Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 15: Yes Men

This is the best episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet (in my opinion, of course). We finally get some actual super hero action and for the first time in a long time (maybe ever) it feels like the show's actually part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's just too bad it too fifteen episodes for it to happen. 

The Plot:

Lady Sif of Asgard (and the Thor movies) comes to Earth and teams up with S.H.I.E.L.D. to retrieve the fugitive Lorelei.


• Why is this episode airing now? It's practically a sequel to Thor: The Dark World. The characters mention Thor and Asgard in practically every sentence. Jane Foster and Dr. Selvig get shout outs too! By Odin's beard, it even stars one of the actors from the Thor films. 

Wouldn't it have made more sense for this episode to air back when Thor: The Dark World premiered (in November 2013)? It would have been a great little cross promotion for both the series and the movie. I don't quite get why this very special Thor-centric episode is airing a couple of weeks before Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out.

I'm wondering if they originally planned for this episode to air when T:TDW was out, but the Olympics and all the other numerous pre-emptions pushed it back to now?

• Speaking of Thor, wouldn't this episode have been a great time for Chris Hemsworth to stick his head in front of the camera and make a five second cameo appearance? The Avengers and Thor movies have no doubt made him a millionaire several times over; it seems like the least he could do is put in a little appearance on the TV series as a thank you. It would only take an hour or two of his time and think what it would mean to the fans (not to mention the ratings).

• Whenever someone from Asgard teleports to Midgard, er, I mean Earth, they appear in the center of a Celtic knot pattern etched into the ground.

Fitz tracks an Asgardian energy spike and says it's above the exact same place in which Lorelei first appeared. A few seconds later, a bright beam stabs down from the sky and Lady Sif emerges. Sure enough, she's standing in the center of Celtic knot gouged into the highway.

So if Fitz is right and Sif appeared in the exact place as Lorelei, why wasn't there already a Celtic knot in the road? This episode seems to take place a day or two after the previous one. Apparently the road crews in the desert work quickly!

• I very much enjoyed Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif. She brought a welcome sense of grandeur and royalty to the proceedings. And she probably had more lines here than she's had in the previous two Thor movies!

• Lots of name dropping and mentions of Marvel movie happenings in this episode. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Such interconnectivity was always a fun part of Marvel comics, and the same goes for the Cinematic Universe as well.

• Sif is shocked when she sees Coulson's still alive, and suspects sorcery. After she calms down, she says her pal Thor considers Coulson a friend and will be pleased to learn he's still alive. Coulson says he'd rather Thor hear the news from him.

This is obviously a call back to several episodes ago in which Coulson mentions the unlikely fact that the Avengers don't know he's back from the dead. I think it's pretty obvious they're keeping the news from them so they can all find out and be shocked in The Avengers 2.

• Sif knows how to swipe at a touch screen, as they're ancient technology on Asgard. Ha!

• Realizing that Sif has traveled throughout the galaxy, Phil Son Of Coul quizzes her about alien races. Specifically blue alien races. She mentions a few, including Alpha Centarians (who will play a part in the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy film) and the Kree! Cool!

Comic readers know that the Kree are a big deal in the Marvel Universe and have clashed with the Avengers on many occasions. Many have speculated that the alien Coulson saw hooked up in the Guest House last week was a Kree, and I'm betting this confirms it.

How awesome would it be if they used the TV series to set up something in the Guardians Of The Galaxy or The Avengers 2?

• Lorelei seeks an army with which to conquer Earth. So why didn't she seek out a military base and get an actual army instead of a small biker gang? I'm guessing cost. It's no doubt cheaper to cast a few bikers than an entire platoon of soldiers. This is TV after all, so like it or not we have to settle for a more budget-conscious alien invasion.

• Simmons examines Skye's blood, hoping to find a trace of the alien healing factor she was injected with last week. She wants to isolate the substance so it can be replicated and used as a wonder drug. She bemoans the fact that Fitz was only able to find one vial of the GH325 drug. Fitz looks uncomfortable and mumbles something about being lucky he got what he did before the Guest House blew up real good.

Fitz is right to look ashamed. When he found the GH325 drug last week, it sure looked to me like there were multiple vials of it in the storage cabinet, but for plot complication reasons, he only grabbed one. 

• Fitz upgrades the ridiculously named "Night Night Guns" and finally gives them a less eye-rolling name: Icers.

Gee, it sure would have been nice to have had some of those in the previous episode, when they were breaking into the Guest House. Maybe they wouldn't have had to slaughter two security guards who were just doing their jobs.

Surprisingly Coulson does acknowledge this event, although he spins it as the guards "laying down their lives to protect the secret of the miracle drug" rather than "we killed a couple guys who got in our way so we could save Skye." Nice try, Phil.

• OK, the Team knows they're going into battle with an enemy who can control men's minds with her voice. Wouldn't it have been prudent to pass out some earplugs to the guys? Fitz could have probably whipped up some that filtered out Asgardian voices so they could still hear ambient noises.

Of course if they did that then they couldn't have used the old "Ward & Fitz are forced to turn against their teammates" subplot.

• May tries to fight Lorelei and predictably gets her ass handed to her (since Asgardians are much stronger and resilient than humans). Lorelei taunts May by telling her that Ward's heart has "always been with another." Yep, even though Ward's been boning May, he's secretly in love with Skye.

Sigh… I'm really weary of this show constantly trying to force Skye down our throats. She's the world's greatest hacker. She becomes part of the team without having to go through the academy. She's got secret latent superpowers. Coulson literally does whatever it takes to save her. We get it, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. You're in love with Skye. She's Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker and Bilbo Baggins all rolled into one. The hero who falls ass-backwards into success and never has to struggle to win. 

Stop trying to make the audience love her as much as you do, AOS writers. It ain't never gonna happen. The best you're ever going to get from us is grudging acceptance.

• Annnnnnd just like that, Ward and May are through. Seeing your boyfriend make it with an alien seductress is probably tough on relationships.

• Sif captures Lorelei and say she's taking her back to Asgard under orders from Odin himself (even though it's implied she'd rather kill her and be done with it). But, but… Odin is being impersonated by Loki these days, as seen at the end of Thor: The Dark World. It would be very cool indeed if they're using this episode as a setup for the next Thor movie.

• At the end of the episode, Coulson tells Skye the earth-shattering news that she was healed by some kind of alien blood serum. Her reaction? A big fat "who cares?" I was actually on Skye's side for once here, and thought her reaction was very normal. If you'd just been saved from the brink of death by a wonder drug, would you question what it was or where it came from? Most likely not. 

We all like to think we'd take the high road and say, "I'm not taking a drug that's made from ground-up puppies," but when the specter of Death is hovering above our beds, I have a feeling we'd all change our tune.

• In the final scene we see May spying on Coulson and Skye and report her findings to a mysterious someone. Someone who I'm betting is no doubt Nick Fury. 

I doubt if May's turned evil or anything; I'm assuming she's just keeping Fury updated on what Coulson does and doesn't know about his resurrection. But it's probably not going to be good for their friendship. 

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