Skye. Scorch. Skye. Scorch. Those are the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s two big problems this week. One's a liar, the other's on fire. Let's start with Scorch, if that is his real name. It isn't. Scorch is Chan Ho Yin, a Hong Kong street magician gifted with the very real power of pyrokinesis. He can make fire, but he can't ignite his dreamed of career as a world famous illusionist like Criss Angel or David Copperfield. Chan wants to be famous, but S.H.I.E.L.D. caught wind of his firepower and put a kibosh on his dreams, forcing him to not be all he can be. Resentful, Chan falls under the thrall of the episode's title character, the girl in the flower dress, whose name is Raina. Raina is a smooth talker with a silky voice and even after she has a couple of guys in fireproof suits black bag Chan, she still manages to sweet talk him into agreeing to experiments to enhance his pyro powers. Chan's reaction to her new name for him - Scorch - was "Are you joking?" It is kind of a lousy codename. Why not The Human Torch or Firestorm or Sunfire? Oh, we know why. But citing how no one knows who Steve Rogers is but everyone's heard of Captain America, it doesn't take much for Raina to sell Chan on calling himself Scorch. It does kind of grow on you quickly.
Meanwhile, just as Skye has grown comfortable in S.H.I.E.L.D. and a lot closer to Ward - you sank my Battleship closer - her secret life as a Rising Tide hacker blows it all up in their faces. The kidnapping of Chan has the Hong Kong wing of S.H.I.E.L.D. bamboozled until they determined a member of the Rising Tide hacked S.H.I.E.L.D. and sold the information about Chan to the mysterious, villainous Centipede. The very Centipede who is creating unstable Extremis fire soldiers like Mike Peterson in the pilot and now has a pyrokinetic to experiment on. (Chan's very ability to be fireproof is what Centipede needed to fix what was wrong with their Extremis tech.) Naturally, all suspicion fell on Skye, who claimed she didn't hack S.H.I.E.L.D. China. But she quickly fingers who did, a famous Rising Tider named Miles, and we quickly learn Miles has been doing more than fingering Skye. They're ex-lovers. All that suspicion that fell on Skye? Coulson acted on it by sending Melinda to tail her. Thank you, Melinda, for not exposing Skye as a traitor until after Skye was exposed in her underpants. Soon, Coulson has Miles and Skye brought into The Bus in irons, and everyone feels real lousy for different reasons about Skye, including Skye herself. (Meanwhile, Fitz needs Simmons to explain to him how human behavior works, literally needing it spelled out for him why Skye tried to protect her ex-boyfriend from her current work friends. Fitz is either a robot or a six year old boy. Split the difference - he's a six year old robot.)
Skye really blew it. Ward was pissed as her S.O. and for someone starting to like and trust her. Coulson vouched for her up and down the line and now questions his own judgment, along with all the other little weird things he questions about himself lately. And Skye herself finds out Miles isn't quite the high-minded, incorruptible hacktivist he styles himself to be when Ward reveals that Miles hacked Chan for Centipede for a cool million bucks. Miles is a guy who can justify anything he does via the distance he maintains from the damage he's doing via his keyboard, i.e. just like 99.9% of the people on the Internet. Skye has some choices to make about who she wants her friends to be and who she herself wants to be, but that'll have to wait until the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. rescue Chan in China. When the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. penetrate the Centipede base, unfortunately, they don't meet the helpless Mr. Chan, they meet Scorch, the Extremis-deranged supervillain who wants to "burn bright." ("They gave him a name," rues Coulson.)
They may be prisoners, but Coulson's team is still lucky to have two world-class Rising Tide hackers currently on their plane. As Scorch terrorizes May and Coulson, and roasts the evil Centipede doctor who removed the fireproof platelets from his bones, Ward unshackles Skye and Miles long enough for them to use The Power of Hacking to help save the day. Ward Seal Team Sixes Skye into the Centipede base so she can unlock the doors and hack Centipede for some intel with lickety-quick speed, while Miles uses his hacking powers to reroute a detonating Scorch's fire into the vents and through the roof, saving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from having to pay the extra expense of showing a building explode. The pyro budget of this episode was already maxed out.
As Raina confers with a Mysterious Centipede Man in Prison about going to stage two with Extremis and contacting The Clairvoyant, Coulson must set his own Bus in order regarding Skye. Miles? Not an issue. S.H.I.E.L.D. takes all his money, straps a metal cuff around his wrist keeping him from operating any electronic devices, and kicks him off the Bus in Hong Kong. Get back to Austin, Texas who cares how. But Skye, she's one of the stars of the show. No kicking her off the Bus. What to do about Skye. May and Ward are back to pilot-level coldness towards her, but the person Skye needs to make good with is Coulson, her mentor. Finally, Skye tearfully comes clean about what she's really doing as part of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's all on her Boob Chip. Skye's precious Boob Chip. It has everything, which isn't much -- Skye is looking for her birth parents. Her entire lifetime of searching is summed up in a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. document. Skye stays on the Bus, as she must, but with the no-electronics cuff on her wrist. Thus ends the best episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet.
