Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review – “Girl in the Flower Dress”

Hopefully, this will be the latest review of the season. There’s a story behind the delay, and that story will be told in the comments.

Cast and Crew Information

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
Chloe Benet as Skye
Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
Ruth Negga as Raina
Tzi Ma as Agent Kwan
Louis Ozawa Changchien as Chan Ho Yin
Shannon Lucio as Debbie
Austin Nichols as Miles Lydon

Written by Brent Fletcher
Directed by Jesse Bochco (yes, Steven’s son)

Premise

A pyrokinetic is brought in by another organization, and is subjected to experimentation by a group we’ve seen before.

High Point

“So, we’re good now, right?” is the ultimate choice. “At least you know what you’re looking for” was a serious contender until they paid it off this episode instead of laying more threads in the web. This is a spy show! I want this baby as intricate as Secret Warriors!

I’m also enough of a New Warriors fan to enjoy seeing Scorch on screen, even if it was effectively an entirely new incarnation. (Heck, I’m enough of a New Warriors fan to pay actual money on all ten issues of Speedball, knowing how bad most of them are.)

Low Point

Killing a character that didn’t need to be killed. No, I won’t say who, but I saw a lot of story potential there that hasn’t been realized yet.

It also bugs me to see so many incompatible operating systems represented on a phone screen.

The Review

This isn’t original in the sense that it’s bringing back many elements that were similarly used in the pilot, but they are going in new directions with the team dynamic with them. We also get new developments and twists in old plot threads. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were well done, both in terms of makeup and CGI. Editing helped smooth the transitions, but it’s hard to notice the trickery if you aren’t consciously looking for it. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story holds together in every non-computer science category. New threads are planted, old threads are picked up, new characters are introduced, and the status quo gets a pretty good rattling. All in all, it’s a good fifth episode. We’re even seeing depth in Melinda as she interacts with Coulson (or a close approximation thereof.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is generally good. Some of Bennet’s moments fell a bit flat this week, but overall, it’s pretty convincing. Her scenes with Ward and Coulson were great, but some of her moments with Miles Lydon just didn’t sell me when they were being held together. I give it 4 out of 6.

The production is one category where Mutant Enemy has consistently delivered for over a decade. They found their groove in the second season of Buffy and never lost it. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was good, but not spectacular. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this feels like an important episode, not so much for what it does this week, but for what it sets up for the future. Comparing it to Babylon 5, this feels like the equivalent of Signs and Portents. It’s an entertaining hour at present, but will send the entire series in a particular direction. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Girl in the Flower Dress receives 35 out of 42.

10 replies on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review – “Girl in the Flower Dress””

  1. The promised story explaining the delay: I no longer have cable, so I watch my TV via iTunes. That usually means a delay of a day. For some reason, this episode wasn’t available until Thursday instead of Wednesday.

    I got home from work Thursday night, ready to watch the episode and get the review up that night. When I got home I heard my burglar alarm going off. The monitoring company hadn’t called me at all, so I called my mother on my cell with the intent to just keep her on the line while I did a walk around the house and also walk through, just to make sure it was clear. Mothers being mothers and my parents living nearby, she convinced me to hang on until my dad could join me, and he came armed with a sledge hammer and a can of bear spray. (They only live a few minutes away.)

    We walked around the house, and all seemed secure. The alarm had shut off, but it goes in 15 minute cycles anyway. We went into the house, and the red alarm light wasn’t even on, so it was most likely a phone or power interruption. Everything was looking good, but we walked through the entire home anyway. At one point, my dad transferred the bear spray and sledge hammer into the same hand to reach a light switch, and accidentally triggered a blast of bear spray into the door jam outside a bedroom.

    Turns out, that stuff’s pretty damn potent. It took half an hour to dissipate enough to start to clean it, and even then, I couldn’t sleep at home Thursday night. I crashed at my parents’ place, and got way behind on my Bureau 42 stuff. Friday night (after work) was spent editing and uploading “Doctor Who: 50 in 50” podcasts, and I didn’t get a chance to watch this episode until after work today. My plan for tomorrow is to get much further ahead in all podcasts.

    Anyway, that’s why the review was late. I doubt this series of events will happen again.

  2. Jethro says:

    My low-point was Mr. Hacker Guy obviously playing a video on his phone to start the traffic jam. His phone clearly shows a list of videos. See here, if this thing allows hyperlinks (:

    • Fez says:

      Clearly it was an MPEG buffer overflow exploit in the phone that allowed him to take out the traffic lights…
      …or something. :-)

      I caught that too, but was willing to let it go as him hiding what it really was in case someone else got their hands on his phone. Rather than having a “Hack Traffic Lights”. At least it was scripted, like a good geek would have done, not a bunch of hacker hand-waving with no visible input feedback like was done with the ventilation system. Now that one bugged me.

      • It was supposed to be scripted, but the “script” title ended with “.exe,” which is why I commented on the mixed operating systems.

        • Fez says:

          The fun thing about unix and unix-like operating systems (Including Linux, Android, *BSD, Max OS X…) is you can name executables whatever you want. These days only Windows is still picky about “extensions”. Though I don’t know of anyone that purposefully names their scripts with .exe, everyone has their quirks.

          The one we’re talking about (Gridlock) ended in .mp4, which you can see in the screenshot that Jethro linked, so it still could be hidden or masqueraded as something else, but most likely was a lazy prop department who just wanted a “file list” screen to show it.

  3. Don says:

    Low point where Scorch died? Who said he died? Did you see a body? How do you know he died and is not going to come back later?

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