Why So Furious? What We Learned From Last Night's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'
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Why So Furious? What We Learned From Last Night's 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

By Joanna Robinson | TV Reviews | October 2, 2013 | Comments ()

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I Told You Melinda May Would Be My Favorite: The more I watch this show, the more I’m realizing just how much I miss seeing a gorgeous lady kick all kinds of ass. I’m sure there are other current shows that provide that. Nikita, probably. But I’ve had a Buffy/SidneyBristow/SarahWalker hole in my heart for a little while now and, holy hell, is Ming Na filling it. We got a bit of Melinda May’s backstory and the reason behind her perma-glower this week. She either is The Cavalry or was once part of The Cavalry (You can read up on it here. Thor Girl? Really?) and, basically, you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. Coulson plainly lied to her when he said she wouldn’t see any combat and in a group of hackers, scientists and ridiculously good-looking male models, she’s our best hope when enemy asses need kicking.

Agent Blue Steel Really Isn’t Getting Any Better: I realized who he reminded me of. I think he’s shooting for Boreanaz thang, but he’s coming off an awful lot like Riley Finn of Buffy infamy. That’s no good, Blue Steel.

The Tahiti Business Is Bordering On Creepy Now: One of you mentioned that Coulson keeps using the same exact phrasing to describe his time in Tahiti. Agent Shiny Hair called attention to it this week. So what’s our best guess? It’s robot, isn’t it? Is that why Coulson looks so good? The Tahiti business may get a little (intentionally) repetitive, but I’ll never tire of his description of that encounter with Loki. This week: “An Asgardian stabbed me through the heart with a Chitauri Scepter.” Anyway, I’m intrigued as to how this mystery plays out. Will Coulson get vivisected in battle only to discover gears in his innards? We’ll have to see.

This Is The Good Kind Of Cinematic: Some of your took exception last week when I said I didn’t want the show to try so hard to look cinematic. Let me parse that a bit. There are few great ways for a show to look cinematic. The vast exteriors of Top of The Lake, the lush interiors of Mad Men and the dazzling everything of Hannibal? Those are fantastic, gorgeously cinematic shows. Cheap-ass CGI? I’m looking at you Once Upon A Time. That’s doing nobody any favors and I think it’s a result of the show wanting to feel “bigger” or more “epic.” But I think it just makes your show look small and did I mention cheap? So I didn’t like some of the bigger CGI’d moments last week. But this week’s action? Oh it looked fantastic. More of this please.
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You Keep Trying To Make Me Love You, Adorable Accented Techs. It Won’t Work. It Won’t Wo-Ugh, It’s Working: I know they’re going to die. I KNOW IT. And yet I’m so in love with their adorable tech-babble and even more precious gadgetry. Named for the seven dwarves? I die.

I’m Sick And Tired Of These Motherf*cking Cameos On My Motherf*cking Plane: I’m not actually. I just wanted to use that quote. Okay, we’re going to get to the negative feelings some of you have about the show but even you, Whedon Hater, can’t help but admire this heavy-hitting cameo from Samuel L. Jackson. I couldn’t get enough of him Furying his way around the plane bus. And there have been indications that we might see future cameos. You can call it gimmicky, but I bet you eat your words as soon as Tom Hiddleston shows up.

Why So Furious? Okay, haters, what’s with the anger? I’ve seen a lot of negative text spilled about this show and I just don’t get it. Not your cup of tea? Okay. Anger, though? What could this inoffensively fun show possibly have done to incite rage? I’ve seen some folks fume that this episode was too much like the Firefly episode “Out Of Gas.” Really? This new thing reminds you of something beloved and your reaction is rage? I don’t get it.

Sure the show is currently stuck in “encounter/monster of the week” procedural territory. But so were a lot of great shows in their first season. Angel and Justified are two phenomenal shows that started in the procedural rut and broke out into larger arcs and mythology. Some shows just need to do some world-building before they get there. We can’t all be Veronica Mars right out of the gate.

