Someone Really Wanted Our Initials to Spell Out “SHIELD”

25 Sep

Everyone loves autumn. Leaves changing, sweaters rejoicing in their renewed employment, pumpkin spice being added to everything you’ve ever considered eating, and television shows reminding you that you will probably not have evening plans ever again (or at least not for the remainder of the season).

Speaking of which, I watched the Agents of SHIELD pilot last night.


This is not a proper review, but it is certainly not spoiler-free, so if you’re planning on watching it with a clean slate, I’d suggest abandoning the internet (including this post) entirely until you do.

The most looked-forward to bit of this episode was probably Phil Coulson, in case you hadn’t guessed by his Captain America-esque pose at the forefront of the group. Look at him. He’s just so… not dead.

As most of you will remember, Agent Coulson died in The Avengers. Like, there-was-no-way-he-could-have-survived dead.

One of the myriad reasons I watched this pilot was to find out how he survived. I had a theory, of course. SHIELD from the Marvel comics had, and regularly used, robots they called “life-model-decoys.” (Tony Stark references them in the first twenty minutes of The Avengers) They were basically super-duper-realistic copies of real people, and they were used to do things that real people didn’t want to do.

I figured that dead Phil Coulson was really not-even-alive-in-the-first-place Phil Coulson.

So I watched the pilot to see if I was right.

And for the first ten minutes, I was treated only to Phil’s cute little comments about being dead. Also vacationing in Tahiti.

I squirmed. Come on, Marvel, you know your fans; you can’t seriously think that we’re going to let this go with no explanation.

At the end of the scene, however, after Phil wandered away from Agent Maria Hill and a certain doctor, the two left behind looked after him sadly. The scientist turned to Agent Hill and said,

“Tahiti. He really doesn’t know, does he?”

“He can never know.”

When Agent Maria Hill uttered those four words, I let out a noise that, looking back, probably wasn’t necessary, nor comforting to my mum, who was sitting behind me, and I suspect, giving me weird looks.

But anyway, the noise was because I had thought about the possibility of Loki skewering life-model-decoy Phil.

I had not thought of the possibility of Loki skewering real life Phil, and SHIELD replacing him with life-model-decoy Phil who believes he’s real life Phil. Pandorica-Rory style.

Only time will tell if this idea becomes canon, but until then, I’m sticking to my theories. (If any of you guys have any, by the way, I’d love to hear them)

Anyway, the episode progressed in a similarly delightful fashion, one of the many high points being when one scientist character said,

“Will you be joining us on our little journey into mystery?”

I see what you did there, Marvel.

Now that I’ve seen the pilot, I’ve learned a few things since I did the Agents of SHIELD trailer breakdown a few months ago. The dude I used to know as Ultimate Spider-Man is actually Mike Peterson, and the young woman I’d dubbed “Covergirl” is named Sky. Or is she? Another thing I guess we’ll discover in later episodes.

Speaking of Sky, she and agent Ward managed to set themselves up for, at the very least, merciless shipping, and at most, a canonical office romance. Nothing ignites the flame like a little hostility on first meeting, right? I mean, I’ve seen television. I know how this works.

And even if they don’t become a thing, which is totally okay and even a little groundbreaking, considering the played-out nature of most TV romances, you have to admit that “Skyward” is probably the most intensely magnificent ship name ever.

Another thing you should know about Sky is that she has been a cosplayer, a fact discovered while the intense Agent Ward was being a jerk to her in the interrogation room.

“She’s probably one of those sweaty cosplay girls who crowds around Stark Tower.”

(Sweaty? Aca-scuse me?)

To which Sky replied by being flustered and then muttering,

“One time.”

The plot itself, which I have barely mentioned yet (this is why I’m not a review blog), mainly consisted of Mike Peterson and his struggle with his superpowers, given to him by a serum-wielding doctor whose intentions and background were rather foggy (don’t do drugs, kids).

About twenty minutes into the show, Mike began having unexplained rages, and went to visit this doctor to discuss them. She explained very little except to reference Extremis (WAT) and say,

“The people who gave me this technology are very serious about this.”

Then she said that “the last guy” who got the serum that Mike had received went nuts. About half a minute after she told him this, Mike went nuts. As he crawled out the window, angry at the doctor, and half-way to blowing up due to the serum he’d received from her, the doctor shook her head and said,

“This is a disaster.”

Mike looked back at her and said,

“No. It’s an origin story.”

^ This character went from zero to self-aware in twenty minutes. Ambitious.

In case you were worried, the agents of SHIELD got to him before he blew up and everyone went home happy. Sky, not actually an agent, was even  invited into the fold at the end of the episode, as Agent Phil Coulson took her for a drive in Lola, the most beautiful vehicle to grace my screen for a long while.

The show ended with Phil Coulson getting a call about an “O-83.” Sky spoke for us all and asked what that meant. With a smile, Coulson turned to Sky and told her she had ten minutes to decide if she really wanted to know. Sky, the rookie, expressed her skepticism that Lola could get them anywhere in just ten minutes.

Possibly-life-model-decoy Coulson smirked and flicked a switch.

And then… something happened.

I will sometimes complain about cheesiness, but truth is, as Lola purred to life and her tires turned outwards and propelled her off the ground Back-to-the-Future style, I smiled. Okay. Flying cars. Why should that be harder to swallow than flying humans?

And it’s an O-83, after all. Where they’re going, they don’t need roads.


