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I'm Actually Starting To Like Agent Ward: What We Learned From Last Night's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 16, 2013 | Comments ()


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What The Skrull?: Let’s kick off by jumping ahead to that mysterious scrawl on the Top Secret Chalkboard. Some eagle-eyed Marvel-lians have identified the writing (the kanji-looking stuff, not the lines and circles) as Skrull. Or, Skrullese? Skrullian? The writing of the Skrull peoples. Anyway. Who are The Skrulls? Well you can look for yourself if you don’t mind “spoilers.” What I will say, though, is that so far this show has been dealing with a lot of extraordinary things. But scientific-based extraordinary things. That’s one part of the Marvel universe. The gamma rays and the mech-suits. But then there’s the other side. The Norse God from another planet side. And it looks like the show might be headed in that extra-terrestrial direction.
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He Does Have Another Look: Agent Ward! You astound me! So charming was our robotic agent in this episode that I’m willing to call him by his name for once. I’m not alone, right? He was pretty great and mostly humanoid when speaking Russian and failing to bromantically seduce a guard.
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Not to mention the ticklish scene. Seriously, was it just me? Or was it just the glasses? Am I really that susceptible?
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Chick Fight: If Ward’s Russian gave me fond flashbacks to Agents Vaughn and Bristow swapping wigs and accents on Alias, then Melinda and Akela’s fight made me think of the infamous Season 2 throwdown between Sydney and Francie. In miniature, of course, and without the emotional weight behind it. But I do so love watching two gorgeous women try to kick the ever-loving sh*t out of each other.
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Downright Whovian: The cool-looking men from the promo were mostly a red masked herring and we were done with them after one short ride on the metro. But the affect was great. Atmospheric and reminiscent of the best kind of Doctor Who villain. (Not the bad, dinosaurs on a spaceship villain.)
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And The Incompetent Ones Weren’t WHOLLY Incompetent: Okay, fine, the shiny-haired hacker can’t be trusted with a gun. And the kids engaged in a whole lot of snacks and restroom-related hi-jinks in the surveillance van. But Skye did accomplish a lot with her hacker skills this episode. Those glasses were pretty swanky, no? And Simmons did her job extracting that eyeball. No, I’m afraid the loser this week was Agent Fitz who made this squeamish face at any mention of an eyeball. Genius techies, they’re just like us!
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But The Ward Development Is The Best News: I’m not over-stating when I say this was the best episode yet and provided a lot of hope for the future of the ensemble. The annoying geek chatter was toned down a little and the charisma vacuum that is Agent Ward stopped sucking for at least two-thirds of the episode. If the show manages to strike the correct balance between the hyper energetic and the more subdued (read: mostly wooden) characters, then we might be in business. That’s something New Girl struggled with for the first few episodes and that ensemble came out the other side clean. May and Coulson aren’t a problem. They’re never a problem. They’re perfect. We just need the rest to fall in line. Especially you, Agent Ward. I think we need you to work out most of all.
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Dragonchild

    There's something about Joss Whedon characters that strike me as odd. . . they always seem to be stuck in the wrong gear.

  • Batesian

    I'd say the direction and editing were generally better. Two that stood out: Coulson popping in at the end of the hotel fight sequence, and Ward fleeing from the facility.

    Speaking of, the actor was better when he wasn't being plain ol' Ward, if you know what I mean. Still not a fan of the character, but it may not necessarily be the actor's fault (though he needs to incorporate a bit more quirkiness into things).

    But the techies need to dial it down a bit (especially Skye). And the whole van scene? Terrible.

    Oh, and these characters need to be smarter. They should've realized right away what the video feed was of Eye Spy in the bathroom mirror, and how they were seeing it. The viewer shouldn't be smarter than a trained SHIELD agent.

    Anyway, does seem the show's finding its groove. Here's hoping that continues.

  • Sean

    I just think this was a throw away episode. Like they blew their special effects budget with the floating semi trucks last week. The network probably said "ok, but the next episode better be cheap"

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Was I the only one who stumbled over the lack of research the writers did for the episode?

    Two guys identifying themselves as "agents" with English names just walk into a hotel and the clerk answers their questions like that.

    In Belarus.

