Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Code Yellow

Keller: "Heard a body came in. We know the cause of death?"
Yo-Yo: "No, but if they called us, it means it's not old age."

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to experiment with format and delivers another atypical episode. Like the previous one, "Code Yellow" places the characters on a brand new set where they are allowed to have some fun, is more or less structured as a standalone episode and heavily relies on humor. It's not as successful as "Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson," though, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't entertained for the most of it. Was it flawed? Yes, but it was also fun.

Let's start with the flaws. The events happening in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s HQ were the heavier part of the episode, but to have those events unfold the way they did the writers relied on plot holes and characters behaving inconsistently. First of all, why wasn't John Doe's body isolated as soon as it got to the HQ? Dr. Benson states during the autopsy that the body is flooded with an inert neurotoxin, but what if it wasn't inert? Benson, Mack, Yo-Yo and Keller would've been exposed and doomed already. Then, regarding the bird found inside the corpse, Benson presumes that the knife stabbed on it gave birth to it. Wouldn't it be much more logical to presume that the knife killed the bird instead of concluding that the knife was some sort of bio-weapon? I'm not a scientist and my first thought was that the knife was keeping the bird dead, contained or whatever.

As soon as Benson takes the knife out of the bird and it awakens, Yo-Yo, a speedster, doesn't stab it back in two milliseconds. The bird flies around inside the lab, sometimes low enough so that Yo-Yo can catch it, only she doesn't. Later when the bird starts going inside Keller through his mouth, Yo-Yo has more than enough time to take the bird off of him, and again she doesn't. One could argue that in that moment she was paralyzed with fear, but that's not Yo-Yo at all. Here we have one of the plot holes I dislike the most: a superpowered person not using their superpower because the plot demands so. That could have been easily avoided by keeping Yo-Yo out of those scenes altogether. So simple: have her arrive on the lab's floor when Keller is already doomed.

I might be evil, but I thought this was a gorgeous shot.
As of now, I'm not sure what the writers have prepared for Mack and Yo-Yo, or what was the point of introducing Keller into the mix and taking him out so fast. We barely saw Yo-Yo and Keller as a couple, so it's unclear just how much this is supposed to damage her, but at the very least I liked that, after being so inert for most of the episode, she was the one who killed zombie Keller. It's consistent with the fact that she has the guts to do what must be done, even at great personal cost. So I can appreciate the conclusion, even if the path to get there was rocky. Where the writing failed, the actors more than delivered and I found myself caring about Keller for a few seconds.

Over at Deke's company, the writers stretch their comedy muscles, and not just in the script but in front of the camera as well. Maurissa Tancharoen debuts as Sequoia and, boy, did she make a good job. She might consider acting on a sitcom because she's got the chops. Sequoia was a hit.

I understand, however, why some fans thought the comedy in this episode was totally out of place. Or that the first four episodes haven't felt like "real S.H.I.E.L.D." It made me think of how Alias's fans (myself included) reacted to the fourth season of that show, which ditched its trademark complicated arcs for standalone stories. Even when the standalone episodes were good (and some of them were really good), it felt as if the "real story" hadn't begun. The "real story" has begun on S.H.I.E.L.D., though, it's just being delivered with a different style. That's not a bad thing, and I believe that the entertainment value of the past two episodes will be more appreciated later, but the show will get some criticism if it tries something new and it misses the mark. Having Deke break the fourth wall for no good reason is an example of missing the mark, but I'm forgiving of any episode that gives us stuff like this:


That whole bit with Sequoia thinking that Sarge and his team were mo-cap actors cracked me up, and I respect a show that doesn't take itself too seriously and allows its villains to be part of the comedy too. Hey, I grew up watching Buffy. To be honest, the humor in "Code Yellow" is a mixed bag, but all in all, it entertains more than fails. When fake, seductive Daisy first appears, it's a fail. When she reappears as part of Deke's ploy to defeat Jaco, it's clever and funny, especially after Mack's horrified reaction and Deke's proposal to keep his mouth shut. Rocky buildup, good punchline.

And in the midst of all that comedy and drama, the arc story moved forward nicely, even if the writers wanted to keep us from concluding the obvious. We now know that Sarge and his team are after specific people that don't belong to this reality, which is why Deke accidentally became a target, and they might not be so evil after all. Sarge kept May alive and seemed somehow attracted to her, intrigued at least, which makes me wonder if Sarge is indeed a version of Coulson from another dimension, a brainwashed one that couldn't help but feel a connection with May. Now that May has been kidnapped (again!), we will have a chance to find out.

Intel and Assets

- May going into battle without guns is another writing flaw. We've seen May with guns before and the situation clearly demanded the use of one.

- What's with Dr. Benson? He told Yo-Yo to run, but barely moved. Does he have suicidal tendencies?

- Since Deke is now super rich, can't he fund S.H.I.E.L.D.?

- I liked Trevor Khan, both the character and the name. That's a sexy name, isn't it? Or at least the actor made it sound sexy.

- I loved the bit with the programmer so lost inside his own world that shit was going down in the company and he didn't even notice.

- This is the first episode of the series without Elizabeth Henstridge, which means that only Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg have appeared in all episodes of the series. However, with Henstridge gone for the hour, Bennet playing a fake version of Daisy, and Coulson dead, none of the main characters have appeared in all episodes.

- Alien parasite bird is very The X-Files. Metallic stalactites coming out of a person's body, very The Expanse.

Quotes

Jaco: "If you consider the infinite complexity of nature, maybe 'strange' is the norm."

Dr. Benson: "Well, this is the strangest autopsy I've performed since... the last one."

Mack: "If this guy wants to take out Deke Shaw, he's gonna have to wait in line."
Hee.

Deke: "This is Mack. He's..."
Sequoia: "He's large and muscular."
Deke: "...an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D."


A fun episode, hurt by some plot holes. Let's go with two and a half out of four knifes.
--
Lamounier

1 comment:

televisionandotherrantings said...

Deke's simulation of Daisy is a real major can of worms. Like I can appreciate it on a lizard brain level but JUST WOW. So Deke decided to create a sexified version of the girl that he sold into slavery and who isn't into him, in a video game that has been beta-tested (meaning multiple people will have seen it) where you can make out with her (and maybe other things) all the while he has a girlfriend who he is trying to will the void with in someways. This really doesn't make the prospect of DekeDaisy being an actual thing any less scary. And even putting Deke aside for a second Daisy is a public figure superhero type person. You're telling me nobody in this company would have recognized her and thought that they might get in trouble? And while you give praise to Khan is was pretty shady of him to allow Deke to build this simulation (and he clearly didn't let Mack know about it since he clearly didn't know).

Yeah the tone with the Yo-Yo/Keller plot didn't really mesh that well with the broad comedy on display for the various reasons you mentioned. Also I generally wasn't a fan of much of the humour on display in general. I didn't care for Sequioa's character (even in a love to hate her sort of way) and the commentary on millennial and stuff was pretty cringe.

I appreciate the show aiming for a lighter tone and taking some risks (kind of welcome after S5) but I don't really feel like this was the way to do it. This one is probably somewhere in my Bottom 10 for the series.