Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on the air and Coulson lives!
Welcome, lords and ladies, to our first recap of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I will largely be referring to as “SHIELD” from now on, as the official title is a pain in the rear to type repeatedly. Thank you for that, ABC.
The show opens on a typical New York City street, sometime after the events of The Avengers. The usual city bustle is interrupted by an explosion on the top floor of a nearby building. Mike Peterson immediately and stealthily leaps into action, climbing up the outside of the burning building to rescue a woman trapped inside. His actions go largely unnoticed except by one social media-savvy young woman, who catches the whole thing on her phone.
Meanwhile, across town, Grant Ward is in the midst of a Sydney Bristow-style operation, ganking a bad guy’s fingerprints and using them to retrieve an alien artifact from his wall safe. His actions earn him a slot on SHIELD’s new investigative team, which includes the amazingly not-dead Coulson, “bus driver” Melinda May, adorable techheads Fitz and Simmons, and cameos by Agent Hill and Shepherd Book. The team has seen the footage of Peterson’s rescue and are now attempting to find him and figure out what happened in the lab explosion.
The young woman who posted the footage is Skye, a member of a hacker group named Rising Tide who exists solely to track down SHIELD. She finds Peterson again and warns him that SHIELD will be coming for him. Instead, SHIELD comes for her first. Coulson manages to win her over and find out what she knows about the project from the destroyed lab. The lab was the home of a secret project called “Centipede.” It’s an ill-advised attempt to create superheroes by mixing every known Hero Origin Agent and injecting them into hapless test subjects. It’s not going well. In fact, the explosion wasn’t caused by a bomb. Evidently, when these super-humans get angry, they don’t go “smash.” They go “boom.” And Peterson is next on the list.
Peterson’s dealing with some pretty major ‘roid-rage, as it so happens. He puts his former boss in the hospital, and he’s starting to glow when he gets angry. He snags Skye to help him get away from SHIELD and heads to Union Station. Fortunately, FitzSimmons are able to concoct a super-antidote, which is delivered by Wade just in the very nick of time. Peterson is going to be fine, but we still don’t know exactly who was behind the experiments in the first place. Skye is given an official offer to join the team, and a new 911 call comes down the line just in time to tease next week’s episode.
Joss! You old so-and-so, I’ve missed you doing things on my TV! I’ve been scanning through SHIELD-related headlines for the last couple of days, and not a lot of them have been terribly flattering. Allow me to show you all the effs I give. My viewing buddies and I laughed for a good hour, and I would happily watch a FitzSimmons spinoff. I will be firmly planted in front of my television (or my Hulu subscription, as you will) for as many Tuesdays as Joss and ABC choose to give me. So there.
Seriously, though. I did really enjoy the pilot. I think it’ll be interesting to watch the series find its feet and decide what kind of show it wants to be. I’d be happy with either a grand story arc or a superhero-of-the-week, frankly. Either way, I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has made a pretty impressive start at living up to its own hype.
Wade: “I don’t think Thor is technically a god.”
Hill: “You haven’t been near his arms.”
Simmons: “I’m not Hermione! I can’t create instant paralysis with that!”
Things to Ponder:
- Who was behind the secret exploding lab? The doc mentioned that the people she reports to were bad sorts. Who might they be, hmm?
- I’m taking bets on what Coulson can never know and when he’ll find it out. My totally unresearched opinion: The real Coulson died in true Whedon fashion back in the first Avengers movie. He’ll discover that he’s a Coulson-bot (like the Buffy-bot!) sometime during the season 1 finale. What are your guesses?