Agents Of Shield Recap: Time For Some Group Bonding
Skye (do we know if that is her actual name, or just the name that SHIELD has given her) is unloading the van that she lives in so she can get on the giant SHIELD plane. Can I just say that Skye looks insanely turned out for a chick that lives IN A VAN?? I do not look that good and I am sitting in my house which has a shower and hot food and everything.
Hi, enormous plane! This plane seems almost Tardis-level enormous. To be fair, I’ve never been in a giant fancy plane of any sort, let alone one retrofitted by people that control superheroes but for serious this thing seems big. Also, much much much mood lighting, mirrors, and a fuckton of white furniture.
The baby scientists, Fitz and Simmons (together, Fitzsimmons, get it?) are following Skye all over the plane, which will probably take like 20 minutes because of the size of this thing. It is difficult to tell if they like or hate her, and I can’t tell if my confusion is because they’re showing some complex feels or are supposed to be adorably low social skills or are just bad actors. Whatevs. They’re puppying along as Skye gets herself settled.
Coulson reminds us AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN that he got kilt dead by Loki pre-Battle of New York, and as a reward for dying and coming back again (OR DID HE? DUN DUN.) he got this sweet-ass plane outfitted by the man Nick Fury hisself.
We’re wheels up and heading to Peru because of an Object Of Unknown Origin is there. The highly-labeled SHIELD trucks roll up to an Incan archeological dig with some tight-lipped urgency from the real deal SHIELD agents. So, did the trucks come with in the enormous plane? Is that possible?? Or does SHIELD just keep fancy trucks everywhere so they can be driven on demand? Steely-eyed driver agent is worried about “exposure” and wants to hide the truck…which mebbe could have been solved on the front end by, say, not driving trucks with SHIELD emblazoned all over them.
There’s ruins! There’s an archeological professor dressed in the obligatory tan-on-tan of movie archeologists everywhere. The ruins are old, but they have a mysterious new menacing metal thing in them, which is unpossible. Suddenly, this show has turned into the end of “Fifth Element.”
Skye can find no info about what this object might be, even though she has “searched every data stream” from what appears suspiciously like an iPhone. Does SHIELD have some extra special NSA-powered phones that search everything everywhere within seconds? Is it gold-plated? Cool.
The mysterious object is completely mysterious and extra old because of course it is. Bo-ring. Time for a fight and hot silent SHIELD agent pulling two guns at the same time, yo.
Boo-ya! More this, please. Apparently the gunfight is with some Peruvian military police who are captained? generaled? commandanted? by a hot lady with whom Coulson clearly has A History. Hot lady may be an even worse actor than the FitzSimmons, and delivers her lines with all the aplomb of a high school theater production.
Skye is monitoring the data stream again or whatever, and reminds us for approximately the one millionth time that there are rebels in the area. Hey, are there rebels in this area? Yep, because they just done blew something sky high. Now there’s a gun battle raging. Did I say I wanted more gun battles? I was wrong, because this is a really boring gun battle. Maybe I just wanted more of hot sullen SHIELD lady. Meanwhile, the scrappy scientists and other non gun-battling folk have liberated the Fifth Element thing and are exiting the temple through a small hole that has sunlight streaming in, which is a mandatory requirement of all archeological dig movies.
It’s exactly at this point in the show where I lose both interest and the thread. Why is there a rebel attack? What purpose does it serve? To be fair, it sets up some very cool comic-book-esque action shots:
…but it is otherwise needlessly complicated. Same with the Indiana Jones chase through the jungle, rebels a-firing away. Whedon was pretty deft and pretty dope with the action scenes in “The Avengers,” but clearly (and understandably) he doesn’t have the budget here, so we just get a lot of low-rent fighting like this. Of course they get away from the rebels. Of course they get back to the TARDIS plane. Of course there was no reason for the rebels in the first place really, except to chase the SHIELDies and the military police into the plane for safety.
Back in enormoplane, we’re just going to hang out in the industrial loading bay part of the plane rather than heading to the plush white furniture part. Oh, and yes they do bring the cars along with them in the plane. Planes are SO BIG you guys! Hanger bay convo tips us off to the fact that Unknown Object Thingy is fueled by tesseract technology – the whole Captain America dealio.
We’re spending a reaallly long time on a team dynamic setup. Agent people do not like scientist people or Skye or basically any non-agent people. The agents are doers and they do not trust the soft-bodied scientists in the field, or something. This fight is the first of many, methinks. Coulson gets to tell them to work it out, because Coulson is going to get all the best lines.
Which brings us to what is awesome about the show: Coulson. Why will I keep watching? Coulson. Apparently he gets to have all the trademark Whedon lines, referring to the tesseract thing as “the device fueled by evil that is sitting in our cargo bay” and telling steely-eyed lady agent that their convo was fun after she says nary a word. He’s hilarious and awesome, but it only highlights how much not-fun and clunky the other characters are.
So the military police are only on the plane to steal the Tesseract Fifth Element and maybe to make off with the big-ass plane. The military people have up agents and scientists and hackers alike and stuffed them in the cargo bay, which gives us time for some Clumsy Exposition on why hot lady and military police are so hot to steal the tesseract thing, which is that they want to use it on the rebels. This seems like a wee bit of overkill given that the thing is essentially pure energy that could destroy the earth or some such.
The whole point of having the military police be evil is that it will help the group work as a team against a common enemy. In case you couldn’t figure that out, Coulson actually says it in those exact words to hot lady. So, they’re this show’s version of Buffy’s Scooby Gang, complete with Coulson as dry-witted benevolent leader, the FitzSimmons as super scary-smart young uns, and Skye and male SHIELD dude (who is apparently named Grant?) to provide some romantic love-hate respect-not respect tension. Scary smart kids figure out how to deploy the weapon to blow a giant hole in the plane, which eventually saves everyone. Yay scary smart kids! Plane is wrecked, but now the team is learning to get along.
Speaking of learning to get along, time for a boring convo between Grant and hot steely-eyed lady about how now he likes Skye and will be her training officer. Also time for clunky team bonding with beer while Skye uses her super awesome search everything phone to…talk to the Rising Tide and say that she’s in? So Skye’s regular old personal cell came with her? She’s able to search every available data stream on her AT&T iPhone? She’s dumb enough to correspond with Rising Tide via a special SHIELD phone? No matter what, we now know that Skye is all sketchy double-agent.
So, it looks like SHIELD will probably follow the Buffy season arcs. Big episode with huge season-wide plot development followed by stand-alone episode with only a small reveal or piece of the puzzle. Here, we have a fairly boring plot wrapped around explaining the tesseract and to let us know that maybe Skye is Not To Be Trusted.
The final scene is all about Giving The People What They Want, because BAM! here’s Samuel L. Jackson as one pissed off Nick Fury.
Fury is sad and mad because Coulson wrecked his beautiful plane in 6 days and gives Coulson a little lecture about fixing it up exactly as it was before and how Skye is a risk because Nick Fury sees ALL, motherfucker.
I’m going to keep watching this because it is fun, but it is odd and fairly concerning to see the first proper episode of a show feel weaker than the pilot, and this definitely does. Hopefully this works out like Buffy and Whedon can hit his stride and make this as fun and daring and dark as that show was in it’s prime, because we deserve it, dammit.