Review: “FZZT”

This week, on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: When floating bodies turn up, Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D must hunt down an elusive killer. No one is safe — not even the team.

FZZT - The team

The Story/Plot

Diego: Es mejor cada semana. I’m sorry, I’ve run out of ways of saying “it’s getting better each week”, so I’ve switched to Spanish. But really, this was a solid episode. The story wasn’t about the “artifact of the week”, but its effect on the characters. If this is the way forward, my hopes for the show are rising.

Matt: Finally, the episode I have been waiting for. This story was directly related to The Avengers; an intergalactic virus from a Chitauri mask. Very cool concept, and a nice change from “person/artifact of the week”. I think the biggest reason the story worked was because it was made personal. I will explore that more below, but this is really the first one that effected one of our main characters.

Laura: This was an improvement on so many levels. The characters felt more realistic, the plot felt more natural, and the pacing was quite perfect. For the first time in the run of the show, I felt like every character was given significant screen time and development, which is great for the balance of the show moving forward.

Matt (reply): We are doing other languages now? Raaaaaahhgh uugggh aarrragghuuhw uughguughhhghghghhhgh huuguughghg. That is Shyriiwook (Wookie Speak) for “I wish I had a better joke.” Laura, you put it more concise than I could have. Each character was given its due, and it was about damn time.

Diego (reply): Like Matt, I appreciated a relation to the films that wasn’t just an offhand mention to “Extremis”, “Gamma radiation”, or “super soldier serum”.  Keeping the Chitauri helmet was plausible (See, Item 47), and I appreciated the nod to the first responders. That’s the “man on the street” approach I hoped when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began.

Laura (reply): Did anyone else get the sense that the first responders remembered SHIELD’s presence at New York, but not necessarily in a positive way? More on that in the future, please. Like perhaps in the aftermath of the upcoming Thor 2 episode?

FZZT Coulson, May, Simmons

The Characters

Matt: Let’s do this. We’ll start with Agent Ward. He was a cardboard cut out. He actually had some depth this episode. He was generally bothered that he couldn’t protect the team. That hurt him. We can talk about love triangles all we want and I don’t want to, so I will leave that to my esteemed colleagues. But Ward generally seems to care about everyone there, so much so to jump out of a plane with more style than Captain America ever has. If he keeps this up, he will keep moving up in my books.

Coulson. Agent. Agent Coulson. I don’t know what it was but he seemed more like his “big screen self” in this episode. They are slowly (and that is being kind) unveiling more and more about Coulson.

Agent May has hinted about her past before. But this time she seemed to hint that she had some sort of rebirth like Coulson has. Intrigued to see what it is. Also, I am not sure how I feel about the sexual tension between her and Coulson.

Fitz and Simmons. Relax, this won’t be the same paragraph I usually make about them. It took six episodes for me to realize they are actually people. The first thing I thought and let me know if you agree Diego and Laura, that they reminded me of Ron and Hermione. Fitz flirted with Skye. Simmons with Ward, but at the end of the day, I think there’s no other choice but each other. Fitz was going to jump out of that plane after her. I have more field experience than he does, and he was jumping with no hesitation at all.

Skye seemed generally relieved when Simmons was okay. Hopefully there are no more is she/isn’t she with the team stories. I still want to see more with her history, but I would like to think she is solidified on the team.

Good to see Agent Blake again from the Marvel One-Shot Item 47. As my two counterparts will surely point out, he was in LOST. But that isn’t the only connection this episode has to that show….

Laura: Love triangles? More like quadrangle. They hinted at Skye/Fitz, Simmons/Ward, Fitz/Simmons, and there’s been a heck of a lot of Ward/Skye hints all season. I don’t know how to feel about any of this. And I definitely agree – for whatever reason, I just don’t feel comfortable with the little May/Coulson hints. I much rather like them being complete and total BFFs who would do anything for each other.

But this episode did a lot for pretty much everyone. Skye was worried about her teammate, which should solidify her loyalty and shows a bit more of her character. Ward was also worried, which for him is very un-robot like, so that’s fantastic progress. I especially loved how quickly he grabbed that parachute from Fitz and threw himself out of the plane. Zero hesitation to save a teammate that he didn’t even want weeks ago. Fitz AND Simmons proved they’d do anything to save each other, just by drastically different means, and it was extraordinarily sweet. I continue to think May knows something about Coulson, she seems to be keeping an eye on him constantly.

And Coulson. Oh man did I love the conversation he had with the fireman, and then his confession to May at the end. He suspects enough that he ordered blood tests, which came back normal. I’m suspicious of that too.

