TV Review: Agents of SHIELD "The Only Light in the Darkness" 1x19

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Agents of SHIELD is currently on the highest of highs -- with twists and turns that no one could have predicted the show has really found its footing.

Setting up Hydra, making characters we enjoyed turn into villains, and finally creating the story we've all wanted from the beginning.

With "The Only Light in the Darkness" Agents of SHIELD does fall back into the issues it had with the early season episodes.

Introducing a new villain-of-the-week, Agents of SHIELD provides us with one of its weaker episodes over the last few weeks. That being said, there's still a lot to like about "The Only Light in the Darkness."

What makes "The Only Light in the Darkness" different than what we've been seeing lately is that it's less action and more getting to know who these people are. I'd say that it's in this episode where we get the most intimate details from each character.

That's a good thing for a show like this, especially when for so long it was hard to care or feel anything for any of these people.

Alright, just to bring us up to speed now -- Ward is evil and he needs Skye to encrypt the hard drive with all of SHIELDs research so he either has to get the password from Skye or kidnap her and bring her to Garrett.

Now that we're caught up! After getting off a boat, a man alongside the water (as the lights he passes turn off) and he stops to see a fisherman packing up his car. The man asks for a ride to Portland but the fisherman declines, forcing the man to use his powers and shut down the car. He walks over to the fisherman, touches him, and kills him.

He gets into the car, gives it power again, and as he flickers through the radio we see his wristband -- Marcus Daniels, or known in the comics as Blackout (played by Patrick Brennan).

At Providence (Fury's secret base), Ward is getting examined by Simmons after he suffered a beatdown by Garrett (to make it look real).

Ward tells his version of the story at The Fridge--Hydra took over The Fridge before he got there, the prisoners escaped, and he shot Garrett twice in the head (once for him, and once for Triplett).

Coulson has Skye pull up a list of the inmates at The Fridge only for bad news -- some of these inmates are just really...really bad. Coulson has her look up one name in particular -- Marcus Daniels. Coulson decides to split up the team, half staying behind at Providence with the other half going to Portland.

Agent Eric Koenig (played by Patton Oswalt) says no--he doesn't know who these "agents" are and he has to put them through orientation first.

Orientation is pretty much a lie detector test that Fury had made so even Natasha Romanov couldn't beat. Probably the best sequence of events in the season, we learn a lot about some of these characters such as:

Agent May: she's been married who though?!;
Skye: Has no last name...her name at the orphanage was Mary Sue Poots...Skye is better;
Fitz: If washed up on a desert island alone and all that was there was a box, what would be in the box? Simmons...;
Simmons: If washed up on a desert island alone and all that was there was a box, what would be in the box? The TARDIS obviously;
Triplett: His grandfather was a part of the Howling Commandos;

And then there's Ward. We all know Ward's Hydra, none of these people do so to see how Ward gets through this is...interesting. Ward seems to be doing just fine up to a point -- SHIELD no longer exists, why are you here? Ward answers but his levels spike and Koenig takes out a handgun and asks a following questions: Are you associated with Hydra? Ward says yes and tries to get clever with the system, forcing Koenig to just point the handgun at Ward.

Do you have another agenda here? Ward finally gives his first honest answer -- he's at the base for Skye. His levels go back to normal...preventing him from being killed pretty much.

A little background into Marcus Daniels -- he was an assistant at a physics lab where they were trying to harness the electrical power of something called Darkforce (a form of cosmic's pretty much bad news). Daniels was exposed and he was able to absorb electrical energy of all sorts, even from the human body making him even more dangerous as he can kill a man with just a touch.

The way he was caught last time was by overloading him with pure light, overloading his body with more than it could take in.

Coulson, Triplett, Fitz and Simmons head off for their trip to Portland to capture Marcus Daniels, leaving behind Skye, Ward, and May. Coulson talks about why Daniels would be in Portland -- his obsession with a woman, Audrey Nathan. Cut to Portland with Audrey (played by the wonderful Amy Acker), stretching before going on a run.

The lights behind her begin to shut off meaning only one very bad thing...Marcus is there and she knows it right away.

She runs off and in the nick of time, Triplett and Simmons arrive to save her from Marcus with Coulson and Fitz in another car to try and capture Marcus.

Marcus shoots out some sort of electrical pulse at Coulson and Fitz, saying that he was only made stronger at The Fridge and runs off.

Before I go on, I do want to say that I believe the character of Marcus Daniels was the weakest part of the episode. Not so much his story but the way he was portrayed by Patrick Brennan. I never felt any real fear when he was on screen and it seemed like I was watching a wall trying to act...he didn't impress me much. There was potential for the character and maybe it was just written poorly, but I really can't say I was impressed all that much.

On The Bus, Ward walks around and finds May, who has finished repairing the fuel lines and has gotten everything pretty much fixed after the assault it went through at The Hub. May, with a bag of her belongings, tells Ward that she has decided to leave.

She's had enough of Coulson and him yelling at her and not trusting her...she believes she's lost him and decides to go on with her life out into the wilderness.

Ward walks back into the base and goes to Koenig's office where Skye has finished hacking the NSA feeds.

With access to the NSA feeds, they'll be able to see Ward and Garrett at The Fridge...which is bad for Ward who...well...has to take care of something.

