The Ninjabot

T.R.A.C.K.S. – The Only Episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Worth Watching

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 11:28 am by Amanda Andonian


If you only every watch one episode of this show, “T.R.A.C.K.S.” is definitely the one you can’t miss. If this had been the first episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then more people would have been hooked from the beginning. It finally feels like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has figured out how to tell a compelling story, and we can only hope that the trend continues.

agents-of-shield-tracksLike so many episodes, the story centers around a mission to foil a bad guy; but things go wrong almost immediately, effectively splitting up the group to fend for themselves. There’s no ramp-up or boring lead-in, instead the episode drops us right into the middle of the action. Granted it’s very expository action, but the way in which they go into mission-planning mode at the outset is far preferable to waiting until fifteen minutes into the episode (when a third of it’s already over) for the real operation to get going.

Since every single member of the team is in the field for this operation, we actually get to see the characters contribute in their own special way. As the techs, Skye and Fitz find a hiding spot to pull out their computers and track the bad guy; Coulson and Simmons use their improv skills to distract; and Ward and May provide the acrobatics and muscle. Each plays perfectly into their strengths, and we also get a little glimpse into the personal relationships between them in the process. When they’re eventually split up, we also see how they react under unique pressures and get their shit together to salvage the situation.

agents-of-shield-tracksAlthough things slowed down considerably in the third act, the climax and denouement more than make up for ten minutes of boring (as ever, I’m looking at you Skye). The only real misstep was the way they shoehorned an appearance by Stan Lee into the episode. It was an unnecessary addition, and I don’t care about his policy of showing up in cameos on all his properties. Having that cameo just took me out of the story, and it was way too long considering how Stan Lee cameos usually work. The day when Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stops doing those gimmicky things can’t come too soon.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger and a nod to Project Deathlok, which will no doubt be the big conflict leading up to the end of the season. While the stakes don’t feel truly important, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely moving in the right direction. Also, bonus points for the hilarious scene in which Ward and Coulson try to get the holographic table working by themselves. Moments like that give me hope that Agent Ward’s character could be so much better than he is currently.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns March 4th.

T.R.A.C.K.S. – A

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 1 Episode 13, “T.R.A.C.K.S.,” aired on ABC February 4th, 2014 at 8/9c.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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