Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Series One, Episode Five
Well blow me down and call me Hawkeye, did that actually happen? I can’t believe I’m typing this but ‘The Girl in a Flower Dress’ finally proved that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can be good!
The episode is almost a direct sequel to the show’s pilot thanks to the long-awaited return of Centipede, evil medical woman and actual, real superheroes. While I understand Marvel don’t want to try to make the Avengers on a Doctor Who budget, AoS (as the cool kids are calling it) works best when superheroes are included in the plot.
This week our bonded clichés are called in to investigate the disappearance of Chan Ho Yin, a street magician with odd dreams and pyrokinetic powers. It is great fun to hear the scriptwriters try not to call him a mutant in the script when that is clearly what he is. This is because all the mutants in the Marvel universe belong to 20th Century Fox who won’t share them with other people. Although if said mutants are going to keep choosing superhero names as poor as ‘Scorch’ maybe it’s good that Fox aren’t sharing. To give AoS its due, it realises how silly the name is and makes fun of it for the rest of the episode. I pray the show keeps up this level of self-awareness.
Along with self-awareness, this week we were also treated to some proper character conflict. The agents discover that the disappearance of Scorch is due to documents leaked by Skye’s hacker pal. Unfortunately, Skye and her ‘pal’ are distracted by sex and get caught. This is an important lesson that I hope all the young people watching will remember: when running from the authorities don’t stop and have sex. It’ll only slow you down.
Like a bunch of emotional teenagers all the agents go into sulking mode. While Coulson and Ward have good reason for this, FitzSimmons look like a pair of children who’ve just had all their Christmas chocolate eaten by an older sibling. Did no one explain to this pair of work experience kids that double-crossing is a major part of spy work? How on Earth would this pair cope in a real spy show like Spooks or Homeland? Guys, either grow up or ask for a transfer to The Scrappy Doo Show: you aren’t cool enough for Scooby Doo!
The best part of this week is our title character, the girl in the flower dress, who is quiet and effective with the power to get people to do what she wants. She comes across as a bit of a messenger girl but can clearly handle herself – the way she abandons evil medical woman to Scorch’s flames is particularly telling. I hope she (and the rest of Centipede) is back soon. AoS really needs an ongoing threat and these guys are the best we’ve had so far.
Marvel Reference of the Week: Iron Man 3’s explosive macguffin, Extremis, is back with suitably blowy upy results. Now Centipede has manage to stabilise the stuff hopefully it’ll be back soon. AoS is so much more fun when things go boom.
Friend of Joss Whedon Alert of the Week: This is a total cheat, but my awards= my rules. This week, the ‘Friend of Joss Whedon’ is Whedon’s ideas from the pilot, something AoS should have returned to episodes ago. Now that they’ve been rediscovered, can we focus on them for a while please?