Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took another two small baby steps towards becoming a good show this week. We got a villain with an interesting motivation and Agent Ward got character development. Yes actual character development! Break out the Iron Man shaped piñata and the Thor themed paper plates and let’s have a party.

However, it’s not all good news. The attempt at giving Fitz a bit of character development didn’t work at all (sorry writers: having him mention that he wants a pet monkey doesn’t count as adding ‘depth’).  His joke that S.H.I.E.L.D. should use said monkey to help them complete this week’s mission is a joke that is no longer funny and a good suggestion for the show’s writers. Do you have an idea how much better Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be if they replaced Fitz with a monkey? The acting would improve for a start. Better still, replace Simmons with a talking penguin for double the fun. It’d be like a superhero version of Madagascar.

The second baby step was the creation of a villain with a bit of believability and a convincing motivation. Shame this only took up five minutes of the forty minute running time, with the rest of the show filled with cheerfully silly Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. nonsense, namely an opening sequence that involved a lorry and a couple of cars being attacked by an invisible thing. The whole sequence looked a lot like a similar scene from X-Men: The Last Stand (which, as any fan will tell you is by far the worst of the X-men movies), but filmed on a quarter of the budget.

The only thing you really need to know is that Doctor Franklin Hall – who works for S.H.I.E.L.D. is kidnapped. Our now-bonded-clichés have to rescue him. However, there’s a problem. He’s been taken to Malta, a place no S.H.I.E.L.D. agent can ever visit because the god of plot requires it. What is to be done in such a difficult situation?

Of course: you just send in Skye in a lot cut dress. Thankfully she is the show’s best character and her scenes on Malta are fun and enjoyable. I wish the show was always this good. Inside Malta we find out that Hall organised the kidnap so he can destroy the giant “gravitonium” (but of course) generator he built, a.k.a. our Doomsday Machine Of The Week. Shame this process will rip Malta in two.

Well, to be fair it’s getting increasingly hard to get cheap flight deals and the exchange rate isn’t exactly favourable at the moment –  I’m not sure anyone will miss it. To the relief of the Maltese (not to mention budget package deal operators) Coulson saves the day but hopefully the action he took to save Malta will have some interesting consequences as we could do with a bit more meat on the show’s bones. However, unfortunately the chances of this actually happening are the about same the chances of Simmons being replaced by a talking penguin.

Marvel Reference of the Week: In the world of four colour comics Dr Hall goes on to become the villain Graviton, a character who (somewhat unsurprisingly) has control over gravity. I think it is safe to say that Doc Hall will be back to annoy our now-bonded-clichés again. Certainly this week’s sting suggests so.

Failed Science of the Week: After last week’s fixing a hole in the side of a plane with an inflatable raft trick, this week we get gravity changes that only effect the room the device is in. While Coulson and Hall re-enact Inception everyone else in the building only suffers from shake cam and dodgy acting.

Odd International Relations of the Week: This week we discovered that for some reason Malta has special protection from invasions by S.H.I.E.L.D. and other folk who chase superheroes. No reason is given beyond the international law the show was willing to ignore last week.