There be spoilers here.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on UK screens. Each week, we’re hoping to bring you the episode analysis that matters, the key insights and critiques that can be derived from those tense forty-three minutes of television…

Ha, just kidding. No, what I really want to do instead is talk about the five things I loved and hated this week. So what did I make of season two episode “The Writing on the Wall”?

Agents of SHIELD s2 ep7 Writing on the Wall img 1LOVED: Creepy beginnings

This episode had the season’s most skin crawling opening yet. You knew something was up, as tattoo guy was on the screen. Stranger danger signals we’re being flashed left, right and centre. It wasn’t a shock and awe approach like the previous episode, but it was a good thing to be put out of our comfort zones. Just a shame what it led up to.

HATED: Ward at large

Ward being on the lamb is not the greatest thing. I’m just so sick of his character now. His continued presence is a torture not just for the other characters, but for us viewers too. The fact that he seems to be suffering from some kind of paranoid delusion is uncomfortable to watch, because no one seems to be properly questioning his psychological health and instead are treating him like he’s evil for the sake of being evil.

LOVED: S.H.I.E.L.D. goes CSI

The good ol’ bit of the ol’ detective work – it was nice seeing Coulson and Skye working together to try and solve this mystery. Not that it’s much of a mystery, but it added a bit of first season charm to the whole thing. It’s nice to seem them not chasing after Hydra for once.

HATED: Autopsy time

The other side to the CSI situation. I’m happy with the idea of Simmons messing around with a bunch of tissue samples under a microscope, but seeing where she gets those samples from… Okay, maybe it’s possible for me to get a little squeamish at fictional dead bodies. And having the mental connection of someone like Simmons cutting one up – it’s just a bit ugh.

LOVED: Hunter in a cowboy hat

Maybe there is a chance that Hunter is slowly replacing Ward, for me. It does seem like the kind of role he was written in for. And hearing him effect that accent was one of the episode’s only humorous moments. Seriously, there was not much in the way of humour to be found in this episode. Unexpected cowboy hats being used to hide faces totally works.

Agents of SHIELD s2 ep7 Writing on the Wall img 2HATED: Simmons not being in on the full writing picture

Seemed silly not to let Simmons in on the truth. It didn’t make much sense for her as a character, considering her background and abilities. That’s like saying, “I need to research this super important thing, but I’m going to only use one of my top researchers, rather than two, so I will limit the number of perspectives looking into this problem.” It’s just silly.

LOVED: Fitz and progress

It’s an interesting situation to continue having Mack as Fitz’s main confidant at the moment. But I like how he’s showing up Simmons (who I get is in a difficult position in relation to her relationship with Fitz, but no progress has been made since her return) and helping Ftiz to make some real progress, like getting him to talk normally while playing a videogame.

HATED: It’s not a life

People being used as lab rats – people having their minds destroyed and rebuilt – it was a not so great reminder to be reminded of what old S.H.I.E.L.D. (riddled with Hydra influences one assumes) could be like. The whole T.A.H.I.T.I. project and its ongoing influences show how, despite Hydra and the other factions in the series, there was an underbelly to S.H.I.E.L.D. that can’t quite lay the ethical responsibilities at the feet of people who were motivated by crazed Nazi scientists.


I’m a huge fan of the TV series The 4400, which Gretsch had a prominent role in. Seeing him in this week’s episode was really neat and I kind of hope that his S.H.I.E.L.D. character makes a return at a later point. I didn’t expect him to run off with Coulson and the others, but there’s still the chance that he might, some day. And Gretsch does well when faced with a wall of weird. Also, his elegant interpretation of the alien plans (that’s what I suspected they were all along, not a map) was a great way of answering the carving mystery in an unexpected way.

HATED: An episode with Hydra

Can’t we have a break? I know I’ve mentioned them several times in writing this, but I was kind of hoping that we could just have them completely on mute. We know they’re still out there, we don’t need reminding each week. What did work, though, was Ward offering Bakshi on a platter.

That’s it for this week’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Declassified. What are you thinking of the season overall so far? Let me know in the comments below.