At the very least, I’m enjoying the hell out of this show not because it’s truly great on the whole yet, but because of some of its unbelievably entertaining parts. As I mentioned up above, I’m a member of the Melinda May fan club. But, come on, we all know the star of this show is Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson. Witty, dry, stylish, exasperated, fatherly Coulson. It’s a downright pleasure to spend time with him. And he ain’t hard to look at either. You know, he works out.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Batesian

    I'm giving it time to find its legs, but, yeah, some rough going. Blue Steel is an issue (Joanna, good call on the Riley comparison). But my biggest peeve is lack of consistency in the world building. For instance:

    SHIELD is shown to have all manner of kewl gadgets -- you got your Seven Dwarf/Drones and Lola (Coulson's flying car), and this episode had a concussion blast wand. So why doesn't the state-of-the-art plane have, say, a nano-polymer patch kit?

    Scene could've played out the same: hacker gal scrambles for the emergency kit, pulls out a gizmo and whips it at the giant sucking hole* where it blows up into a temporary hull seal. Reinforces that SHIELD has all sorts of surprises, gives hacker gal a hero moment of quick thinking and bonding as part of the team, and avoids the goofy inflatable raft gag.

    *I mean the hull breach, not Agent Blue Steel.

  • NorthRemembers

    I don't know about robo Coulson. I think he was in Asgard, and ofcourse Asgard was fucking magical. Give Skye some time, I think she will be really great.

  • el_mediocre

    Since the pilot, I've been referring to Agent No Charisma as White-ly Snipes.

    Seems to fit.

  • bpenni01

    Got to admit, at first I thought Coulson was an android and would be the Vision in Avengers 2.

  • bpenni01

    Come on people - "It's a magical place." #1 could have been taken to Asgard "a magical place" and healed by some god-tech. #2 Could be a set up for Dr. Strange, who took Coulson to a magical place / dimensioanl portal and patched him up through the mystic arts. Could be Scarlet Witch through a little hex and changed his fate. Obviously "Tahiti" is the mental block Fury got Prof. X to lay on Coulson so he doesn't remember the trauma.

  • dr_zayaz

    I'm a little bothered that Coulson and others were so quick to start killing the rebels, who it turned out weren't really on the wrong side of things. I know SHIELD are Feds, "the man" but was hoping they weren't quite oppressors. Also, is SHIELD still funded in the government shut down?

  • Jim

    Melinda May Fan Club? Can we get hats or t-shirts or secret handshakes or something because I am SO there.

    I think Coulson's a clone, not a robot, and the whole "Tahiti" "It's a magical place" is a hypnotic timey-wimy thing that reinforces the memories stuffed into his head.

    Of course, you KNOW when he finds out his a copy, he'll start crooning "Send in the Clones" every so softly.

  • Afferbeck

    I'm going to predict SHIELD will go the way Dollhouse did - slightly painful Dushku of the Week until the network gives up, then it actually gets good.

  • Kate at June

    Ok, for me, its the damn casting. It looks like it should be on the CW, not Fox. I could buy maybe one super young mid-20s genius agent. But shouldn't there be, you know, older people? In the secret pseudo government agency? More than just the one guy maybe?

    And the costuming. Totally impractical. Blue Steel, are you going to a Grease audition after this? Ladies, do you not own hair bands for your jungle adventures?

    Neither of these two things (casting/costuming) are the character's or actor's fault, but it feels very off. And its a little boring? And really a lot lighter than I expected, while lacking some of the trademark camp.

  • I know it's early in the show's run and this might be the Mad Men fan in me, but I think the show needs more characters. Not many, just 2 or 3. It would allow for the existence of a B plot, which episode 2 lacked, give Melinda May more of a second in command role and help make the team tackling the main plot more suited to the situation. Long term it might help the series get away from the procedural feel and give it a chance to let some plotlines twist around each other.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    I'm Peruvian, so it was kind of funny to see my country and military (no, we don't have military police) in the episode. My friends and I mocked it for the innacuracies and the slightly heavy handed stuff about mining corporations and rebels (yeah, there are major issues with mining corporations and native communities, and yeah, there are drug traffickers in the jungle that used to be part of the Shining Path communist terrorist group, but they are two separate things). Also, we don't have Mesoamerican pyramids, but I'll get over that. At least our women kick ass! (yeah...there aren't high ranking women in our military yet)

    I really want to like this show but it does nothing to me yet and I hate that not because I hate Whedon; it's precisely because I know he's talented and he can do better. I guess it's more of ABC/Disney/Marvel/Whedon's brother and sister in law's fault that the show is not as good as it could be so far. Still, I'll keep watching, I want to believe it can get better.

