Early in “The Bridge” there’s a scene that tells you everything you need to know about where Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is at this point in the season. Discussing Mike (J. August Richards from the pilot), Ward complains that he’s psychotic or something equally disparaging before breaking out that old chestnut: “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?”
No irony. No lampshading. Just the oldest, tiredest trope in the book trotted out without adornments. It’s laziness, and the rest of the episode is just as lazy. We get some attempt at continuity; not only does Mike return to the fold as an honorary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, the villains from Girl in the Flower Dress return to be entirely unremarkable spouting nonsense about a Clairoyant that’s supposed to mysterious but just comes across as silly.
If the episode had ended with Mike returning home because his son missed him, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. Instead we get an explosive but idiotically plotted climax that sees Coulson in custody but fails to develop any kind of exciting atmosphere. The episode continues to try and get us to care about Skye’s history, about Coulson’s reincarnation, about anything, but there’s no effort behind it. Yawn.