Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Pilot”

This week was the premiere episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC.  It should be noted, if you couldn’t tell, that this film is set within the Marvel cinematic universe.  And if you hadn’t figured that out, they remind you several times within the show.  But if you happened to miss the episode on Tuesday, or the repeat on Thursday, here’s what you need to know.

Agent Phil Coulson is back.  We left The Avengers thinking that Loki had killed Agent Coulson on the Helicarrier.  To hear Coulson tell the tale, he had quit breathing for 40 seconds.  (Maria Hill says 8 seconds.)  He had been sent to Tahiti to relax and recover from his injuries.  The show wasted no time in revealing that he was alive.  Of course, his lack of death was part of the marketing campaign.  However, something unknown happened with Coulson that Hill doesn’t think he should know about.  So, anyways, Coulson surprises a new recruit with a hilarious entrance from a dark corner (there must have been a light out).

Now let’s meet the team:

  • Agent Melinda May – Coulson brought her on with the promise of just being the “bus driver.”  Well, what that really means is piloting their giant plane.  Of course, that promise quickly went away as she finds herself getting involved in the action early on.
  • Agent Grant Ward –  He’s the tough, macho, action guy.  We know this because his first appearance was a heist in which he had to take out sever enemies to retrieve some type of artifact from a group called the Rising Tide.  He also gets made a fool of, and saves the day later in the show.
  • Agents Fitzsimmons – These are really two people, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons.  Fitz is a weapons/tech expert, and Simmons is a life sciences expert.  They’re often referred to as one person, and have very quick, sophisticated conversations amongst themselves.
  • Skye – She’s a hacker, and maybe possible member of Rising Tide that gets brought in and recruited to the team.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to find a person named Mike Peterson, who was caught on video after saving a person from the top floor of a building that had a massive explosion.  Skye has already found him, and is trying to recruit him to her side.  Embrace this new found fame before the “men in black suits” take him away.  As time progresses, Mike becomes more agitated and reckless, going so far as to injure his old boss when he won’t give him his job back.

Coulson’s team is able to recover some security footage from the explosion, and discovers that discovers that it was a person that blew up.  Someone that had been exposed to Extremis.  You know, that thing that was developed by Aldrich Killian and A.I.M.?  Oh, you say you didn’t see Iron Man 3?  Too bad.  The show assumes that you did.  Which is probably my biggest complaint about the show.  Funnily, it’s the exact same complaint I had about the Marvel Now Invincible Iron Man relaunch.  It assumes that you knew exactly what Extremis was.  You should not make any assumptions that your audience knows what happened before.  It’s okay to build off previous things, but you have to give the audience the information about those events.  Like, it would have been silly to mention this secret about Coulson being around, without having mentioned that he was presumed dead.

Coulson and gang easily find Skye, and win her over after allowing her to actually question Ward after Coulson shot him with truth serum, against his wishes.  They work together to find Mike, who has been a test subject in a project called “Centipede.”  They’re trying to recreate the Super Soldier serum, in conjunction with Extremis, in a “let’s throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” strategy.   Skye goes back to her van (HQ) to gather her data, but Mike shows up with his son and abducts Skye.

The agents find Mike and Skye at a bus station, and after a bit of a fight that also included a third group trying to kill Mike, Ward is able to shoot Mike with an antidote to the Extremis stuff inside him.

Overall, I liked this episode.  It wasn’t great, but it was good enough that I’m looking forward to next week’s episode.  It’s just a matter of the show finding a balance between the comedy, action, and drama elements.  And also, will this ensemble stay enjoyable to watch.  See you next week.

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