  • mrsdalgliesh

    Someone claiming to be a Browncoat compared this to "Out of Gas"? Really? No. Just no. The pulse weapon was straight out of "Serenity," but that's no reason to compare E2 to a masterpiece like "Out of Gas." If it was stealing from anything, it was blatantly from The Avengers. ("You gave them a common enemy")

    The show so far is good fun. I agree with Joanna; I think it has the potential to go much deeper after the first season, and for once, I'm relaxed about it because (a) it's not on FOX; and (b) Marvel is holding all the cards these days. This is getting a second season. So I'll sit back and enjoy the fun for now and plan for more complexity later.

    And I thought Blue Steel was just a tad better this week.

  • Jerce

    "Out of Gas" is probably the finest and most perfect piece of episodic television that I have ever seen in my life.

    I like the series so far. It is easy to love Agent Coulson, and it's obvious how much the writers love writing for his character. The only real sore spot, as so many others have pointed out, is "Blue Steel." He's even less interesting than Paul Ballard in Dollhouse (this from someone who always liked Riley).

  • Ben

    I'm enjoying the hell out of this show, It's not the kind of high class cable drama television that a lot of other shows are. But it's fun. And really that's all I'm asking for from a comic book show. The only thing that's bugging me about it so far is that Melinda is falling into that

    'we're told she's an absolute bad arse so they take her out at the begining to prove how big a threat this is' kind of thing.

    When it comes to fighting, blue steel has done the large majority of it. First episode she got thrown against the wall by notluke cage and taken out of the picture, this one she gets drugged and taken out of the picture, then blue steel kicks the shit out of everyone on the plane and she fights like one dude in the cockpit.

  • B84

    I just need to tell you, J, how much I appreciate your way with words, your good humor, and your sane attitude toward this show and the whole universe, basically. I am so effing happy to see Ming-Na back in action--I loved her so much on Stargate Universe, and this is a fitting followup. And Coulson makes me all squishy inside. Robot shmobot! Impossible--robots don't have that much charm. Can we just let the show breathe a little--let it find its feet and all that--sheesh! I can't understand the anger either--after only a couple of episodes! Barely on chapter 2 of what will --we hope--be an epic novel.
    Thanks again.
    And Bless You for your take on "Felina" as well.

  • Guest

    Haven't finished watching the second episode yet, but needed to comment on Angel being a phenomenal show. Angel was a terrible show. Just terrible.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I agree about the overall weak writing so far, as well as on the slab of meat not having any kind of discernible character. I also find the female Fitzsimmons terribly annoying.

    I do not agree on the CGI thing. It is painfully noticeable, as are the "outside" studio sets. The show looks very cheap at times.

    It's got potential, though.

  • For all the Marvel nerds out there, the plane's callsign was 616.

    That is awesome enough for me.

  • Adam Borden

    Didn't catch that... awesome.

  • foolsage

    Ohhh, good catch. That's another nice Easter Egg.

  • Welldressed

    I'm still gonna roll with this show. It's not great yet, but I still have hope. I'm just glad I'm not the only one who hates Blue Steel. Because I do. So Much.

  • I learned that it's a stupid show with dead-eyed, terrible characters (the two Randomly British people are so PUNCHABLE and I want them to die a fiery death), terrible dialogue and a horribly boring story, even though it's set in a world that has both aliens AND superheroes. And I'm done with it, because it was dumb.

    I'm not angry. I'm just annoyed at it and that I wasted my time trying to give it a chance. And yes, two episodes are good enough for me. I'd rather spend that time watching Brooklyn Nine Nine, which is not great, but at least it doesn't make me want to punch a character in the face.

    The end.

  • Guest

    Oh, go downvote your grandmas. Y'all know if this wasn't a Whedon show you'd all have given up on this CW + explosions crap by now.

  • Marc Greene

    You guys better be careful: all of that Melinda May love might just get her killed. You might as well call her on the phone and say you love her, you'll be home soon and "don't wait up".

