Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Original Air Date: Sep 24, 2013
Maria – TwoCents Reviewer
Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement Logistic Division. I first heard the name uttered by an guy in an ill-fitting suit in the Iron Man movie. I dug deeper and learned that S.H.I.E.L.D has been around forever in the Marvel Universe, but Agent Coulson was created to represent that organization in the movies. Despite dying in the Avengers movie, he’s back and he’s as awesome as ever. I look forward to seeing what he and his team get up to every week.
Speaking of his team, let me take you through the pilot, which expertly introduces us to each member whilst also delivering action, drama and humor in a pilot which had me chuckling, flailing and eager for more.
Mike Peterson is an ordinary man who has had some bad breaks. A single father and unemployed, he is out with his young son when an explosion happens in a nearby building. Peterson uses exceptional strength to climb the building, grab an injured woman and jump down unharmed. The remarkable rescue was filmed by an intrigued “Skye”, who now knows his secret.
Cut to SHIELD Agent Grant Ward, in Paris on a mission to do with “Rising Tide”. He easily breaks into the bad guy’s vault with the clever use of a finger-print copying napkin and a scanner drinks tray. He retrieves something but is attacked by several men, whom he defeats with ease in a very well-choreographed battle. Mission accomplished, he returns back to base where he is briefed by Agent Hill.
Agent Coulson has been putting together a team to handle cases of their choosing, his own little band of experts to help protect an ever-changing world, and presently, he wants to make sure “the hooded hero” (Peterson) is contained. Ward complains that he’s a specialist and he’s definitely not a people person, but Coulson is confident he’s the man for the job.
Coulson’s confidence pays off. His next stop is a soul-crushing bull-pen where he explains his situation to the legendary Melinda May, who seems adamant that she doesn’t want to return to the field. It’s a pleasure for me to watch him recruit her, with a smoothness that I am incredibly jealous of. Of course she’s onboard.
The team needs the experience, as “Fitz-Simmons” are very green but very smart. They’re also two people, which only becomes apparent later. Leo Fitz is an adorkable Scotsman Engineer and Jemma Simmons is a cheery English Bio-Chemist, but really, they’re Fitz-Simmons. They’re a unit, inseparable and absolutely endearing.
But let us return to the problem, which Skye tells Peterson is SHIELD. Skye is good with computers, and knows far too much. She doesn’t trust the government and wants Peterson to protect himself. She offers to help him, to create an entirely new identity for him, but Peterson ignores her, and continues to look for employment, desperate to provide for his son.
Skye is in the middle of a radio broadcast, warning the public against organizations that want to SHIELD them from the truth, when Agent Coulson opens the door of her van/home and kidnaps her, bringing her on-board their awesome plane, hoping to learn what she knows about the hooded hero.
Ward struggles during the interrogation though, frustrated at not being able to use harsher methods so Coulson pulls him aside. It’s clear that Coulson appreciates Skye’s abilities, regardless of her attitude. He sees her potential, admiring the fact that they can find out nothing about her from records. But they do need to find out more about the unlisted hero so Coulson brings out the big guns, a gun loaded with truth serum. He shoots Agent Ward with it and tells Skye to ask him anything she wants. Nice!
It works and Skye gives him the ID she stole from Peterson whilst his team explores the site of the explosion. I could have done without seeing the charred corpse, but at least there are tiny specialist robots Fitz has programmed to do all the fieldwork for him to distract me. They even make Simmons go “aww” too, proud of the machines as they find a fried security camera, and an unusual device.
Skye heard chatter about “centipede” before Coulson’s team stumbled across it, but now Simmons has got her hands on one and it’s very worrying indeed. “Centipede” is an intravenous delivery mechanism, made from an alien metal, dripping with gamma radiation and infused with a super serum-like liquid. Video footage recovered shows that it gives the wearer Extremis. It wasn’t a bomb which made the building blow up, it was somebody wearing it which blew up. And Mike is wearing one of those things.
Mike pays a visit to the hospital, to the woman he rescued. She turns against him, as it’s revealed she’s a scientist working on the project. She doesn’t help him, and he desperately needs help because it’s affecting him badly. He’s already beaten up the foreman of the factory he was laid off from because of his injury. “centipede” hasn’t made anything better, it’s just made him stronger and more out of control, and the only people who seem prepared to help him are the people he’s been warned against.
So Mike turns to Skye, kidnapping her and bringing along his innocent son. Peterson is a ticking time bomb, a paranoid, juiced ticking time bomb and with time so limited it looks like the only option may be to kill one man to prevent an explosion that could kill hundreds. Ward may be all too willing to take that action, but Coulson isn’t and tasks Fitz-Simmons with coming up with the solution.
Skye is able to hack into SHIELD and give them their location, the final show-down taking place at Union Station. They’re not the only ones looking for Peterson though, and Melinda May is forced to kick some ass, whilst others get Peterson’s kid to safety, Ward has his rifle trained on Micheal’s head and Coulson chooses to talk to him.
Peterson’s speech to Coulson is incredible. It speaks to an entire generation dissatisfied with “The Man”. How working hard and being good isn’t enough to survive any more. That people are stepped on by Gods. Peterson is preaching to the wrong man. Coulson died at the hands of a “God”, and there’s a lot more to that than even Coulson knows, but he can see the good in Peterson. Coulson is the guy who appreciates everybody, as proven by the unique team he’s put together. He listens to Peterson, and he understands. That’s all Peterson needed. Then, Ward shoots him in the head.
Thankfully, it was with a gun which stabilizes Extremis, handed to him by Fitz. I could have done with some explanation. Had Stark already provided them with a formula or is Fitz every bit as smart as Stark (I can believe it) but the most important thing is that Michael Peterson is now getting the help he needs, and his son is going to grow up supported.
We cut to Coulson and Skye, riding in Lola, the classic red convertible. He points out that the people who funded “centipede” are still out there, and he could use Skye’s skills. She may not be a team-player, but Coulson has a very unique team and they’re going to be amongst the first to see some of the most unusual situations. How could a girl refuse?
And if you weren’t already sold, the collectable car which Coulson seems to love so much, suddenly transforms into a hovercraft, speeding off to join to the rest of his team on their next mission. Best. Car. Ever!
Best. Pilot. Ever! I love all the tech, I love all the characters, I love the fact it’s so genre-savvy, not afraid to subvert expectation in some scenes whilst pandering to the geeks in others. Long live Joss Whedon, the king of the geeks. Long live Coulson and his team. Long live this show. I hope to be watching for many years to come.