23 Responses to “Someone Really Wanted Our Initials to Spell Out “SHIELD””

  1. HBubbles September 25, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I’m so glad I’m not alone on my Coulson theory! As soon as that little side conversation happened, there were flailing limbs and muffled squeals in my area. Immediately shushed, of course, but there nonetheless.
    As for your (almost a) review, thank you for it! I agree with several of your points, and what’s more, you’ve managed to rekindle my damaged hopes for the series. I have been in a pilot episode pout of petulance, despite my reminders to give every show a first season period of grace. Being consoled that cheesiness is allowed and it’s a first episode was just what I needed to remember.
    Here’s to a good first run of the show! *raises pint of tea*

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Yay you have the same theory! 😀 We had some flailing limbs over on this side too. The fangirl’s work is never done.
      I totally understand your pout, but I’m glad this (almost a ) review made you hopeful! Cheesiness makes me question and rejoice over a TV show in equal measure, but giving it time tends to always be a good choice. I would be sadder to see it go than I would to see it continue in this degree of cheese.
      *sees your pint of tea*
      They serve pints here? I’m getting one!

  2. Merrilee G Lewis September 25, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Fabulous review!!!!

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Thank you so much, dearie!

  3. Jordan September 25, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    I do have to say, if they were given a 2-hour pilot time, I think they could’ve worked wonders. Once the characters work into their groove we’ll have much more satisfying plot.
    Life-model-decoy Phil Coulson, huh? That makes a lot of sense, really. Why didn’t I think of that? Lol
    As for flying cars: if there’s one thing I know about SHIELD, it is that they do like themselves some flying vehicles. It’s time they start working that scifi into the marvel cinematic universe anyway because things are just gonna get more unbelievable from here on out. It’s gonna be beautiful.

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      I agree, more time would have done it good. A new pilot is always a bit of a wild card, isn’t it?
      And you’re right, it’s time that more scifi appeared, I mean, ALIENS in the Avengers, we can’t just pretend that never happened.
      I’m looking forward to what comes next! 🙂

  4. Kayla Sanchez September 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    I hadn’t even thought about that for Coulson…. Noooo please no more pheeeels don’t hurt me this way

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      I hear that. I, for one, have certainly had enough Pheels for a longlonglong time.

  5. Wandering Ragamuffin September 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Pretty sure S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first thing I’d nerded out about in a looooong, long time.

    But, yeah. I like it. ANOTHER *smashes glassware on the floor*

    (Also you’re brilliant. Just in general. Well done and keep it up).

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      I loved it too! Aw man, I so love having a show happening every week again!
      And look at you, you so Asgardian. Be proud. 😀
      As for your super-sweet words, thank you so much, and God bless your beautiful little heart.

  6. Kire September 25, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I seriously wanted Coulson to actually be alive. I couldn’t actually watch the episode (*insert more tears*) but I want to watch it soon… HE JUST CAN’T BE TOTALLY DEAD!

    • Emory September 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      A dead lmd Phil is so much more appealing than a totes-for-realz dead Phil! ohgawsh I was so sad
      But I could still be wrong!

      • Kire September 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

        It sounds rude but I hope that theory is wrong… GAAAAH!! FEELS.

      • Emory September 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

        I totally understand, wonderful. I would like to be wrong as well.

      • Kire September 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

        Mutual feelings rock.

  7. Wasp September 26, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Okay, I have several things to say:
    1) Coulson HAS to be alive!!!! HE HAS TO!!!
    2) The main reason I watched Agents of Shield was to see how Coulson didn’t die… I was very disappointed.
    3) Skyward. You little genious, you (:
    4) Lola… just…. Lola. I have a feeling she’s going to become a bit of a spotlight stealer in future episodes.

    As always, I thank you for brightening up my day (:

    • Emory September 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      1) Alive… Just in a sort of robotic way?
      2) Right?
      3) D’awww
      4) Oh, she is a beauty, to be sure.

  8. Michael Allan Leonard September 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Great piece! Loved the pilot. People do a fair bit of complaining, as always, but there’s a key real-life logistics problem that Joss and his creative crew managed to sidestep: the reason why we’ll never see the Avengers and the budget breaking SFX that would come along with them is because they can’t know Coulson is alive, or they’ll know Fury pulled a fast one. (Although I hope Fury turns up now and again, if only in a video conference.) You can’t just tap into the same continuity as the films and then leave people wondering why Hulk, Thor, etc. aren’t dropping by every other episode like they would if this were a comic book.

    We do need Hydra and AIM, both of whom have already popped up in the films. That’s non-negotiable.

    Whatever happened to Coulson — did everyone notice the Matrix impossible back-bending dodge he did when Mike threw the van door at him near the climax? If he’s not an LMD with superhuman reflexes, then he’s had some serious work done in Tahiti. I wouldn’t doubt that Fury is completely behind this off-the-books squad as a way to obtain assets that could go against the Avengers if there was a need to do so: remember at the opening of the Avengers Maria Hill was more or less ratting him out to SHIELD high command. In any incarnation, Nick’s always got plans within plans, and the ability to disavow this squad, which would start with having its leader suddenly self-destruct, leaving the remaining members holding the bag as rogue elements within SHIELD, would be perfect.

    • Emory October 7, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      You are absolutely right! I am dreaming of eventually seeing an A-list Avenger or two in the show, but I recognize that it’s not likely to happen, or at the very least not any time soon. Though I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hawkeye of Black Widow, as actual agents of SHIELD showed up. I would be delighted, but not surprised.
      I did love the Fury cameo at the end of the second episode. 🙂
      I didn’t notice Coulson’s matrix move! I’ve been meaning to rewatch the episode on Hulu though.
      As to this group’s “having its leader suddenly self-destruct,” that would definitely be an amazing move on the show’s part, though admittedly heartbreaking for all the Coulson fanboys and girls (clearly including myself).

  9. secondchanced October 2, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I just now got to watch the pilot last night. I loved it, although it did have it’s cheesy moments (as do all TV shows at some point). I loved your ‘almost’ review and looking forward to the second one!! 🙂

    • Emory October 7, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      D’awww thanks, dearie!

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