  • foolsage

    Man, she's good and all, but I just LOOOOOOOOVE Blue St… I mean, Agent Whatshisname, um, Ward. I would just be devastated if something terrible happened to him. Please Mr. Whedon, do whatever you like to the other characters, but don't let anything gruesome and final happen to Bl… to that Agent guy. Ward. Him.

  • grr arrgh

    Was I the only one who noticed the staff thing Ward used to knock out the henchmen was almost exactly the same thing that Simon used in Serenity when he was breaking River out of The Academy? Someone needs to start writing some Marvel/Firefly fanfiction in which Shield becomes the Alliance. I really want that to exist now.

  • Arco

    I like it. I enjoy it. I really want to love it, but right now, that's just not happening.

    I think the main reason is the cast. Apart from Coulson (who is always great), they're all incredibly bland and cookie-cutter. Buffy, Angel and Firefly all had some incredibly right casting choices, but this bunch are just so generic.

    And why is Ming-Na's strategy for playing 'Tough-SHIELD-Agent-Chick' to have only one facial expression? She doesn't look like a grim and tough professional. She looks cranky and bored.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I think she's supposed to be cranky and bored. Admittedly, that's going to become an issue if it keeps being her default, but at the moment I think it works-- Coulson full on lied to her in order to get her to do a job she evidently really, really would rather not be doing. Assuming this stuff is child's play for her, I can see how exasperated and too old for this shit is her current attitude.

  • Arco

    I hear what you're saying, I do. And I'm trying to see it that way, but I can't help it: she looks like someone *trying* to look tough by pulling a grim face.

    Sigourney Weaver, Katee Sackoff, Eliza Dushku, Peta Wilson and to my surprise, even Scarjo, all managed to be 'tough looking' without 'trying to look tough'. If that makes any sense.

    So far, Ming Na falls more in the category of Sharon Stone or Charlize Theron for me: "Look at me pull 'Tough Face'!!" But hey, the show's young. She may grow on me.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    No, yeah, I see what you mean. I think I might have taken your complaint the wrong way. Certainly, she hasn't yet played any kind of effortless, tough badass vibe, but at the same time, basically every time they've had her be badass she's also been notably exasperated by the fact she's having to be. Like, way too notably, really. I imagine that direction may be overriding a more standard tough vibe.

    But regardless, it's a seriously affected performance thus far, though I'm not convinced it means she can't pull off tough-- it's more that the show really, really wants us to know she thinks this is all stupid and annoying and really doesn't want to be there. You mention ScarJo, and I think that's exactly what they're shooting for with May-- the Black Widow, "What, really with this shit?" attitude, but in someone who's been doing it a lot longer and thought they were done. It's definitely going to need some work before it has a shot at working out.

  • dagnabbit

    This show just isn't very good. It's one big ad campaign, with acting to match.
    I've seen enough to call this one. Congrats Sleepy Hollow you win the DVR spot!

  • Rykker

    I'm guessing that Coulson is fully aware of whatever it is that happened in "Tahiti," to bring him back, and he's playing it Coulson-cool so that everyone else will think that he doesn't know.

    Kinda like how Buffy didn't correct the Scoobies whenever they assumed they had pulled her out of a hell dimension, before they learned the truth.

  • foolsage

    No, Coulson doesn't know what happened in Tahiti; that was made clear in the pilot episode.

    Here's what I posted on this topic last week:


    Dr. Streiten: "Tahiti. He really doesn't know, does he?"
    Agent Hill: "He can never know."

    Note that Coulson says, "It's a magical place" in exactly the same way when describing it to two different people. Those memories are very probably implanted.


    Disqus is messing with me! I posted a reply, but it never showed.

    Apologies if this is reposted.

  • ed newman

    I hope that his "magical place" is literal and Dr Strange is involved in his reanimation.

  • foolsage

    I love Dr. Strange. I'd be very happy indeed to see him in a cameo, as long as he's treated respectfully.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    The thing with these kinds of explanations is... Why can't Coulson know? There needs to be a really compelling reason you wouldn't tell him what's up, and I'm thinking that has to be more about the idea that something fundamental has changed about him, rather than simply that he genuinely died. The latter is shocking, but the former is a genuine mindfuck that could mess up even the most stable person.

