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,
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.