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Television / Recaps PopWrapped | Television

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap 'Pilot'

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


09/25/2013 12:01 am
PopWrapped | Television
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap 'Pilot'

Bec Heim

Managing Editor

Hello my fellow Agents. (I’m trying out a fandom name. Did it catch?) Welcome to the first recap for the first episode of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. The most highly anticipated show of the year is finally airing the pilot tonight in glorious detail. (Unless you were at the screenings at SDCC and D23 then I hate you so much right now you lucky bastard.) It’s time to get some burning questions answered. (Well okay just one about how Coulson lived.) So will the Joss Whedon produced, Marvel backed, Clark Gregg starring show live up to its promises? Read on and find out. The show opens with a woman’s voice detailing how the world has gone through a sudden cultural shift thanks to the existence of superheroes. There is the good and the bad. Then there are those in the shadows, who you don’t know how to trust. It definitely sets up the whole tone of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that moment. These are the people who are in the shadows and who you are uncertain about. Our next scene is a father (played by Angel alum, J. August Richards) with his adorable son. The father is out of work and is looking for a job. His son, Ace, looks forlornly at Avengers toys “The Heroes Of New York”, which I secretly covet as well. He reassures his son that things will get better soon. Then there is a big ass explosion. The father runs to the building, seemingly to go help. He hears someone call for it. He then starts climbing up the wall like it was a rock climbing thingy with the rubber stops. He jumps to the ground with the only survivor of the explosion in hand. He runs off, though people are filming him. He comes back around to get his son. Cut to Paris where we hear about a group called the Rising Tide, who has apparently fucked with a S.H.I.E.L.D. op. The handsome Agent Grant Ward is not thrilled about that.  He does, however, go on with the op despite the higher risk now that it is potentially leaked. He does the op, showing off some cool gadgets (like a portable X-Ray thinga-ma-jig disguised as a waiting tray). He gets what is presumably needed and takes out a bunch of bad guys. Brett Dalton is very cool in this role. Agent Ward, at the moment, does not have a lot of a personality. Dalton, however, does try to interject things when he can. When they do let him do something comedic it really is something extremely special. I have my fingers crossed that Ward develops more character traits and quirks. The next scene is Ward talking with Maria Hill (a cameo by the amazing Cobie Smulders). There is a lot of name-dropping and Avengers discussion. My favorite part is when Maria Hill compares Thor’s arms to godhood. If you’ve seen Chris Hemsworth’s arms, then you know it’s true. Then comes the reveal that we all knew was going to happen. Hill mentions Coulson. Ward says that he knows he’s dead as a Clearance Level 6. Coulson, like a boss, comes out and says: “Welcome to Level 7.” There is a pause before an adorably sheepish smile appears on his face. “Sorry. I saw the dark corner and couldn’t resist. I think a bulb’s burned out.” My love is total and complete. Anyway we learn what Coulson believes happened. He got stabbed in the chest by Loki’s scepter. He died briefly. He recuperated in what he believes was Tahiti and is now back to work. Maria Hill and his doctor (played by Shepherd Book from Firefly) know differently. Coulson, however, can never know. This is Clark Gregg’s show. Every scene that he is in is utterly flawless. He schools everyone. He is a BAMF. He doesn’t get ruffled. He is so badass that he can get everyone in line by raising his voice just one notch. Clark Gregg is utterly comfortable and inhabits this part. Coulson is just flawless. He is easily the best performance of the pilot. Now we have to talk about the character that annoys me greatly. Skye (just Skye because last names are for posers) enters a diner with our nameless hero. She sits down and babbles at him. She says that she wants to help him and that she thinks he can do something. She warns him about S.H.I.E.L.D., who she says will come for him. She basically puts the fear of God into this man about the agency. Ultimately she succeeds in making him believe that he can trust her. Skye is a problem for me. She just seems a little too capable and quirky. It feels ultimately very forced. She also hasn’t seemed to consider that her crazed, paranoid ramblings about S.H.I.E.L.D. could make things really bad. She comes off too insanely quirky and manic. She is also a little too perfect as apparently she is a better hacker than Tony Stark and can get into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s files. Like seriously. What the hell? Chloe Bennett is trying but the character is just doing too much at once. She seems a little too perfect at what she’s doing to the point of being bland. Her ramblings about how evil and secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. is, is making me twitchy. I understand not liking the government keeping secrets from people but sometimes…they have to be kept. Skye doesn’t really seem to get fully called out for that. Well except by Ward but he doesn’t really get through. Anyway, Coulson goes to see Melinda May to convince her to come aboard. Something happened to Melinda in order to have her take a S.H.I.E.L.D. desk job. Eventually though, she agrees to be the pilot of the Mobile Command Center. Just the pilot. (Let’s see how long this lasts.) Ming-Na Wen portrays a lot for Melinda. She gives her vulnerability but a clear vibe that she will kick your ass. I like Ming-Na because she makes such a clearly BAMF character even more BAMF. Ward comes abroad the jet where he sees two arguing scientists: a Brit and a Scotsman. This is FitzSimmons. They will always be known as FitzSimmons. Joss Whedon is so nice that he gift-wrapped the pairing name. Fitz and Simmons both fit the “quirky genius” type a lot better than Skye does. They know their fields. They’re close. They are a little strange (such as naming robots after the Seven Dwarves). Plus they’re very, very likable. Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker succeed in making the pair feel very natural together. The two of them based on their actions onscreen make them feel like they’ve been doing this for years. They clearly have a very special bond or just share a brain. Either way they’re amazing. Anyway, the team is off. Well they’re off after Ward and Coulson have an awkward exchange. Apparently part of Ward’s training is the removal of his sense of humor. Poor Coulson. I wanted to hear his joke about the man on the plane. The next scene shows Skye rambling about something about how S.H.I.E.L.D. is bad and how they will never defeat the rising tide. This is the moment where Coulson and Ward come into her van and kidnap her stupidly easily. Seriously. If you make vague threats to a shadowy government agency move your van at least five times a day. Next scene is Skye in interrogation. It’s unpleasant to watch. Look I know S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t perfect. If you remember the whole “Phase Two” stuff from The Avengers movie you know they aren’t. I just don’t like someone who is running their mouth off and not really doing anything. She hacks them and stalks them. She makes fun of them. Even her rhetoric is kind of passive against them. It’s just if you know all this stuff then why do a Wiki-Leaks or something? I just find her and her attitude really off-putting. She and Ward “banter”. I think. It’s Skye being snarky and Ward just being serious business. She mentions Project CENTIPEDE, which neither Ward or Coulson has any real idea of. We cut to the hero. He is on a phone with a doctor holding a Notice To Vacate in his hand as Ace plays on the floor. He talks about wanting to help people and be a real hero. He then rolls up his shirtsleeve to reveal the Extremis on his arm. Coulson ultimately decides that he has had enough of this. He sticks Ward in the neck with like a super dose of truth serum. Then he leaves him to be interrogated by Skye. Brett Dalton needs more funny bits because his little cry at “Grammmy” made me crack up. Right so Melinda May takes FitzSimmons to the explosion site. At the explosion site, they find an alien metal but no detonation device. They also find a camera that may still have footage on it despite the explosion. Meanwhile the hero, Mike is at the factory where he was injured and subsequently fired from to get his old job. The foreman is kind of a gigantic dick to him. Granted it’s no excuse for throwing heavy equipment around and seriously injuring the foreman. Coulson shows the footage to Skye after her interrogation of Ward. She hands over his ID so they can track him. Mike is a good guy who has just had a lot of bad breaks lately. I felt for the guy. He is clearly only thinking of his son as he slips further into insanity brought on by Extremis. He goes to see the woman he saved. Who, shockingly, it turns out was the doctor who performed it on him. She berates him for saving her so publically. She says that her benefactors are not going to like such a showy display. Back with the team, they have pretty much figured out that it is Extremis thanks to Simmons deductive work. Skye and Melinda, meanwhile, are at Skye’s van in the regular spot so she can send better files for them to piece out what happened. Melinda is knocked out. Skye is kidnapped by Mike who has brought Ace along. Nothing says bonding like a father son kidnapping. Following this, they figure out that Mike is going to blow and take out two city blocks with him if he does. Melinda wakes up and calls Coulson to tell him what happened to Skye. At the same time, Skye (still kidnapped) is erasing Mike’s identity and letting S.H.I.E.L.D. know where she is. I’m sooo glad to see that she just suddenly trusts the people she claims to want to take down. Good work there Skye. Coulson tells FitzSimmons to come up with a cure to help Mike. FitzSimmons says that it’s impossible. Coulson tells them to never use that word and to make it work. This is why Coulson is my favorite. Coulson, Ward and May go to help Skye. Mike pulls a runner with his son and Skye, taking her hostage. Skye distracts Mike. The agents grab Ace to get him to safety. Coulson promising the little kid that his daddy will be fine. Meanwhile, a hired gun with the doctor tries to off Mike. Mike and Skye escape to the upper floor with Melinda in pursuit. Melinda proceeds to utterly own the guy and be the biggest BAMF in the show after Coulson. Mike falls to the floor where Coulson, who puts down his gun, meets him. It’s not much comfort to Mike since there are snipers surrounding them. Ward is among them. He believes that they should kill a “nobody” like Mike. Coulson, however, believes differently. Mike does this amazingly poignant speech about how he is just a little guy surrounded by giants. That being a better man is not enough anymore when there is so much out there. Such giants can definitely step on a man. (You can also read into how the working man/woman feels today with the job market and the economy and everything.) Coulson sympathizes. He tells him that heroes make the choice not to do so. He tells him that he has met with such giants and it is terrifying. It’s our choices that make us heroes not our powers. It’s a really beautiful speech and I’m not doing it justice. Mike tearfully says that he wants to be a hero. Then BOOM HEADSHOT! Except not an actual headshot, it was a caplet full of medicine to temporarily stop Mike from exploding. They drop off Ace with a relative at the farm. Coulson and Skye walk toward Lola. Coulson telling her that this world is a brave new one. He offers her a job, which Skye hesitates accepting. Then someone calls in a 0-8-4. Skye accepts to learn more. Lola then turns into a hovercar and they drive/fly off. Coulson owns a hovercar. Seriously adoration total and complete. The pilot of S.H.I.E.L.D. overall is extremely strong. It’s well paced. It’s well thought out. The world slips in neatly with the one established in the MCU. The characters for the most part are also really good. There is some tweaking that I hope is made in future episodes (I’m looking at you Skye. Also Ward because he needs a smidge more personality.) There is a good gel together. Plus there are whispers of future secrets to come like what happened to Ward’s family, why did Skye erase herself, what happened to Melinda May, does FitzSimmons share a brain and more importantly…how is Coulson alive and why can’t he know? My fellow Agents I am definitely excited to find out. Aren’t you? This is Agent Heim signing out.


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