  • foolsage

    Exactly. If e.g. S.H.I.E.L.D. just used their experimental re-animation device and brought Coulson right back to life, there's no compelling reason Coulson couldn't know about it. Keeping the nature of his return a secret from him implies that there's something disturbing about the nature of his return, that would interfere with Coulson's performance on the job. E.g. it's not really Coulson, but a cyborg or clone with Coulson's memories.

  • Sirilicious

    It wasn't made clear, really. They SAY he doesn't, that doesn't mean he doesn't. But i wish he doesn't. Yet.

  • foolsage

    Well, it was clear in the first episode that there's a secret about Tahiti that's being kept from Coulson, anyhow. You're right; we can't be sure at this point who knows what, and it's always possible (though narratively unsatisfying) that Coulson already knows the secret that's being kept from him. I truly doubt it though.

  • Sirilicious


  • Mrcreosote

    I'm like the show, but I'm tired of it assuming I'm aggressively dumb. Stop telling the tech guys to speak english as an exposition tool. It's lazy and annoying. And stop with the painfully obvious McGuffins and/or solutions. The cure to a major illness, the power source that can or cannot be moved, the damned raft. I know it's a universe with it's own rules, but making things aggressively stupid is kind of painful. Wouldn't the target audience for this show enjoy "Mythbuster" type solutions? Incorporate the Burn Notice/Mcguyver voiceover solution? Do something other than insert a big blazing "science happens!" footnote?

  • seth

    Maybe an inflatable raft will plug the hole in the side of the plane!

  • kasper

    My problem with this show right now is that the dialogue and characters are weak.

    The dialogue has been terrible for the most part. The techno-babble really does sound like babble most of the time. The interactions don't feel natural.

    And the characters are almost caricatures at this point. Ward is the deadly special agent who works alone and can't follow orders. The scientists are brilliant but unable to interact with "normal" people. May is silent but deadly. There are hints of backstory, but that only goes so far.

    What makes this even worse is that these are Whedon's strengths. He doesn't create the kind of tension that we see in Breaking Bad or have the social commentary of a Newsroom. What he does is create characters with depth that we can relate to who speak the same language as us.

    This show has potential, but I really hope these issues are fixed.

  • Leland Eidson

    It's not great, but it's pretty good. I like Gregg Clark and I've been in love with Ming Na since The Single Guy (which was a truly terrible mid 90s sitcom). The techie trio of the hacker and the two lab rats are good for a little funny techno babble, at least as of two episodes. The Boreanaz/Zoolander guy though, screw that guy. The cameo at the end was nice, I wonder how long they can sustain a cinematic universe cameo in each episode. So far I think it's a fun show set in a super hero world, how exactly that will play out is undetermined, but I'm optimistic.

    One of the biggest complaints I've really heard about the series so far, outside of the inexplicable Whedon-ragers anyway, is that it's a super hero show without superheros or super powers. I think this is honestly more Arrow backlash than anything else, and comes from people who haven't watched either. Arrow isn't a great show, but it's entertaining, it's kinda dark, and yeah originally there weren't supposed to be powers, but the world expanded after all Barry Allen is showing up in season 2. On Shield though, even though so far we haven't seen a costumed villain there is nothing to say they aren't out there. If there is one thing Disney is good at it's making money. Right now Marvel cinematic is one of their hottest items, so imagine Disney reaching out to solid actors looking for a meaty recurring villain role, which could lead to a spot in a movie? Certainly the show is a cash grab, but it only makes sense they would use it as a vehicle to build villains, or hell maybe even heroes for the Avengers?

    In any case I think it's a nice inoffensive way to kill an hour on Tuesdays. It's not great, but it's good, and there's potential to be really good. If you don't like it, I can certainly understand that there are certainly flaws. I just don't understand why I see people just spew venom about the show.

