Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: “Girl in the Flower Dress”

Agents of SHIELD logoAnother good episode, although I still think it’s time for Skye and Ward to fill the background while Melinda May and Fitz/Simmons get something epic and character-building to do.  Remember this column is more of a “highlight” feature than a recap.  To find out the details of what happened, I recommend Television Without Pity, io9, or The Mary Sue, all of which have great recaps of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Speaking of Melinda May, do I have a dirty mind, or are she and Coulson ex-lovers?  Who might get back together at any minute, especially if Melinda has anything to say about it?  Because the way she suggested getting out the mats like in the old days was fraught with meaning.  Fraught, I say!  They have a torrid past, people!  You heard it here first!  And did anyone else notice that this conversation happened during the only time in the series so far when Melinda has been wearing casual clothes instead of what is basically body armor?  Might we start seeing Melinda, the person, soon as opposed to Melinda the weapon?

No, Agent Ward, it's not just you - we are all confused by this shirt.

No, Agent Ward, it’s not just you – we are all confused by this shirt.

And all this makes me wonder – does Phil remember the cellist?  Obviously he still has long-term memory but I wonder if he lost any memories from his pre-Loki weeks.  Coulson, you have a jet!  You can go visit the cellist in Portland!  Having lived in Portland, I guarantee you it’s packed with all kinds of things you can investigate, so you can even conduct these visits on work time.  As Tony says, “Keep love alive”.  Unless you and Melinda might…and I still think you and Maria Hill could…Oh, I’m sorry, were we watching something?

SO ANYWAY, this weeks’ theme is who people really are.  At first the theme seems to be that everyone would really love to have sex but would sooner perish than reveal such a fact.  Thus we have Melinda and the mats conversation, and Ward and Skye playing Battleship in an awfully chummy way (I prefer to think of them as brother/sister but it’s an adorable scene either way).  Skye has sex with an idiot ex-boyfriend (nice underwear, Skye!) and Fitz seems to take the reveal of the boyfriend’s existence awfully personally.  Meanwhile, the expendable bad guy of the week is manipulated all too easily by the Girl in the Flower Dress, Raina, who slinks about in pure evil villain fashion.  You know who she reminds me of?  A sexy version of Blofield from Dr. No.  Get this woman a cat.

Beware!

Beware!

But as it turns out, all this sexy vibe stuff is just an excuse to get to the bigger theme:  can you know who someone else really is?  At thins point, we know very little about anyone’s back story so everyone is a mystery.  But Skye’s dark secret is revealed to the group, and they are all clearly devastated that she lied to them, in a “we thought we knew who you were” sort of way.  Well, yeah – you did know who she was.  You knew she was a hacker with a secret hacker organization and a strong belief in basic human rights.  Which she is.

And BTW, could we please have the argument that Skye and her ex have about the ethics of S.H.I.E.L.D, only could we please have it between two characters who have higher levels of intelligence than a chia pet?  Because there’s an actual, valid argument to be had here and it lacks credibility when it comes from Skye and her idiot boyfriend, on account of how the two of them put together still lack the brainpower of a chia pet.

And of course this whole betrayal thing is laid out nicely in parallel with street magician guy who at first seems like a fairly decent guy who feels ignored but who ends up frying one of our two villains.  and of course he is betrayed by the flower dress woman who promises him that he will have fame and fortune and ends up stealing his platelets.

Owwww...

Owwww…

Here’s some more great lines from this week:

Great deadpan, when Skye’s idiot ex-boyfriend says to May, “So, are you guys just going to destroy all my stuff?”  To which she says,

“Yes”.

Well, you asked, dumbass.

Coulson has the very best lines, of course:

“So we’re good, right?”

“They said he was kind of a tool”

“Oh crap.  They gave him a name”.

Hello, Scorch.  Ooops  - Goodbye, Scorch.

Hello, Scorch. Ooops – Goodbye, Scorch.

And the saddest exchange is between Skye and her ex, although no one cares because she and her ex are both such horrible morons during this episode:

“You’re not who you used to be”.

“You’re not who I thought you were”.

One last thing:  we now have a firmly established family dynamic on our team.  Fitz/Simmons are the babies of the family – cute little kids.  Skye is the bratty teenager.  Grant is her big brother.   Coulson and May are the parents.

agents-of-shield-girl-in-the-flower-dress-coulson

Skye gets busted for having sex with her ex, who S.H..I.E.L.D. is looking for.  Specifically, she is busted while she is trying to find her shirt, by none other than a very angry Melinda May.  The only thing that could make Melinda May seem more like a very, very angry mom at that moment is that she never says the word “grounded”.  Seriously, it’s just so pianful.  And OMG, Coulson is so dissapointed, and so angry – it’s a great moment for Couson (“You’re lying NOW!”) because we get to see his facade crack a little.  He is furious.  When Loki stabbed him during The Avengers, Coulson looked a little annoyed, as though he was buying groceries and realized that he had left his wallet at home.  Now he is PISSED.

