If there was one plot that was bound to evolve from the Pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D it was that this mismatched team was going to be forced into a situation in which they would have to work together or die. Episode two seemed like a ripe time to have such a plot. That way, any uneasiness that we the viewer had with the characters is quickly addressed by this extreme team building exercise.
As was already established in the Pilot, this interesting assortment of agents (and one civilian) aren’t comfortable with each other either. But by working together in a crisis, we do get to see the method to Phil Coulson’s madness. Each team member brings skills that mesh in crazy ways. It’s the kind of synergy that Coulson was counting on and staked his very survival on. By the end, the team was getting along better, got to know each other a bit more, and as a result we the audience got to know them too. No, I’m not overwhelmed with warm fuzzies, but we’re all easing into this new situation just fine. There’s potential. There’s plenty of entertainment value in this crazy ride.
I’m a sucker for quick thinking and creative solutions. I don’t care what anyone thinks, I found that plugging up a giant hole in the plane with a life raft was a pretty cool. The way it was done visually had us laughing. I would have never thought of that, and I’m pretty creative. I also don’t know what that golden rod of blue light was that Ward had, but it was awesome! I want one. It’ll help me when my kids are fighting. This is fueling the imagination, and isn’t that what action/adventure sci-fi genre comic book based shows like this are supposed to do?
I can’t describe it any other way. When “0-8-4” was all done, I was happily entertained. Of course this wasn’t the second coming of Raiders of The Lost Ark, but there was still enough moments in the dialogue where I laughed. There were defining character moments that made me want to know more about that person, especially Ming Na’s Melinda May. There were jokes. Come on people, we need something light after a hard day at the terrorist attack. The action didn’t suck either, although I did wonder how Coulson’s precious Lola didn’t get even one scratch with all that gunfire spraying around.
This episode also opened up something else that wasn’t obvious to me before (and I’ve seen all the recent franchise movies except Captain America). We really don’t know who Phil Coulson is, but he’s someone I want to get to know. What makes him so affable to people? His wide network of friends, which we know extended to every one of the Avengers and their circles, now even goes all the way to the jungles of Peru. I mean the man can’t go anywhere without running into an old friend, ally, or frenemy. What makes this guy so liked? Is it his idealism? His sentimentality for items of the past? His cool demeanor and astute skills of observation is the greatest crisis?
This episode we got to see yet another side we didn’t fathom before, Phil Coulson the lover. There’s so much mystery behind this man, and it’s looking like there will be a nice long series to peel back some of those layers. Hey, I’m not looking to find out if there was a deep dark secret about this childhood or anything like that. Just, what makes Phil Coulson the extraordinary man he is? His programmed responses about Tahiti though is pretty interesting, in a creepy way. What exactly happened to him while he was dead?
While some find it agitating, I love the attention to continuity in the Marvel universe. We fans are usually smart enough to figure out shout outs doesn’t make this The Avengers II. The object using Tesseract technology? My kids caught onto that and though it made sense. Nick Fury’s brief cameo at the end, well we were screaming “awesome!” not “what a waste” like I read in many scathing reviews. Fan boys and girls love continuity, even if critics like to think the tactics are heavy handed.
The truth is, ever since “Chuck” went off the air, our family hasn’t had a show that we can watch as a family. Something that is appointment television. After two weeks, Tuesday nights at 8 pm is no longer penciled in. We’ve got it on our calendars with a sharpie.
Come On, It’s Only Week Two
I have to say, I was dismayed by a lot of what I read about this show after the airing of episode two. I was stunned to find how many major publications, critics and some fans were writing epitaphs for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Wednesday instead of constructive reviews, especially when the lower rating numbers for “0-8-4” came out. It didn’t make a lick of sense to me, considering our family of four sat down last night for our new Tuesday night appointment television and loved every bit of it. Of course it isn’t going to be like the movies. We’re pretty damn realistic about the bounds of television in our household. I mean come on, most of the shows we watch are on The CW.
Historically, with any new show, viewership from the Pilot to the second week experiences a drop off. There are many reasons for this, but the big one is the second week is usually not as hyped or anticipated as the first, and second episodes are usually perceived to be weaker. Plus, people usually have another show they like to watch in the same time slot and go back to their regular viewing patterns, hoping to catch the new show on DVR or online at a later time.
It’s only been two weeks, yet I’m very surprised how so many were expecting perfection out of the gate. At least many critics anyway, who were loving the chance to harp on what is considered by elitists an overhyped franchise coming from Marvel. I didn’t notice too many viewers that were upset with the show though and writing it off. My kids are certainly anxious for next week. So what gives?
Maybe ABC and their hyping of the show raised an unrealistic level of anticipation, especially by putting the name “Marvel” on the show. But most of us TV viewers are pretty smart. We know this is also a Whedonverse show. It has a lot of those touches that Whedonites have been gushing over for years. The trouble is Whedon shows up to this point have been cult favorites. It’s pretty well known how national critics, media, and TV institutions embrace TV cult shows. They don’t. After all, these kind of shows don’t exactly sweep the Emmys or result in mega live ratings.
Also with Joss Whedon, he has always taken the stance that his shows and characters should grow gradually, over time. I don’t think that means that we’re supposed to be in tune and perfectly connect with everyone come week two. The team is rough around the edges no doubt, but easing into the situation is something the characters and the audiences go through together. That’s called weekly television.
Sure, it feels like a TV show. We know that. But there’s plenty of entertainment value here, and that’s something that is sorely lacking in so many shows this season and the old favorites. I personally need fun escapism, because if I watched all of the critically acclaimed shows all the time, I’d be blowing my brains out. If you haven’t noticed, they’re a tad depressing.
I’m on board for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D every week. There’s still too much to enjoy. Plus, they have a really nice bar. It requires a coaster for god’s sake! I’m just very sad about the fish tank. I guess even in TV escapism we can’t have it all.
— Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) October 2, 2013