  • Jezzer

    I think the show's going out of its way to hit its expected beats before it really takes off. Like, the pilot was the traditional "Audience Substitute Exposition" episode, and this was the "Team of Misfits Learns to Work Together and Appreciate Their Differences" episode. Once they get the traditional cliches out of the way, the magic can happen. :P

  • lowercase_ryan

    Dush2 (I'm gonna try like hell to make that happen, it's fetch) and Blue Steel are almost too sterotypey for me. He needs to die and be replaced and she needs to lay off the fucking lip gloss and whatever makes her look like she's in a Pantene commercial all the time.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I've got your back on the Dush2 thing. We're going to be all kinds of streets ahead on this. I am really, really hoping they throw some fun Blue Steel's way and he actually proves himself awesome, but... Yeah, probably he needs to die. Replace him with Enver Gjokaj, as it should've been to start.

    But on Dush2... I can't decide. Admittedly, the look is a little too affected, but it's not necessarily a problem. So far, for me, it's that she's all look (basically, nerd/hacker sexy-chic) and not much else. She's there only because Coulson's pretty sure she'll totally be useful, probably, maybe. On the bright side, I'm pretty sure she's a better actor than Dushku; not by a lot, you understand, but enough.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I agree with everything you just said. Dude, Enver all the way. And she is fairly attractive....likereallyfuckinghot.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Personally, I'm more a Simmons man myself, but yeah, she is still super hot. But if we're picking favorites, cute nerd girl with an accent beats out surly, sarcastic, incredibly shiny-haired Dushku clone. Not by a huge margin, but still.

  • lowercase_ryan

    accents are nice...damn all these choices. I love me some surly, but sarcasm gets old.

  • emmalita

    I hope so. I was annoyed by how predictable it all was, even the last joke.

  • Brown

    I enjoyed it. I had to disconnect my brain a bit, but nothing too huge. I find it enjoyable enough to where I can forgive minor things. I have a feeling it might always be a light romp, and I'm ok with that. Marvel has aimed for more of a fun take on their stuff than DC so I don't expect that to change.

  • JenVegas

    I like this show. It is Mostly Harmless. It has Potential and also some excellent lady flavored badassery in Melinda May. It's not perfect but we're only 2 eps in. I feel, as a Whedon fan, that it would be hypocritical for me to be all "bah it's not perfect in 2 eps, I wash my hands of it" while also whining about networks canceling all of his shows because of Not Giving Him A Chance. So Imma gonna let you finish, Whedon Brother. Try not to F it all up to hell.

  • loo shag brolley

    I agree, it definitely has Potential. All those haters should just Hush. It's easy to feel Restless in these early episodes while they find their footing, but nothing has me Seeing Red yet.

  • PerpetualIntern

    This is awesome.

  • Pentadactyl

    Wish I had more than one up-vote to give you.

  • Ruthie O

    Word. I'm a huge Whedon fan, and "starting strong" was never really his thing. Like, ever. So, I'm willing to give SHIELD a chance to find its footing.

  • Miss Jane

    Ok, you just shamed me into giving it another try, because after last night I was a little over it.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    I'm right there with you in the Melinda May fan club. Also, I might have to give away my aviators because there's no way I can come anywhere near looking as good as she does in them.

  • BiblioGlow

    I'm pretty much watching this exclusively for the potential and for Melinda May's badassery at this point. I hope it gets better, but if it doesn't I'd still watch as long as they have her beat the crap out of a few people each week. That lady is awesome.

  • Adam Borden

    I'm still not convinced of the whole LMD theory for Coulson, as he bled in this episode. Comic book LMD's repair themselves, and have a bit of a "healing factor", pretty sure they don't bleed. Yeah it could be explained away that he's a "new kind" of LMD, but I hope not.

  • He's a Cylon!

  • foolsage

    We know that it's not an LMD, in the technical sense. Coulson doesn't know what happened in Tahiti, so he cannot by definition be hiding somewhere and controlling the android body remotely (which is what an LMD is).

    Coulson is very probably a clone or cyborg (human tissue over an android). Whatever he is, we know that HE doesn't know about it, from the pilot episode.

