TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "End of the Beginning" 1x16

I went into this first season of Agents of SHIELD with very high expectations...how could you not? It's a Marvel television show and after the gigantic universe they've built up it makes sense to expect something to the highest degree.

Unfortunately, that has been far from the case -- while I understand that Agents of SHIELD can't be a Marvel movie every week, what I was hoping for was strong writing, characters to enjoy, and an interesting season long story. Agents of SHIELD has been unable to provide any of those three things on a consistent basis, but it seems like they've found some footing.

But with End of the Beginning, it seems that the show is finally off and running...and it's about damn time.

Just a quick tidbit -- in the last episode of SHIELD, Yes Men, Agent Phil Coulson tells Skye that she has to keep the origin of the drug that was used to heal both of them a secret until Coulson can get in touch with Fury.

After hearing this, Agent Melinda May makes a call on a secure line telling whoever's on the receiving end, "Coulson knows." While we don't really know what this means right now, all we know is that suspicions are high that Melinda May is a traitor of some sort? All we can do is watch from here and hope that answers are provided.

Knowing this show though that may not be for another...who knows how long.

In a SHIELD safehouse located in Sydney, Australia, Agents John Garrett (guest star Bill Paxton) and Antoine Triplett (B.J. Britt) are hiding out when they are attacked by a robotically altered Mike Peterson -- now known as Deathlok (J. August Richards).

Garrett and Triplett hold their own and chase off Deathlok but not before he gives the agents room a new skylight. Back to the bus now, Agents Garrett and Triplett along with Agents Victoria Hand (Saffron Burrows), Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez), and Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) all walk on board greeted by Coulson.

Coulson explains the situation -- Coulson wants to go after The Clairvoyant, who he believes can read minds.

Garrett believes that The Clairvoyant could be a SHIELD reject, so they assign Skye to discover any patterns and needles in haystacks as to who it could be.

Down in the lab, Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons continue to take blood samples of Skye, wanting to send them to some of their colleagues to figure out what healed her so quickly. Agent Grant Ward is sent to the lab to retrieve Skye as she's wanted by top brass.

In this moment, Skye officially becomes a SHIELD Agent...and it's a nice moment but I have my reasons for not jumping over the moon for her.

In the hunt for The Clairvoyant, three pairs of two are split off and sent into different areas of the world -- Agents Ward and Triplett find themselves at Milton Keynes Prison in the United Kingdom; Agents May and Blake find themselves in Macon, Georgia at an assisted living home; and Agents Coulson and Garrett find themselves in Muncie, Indiana. The winners of The Clairvoyant jackpot prove to be May and Blake with a special greeting from Deathlok.

May is nowhere to be found as Blake suffers some crushed ribs, but not before he's able to fire off a few rounds at Deathlok...which don't really do anything to him.

SHIELD now has a suspect to go after: Thomas Nash, the man that May and Blake were originally looking for. Agent Simmons has been asked to stay at The Hub to debrief Agent Hand and the rest of her team on Deathlok.

Back on the bus, Coulson is looking through some of Agent Blake's possessions and notices something -- Agent Blake was able to tag Deathlok, giving the team an actual location: Pensacola, Florida at an abandoned racetrack.

Led by Agents Coulson and Garrett, the team infiltrates the racetrack in a hunt for Deathlok. Although finding him only results in having missles fired which is fun for no one.

The team does get Deathlok on the run though, which leads to a new discovery -- Thomas Nash, or as we'd like to call him...The Clairvoyant (guest star Brad Dourif).

Not exactly what I expected...Nash has a breathing tube, is unable to speak to himself and is confined to what looks like a wheelchair with a bunch of screens surrounding him.

The Clairvoyant isn't exactly a scary villain...but an extremely unsettling one. He can read what's going on in the heads of everyone standing around him and he uses that to provoke anger and fear in these Agents.

The Clairvoyant lets Coulson know that Skye has something "they" want...and Skye will die giving it. Ward, so cool...so calm and collected...shoots The Clairvoyant, killing him.

Standing outside of the building, Ward is escorted into a SHIELD vehicle to bring him back to the bus as May talks to Coulson, letting him know HQ says that Fury is back and wants to see Coulson at the Triskelion. Back on the bus, Skye goes to Coulson's office to talk about what has happened which leads Coulson to a terrifying conclusion--The Clairvoyant isn't someone who can read minds but it's someone in SHIELD. Elsewhere, Fitz does some investigating into the communications system and discovers May has her own secure line. As May tries to call out, Fitz cuts the secure line and goes on the run. May knows she's been had...picking up a gun and chases Fitz.

Fitz seals himself in the lab as the sound of the doors closing startles May as she fires. Fitz isn't hit...but it makes things interesting.

Skye and Coulson corner May in the loading bay as Coulson agrily fires off question after question as he assumes May is working for the real Clairvoyant.

Just then, the bus is "hijacked" and begins flying in a different direction -- it's being controlled from The Hub by Agent Hand.

She orders that once the plane touches down to kill everyone on board except for Agent Coulson -- "he's mine."

Who is Melinda May working for? What'll happen to Agent Simmons who is back at The Hub? Is Agent Hand actually The Clairvoyant or is a play at something bigger? Agents of SHIELD has done a great job at keeping the mystery high and for once I'm fine with it. I have my theories as to everything going on but I can't say anything without spoilers Captain America. Before going into next weeks episode, I highly recommend seeing Captain America as some things will become a whole lot clearer.

As for Agents of SHIELD, End of the Beginning could be the best episode of the series so far. What will come next? All hell will break loose it seems...and I'm okay with that.

Wanna read more on this? Check these out: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 2 Review: Orientation Part 2 (more); Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Orientation Part 1 (more).