Yes, I find this affecting.  I'm not made of stone, people.

If Coulson was angry and disappointed in me, this is exactly the face I would make, too.  Stop making me feel stuff Skye, I’m getting all sniffly!

So, despite the entire existence of idiot ex-boyfriend, I thought this was a great episode.  There were smallish stakes (individual people might die or get hurt, Grant’s Battleship might get sunk).  There were personal stakes.  The thing with Skye’s ex was dumb but the shame and humiliation she experiences, and the sense of betrayal and disappointment that the team experiences  – that was powerful and real.  There were global stakes – an international group is trying to create super-villains, so that’s not good.

No highlights next week because no show next week – we’ll be back with this feature in November!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: This week’s best lines

Agents of SHIELD logoThere are so many websites that provide high quality recaps of S.H.I.E.L.D. that I’m going to forgo the full recap and just give a few highlights every week.  As a Joss Whedon fan, y’all know I’m not going to pass up the chance to write something about this show every week!

So, let’s discuss the pilot.  Did you love it?  Hate it?  I thought it was…OK.  I enjoyed the dialogue and I thought the pilot did a good job of setting up the story.  Of course the characters are completely undeveloped but they are all, well, lined up, ready for Things To Happen.  Were I not already a Marvel/Whedon fan, I’m not sure this pilot would have made me feel compelled to start watching the show.  Since I AM a Marvel/Whedon fan, of course I can’t wait for next week.

ID cards of SHIELD agents

Oooh, looks at the above handy image, which makes it so very easy to remember everyone’s name.  Here’s the outline of the pilot:  SHIELD (which I will henceforth be spelling without the pesky polka dots) is an agency that handles all this weird new superhero stuff that has become public since the events of the Avengers movie.  We have a mismatched team of people who don’t get along well – so a Whedon show.  Here’s this week’s best lines:

Grant Ward to Maria Hill:  I don’t think Thor’s technically a God.

Maria Hill:  Then you obviously haven’t been near his arms.

Maria Hill and Phil Coulson

Does anyone feel a sudden, terrible urge to start shipping Maria Hill and Phil Coulson? No? Just me, then?

Phil Coulson, referring to his dramatic entrance:  “I’m sorry, that corner was really dark, and I couldn’t help myself.  I think there’s a bulb out.”

Phil Coulson, referring to Maria Hill’s assessment of Grant Ward’s people skills:  “Under ‘people skills’ she drew a little poop, with knives sticking out of it.  That’s bad, right?”

incidentally, I’m sure that eventually I’ll be all in to Grant Ward and his childhood traumas, but right now I find him incredibly boring.  Pretty, but dull.

Yes, I know - he's very pretty and he speaks French.  and yet, I do not care.

Yes, I know – he’s very pretty and he speaks French. and yet, I do not care.

Skye:  “Yes, I have an office!  A mobile office…a van…in which I live…BY CHOICE!

Oh Skye, everything you say is adorable.  Never change, you overly cutesy and clever girl, you.

Yes, Skye, we get it - you are a nut.  But a funny nut!

Grant Ward, under the effects of truth serum:  “I try to mask my pain in front of beautiful women because it makes me seem more masculine.  My God, this stuff works fast!”

Also, one word:  “Grammy?”

This whole scene was just glorious.  Oh look, he’s kinda cute when he’s all confused:

chloe-bennet-shield-stills

And word about props – hey, it’s Coulson and his megaphone!  And the car!  LOVE THE CAR!

One thing I notice in typing these out is how very dry the humor is and how much it relies on the actors to deliver the lines just right to get the joke across.  Stay tuned next week for more jokes that you probably had to be there for, and to see if the following things happen:

  • Skye and Grant’s instant dislike of each other turns into a huge crush
  • My dislike of Grant morphs into a huge crush (NEVER!)
  • Melinda May gets more than two lines
  • Ron Glass ruins all the scenes he’s in by inadvertently causing me to scream with delight whenever he shows up, thus ensuring that I miss all the lines.  How soon will that wear off, do you think?
Ron Glass in SHIELD

Oh, don’t be mad at me, Ron! I’m only screaming as a sign of joy!