  • Adam Borden

    I doubt clone. If it's not the "OG" Coulson, then I would guess more of a cyborg type of deal. It makes very little sense to "clone" Coulson, as he seems to be just a pretty good S.H.E.I.L.D agent. If they were in the cloning game, you'd think they'd clone someone who they couldn't afford to have "dead" or somebody with superpowers. But, I can see a "Robocop" type of senario being an "acceptable" reason to cyborg-ify him.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I split the difference. I go biotech-y bionic shit. A la that reboot of Bionic Woman they did awhile back. Coulson's still more or less Coulson, but they reworked his ass to be better, stronger, faster and all that in generally organic-y ways, only for whatever reason they're unwilling to inform him of that fact (probably because they have no clue how he'd react). Certain parts may not really be proper Coulson anymore, but whatever he is I doubt it's anything like full on cyborg-- for a mainstream audience, discovering your lead isn't people is... Kind of a huge issue, generally. If they were willing to shoot for cult, it could be anything, but Disney is obviously hoping for a smash here.

  • foolsage

    Psst. The Bionic Man and Woman were cyborgs. ;)

    That's a generic term for any mixture of biological and machine components; so if Coulson has any artificial parts at all (e.g. bionics), and still has any human tissue left, he's technically a cyborg. He can even be both a cyborg and a clone; the tissue could have been grown artificially. I agree that it's unlikely that Coulson is 100% android at this point, for a number of reasons, the most compelling of which is that it'd be hard to hide that completely from him. He still eats and sleeps and bleeds; outwardly he still appears fully human. It's certainly possible within the Marvel Universe to have an android that does all of those things, though.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Granted, but I think cyborg tends to carry a bit more implication of, you know, hardcore robot-y bits along the lines of Robocop and not as much with Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman (even if the source novel was called Cyborg). So I usually treat cyborg as a little more hardcore robotics and bionic as more... masquerading as real bits, kind of deal.

    It's a quibble, though.

  • foolsage

    I'm curious why you think it'd be easier and/or less expensive to create a cyborg than a clone. Both are within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s capacity, generally speaking.

    "If they were in the cyborg game, you'd think they'd make a cyborg out of someone who they couldn't afford to have "dead" or somebody with superpowers." It works just as well that way as the way you wrote it. ;)

  • Adam Borden

    Cyborg, in theory, would have enhanced abilities. Clone would just be the same dude. They picked RoboCop because he was already a police officer, and he would have died anyway. So maybe they chose to test their new "cyborg dept" on Coulson, an agent who would have died anyway... but if he's a cyborg, with just normal human abilities, then that's a HUGE waste.

  • foolsage

    If you're going to spend a lot of money bringing a guy back, it doesn't really matter what technology you use. Whether clone or cyborg, in both cases you'd get a better return on investment if the re-animated was powerful or otherwise valuable. I still don't see any difference between cloning and cyborg-ing in this regard.

  • Adam Borden

    My point is: Normal Coulson (or clone) = Not worth bringing back from the dead. Enhanced Coulson (cyborg) = Possibly worth it.

  • foolsage

    Eh, it really depends on how expensive it was to bring him back, and how S.H.I.E.L.D. values Coulson. But I do agree that it makes the most sense for something to be new and improved with Coulson; if they're going to all that trouble to bring him back anyhow, they might as well do it properly.

  • Adam Borden

    True, but Coulson has never been portrayed as particularly "special" to S.H.I.E.L.D. And if Nick Fury is complaining about the cost of repairing a hole in a plane, then I guarantee it's no small budget item to clone someone (not as a fully formed adult with implanted memories anyway). My hunch is that it's the OG Coulson, but the manner in which he was brought back is the mystery.

  • foolsage

    I agree; we don't have reason to expect Coulson would be valuable in that way. Sure, he's a good agent, but they have a lot of those. Maybe he's even one of their best agents, but still, bringing him back to life seems pretty extreme; quite a few agents died during the helicarrier attack in The Avengers, and they weren't brought back as far as we know.

    One way or another, it seems very likely that there's something about his return that would be very alarming to Coulson if he knew. Perhaps it's a one-shot piece of tech, or an accident?

  • Michelle

    Hmm. Yeah, the nanites that LMDs have allow for healing power, but you're right, I don't think they bleed.

  • John W

    -I'm still a bit underwhelmed.
    -Man I was hoping they were going to make Leonor Varela a reoccurring character
    -Tahiti must be code for Valhalla

  • I agree Joana.... the show is completely inoffensive and that's where I take my queue to leave. It feels so generically constructed that I barely want to call it a Whedon production. I'm starting to think more and more that the failings is that it doesn't have to do any character introductions. We're supposed to already be introduced and ready to go with them all, which is odd because besides Coulson (and a pretty great Fury cameo in this ep) we don't know any of these people and it's doing a pretty poor job in making me care if any of them gets chopped in half by a Chitari laser beam or some other nonsense.

