Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 12: Seeds

Oh, Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., why do you taunt us so? Even when your promos flat out promise us you're finally going to give us some super villain action, you pull back at the last minute. Why can't you be more like that nice Arrow show over on the CW?

We're halfway through the season and it feels like the show's still hedging its bets. They keep sort of introducing these super villains but then nothing is ever done with them. The show's become a series of setups with no payoffs in sight.

The Plot:
The Team goes to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy to investigate a bizarre freezing attack on a student. While there, Fitz befriends a shy, lonely student named Donnie Gill. The two bond when Fitz helps Donnie solve a problem with one of his inventions. Unknown to the Team, Donnie's invention is some sort of freeze ray that he and his pal Seth plan to sell it to evil industrialist Ian Quinn. The ice machine malfunctions, killing Seth and turning Donnie into Blizzard, a third-tier Iron Man villain.

• Funny that FitzSimmons-- who were obviously created as comedy relief-- have become the two most interesting characters on the show.

• Fitz's first name is Leopold? Is this the first time we've heard that or has it been mentioned before? I honestly can't remember.

• OK, I admit it was funny-- and unexpected-- for FitzSimmons to be heroes at the Nerd division of S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.

• Sigh… more shout outs this week to remind us that we're watching a Marvel show. FitzSimmons mentions Hydra and AIM, and Skye sees Bucky Barnes' name on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Wall Of Valor. Now why would they throw in that reference? Hmm… it couldn't have anything to do with the Captain America 2 movie premiering in April, could it?

Now that I think about it, why is Bucky on the Wall at all? He died (wink wink) way back in WWII, long before there ever was a S.H.I.E.L.D. or S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.

• OK, let me see if I understand Donnie's plan here. He's trying to build a freeze ray to sell to Ian Quinn, but he can't get the power supply to work right. So he deliberately stages a "freeze attack" at the Academy to draw the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. He even freezes himself to deflect suspicion away from himself (!). S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the bait and once they arrive, Donnie bets that his mopey personality will cause Fitz to befriend him, so he can use his smarts to solve the power supply problem. 

You know, that plan is so crazy it just might work!

Seriously, that was his plan? "Convoluted" doesn't even begin to describe it. "Unlikely" and "Far Fetched" sum it up much better. Think about all the minute things that could have gone wrong and torpedoed his little scheme. It didn't even occur to Fitz to befriend Donnie on his own, that was Ward's idea! Did he foresee that contingency? I know this is a comic book world, but sheesh!

• Donnie and Seth power up their freeze ray and it generates an enormous super storm. It's clearly night when they turn on their machine. A few minutes later the Team arrives to save the day, but now it's daytime. Wha...? Either there was a big time jump when we weren't looking, which is unlikely given the way events played out, or the FX team forgot to use the night filter on the footage.

• Coulson and May fly to Mexico City to seek out a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has info about Skye's past. Because they're both professional spies, no one notices the white man and Asian woman sitting in a bright red convertible in Mexico City, Mexico. 

• During their stakeout, Coulson says he's tired of secrets. Kind of an odd thing for a guy who works for a spy organization to say, innit?

• OK, I laughed when May decided to be truthful and says she's been sleeping with Ward, just half a second before Coulson leaps from the car. D'oh!

 • Coulson and May capture the former agent, who tells them Skye's entire back story. She was the only survivor in a decimated Chinese village (?) and many agents, including his partner, died trying to protect Skye because they believe she possesses dangerous super powers. 

Oy gevalt. My least favorite character just became the Chosen One. How much do you want to bet that before the season's over she suddenly becomes the only person on Earth who can save the planet?

It's just like the modern Doctor Who series. In the past the Doctor would meet ordinary people who traveled with him. Nowadays every one of his companions turns out to be the Most Important Person In The Universe, and all of reality hinges on them and their hidden power. 

• The former agent says many have died protecting Skye because she has some kind of super power, but no one knows exactly what it is. What if it turns out she has the power to make doorbells ring from a distance? Or untangle ear bud cords just by staring at them? Would that be worth dying for? Wouldn't you want to know exactly what she could do before you defended her with your life?

• So I guess all the online theories that May is somehow Skye's mom are wrong. Good. That idea was a little too obvious and cheesy, even for a comic book show.
• Because he doesn't like secrets now, Coulson info dumps Skye's entire secret backstory to her. Did he also tell her the part about her having some kind of super power? Hard to say, because as soon as he started talking, the soundtrack swelled until it drowned him out and we segued into a montage. I guess whether or not he told her everything is none of our business.

• At the end of the episode, the Team decides to ship Donnie off to the Sandbox, where they can keep an eye on him. As Donnie waits in the car, we see he now has freezing powers, as he apparently absorbed the energy of his freeze ray machine.

This is the second time they've done this now-- this super villain setup where someone has an accident and gains powers-- but not until the last five seconds of the episode. Just once can't someone get their super powers at the beginning of an episode, so we could finally see some comic book action in this comic book show?

They did the same damn thing a while back with Gravitron (who I think is also being held in the Sandbox). I'm hoping they're building up to some big storyline where all these super villains escape and the Team will finally have to deal with them, but... I ain't holding my breath.

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