Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 11: The Magic Place

Hey, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back after a month or so off. To be honest I kind of forgot all about the show while it was away. 

I've been fairly hard on this series since it started, mostly because so far it's been, well dull. It promised us all an exciting series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but so far it's been little more than a standard police procedural with the occasional comic book reference thrown in to placate the fan boys.

I recently started watching Season 1 of Arrow (late to the party, I know) and wow, what a difference. I'm only about five episodes in, but so far I'm liking it much more than Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. DC finally does something right! I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but Marvel needs to take a look at what they're doing on this show and apply it to their own.


The Plot:
Last time, newly recruited agent Mike Peterson was seemingly killed and Coulson was captured by Raina, the Girl In The Flower Dress, in order to discover the secret of his resurrection.

This week the team searches for Coulson, and we finally get some long-promised answers about what happened to him. Well, sort of. Oh, and Mike Peterson is still alive.

• Um… didn't we see Ward get shot and seemingly left for dead at the end of the previous episode? That scene was obviously meant to make us worry about whether he was going to survive. Cut to the beginning of this episode and he's up and running and punching out agents just like normal. Whoops! 

What the hell happened? Did the writers forget he was shot? Just how much time passed between these two episodes anyway? This entire subplot was very clumsily handled.

• After Victoria Hand's men fail to get Vanchat to talk, Ward decides to give it a go his own self. He straps himself into his seat and has FitzSimmons open the ceiling of the interrogation room of the plane. The explosive decompression nearly sucks Vanchat out of the room, causing him to finally spill his guts.

OK, Ward's plan worked, but… what if Vanchat had actually been sucked from the plane? Wouldn't that have been kind of... murdery?
What would he have told Hand then? 

Or was Vanchat never really in danger of being sucked from the plane after all, and Ward just wanted him to think so?

• When Skye steals Lloyd Rathman's car, we see it has a vanity plate with letters and a dollar sign. Nope! As far as I know, no state allows any kind of punctuation marks or symbols on their plates. I realize this is a pretty minor thing to nitpick, but it stood out to me when I saw it.

• The scene between Raina and Coulson, as she convinces him to submit to the mind probe device, were very well done. She almost convinced me she had Coulson's best interests in mind.

• So now we know Coulson's not a robot or a life model decoy or a clone. I think. He appears to be the same flesh and blood Agent Coulson we all know and love. Apparently he was dead for several days and was brought back to life (on Fury's orders) by some kind of unholy technology, mainly a multi-armed robot that looked like it was either picking fleas from his brain or spot welding his synapses. 

So... that's it? That's the big reveal? They've been hinting around about Coulson for weeks now, and when they finally reveal what happened, the answer is just kind of... meh. And it raises more questions than it answered.

Speaking of Coulson and his resurrection, boy, was that exposed brain scene disturbing! Yikes! That's gonna stick with me for a while. Do kids watch this show?

• Ever since Po was introduced last episode, I had this half-baked idea that he was somehow really The Clairvoyant-- kind of like Kuato in the original Total Recall movie (you have no idea how much it pains me to have to say original when talking about that filml). I guess not, since in this week the Clairvoyant kills Po (over the phone yet!).

• This episode pretty much lays to rest S.H.I.E.L.D.'s erroneous view that telepathy doesn't exist. Coulson keeps saying it's impossible, but the Clairvoyant has apparently read his mind, as well as the minds of every major leader on Earth. He even proves it by giving Raina information about Coulson that no one could possibly know.

• Dr. Streiten, who objected to Coulson's resurrection, is played by Ron Glass, who's from my city of Evansville, Indiana!

• So Skye has a pretty good idea of where Coulson is being held, which is different from where Agent Hand is going. Ward tells Hand he's taking his team to Skye's hunch location and that's final. Agent Hand, who by the way is very much Ward's superior officer, fumes at him but seems powerless to stop him. What the hell? Yes, Ward's decision turned out to be right, but he violated a direct order from a superior. Why didn't Hand just have him and the rest of the team thrown in the brig and be done with it?

• I told you that Mike Peterson wasn't dead! In the comic book world, no one's dead unless you see a body. And even then…

The Centipede wristband thing uses the Extremis formula, right? So I'm assuming it'll regrow Peterson's leg in no time (we saw it do something similar in Iron Man 3). More troubling is the reveal that he's now got one of Centipede's bionic eyes (complete with remote kill switch!) implanted in his head.

So is Peterson going to become Deathlok, from the comics? It sure looks like it! Cool! That'd be awesome to finally get some actual comic book characters in this show. 

But where is Peterson? Is he in S.H.I.E.L.D. or Centipede headquarters? Logic would imply Centipede (since his body appears to be full of their tech) but S.H.I.E.L.D. did say they found a body on the bridge last episode...

• I'm glad the show's finally telling us (sort of) what happened to Coulson, because I'd hate for them to drag the mystery out for years, LOST-style. That said, I'm kind of concerned that they're revealing this just eleven episodes into the season. This is the biggest question in the entire series so far. Now what? Where do they go from here? 

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