Diego: You’ve both covered this very well, so I’ll just add I’ve found Fitz and Simmons as, ahem, super friends, and not involved in any romantic way. Glad to see Coulson being proactive on finding out what happened to him, even if May seemed to put a stop to that.

Matt (reply): Yes Laura, and you’ve got me thinking. I’m more “Team Cellist” then “Team May” when it comes to Coulson, although I like to think of him as an enigma with no better half.

Diego (reply):  I agree with both of you, that Ward’s finally being more than just the muscle of the team (although he handled that task perfectly this week). And, as I said above, I don’t see Fitz and Simmons as Ron and Hermione. I see them for as Fred and George, finishing each others sentences and being the complement to each other… which now makes me wonder who’s the Fred of that pair. Sad face.

Also, two Lost connections? I missed one, I only knew of the Man in Black. Glad he appeared in the end, as a screen-call only cameo would’ve sucked. And he touched Lola!

Laura (reply): I’m definitely with you on that Matt – Coulson feels best to me as that unshakable person who just doesn’t necessarily belong with someone. It’s a part of the whole unsuspecting suit disguise to me. Also, I’m more than ok with Fitz and Simmons just being BFFs. As a woman, there’s nothing more awesome than boy-girl best friend pairings that love each other more than enough just platonically and that friendship is still stronger than most romantic pairings. To continue the Harry Potter analogy, that’s what made Harry and Hermione so strong.

FZZT Skye

The Mythology and The Theories

Matt: Pretty much the same stuff: What happened to Coulson? The only other thing I got was maybe Coulson will butt heads with SHIELD HQ. Not with Fury, who I think will have his back, but with the “bureaucrats”. I doubt it will be something extreme as going rogue and completely off the grid, but I do think they will explore it more.

Laura: I agree, I definitely see some SHIELD issues ahead. The Man in Black seemed to greatly disapprove of him, although that could just be me being super suspicious of any character Titus Welliver plays ever. I’M SORRY I CAN’T CALL HIM ANYTHING BUT THE MAN IN BLACK.

Diego: After last week’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer, I wonder if this team is Fury’s ace in the hole. There’s trouble brewing with the S.H.I.E.L.D. higher ups, and this team seems separated from all that almost in purpose. I can see a Season 2 of them being on the run from SHIELD, after the confrontation this week with Agent Blake.

Matt (reply): Hey hey! I’m glad I didn’t have to link to that awesome trailer this time. I would love that, Diego. Have Fury play a bigger hand, like he did with the Avengers, because that is what he is good at. If Laura calls Agent Blake “The Man in Black”, can I call Agent May “Mulan”?

Laura (reply): Of course we can call her Mulan, she’s friggin Mulan!! I had that same inkling, Diego. I can definitely see Season 2 going that way. Of course, they’d have Fury’s full permission to continue working on cases as they run, cause that’s how Fury rolls.

Parting Thoughts

Matt: One of, if not the best episode yet. Written by Paul Zbyszewski who wrote six episodes of LOST. Go ahead, guys, I’m ready for your remarks. The week break and the planning of the back 9 seemed to do them wonders. With Agent Sitwell returning, and having an episode directly related to Thor: The Dark World, it seems the train is finally headed for the correct station.

One more thing, if I may. (No pun intended) Ming-Na Wen has been nominated for a PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD in the category of “Favorite Actress in a New TV Series”. The show itself was also nominated for “Favorite New TV Drama”. If you would click here to vote, it would be much appreciated.

Laura: Let’s just hire all the Lost writers then, that just seems to be a good idea to me! 😉 But in all seriousness, this was a good episode. I will admit, I’m a little worried about the episode connecting to Thor 2. While this is what we all kind of wanted, I have a few concerns. Namely, a) it’s only happening about two weeks after the movie premieres, which for the regular viewers that aren’t Marvel obsessed is not much time at all to see it, b) if it’s only really dealing with the aftermath, I fear the plot will suffer from trying to be too relatable, and c) the characters will fall to the wayside a bit just to be all OMG THOR WAS HERE AND NOW THERE’S THIS MESS. I just don’t have enough faith in the show yet to believe that this idea will work on it’s own. But we’ll see.

Diego: A solid episode, one I hope they use as a template going forward. After the first five episodes, I think they’re getting a better hold on their characters, and the stories they want to tell going forward. I’ll also use this to link to Marvel’s just announced deal with Netflix, which includes four shows and a crossover miniseries, starting in 2015.

And finally, I’m not that worried about the Thor: The Dark World crossover. Having seen the film (shameless plug: my review), I can think of specifically one possible storyline, related to an after-credits scene. If the Agents of SHIELD team goes on a hunt, I would be a very happy man.

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