I fought hard for this one. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is, with all due respect to the second half of “Homeland’s” Season 4, the most improved show of 2014. Marvel basically took all the criticism of the show’s first season to heart and did everything in its power to fix those problems. The pacing never slowed, questions were answered, the relationships were more genuine (Fitz and Simmons are MVPs) and, most importantly, Skye (and Chloe Bennett) proved her worth to the team. Oh, and it also has a far-reaching impact on the Marvel Universe with the introduction of Daisy Johnson and The Inhumans. Excelsior! – Josh
“Homeland” wrapped up its fourth season with an episode that easily outstripped the quality of its disappointing first half or so. But by bringing Carrie back home this week for a quiet, character-focused finale, the show couldn’t quiet reach the tense, knife-edge highs it set this season.
Homeland is still good, so let’s stop talking about how surprising that is and get to this week’s episode, huh?
A lot happened this week, but the best avenue in may be this rather conspicuous observation: Quinn is the new Carrie. Or, rather, he’s assumed what used to be one of Carrie’s defining functions: the rogue agent. He’s out on his own now, working to track Haqqani down with no backup and against Carrie’s direct orders. That puts Carrie in Saul’s old role of the level-headed skeptic whose responsibility it is to reel in the passionate underling.
Another solid episode this week solidifies the upward trend in quality. And, I think, highlights how spoiled we are with 100 percent serialized shows like “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men” (and on and on) boasting near-perfectly toned, highly intricate season-long stories that bely how difficult it is to sculpt a satisfying narrative over the course of a dozen, hour-long episodes.