THE ONE WHERE The team think somebody is manifesting telekinetic powers but upon bring her on board their ‘plane, it turns out the phenomena she’s experiencing are actually the actions of an unrequited admirer trapped between dimensions. And he’s cross that people are hassling his beloved.
VERDICT This is a simple, less self-indulgent story than many we’ve seen, confined (mostly) to the aeroplane itself… and yet it mostly works, being more tightly wound than some that preceded it. Perhaps because it isn’t too bogged down in its own mythology (no hints about Coulson’s arc or Skye’s parents). But still, the allegory is pretty heavy-handed: the title “Repairs” presumably applies to them having to fix the downed plane, Tobias deliberately damaging the particle accelerator so that Hannah has to go down and see to its maintenance, and to “broken” characters like May becoming reconnected.
Interesting that badasses May and Ward (who Skye ironically calls “Warm and Fuzzy”) have clearly been having the affair started last episode – has this helped crack the ice covering both of them? May seems pretty practical and unemotional about it at first and in fact she’s being more robotic than normal – shooting Hannah with the night-night gun in the street might have fixed the immediate problem but it was confrontational and against Coulson’s orders.
Let’s ignore the pranking storyline – the bit where Fitz’s broom dummy leaps out of a cupboard is funny but otherwise it’s all forgettable – and May’s tragic backstory – it fleshes out her character but not much (and I don’t buy the way she apparently becomes a prankster in the final few moments). And let’s ignore Skye’s “God is love” speech, which even she herself describes as “sappy.” What makes this episode fun is the tense horror vibe. Tobias being first glimpsed in the doorway behind the briefing room before he vanishes, the sneaky way Hannah’s “telekinesis” turns out to be an invisible person acting on her behalf, the team being stalked on the plane and not even Ward being able to save them from a ghostly foe, even Tobias’s cheesy gateway “to hell!” moment has punch.
Half a great episode, then, with some great performances from the sympathetic villain and victim of the week, and a little bit more insight into the leads; but it still lacks the cleverness that we really want this show to exhibit. And this is, I think, the second time the Bus has been knocked out of the sky with internal damages – at least they don’t blow a hole in the side this time, but Nick Fury is still going to be mad, surely.
MARVEL UNIVERSE The portal to another planet is said to be connected to the worlds we know about from the Thor movies. The origin of May’s nickname The Cavalry is bantered about this episode; in the comics, The Cavalry is actually a whole Marvel superhero team. I didn’t mention this before, although it does come up in second episode “0-8-4″, but the Bus – the team’s plane – is designated SHIELD 616; Coulson reminds us this episode when he calls for help. Presumably this is a nod to the Marvel comics universe which is labelled Earth-616. And finally, is it my imagination or does Tobias sort of go “bamf” like Nightcrawler? [Addition: reader Richard Casey spotted that the gas station is a Roxxon one.]
REFERENCES There’s a little Harry Potter gag in there when Skye says, “I didn’t go to your stupid SHIELD Hogwarts, or whatever.”
NITPICK: Tobias can fling pots off shelves and burn down a petrol station when invisible. So why does he have to materialise to attack the SHIELD team? Surely it would be more effective to attack with his wrench while nobody can see him.
IT’S WOSSERNAME AND ALSO WOSSISNAME Troubled safety inspector Hannah Hutchins is played by Laura Seay who was Shirley in Superbad. Tobias Ford is played by Robert Baker who was Dr Charles Percy in Grey’s Anatomy.
CONSCIENTIOUSNESS? If Tobias, a human from Earth, has been flung to an alien world and trapped there, shouldn’t SHIELD be investigating that and figuring out how to get him back?
LMAO Skye has an explosive twist on an old adage: “You can catch a lot more flies with honey than with… napalm.”