Agents of SHIELD: 403 “Uprising” Review
Reviewed by K-Ci Williams.
In one fell swoop, the writers of S.H.I.E.L.D have reignited my faith in the series. If the previous two episodes acted as an introduction to Ghost Rider and a new team structure, then this episode set the tone for Season 3. I was constantly amazed throughout the episode and I had no qualms with anything in it, which is crazy as the tiniest of things can annoy this reviewer.
Starting with the blackout, it was nice to see Yo-Yo back again – given some added depth by the human life she leads with friends and other connections. Having the Inhuman resistance (or what was once believed to be Inhuman) take control of her friends gave the story some heavy weighting and suspense. The blackout itself, although a narrative tool, made lots of sense and it was interesting to see the different agents on their own without electronic devices. The Inhuman resistance plot is providing a seamless link between previous seasons, something I was apprehensive about when the whole story changed last season.
I am really starting to like the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Jeffrey Mace keeps a straight head and reasons with Coulson using his own logic, if he were in his shoes he would have made the same choice. The blackout clearly upped the stakes for the new director, especially with the official reemergence of S.H.I.E.L.D to the public.
The progression of the blackout over the course of the episode was nicely handled, and the writers pulled no punches with the pacing of each scene. It came across as a hype-induced, big event: definitely not a bad thing. The blackout affected Robbie and Daisy as well. Speaking of those two, I absolutely love their alliance – no nonsense of mixing names and forming awkward ships names, they are individuals that are fast becoming a kickass duo. In particular, the scene where they beat up the thugs looting cars and causing havoc; as if a mass blackout gives cause for another Purge film (and believe me, we don’t need another) but I love that Gabe is a character that knows more than he lets on.
I think why I find this episode to be so successful is the split narrative; more than ever before and increasingly so this season, the characters are drastically and geographically split – and it makes for great television.
I said last week that Elizabeth Henstridge needs more material to work with, and this episode made strides towards achieving that. Having May’s induced fear-issue come to fruition as fast as it did, made my heart jump. Simmons worked her butt off to save her, and while it was inevitable that she would survive, the best line of the episode goes to Simmons:
“Hell no I’m not ready. We’re about to kill May!”
The directorial highlight of the episode was the continuous shot of the fight; it was nice to see Fitz fighting and also seeing Coulson in one-to-one unarmed combat. The flickering lights and the screen going dark was masterfully executed, making the scene feel so much more intense and suspenseful.
It was sad about Yo-Yo’s friend who couldn’t accept her – the discrimination against Inhumans is really well portrayed in this show, speaking volumes about how we perceive others in our reality.
Other stray observations:
- S.H.I.E.L.D is back out of the shadows
- It was an action packed episode and the blackout is a storyline that could have been tackily stretched but it worked amazingly well as it was
- Daisy is on her own again but I think she’ll reunite with Robbie – it’s all connected
- What exactly is the anti-Inhuman woman up to? Her brother seems to have come into contact with a Terrigen crystal but did not successfully make the transition.
All in all, a solid third entry into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season. Here’s hoping that they keep the momentum going throughout the season.