The last few months have been ones of re-invention for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Originally conceived as an action/adventure series set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, everything the show was supposed to be changed when the creative team learned it wasn’t long before S.H.I.E.L.D. would be no more thanks to the events ofCaptain America: The Winter Soldier. Since then, the program’s been looking for ways to be its own entity while still paying respect to its big screen cousins, and thanks to Tuesday’s mid-season finale, it seems to have done just that.
What makes the episode truly stand-out as, quite possibly, the best episode of the series to date is its dramatic chops. Often, whenS.H.I.E.L.D. has to tackle something serious that could drastically alter the lives of the team, it does so with puns and jokes to deflect from the gravity of the situation. However, nearly all of that’s gone in “What They Become” because the nature of the situation is so serious that jokes would simply feel inappropriate, and it’s that willingness to break from childish norm that allows the series to truly carry some dramatic weight.