In spite of what most critics are calling a strong episode--one in which ComicBook.com suggested the show may have made significant movement in the right direction--Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fell in the ratings for the fifth consecutive episode last night.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned from its one-week hiatus to 7.2 million total viewers and a 2.5 share, dipping two tenths in the key 18-49 demographic. That was enough to bring Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in line with Fox's Sleepy Hollow for the first time since both series launched earlier this year. While S.H.I.E.L.D. generally gets a bigger bump from DVR, and so will probably still win out in the end, at present it looks as though the two are virtually tied in the ratings, with a statistically-insignificant edge going to Sleepy Hollow.
That's got to sting particularly since the show has a strong cross-promotional component with Thor: The Dark World--but it may be that next week, when the two cross over explicitly, will be when we start to see whether the series will get a bump from Marvel's big theatrical properties.
This week, really, was all about The Avengers. The alien invasion of New York has been spoken of breathlessly as a kind of 9/11-like moment for the characters in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so it's arguably not too surprising that we finally got an episode that revolved around last year's mega-blockbuster. Without being promoted as such, though, the episode couldn't very well get an "Avengers bump."
Next week's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will also introduce Victoria Hand to the audience as a S.H.I.E.L.D. official who has it in for Coulson, and reintroduce Agent Jasper Sitwell, Coulson's former partner and a player in the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.