Okay, I know this pilot aired nearly a week ago and this review is a bit belated. But I have a two week old. Soooo…. Nuff said. (I keep asking fellow moms when life will start to slow down and begin to normalize with children. They all just bust up laughing. Whatever THAT’S about.)
So, I wrote about Agents of Shield waaay back when the show was first revealed this past summer. The whole “Is Coulson really dead?” debate is one that has been a heated topic around the dinner table between Jonathan and I since the midnight release of The Avengers in May of 2012. (The chink in our marital armor is that Jonathan believes that Joss Whedon has a soul and is capable of extending a happy ending to his viewers and I… well, I live in the real world.)
So when Agents of Shield was announced with a very much NOT dead Coulson, Jonathan was over the moon. And I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it. But I still think I’m right, and that Coulson really did die.
You see, the WAY he came back just doesn’t satisfy me. While Joss is the king of unrealistic deaths followed by, “Tis but a flesh would, I got better!” – think Buffy dying twice, Tara coming back from the dead, Angel making his return after having his SOUL killed via longsword, and so on – I don’t buy the whole, “I quit breathing for a couple seconds, I’m perfectly fine with not a smidgen of brain damage” nonchalant excuse in Coulson’s case. It’s obvious he’s a clone. Or something.
The follow up commentary between Agent Maria Hill and the lab tech of, “He really doesn’t know, does he?” “He must never know…” has me thinking I’ve solved this mystery. And by episode one. Which makes me feel clever and simultaneously a tad disappointed with what feels like a slightly predictable plot.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the show and anxiously look forward to watching more of it, I just can’t find myself connecting. Yet. Maybe it’s because this show just reeks of Whedon. Which isn’t a bad thing, except that I’m finding myself internally guarding against falling in love with any of the characters, because each and every single one of their imminent deaths are highly likely. I don’t handle death well, even in the realm of my fictional worlds / characters. Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, and see if I connect with your new series by the first episode, you sadistic character killing asshole. (Who says I can’t hold a grudge?)
So the pilot covers the basic assembly of Agent Coulsons team. It didn’t feel forced, it had a nice flow, and the team is varied enough to provide a world of shenanigans and clever dialogue and endless high-action antics. For a basic introduction to the Marvel world and the characters, I think it was superb. BUT! There were a few minor things that bugged me about the first episode.
Like the living-in-her van-on-the-street hacker being perfectly manicured and groomed. Riiiight. Because a full hair salon and make up station in that van just makes so much sense. Plus, she reminded me too much of a Kaylee Frye type, which feels like we’re just recycling characters. Also, there was a bit TOO MUCH technology zooming around out every orifice of this show – technology that seemed to exceed Stark Industries, which doesn’t jive with the ‘verse it’s supposedly set it. Like Leo and Jemma, the two bickering lab technicians, pulling out Batteries Not Included-esque flying robotics during an inspection (omg, I loved those cute baby alien robots so hard!), and Coulson’s cute but cliché flying car at the end. Where were these gadgets when the superest of the superheroes were battling Loki and his lot in The Avengers?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this pilot. And I will be watching the show as it unfolds. But I’m not “in love” with this series, the way I’m seeing some of my fellow nerdy friends fall for it. But I’m not trying to NOT like it either, contrary to my obvious distrust and bitterness regarding Whedon, the notorious breaker of pop culture hearts.
I’m excited to see where the series is going, but preparing myself to emotionally check out with the first pointless and needless gut-wrenching death of a supporting character. (My money is on Leo or Jemma going first. Silly banter and then “I’m a leaf on the wind” ALL OVER AGAIN.)