    The last fucking dictatorship in Europe.

  • Misomaniac

    It works if everyone is terrified of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of their pet God, guy in a flying tank, bow and pistol wielding assassins, and a 92-year old with buns of steel. And, oh yeah. They have a hulk.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    That's assuming that a random hotel clerk in a country with restricted access to information knows what SHIELD is.

  • bleujayone

    One little Scoobie-esque touch that I liked was that the others came up with "Short Bus" as a callsign for the SHIELD SUV and Coulson was less than pleased with it... for obvious reasons.

  • That was a lovely moment...and in keeping with the humanizing the Ward-android strategy, apparently it was his call. A little sense of fun emerging? Let's hope, if for no other reason so we get more of those Chloe Bennett GIFs.

  • Guest

    I don't care at all about the Marvel universe stuff, but this episode did make me pay attention more. The plot was interesting and the acting good. But no matter how much I appreciate Whedon's witty, funny writing, I have never been able to get into one of his show's as much as I did Buffy. I've watched them all, and for me, it always feels a bit forced.

    This is just my personal opinion and not a judgment on Firefly, Angel, etc. Please, please don't attack me because I will just not respond and then there is bad energy in the universe that is unresolved.

  • Guest

    I am still not feeling it.
    Maybe they learn something from it for the other shows they want to produce.

  • DarthCorleone

    It was definitely the strongest episode of the bunch so far - a fun watch with a creative premise.

  • logan

    Agreed it is the best of the bunch but its still just cracking the mediocre line. I just don't feel any of the characters.

  • I'm with you. The only ones I really care about are Coulson, and I'm slightly intrigued by Melinda May, but that's it. Everyone else? Still not feeling it.

  • Xander

    What this show needs is to introduce Amy Acker as a regular character. Then it needs to add a recurring guest star under the form of Summer Glau as May's ex protege and ex girlfriend and deliver us on several Serenity worthy fights. Then it needs to add Tatiana Maslany as a shape shifting villain. Then it needs to add Natalie Dormer and Rob Lowe are representatives of the SHIELD's bosses who occasionally review the teams's work. Then it needs an episode where Nathan Fillion and Alison Brie play a father and daughter who found an strange artefact that gave them powers and they decide to try and be a Father Daughter superhero team but they constantly screw up

  • Jack London

    Four words:

    Alexis Denisof as Doctor Strange

  • Brown

    Adding Glau means the show will be doomed.

  • Xander

    Kid let me explain something to you. That hasn't been original in years. Going on about the Summer Glau "curse" is like trying to use an old meme. It used to be a small joke but people desperately wanting attention made it pathetic. So don't try it again.

  • Guest

    I could be okay with all of this except Amy Acker. Please god no. I have no idea why Whedon is so smitten. I want to punch her characters in the face all the time. I bet in person she's lovely, but I can't stand her acting.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    She's awesome in Person of Interest.

  • Guest

    I've never seen that show, only things she's been in with Whedon. I try to stay away from network procedurals (though I'm loving The Blacklist). Is it worth watching?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I didn't expect it to be good, then watched the two previous seasons over the summer (instead of Breaking Bad, which was my original plan). Caveziel is a bit one-note, but Emerson is great. They added Addams and Sarah Shahi as regulars this season.

    It's also rather relevant, with all those relevations about surveillance in the last months.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Yes. The first season's a bit of a slow start, but it gets very good after awhile.

  • Guest

    Cool, thanks!

  • stella

    Can enver gjokaj, dichen lachman, alan tudyk, and fran kranz come too? Oh and olivia williams?

  • Xander

    Well of course. And everybody knows that Bryan Cranston is waiting in the wings with Idris Elba

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Then it needs to hire you as a writer. And also me, because I'm asking nicely.

  • Ian Fay

    I believe The Skrulls are tied up with the Fantastic Four IP, which isn't currently owned by Marvel/Disney.

    This is why the Skrulls in the Avengers movie were called The Chitauri, which are basically alternate universe Skrulls without the shapeshifting.

    Apparently the same reason is why we're not getting mutants in this show, which would otherwise be about 50% of the plots.

    The science-based villiany, to me, heavily suggests AIM will be the Big Bad.

