Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Fzzt!

"I'm Agent Grant Ward, and I can shoot the legs off a flea from 500 yards, as long as it's not windy."

Ok, this one's much better, and gives us a bit of much-needed fleshing out for the characters of Fitz and Simmons. I really thought at one point that Whedon was going to pull a Doyle and kill off Jemma Simmons. DAMN YOU, WHEDON. You made my fiancée cry at the end. Definitely not me though. Heart of stone.

Fitz and Simmons are both more three dimensional after this episode, and they have a great deal of affection for each other in their very British way. Jemma Simmons is brave, principled and full of Dunkirk spirit, while Fitz is a bit more geeky and Scottishly grumpy, but with a heart of gold and with done real courage deep beneath the nervousness.

This episode comes at just the right time, just as the cognitive dissonance I've been feeling for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D runneth over. I've been too kind to the first few episodes in hindsight, willing this, a Whedon show set in the Marvel Universe, to succeed. So far it's ho hum, with characters that lack that Whedon touch and dialogue that lacks that Whedon spark. The show may improve dramatically: neither Buffy nor Angel got off to the best of starts. But his two most recent shows before this one, Firefly and Dollhouse, were both great from the word go. I'm still a little worried .

Be that as it may, this is an episode about a MacGuffin, in this case a Chitauri helmet, that nearly kills Simmons and let's us see how extraordinarily brave she is, and compares us with a handful of others who, being red shirts, die of the same condition. It's instructive that one of then, approaching death, states that "It's beautiful!". Atheist that Whedon is, this is a far cry from Torchwood and "There's nothing!". Nonetheless, there's more than a little of Totchwood's first season in the use of alien flotsam and jetsam.

Elsewhere, we learned lady week that S.H.I.E.L.D has a presence in Hong Kong, and we can now add at least one unnamed country in West Africa to that list. We see more of Coulson's maverick tendencies, which have increased since his "death" and his loyalty to his team. The episode ends with his intimate chat with Agent May, perhaps the only one of the team whom he sees as a peer. He admits to feeling different since the incident with the spear. But what exactly happened? How much longer will we have to wait?

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