I'd ask who Skye's parents would turn out to be or who the guy at the end or the Clairvoyant are but we played that game with burning asian man in last week's promos and no one picked Scorch so we're either busy hovering around the extreme edges of the Marvel Universe or we're in completely new territory.
I wonder though, given that she's an orphan with mysterious parents, how long until Skye develops powers and becomes a hero of her own? I feel like this team is starting out underpowered but is going to grow each season until we've got a full-fledged mini-Avengers. At some point they're going to have to stop just tracking these people and start recruiting them.
This Extremis variant is a lovely story-telling device. Just let your villain-of-the-week blow up at the end and move on.
The doctor that got incinerated was the same doctor that J. August Richards saved in the pilot, right? I'm guessing Raina is going to be our surrogate for a big bad going forward until she dies horribly and the guy from the prison can emerge.
Originally posted by John OrquiolaClark Gregg was not quite as great conveying Coulson in fight scenes. With May and Ward doing kung fu, Coulson's fighting prowess is positively Shatner-esque.
But I do like that they can simply explain this away by attributing it to what happened in The Avengers, noting that there's simply something off about the character.
But yes, I do like that we're getting the ass-kicking side of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Scooby Gang vibe is nice and all, but these are secret agents at the end of the day and they need to bust some heads.
Originally posted by Matt TrackerA hacktivist can fake a document in ten seconds. I don't buy it.
Which is explained by...
Skye: I'll never stop looking. Coulson: You might not like what you find.
Coulson knows something and it has to do with whatever document S.H.I.E.L.D. scrubbed. My guess? They're either A.I.M. scientists or one of them's a supervillain.
More mysteries added, including the identity of the villain at the end of the episode and the identity of The Clairvoyant. I like the sense of week-to-week intrigue that this show's starting to nail down.
I should have guessed this in the pilot, but the involvement of Extremis suggests A.I.M. involvement. Go-go continuity!
And yes, best episode of the series, by far. The fact that we've been able to say that three weeks in a row bodes very well for it.
(edited by It's False on 23.10.13 0041)
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Everyone else seems to be much higher on this episode than I was. I thought it focused in on a lot of plot elements that I didn't particularly care for, as I think that Skye is the second-least interesting character on the show (first is, of course, Ward). On the other hand, I understood why we needed to get to these plot points, so while I didn't like the episode as much, it was necessary and it moved the master story arch forward. The big question is, what happens to Skye? If she's been braceleted, does that mean she's off the team? And if so, for how long (we know any roster change is likely just for dramatic purposes, and is therefore temporary)? The guy at the end was giving off a very Samuel Sterns-esque vibe, but I don't know if that character would be off limits for the show or even if he'd necessarily be the guy they want. I don't have any other particularly good guesses, though, so I think I'll stick with that one until he ends up being a completely new character.
I'm starting to think most of you are watching a different show them me. Out of all the agents only May is somewhat likeable, I have accepted we will never get any of the main marvel players but my god didn't all the movies do enough to drill in the fact that The shield agents are out of their league when it comes to super powers? Would it kill them to add Agent13 , Mocking Bird or any of shields non powered employes that can actually do something?
Shield agents are marvel's answer to the red shirts you watch just to see them killed off. I'm not sure who this show is targeted for, Its not fans of the movies because my wife cant stand it, Its not Marvel fans as I find this boring and painful to sit through.
The logic of Sky is insane to me why hide that fact? Coulson risked alot to bring her on and she never thought to ask a simple question instead making herself look like a terrorist?
Sky's parents have to be super villeins its the only thing that makes sense
(edited by yamcharulez on 23.10.13 0529) Dont say its not worth it, when you can sleep with no fear, that kind of time is worth any thing.- FFX
Originally posted by yamcharulez...my god didn't all the movies do enough to drill in the fact that The shield agents are out of their league when it comes to super powers?
I don't think that's really true. The only time that SHIELD was shown as outmatched was during Loki's invasion of New York, which required all of the Avengers put together to resolve. They had nothing to do with WWII and Hydra in Captain America and nothing to do with the Hulk (that was the US Army). They did contain Thor's hammer, and although Thor was able to slip through their security, they did catch and subdue him eventually. They couldn't beat the Destroyer, but that's a far greater threat than Scorch or the guy from the pilot.
