“The Asset” – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.25.57 PMIt feels as though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is hitting its stride already. Safely out of the ‘plot set-up’ zone, the show can now focus on the most important thing – entertainment. (But with all that good shit, too, like plot and character development.) The entertainment factor in this episode was fairly high. Think explosions and jumping out of windows into pools and gun battles and gravity machines. Think devious twists and romance and humor. Think everything good.

“The Asset” focused on the rescue of Dr Franklin Hall (Ian Hart, RogueLuck), a S.H.I.E.L.D. asset. But, surrounding that rescue, we got a lot of what makes us know we’re gonna love this show in the long run – a lot of character. After last week’s review, we got a message from a reader (again, thanks for reading!) saying that we’ve been giving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a free pass. The reader’s biggest concern was that the characters were one-dimensional and that we didn’t seem to care. We responded by saying that, yeah, maybe they weren’t exactly deep just yet, but that we had faith. This week, that faith paid off. We’re beginning to see these characters turn from mere sketches into portraits. To parse the words of Donkey (from Shrek), these characters are a bit like onions. They have a lot of layers. And those layers are being peeled back week by week. Slowly, yes, but surely. No show can paint a fully three-dimensional character from the offset. Sometimes these things take time. And, seeing this week’s offering – a bit of Ward’s miserable childhood, a bit of Skye’s – we’re happy to wait.

The episode also touched on the Coulson mystery, just a little bit. Given May’s reluctance to see combat, Coulson Continue reading

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“0-8-4” – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 7.21.20 PMAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is very quickly cementing itself as our favorite show of the new season. Nimbly dodging the sophomore slump, “0-8-4” did not skimp on funny, drama, sexiness or explosions. That latter is a huge part of the reason we love this show so much. We’re wondering if Joss just walks into a studio and gets handed blank checks, because this show’s effects budget must be astronomical. We’re not used to seeing this level of movie-quality action sequences or effects on the small screen. It’s like watching a 42-minute version of any of the big-budget summer blockbusters. This is on a par with Iron Man 3 or The Avengers.

As mentioned, this episode also didn’t skimp on the drama. It saw the team responding to reports of an “object of unknown origin” in Peru. Within the first half, we had an explosion on the bus (in flashback) and a jungle firefight with Peruvian rebels. As if that wasn’t excitement enough, we also got a massive betrayal and a daring rescue. Not bad for a 42-minute window.

Where this episode excelled, however, wasn’t in the explosions or the drama or the sizzling tension between Coulson and betrayer-in-chief Camilla Reyes – it was in Continue reading

“Pilot” – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 4.09.42 PMYeah, okay, full disclosure – we’re Whedon devotees. Dyed in the wool Whedonites. We’re browncoats and Scoobies and residents of the Dollhouse. We’re Cabin in the Woods fanatics, and we know that if anyone else had tackled The Avengers it would have sucked (comparatively). So what we say next shouldn’t surprise you, but you also shouldn’t take it with a pinch of salt. Yeah, we love Joss, but we don’t have those rose-tinted glasses on. Our vision is clear. And Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Well that rocked.

We won’t get too far into the nitty gritty of things here – this was the origin story episode, thoroughly packed from end to end with plot points and important information. So much info in a single episode is fantastic. It was a sparse plot (relatively speaking), but was still packed to the rafters. It was simple, yet complex. And that’s something Joss has always done well – offered the complexities of life (and of the supernatural) without overwhelming viewers.

Suffice it to say that, in a post-Avengers world, when there is no longer any hope of keeping secret the existence of mutants and superheroes, S.H.I.E.L.D. has Continue reading