, or tweet on Twitter. There is also Tumblr and the comment field below, if you’re into that kind of thing. 

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