In fact, the only place where SHIELD was really in a place to do anything and didn't was in Iron Man 3, when Tony Stark flat out told them to leave the Mandarin and AIM to him. Even there, it's not that they couldn't handle it, it's that they didn't. So, overall, SHIELD mostly just isn't shown doing anything in the Marvel movies. We didn't know until the tv show how well they could handle any potential threats.
Originally posted by yamcharulez I'm not sure who this show is targeted for, Its not fans of the movies because my wife cant stand it, Its not Marvel fans as I find this boring and painful to sit through.
Perfectly valid if you don't like the show. It's not the show you want it to be. That's cool. But spare us the "logic" of "My WIFE doesn't like it and I don't like it so how could ANYONE like it?" You don't speak for or represent any grander audience. (Neither do I, mind you.) But I am a fan of Marvel comics and movies and I like the show fine. It's clearly improving week to week. I'm not exactly sure what the show is going to be eventually either, but I'm interested to see where they go. I suspect the millions of people watching and enjoying SHIELD by and large feel the same.
Then again, ratings keep slipping. (insidetv.ew.com) Even EW is starting to wonder whether SHIELD needs a superhero?
A couple funny moments in this episode stood out to me. Loosely paraphrased:
Ward: "It only gets harder from here. From this moment, every decision you make has consequences." Skye: "G7." Ward: *beat* "Hit."
Hee. I also liked the (admittedly cheap) double entrende with the word "screwed".
I agree it's the best episode so far. Coulson should have known better than to empty an entire tranquilizer clip into Scorch when, you know, the fire coming off his back was acting as a force field. "Oh, the first six shots were incinerated, but surely the seventh one will go through!"
I didn't get the impression that SHIELD took all of Miles' money and donated it to the family of the dead Chinese agent-- just the million bucks that Miles got from selling the information. But yeah, for someone just barely scraping by, good luck buying a plane ticket back to Austin from Hong Kong.
Was that Chinese agent played by the same guy who played Consul Han in Rush Hour?
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I know some people don't care for Jim Steranko but I enjoy his weekly reviews of SHIELD. This week's recap (hollywoodreporter.com) I found particularly interesting because he touches on what I've grappled with myself in watching the show: the compromise between what I think the show could be vs. what I'm willing to accept. For me, the show falls positively in the latter category.
On the other hand, many would likely take issue with his criticisms of Clark Gregg. I like Gregg and Coulson, but I tend to agree with Steranko on this point as well. I do think SHIELD needs to be more dynamic and dangerous, and it starts with the star and the team leader, and that's Coulson. (Though I differ with Steranko on what he thinks Coulson should be like as SHIELD leader.)
I'll update this post with my podcast later which touches on the superhero discussion, but I wanted to touch on a few things here.
One, the show is going up against NCIS, the only show on TV where old people and young people can come together to watch it for reasons I don't understand other than hot Goth chick and old people bossing young people around. It had a big opening like all premieres do and they slide, this is somewhat natural. Its also beating everyone else that night in the 18-24 and overall. So, lets not hit the panic button yet.
Two, Coulson is the hero for the 21st Century. Strekanko lives in the 20th Century. Coulson is a guy who is a white collar worker who doesn't need to get his hands dirty, understands team dynamics, doesn't need to raise his voice to get his point across and he uses technology to his advantage as well as being more smart than lucky. Strekanko wants him to be Nick Fury from his 1970s comics. There is no need for Coulson to be Nick when you have Nick showing up on your show being that guy. I like the fact that Coulson is different from Nick which is the point. Enough with the Alpha Male shit.
Lastly, yes, the show could be more dark, but that is not what Marvel is about. All the Marvel films have a brightness to them that DC does not. The show is never going to be Homeland. Sorta like Fury and Coulson, you have Homeland why do you want another one? The show is going to be more light at times, because that is the where we live in thanks to Iron Man. Iron Man was a light comedy with action sequences and set the tone for all the rest of the films. Yes, Cap is a bit more dramatic, but not by much. Marvel looked at the darkness DC is doing with all of their stuff, said fuck it and is going with this. I like this and I also like DC has done with Arrow and the Nolan films, but they fucked Man of Steel with their darkness. Marvel has decided to play it safe with this show until they decided they don't need to which is coming, because well Joss is involved and we will get that turn sooner rather than later. Yet, it won't be as dark and dramatic as anything DC does, because that is not Marvel's bag is right now which is fine.
(edited by lotjx on 24.10.13 0810)
(edited by lotjx on 24.10.13 0811) The Wee Baby Sheamus.Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Gotta say, for a family-friendly Marvel action show, having a woman actually get burned to death on network TV is pretty eyebrow-raising.
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I would have preferred Joe Johnston, but knew that was never realistically going to happen. Given the "tweaks" to Star Trek's design sense/effects style (ST2K9's warp effect is a letter-perfect jump to hyperspace homage)