One of the things I find most interesting about MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is the way episodes hinge on decisions that Agent Coulson has to make, as opposed to a shoot-out or some other action set piece. Whether it’s choosing to let Skye tag along with his team from the pilot or a life-or-death decision about the person his team was chasing. And he makes these choices on the spot, and rather coldly and without sentiment. I like that he takes his job seriously and is willing to make the tough calls.
Those of you keeping score at home know Coulson sometimes gives the prey the benefit of the doubt — Skye and Akela — but sometimes doesn’t — just ask Dr. Franklin. I find that the most interesting aspect of this show, which isn’t always all that interesting. After all the action and chases and hand-to-hand combat, Coulson usually has a split-second to weigh the life of a bad or dangerous person against the lives of his team (or the safety of the world), and he doesn’t let sentimentality get in the way. (Or would Akela disagree, even though she benefitted from it?)