At Providence, Koenig and Skye are going through files and reports on prisoners of The Fridge when Skye figures out that the lanyards given to them are really just keys for Koenig to track the agents. Skye suggests hacking the NSA feeds to get better, widespread reports and gets the support of Ward. Koenig, while not on board at first, agrees to go through with it. Back in Portland, Audrey hides out with Simmons and Triplett where Audrey figures out that they're SHIELD. She's had previous experience with SHIELD, saving her life before. With Coulson and Fitz listening in the next room, it's revealed that Audrey and Phil once had something...she was The Cellist Coulson had talked about previously in The Avengers. Audrey doesn't know Coulson is alive after the events of New York. And for Coulson, it's best that it remains that way.

Fitz may know a way to destroy Daniels for good, but it involves using Audrey to lure him out by having Audrey rehearse at a performing center. Daniels used to go to all of Audrey's rehearsals before he was sent off. Everything is being set in place to bring down Daniels as Fitz has created a proper weapon to either take him down...or make him stronger. Audrey begins playing as Coulson watches over her and it's...quite beautiful. But the lights begin to shut off as she's playing...Marcus has arrived. She stops for a moment, but continues playing after a few moments.

Marcus continues walking down the stairs and Triplett, Fitz, and Simmons get ready to strike. The three of them shine their gamma lights at Marcus, only for him to overpower the three of them by shooting them with his pulse ray. Marcus walks over to Audrey, and he gets shot in the back by Coulson.

Triplett directs his ray at Daniels head and Daniels begins to feel overpowered by both beams and winds up exploding. Coulson runs over to Audrey, who is knocked out by the blast and comforts her, kissing her forehead and then moving away so Simmons can take over.

Audrey then wakes up to see Simmons, making sure she's okay.

At Providence, Skye walks into Koenig's office to be greeted by Ward. Ward informs her Eric sent the images out to gain the trust back from other organizations while also telling her May left. Ward pours a drink for him and Skye, sharing the drink they said that they'd share with each other. The two get on to the talking and while it's a nice little's marvelous seeing just how Ward is playing Skye. You fear for her life and this sequence is done brilliantly.

Ward admits to her that he is not a good man while talking about his rough upbringing and she buys it. The two kiss, and as Skye touches behind his ear she feels something--blood. Ward runs off to clean it up, saying one of his cuts opened up.

Skye finds Eric's people tracker and sees where he is and goes to find him. Ward, while in the bathroom, cleans off the blood while also cleaning off the wire he used on Eric.

Ward walks back into Eric's office to find that Skye is missing. Skye walks into the room where Eric is supposedly in and sees a penny fall from the top of the door. She goes in to investigate the room and find Eric. She walks to where Eric's tracker is as blood drips from the ceiling onto the tracker and she looks up to find Eric's lifeless body in the ceiling. Looking at the tracker, she see's Ward roaming the halls looking for her. Skye finds a bathroom to hide in as she fears for her life realizing that Ward is Hydra.

Ward continues to go door to door to try and find her in what is one of the most tense moments of the season. Ward walks to the room hiding Eric's body and opens the door -- catching the penny that fell once before. Skye calls out to Ward and plays her part of not knowing about Ward and his secret.

For her, it's either die or go along with Ward's game and hope he doesn't find out.

Ward says that he got word from Fitz and that they need their help. Ward holds Skye's hand as they walk to The Bus.

On the plane heading back to Providence, Coulson and Fitz have themselves a nice one on one conversation with Coulson opening up. Coulson hates what he hate to do, lying to Audrey but he did it to keep her safe. He comes to the realization that he has to make things right with May as well (too little too late). Simmons walks in and Coulson goes to check on Tripp.

Simmons asks Fitz if Triplett has done anything to Fitz to annoy him, but Fitz admits that it's not Triplett, it's him...he just doesn't like change. The Fitz-Simmons storyline has been going on for a while now and hopefully it comes to a conclusion sometime soon, but there's bigger problems.

Coulson and his team discover The Bus is missing and are in for a surprise when they actually enter Providence.

On The Bus, Ward says that Fitz believes one of the weapons they found in Peru could be helpful which they still have the specs for on the hard drive.

Ward needs Skye to decrypt the hard drive coupled to specific coordinates so Skye is in charge of where they go next.

So what happened to May? She's hitchhiking along the side of a road in Ontario, Canada when a car pulls up to her. She throws her bag in the back and sits in the passenger seat with her mother, out of all people, driving the car. With Pennsylvania plates, it was clearly a long, long ride--500 miles.

May called her mother since she needed someone who she could trust, asking if she was able to "get it." May's mother is retired from some agency that hasn't fallen apart and still has contacts that were helpful for May. Her mother lets her know that many people are looking for "her", asking if May was going to take her out.

May says no and her mother responds, "Good. I've always liked Maria."

So, to sum it up. Koenig is dead. Ward has Skye on The Bus and Ward doesn't know that Skye knows about him. Coulson doesn't know what's going on with anything at Providence.

And Agent Maria Hill will be appearing on next weeks episode titled "Nothing Personal." "The Only Light in the Darkness" was a good episode, not great but good. It provided our characters with some moments to be truly emotional and truly vulnerable in ways we've never seen them before.

As I've mentioned earlier, Patrick Brennan was a big downer for me this episode and just felt out of place.

I was also mildly disappointed that there was no interaction between Coulson and Audrey but I can at least understand that.

All in all, SHIELD does continue its rise and even with "The Only Light in the Darkness" taking a small step back, the show as a whole has so much going for it that it can afford an episode of this caliber to take place when it does.