Saturday, 22 March 2014
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Seeds
"You have got to put that away..."
At last. Not only is this the best episode do far by some way, it's also the only one so far to stand comparison with the best of Joss Whedon's other shows. You know, the ones he was actually involved with.
At last we get to see the S.H.I.E.L.D Academy of which we have heard so much or at least the scientific one. This is the alma mater of Fitz (whose first name, we learn, is Leopold) and Simmons, not to mention Bucky Barnes, who gets a namecheck. Here there are mysterious goings-on with people turning to ice, which turns out to be the doing of a brace of alienated prodigies.
There's a lot else going on, too, though, and a lot of arc threads that get developed in a huge way. We get mentions of AIM and HYDRA. We get a boiler room bar that looks awfully like the Bronze from Buffy. We get Agent Weaver, played by Christine Weaver who was Cathica in the The Long Game episode of Doctor Who.
Most of all, though, we (and she) finally get to hear of Skye's origin: she began, mysteriously, as an "0-8-4", retrieved as a baby by S.H.I.EL.D and causing the horrible deaths of all who came near her until she was, ultimately, hidden from sight. The only Agent to survive warns Coukson and May to stay away from her because "Wherever she goes, death follows".
Coulson, conscience-stricken, tells all to Skye, a devastating blow to her. Yet she reacts with positivity, seeing the good in that S.H.I.E.L.D has always looked after her, and is in effect her parent. There are both parallels and contrasts here with Coulson, who is now finally able to access the files surrounding his death and resurrection. We know not why, or how, he was revived, or whether it was for good or ill. We also know not how Skye came to be an 0-8-4. Questions, questions.
Oh, and while this is all going on May tells Coulson that she's shagging Ward. As you do. The relationship is now known about; it's bound to end in tears.
Fitz gets a bit of development here, as we see in the bond he shares with Donny (of whom, with his phenomenal intelligence and Bobby Drake style powers, we are bound to hear more). As a student he was a loner, awkward, more at ease with his experiments than with people. It figures, but also serves to humanise him. Hopefully, this is a step towards Fitz and Simmons becoming more developed characters and not just comic relief.
Oh, and we also have the mysterious, and deeply selfish and anorak, Ian Quinn. And his parting words to Coulson are that "The Claurvoyant says to say hello"...