  • Ben

    Ok so big enemies that could be building tech that is way more advanced then Shield.

    Lets see we could have
    A.I.M.: I doubt it, they seem to be pretty much done after Killian got punched in half in IM 3. They also would probbably be doing more Extremis shit then straight up tech in movie verse.

    Hydra: Tesseract tech had them pretty advanced for WW 2 Era, but now everyone has that tech so I doubt they'd be keeping that far head of what SHIELD Can do, also I rekon they'd probbably be keeping em for Captain America movies.

    The Hand: Would match up to the whole super secret agency that SHIELD has no knowledge of, the tech doesn't really fit though.

    Skrulls: I doubt it's them, they were after the skrull writing on the wall, so it would seem to be someone working against the skrulls. Wich means it's someone with knowledge of cosmic marvel.

    Ultron: We know he's comming for Avengers 2, would fit the crazy high tech. And he'd be able to be organising all the shit sending messages without being detected easily without the need for a big orginsation. He also fits into the whole cosmic marvel thing. Probably the most likely at the moment I'd say.

    But my personal hope.

    Skrull Kill Krew : There after Skrull secret writing, they use special eye pieces (That would be able to see a shape shifted skrull) Their obscure enough that they would never be used in any of the movies so the Shield writers would be free to change them up as much as they want.

    ... I just want them to show up basically.

  • Point of nerd order on AIM. They made it clear in IM3 that AIM is a "think tank." Meaning it wasn't one-man band. Killian and Extremis are just one project under a larger umbrella. I am certain AIM is still very much in play in the Marvel cinematic/TV universe

  • Ben

    Oh I didn't catch that in the movie, I thought it said at the begining that Killian started the company? (Like when he was trying to get tony to meet him on the roof)
    If so, rad. I hope we get the yellow beekeepers then.

  • Re-watch the throwback scene again. Before the AIM reveal he refers to it as a think tank he's a part of on a couple of occasions.

  • Ben

    I still hope it's the Skrull Kill Krew though.

  • Ben

    Sweet as, bring on the mother fucking yellow bee keepers.

  • Ben

    With how the IP works in a lot of cases, the TV rights and Film rights are two seperate beasts. So they couldn't use the Skrull for the Avengers movie because their tied up in the Fantasitc Four movie rights, but unless Fox or whoever ALSO have the Fantastic Four TV rights, then Marvel/Disney would be free to use them for the Shield show.

  • Adam Borden

    The comic Chitauri can shape-shift... It's unclear if the movie universe counterparts are able to... So they can still go "Skrull" story line. But my guess is it's just AIM trying to use Chitauri tech, and needing to decipher their language to use properly...

  • Tracer Bullet

    If no Skrulls means they can't adapt Secret Invasion, thank the Godtopus for that.

  • Jack London

    He loves you.

  • Optimus Rhyme

    I was going to say the same thing about the Chitauri! If it does turn out to be AIM, and we get MODOK, I will be the happiest nerd alive.

  • foolsage

    I still want to see Peter Dinklage as M.O.D.O.K.

    Sigh. I know, it's never going to happen, but still… he'd be perfect.

  • Adam Borden

    Just keep an eye out for any character named George...

  • My bet is on AIM. One acronym based organization against another. Considering they referenced Extremis in episode one, it seems likely.

    I just hope the show does more with AIM than Iron Man 3 did.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm thinking AIM as such was done with after Iron Man 3, which is clearly when the show is operating. I feel like we're looking at something a lot bigger and shadowier that'll be largely SHIELD-specific. We're getting references to things that have already been largely dismantled, but they're making the point that just because Captain America or Iron Man cut off the head of a snake or two, the tech doesn't just disappear-- the cat's still out of the bag. My guess is that the eyeball people are the snake that SHIELD gets to tangle with, and that they're the driving force behind the dangling plot threads (not so much the Peru thing, but definitely the Extremis doc), a kind of anti-SHIELD (no clue who that would be in comics canon terms-- I'm not super well-grounded) collecting up all this stuff for their own goals.

  • They also brought up Hydra in episode 2, so....

    Fingers crossed either way, really.

  • DeaconG

    "Hail HYDRA! Cut off an arm and two more will take it's place!"

  • Umm it's head.

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