Agents of SHIELD has been very disappointing. My high hopes for the show haven’t crashed so much as just petered out due to boredom. I nearly dropped out of it before Elizabeth said it was getting better, and I caught up on Hulu only to find myself meh’d again.  However, there might be a little hope for the show. (Spoilers follow.)

Now, since I watch it on Hulu, I’m always a week behind the rest of the world (at least, those who are still watching the show). So, when Elizabeth posted that, I wasn’t able to watch “Yes Men,” which is the episode that made her write her positive review. After bringing it up with my workshop students last Thursday (most of whom haven’t seen it at all), I decided I might as well watch it just to see what Elizabeth was talking about.

Her opinion is worth a lot to me, but it seemed we were watching different shows. Yes, it was nice to have some more airtime with Sif (who seriously got shafted in Thor 2), but I still wasn’t caring about the people on screen. As I’ve said before, I find Ward to be flat, Fitz falls short, Simmons is basically a Muggle clone of Hermione Granger, and Skye has a supernaturally perfect tan and hair completely at odds with her character (even when confined to what amounts to a prison cell with a hospital bed and no toilet or even a hair brush). Only Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen have good depth with their acting, and I still have trouble caring about them. Agent Coulson has gone from the best new superhero-genre character in ages to me not caring. How does that happen?

That all being said, I also watched “End of the Beginning,” and in the last third of the episode I suddenly started caring. It’s like Joss Whedon finally stopped letting other people write things and stepped in to finish that episode. Suddenly there was urgency, the stakes seemed real, I stopped rolling my eyes at Skye, and even began to care — a little — about Coulson again.

(Oh, and they finally got rid of the term “night-night gun,” for the “good guys don’t use real bullets” nonsense weapon. Now they’re “icers.” Now, why couldn’t they have used that from the start?)

Here I’m going to list some spoilers for “The End of the Beginning.” The nature of the Clairvoyant is discovered, and even though it was the obvious (someone with SHIELD access faking supernaturally-gathered knowledge), it still managed to up the stakes. The idea that they don’t know who to trust gets magnified when they realize that May has been communicating with someone in secret. The episode ends with May facing off against Coulson and Sky, weapons drawn, as suddenly the Bus’ autopilot is overridden and they fly off to a new destination. We cut to Agent Hand giving an order to “take out” the team, except for Coulson. “He’s mine,” she says, as we fade to the credits.

So here’s my prediction.

Victoria Hand is a classic use of misdirection. She’s been set up repeatedly as a no-nonsense quasi-antagonist who has made it clear that she doesn’t value Coulson’s team. She makes an obvious villain as the mysterious Clairvoyant. Too obvious — despite the fact that the actress and character alike would make for an excellent evil mastermind.

While watching the episode and knowing there had to be a traitor, I actually put my money on Agent Blake — especially when he starts nattering on about astrology and the like, making him seem completely harmless. Then he gets critically injured, and that becomes impossible.

Which, of course, leaves Agent Sitwell. The quiet, unassuming guy we keep cutting to for a little information; the guy Coulson actually trusts enough to confide in even a little.

So I say Agent Sitwell is the villain, and Agent Hand thinks that Coulson’s team has been compromised somehow. I’ve seen multiple websites referring to Hand’s order to “kill” everyone on the bus, but in reality all she says is “take out.” It’s a page right out of comic book techniques, ending an issue on something that seems obvious but is actually setting up a different conclusion.

I’ll have to wait and see if the payoff is worth it. Still, Winter Soldier is supposed to take place at this point in the series, and I haven’t seen it yet; maybe something else will happen in that movie to change my mind. I plan on seeing it today, if Real Life doesn’t interfere.