    Or am I being a bad Whedon fan?

    I'm just going to go rewatch Dollhouse now and calm myself down.

  • Pretty much. Except it's not that I don't care what happens to them, it's that I want them ALL to die, because they're all annoying.

  • Sirilicious

    I've loved all of his series and both Firefly and Dollhouse only turned from like to love after ep 5 and 6 respectively. I am just not sure if i can hang in there long enough. I don't hate it, i just don't like it enough.

  • crispin

    A raft with a rip in it plugged up a hole on a plane.

  • foolsage

    That's not the worst part of that scene. The worst part is when Blue Steel, relieved, slumps back against the flimsy raft, which is held in place by basically nothing. I would have been incredibly pleased if he fell out of the plane there. OK, ok, this show being what it is, he wouldn't have died, but still...

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    The worst part is that explosive decompression is only crazy ass suck you out of the plane bad for the first couple of seconds, not for the duration of the flight. So I figure, once we already go to the neverending suck hole thing, throw a freaking raft in there and lounge around in it-- it's not really any less believable at that point.

  • Sirilicious

    They must 've run out of CGI budget when they saw that in editing.

  • Will Beaty

    It's starting to feel like Coulson spent some time in The Village from The Prisoner.

  • Erin S

    I can't be the first one to say this, but I'm too lazy to google search: I can't not see Aubrey Plaza in whazzerface hacker lady. She's like her less surly but almost as sarcastic sister and it kind of freaks me out.

    Also, I have confusing feelings for Clark Gregg. Confusing "old but still cute and funny English teacher" feelings.

  • freethinker

    Yeah, I'm mildly enjoying the show so far, but having a real hard time accepting 'hacker Barbie'. She 'lives in her van' but somehow has access to a designer wardroom and always looks like she just finished shooting a Loreal commercial. Plus she has this vaguely 'bimbo-ish' speech inflection that seems better suited to asking if you want ranch with your Hooter wings then talking about coding subroutines. It bugged me during the opening VO in the pilot before I even saw her, and my first thought was 'why is a high school cheerleader narrating this show?' ("We totally need to, like, Fight the Power 'n' stuff..")

    I'm all for breaking type, but this just seems like blatant pandering to the 18-34 geekboy audience base (which as a geekboy I find especially insulting...).

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I mean, I'm straight (male) and... Yeah. Yeah, I would.

  • Jezzer

    What's an Aubrey Plaza?

  • First day reading the site is it?

  • Jezzer

    Is it like an Anna Kendrick, only with eyeballs that aren't spaced six inches apart?

  • Yes, and paired with the most adorable scowl in all of entertainment

  • foolsage

    A plaza is, of course, an open public space within a city. An Aubrey Plaza is therefore a plaza designed for, or predominantly used by, the monarch of the elves.

  • NateMan

    Okay, so I saw all but about the last 5 minutes of the show, and I never saw Jackson. Did it happen at the very end, or was I really so high that I missed it? I still have it DVRed, so either way I'm going to check it out again, but I can't imagine how I missed that unless I saw him and it just didn't register I wasn't watching a Marvel movie.

    I love Coulson. I love that he's once again the heart of both the organization and the entertainment. I love that he is who he is, and they haven't changed his character apart from the whole mysterious death thing.

    I will say I wasn't a huge fan of this episode. The CGI was terrible, and the fight scenes that didn't involve May just didn't do it for me. The pilot was solid, and any Whedon show takes a while to get off the ground, so I'm not complaining. But I do hope it improves.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I feel pretty much the same. I think there's plenty of awesome potential here, but this episode? Yeah, by the numbers and not particularly well-executed within those numbers. But I think it'll get there.

    Just as soon as we fucking kill Blue Steel. Plot twist-- he's the robot and Coulson is... Eh, fucking bionic?

  • JoannaRobinson

    Nope he showed up right at the end, Nick Fury-style.

  • NateMan

    Good, thank you! I'm glad to know I wasn't that out of it.

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