I wrote about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back in May when the series was announced, and as promised, I was sitting in front of my television for the first episode. I can’t say I was impressed. I never have enough time to commit to television anyway, but at least when I walk away from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I won’t feel like I’m missing out on something horribly amazing like with this whole Breaking Bad thing.
I was excited to see Cobie Smulders reprise her role as Agent Hill from The Avengers and everything went downhilll from there. The show looks like it will be a procedural; the team will investigate a new powers-related curiosity each week, then solve the problem in the final five minutes like Dr. Gregory House (in last night’s first episode, the two foreign scientists conclude that the only two outcomes involving the hooded man struggling with moral ambivalence were letting him explode or putting a bullet through his brain. Agent Coulson said this was unacceptable, and that they should find a third scenario. Well they did. They shot the guy with a weird bullet from a weird gun, only the show didn’t explain what either were, or how they worked, only that it did. At least Dr. House spends the last three minutes of the episode revealing the answer).
The show did, however, attempt to foreshadow a few concepts which will almost assuredly become subplots at some point in the series (you know, should it survive). What we know we don’t know:
1. What really happened to Agent Coulson after being impaled by Loki in The Avengers. Coulson’s story was that he stopped breathing for a short period of time, was resuscitated, and put on leave in Tahiti. Basically, Fury faked his death for the purposes of uniting the Avengers. Almost immediately, it is revealed by Agent Hill and the doctor guy that even though this is genuinely what Coulson believes, it is not true. Coulson must also never know the truth. Is he a clone? Did they freeze him and bring him back? Did they take out his brain and put it into a Coulson-cloned body? Did they do Wolvering skin grafts? Did they have Thor perform a kind of super-defibrillation because he is Thor and he can?
2. Agent Ward’s family history. Agent Hill supposedly drew a pile of feces with knives in it in her assessment of Agent Ward’s teamwork skills. She’s probably right, even in the trailer his character felt unlikable. Nothing happened last night that has changed my mind about that. Coulson, however, did make a quick allusion to Ward’s family history in being a possible factor in regard to his inability to work with others. The only character in the Marvel Universe I could find with the last name Ward was a Terrance Ward, who goes by the name Trauma. This character is perfect for the show, as one of Terrance Ward’s known aliases is Emo Boy.
3. Why Melinda May doesn’t want to participate in any field missions. She’s already been established as the Asian Black Widow. There were the hints last night about red tape, and man, she must be a badass because self-styled badass Agent Ward was absolutely shocked to see Melinda May on the plane. Um, since Marvel is owned by Disney, they should know this, but I’m going to say it anyway: What the hell are you guys doing? Ming-Na Wen is Mulan. Mulan ain’t afraid of no man. Or pretending to be a man in order to beat the man while on the way to getting her man. Casting Ming-Na Wen so weakly brings dishonor to us all.
My disappointment stemmed from what I felt was an underwhelming premiere episode. I had hoped that a company with the resources of Disney would be able to produce an hour-long mini-movie that would blow me away visually and conceptually, but it didn’t try very hard to do either. In fact, it kind of has the stink of Heroes on it. I suppose it has time to get better, and I hope it does so quickly.
So wait – they use the big plane the same way the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. uses the heli-carrier – they just drop the SUV or Lola out of the sky whenever they want?
The European (why can’t they American? Because ‘Merca doesn’t make good sciencers anymore!) techs are a hivemind comprised of updates to the Pavel Chekov and Hermione Granger archetypes. Even more impressive is the fact that they finish each other’s sentences while displaying no sexual tension whatsoever.
Is generating clever one-liners a skill that S.H.I.E.L.D. looks for? Or are agents trained to speak this way?