Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, The Walking Dead: Who Did It Best?

Suicide Squad

Comic book series often fall back on the same handful of tropes to tell stories -- and it's natural, since many mainstream comics are superhero books, or at least superhero-driven and exist in the same universe as their respective publishers' superhero titles. It's a little more unusual that we would see crossover between superhero stories and the survival horror of The Walking Dead, but it does happen. Robert Kirkman, after all, grew up reading superhero comics and writes them as well. And with the hyper-condensed nature of TV storytelling, adapting handfuls of comics at a time, it stands to reason that not only will we see some common tropes repeated but that it might even be repeated on different shows within the same season. This year, we spotted a handful of such little things...

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Arrow: Mission to Moscow Weirdly timed, both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow headed to Russia for missions in the same week. While Arrow featured the Russian mob and the KGBeast, S.H.I.E.L.D. dealt with some international intrigue that, later in the season, might have played better: the entire episode revolved around South Ossetian separatists who wanted to use the Marvel Universe's Overkill Device to declare independence from Georgia and Russia. In the context of the current Russian annexation of Crimea, that would seem quite timely.

shield-vs-deathlok

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Arrow: Friend turned (invincible) foe (with serious eye problems) Deathstroke vs. Deathlok could have been the most '90s-tastic comic book one-shot of all time. That's also the name of the two characters who followed a similar plotline this year, starting out as sympathetic (if a bit emotionally messed up) allies and ending up (at least so far) as indestructible enemies. Add to that the fact that each of the two have suffered serious eye trauma along the way, and you've got a solid series of coincidences.

The Scientist

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Arrow: I've been spying on you all along! Perhaps it's no surprise that this is one of the things S.H.I.E.L.D. did pretty well: it's a spy show, after all. If there's a downside to Ward's recent reveal as an Agent of HYDRA, it's that there wasn't a lot of build-up to it. There were some bread crumbs that you could follow if you went back and watched the season already knowing, but I also think that without the element of surprise, the impact of the reveal would probably be largely lost. Isabel Rochev was the opposite; when a corporate robber-baron and a member of The List shows up in the Queen boardroom trying to take the joint over, the idea that Ollie let her have so much free reign, and then trusted her not just at the end (when he was under duress and so it could be excused) but throughout the season telegraphed the danger pretty clearly. When she turned out to be a bad guy, there was a collective "Of course she was!" that rose up from the audience. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Arrow: Sleeping with the enemy Before Agent Ward was revealed as a traitor, he spent a few weeks sleeeping with May in a no-strings-attached relationship that they only admitted to Coulson (although everyone else apparently knew becuase, as Skye noted, they're not stupid). Over in Starling City, Oliver Queen also slept with Isabel Rochev, again before we knew she was working against him with Slade.

terminus-01

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./The Walking Dead: You came all this way for nothing! This is another case where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got more mileage out of their reveal, just because they didn't telegraph it quite as much. But could The Walking Dead have done anything about it? They did a fair job, in-story, of not giving any clues but at the end of the day, it's just that the place they inhabit is too dark. Part of that could be that in the world of The Walking Dead, there's really no place that's believably safe, and in order to sell the illusion of sanctuary at Terminus, they had to sprinkle in other survivors along the way who told them to head that way. Meanwhile, fans were so preoccupied with trying to figure out how The Clairvoyant could be M.O.D.O.K. or Arnim Zola that they never even considered (well, most didn't) that it could be something as comparably predictable as a double agent in a spy show. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The prison break cold open This week's cold open will feature the second prison break of the year, and in a some ways (establishing character by using the bad guy's "gimmick" while still within the prison walls, etc.), they're even more similar than that sounds...

Audrey Marie Anderson

Weirdly, the same week Lyla Michaels (picutred at top) returned to Arrow and was revealed to be Diggle's ex-wife, Anderson appeared on AMC's The Walking Dead and entered into what would become a short-lived and ultimately tragic romance with The Governor.

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