This week Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made its Series Premiere on ABC. This is a very advantageous venture for the comics giant. It is the first time that Marvel has brought one of its properties to television under its own name. Let’s take a look inside the premiere episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The premiere episode follows Agent Coulson as he puts together a new team. We also meet our first superhero that S.H.I.E.L.D. is charged with helping.
As the episode starts, we see a man and his son looking at toys in a store window. How ironic, it was the Avengers action figures they were scoping. The man mentions to his son that he has a birthday coming up soon and asks him which one of the superheroes was his favorite, to which the sons replies, “I’m ok.”
It is obvious that the man is having difficulties with work and money, but he reassures his son that they are a team, and that they will get through this together.
Before they could finish their discussion, a huge explosion rings out from behind them and debris begins to fall on the street. The man turns to his son and asks him if he is ok, to which his son nods his head. The man tells his son that people may be hurt and in need of help, so he asks his son to stay with his friend and not to move until he gets back.
While everyone is running away from the chaos, he is running directly towards it. He exhibits superhuman strength as he punches his hand into the wall and uses it to scale the building until he reaches the top floor where the explosion occurred. He lowers the hood on his sweater and dives head first into the building. Once inside, with flaming debris falling all around him, he finds a young woman screaming for help.
Outside, almost everyone on the street has their cell phones in the air recording the madness. I guess social media really has taken over the world.
Suddenly, the man emerges from the window with the woman in his arms. He jumps from the window and lands on the ground with a thundering boom, leaving a small hole in the ground where he lands.
With the cell phones now trained on him, he gently places the woman on the ground, pulls his hood over his face, and takes off running.
The man reemerges in the ground, sans his hoodie, takes the arm of his son, and melds back into the crowd, going unnoticed. Unfortunately for him, he had already been noticed.
We now see Agent Grant Ward on assignment in Paris, France.
Agent Ward is what they refer to as a specialist; someone who goes in, gets the job done, and gets right back out. Not exactly what he would refer to as team player material.
He goes in, first posing as a waiter in a restaurant. He asks a man sitting at the corner table if he can take his glass for him. He uses this glass to get the fingerprints of the man in question. Then, we see him entering a residence, looking for the keypad to a secret panel in the wall. He of course finds the panel he is looking for and uses the man’s fingerprints to gain access. There he finds all sorts of money and other such things, including the “package” he was sent into get.
Just as he is about to make his escape, he is spotted by a woman to which he responds, “Your fireplace is broken.”
Out of nowhere he is jumped by men obviously looking to stop him from taking what he had recently acquired. Agent Ward is forced to unleash his superior fighting skills in order to make it to the roof, where he meets his extraction team. Score one for the good guys.
Now that Agent Ward has made it out of there alive, we see him in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters being debriefed by Maria Hill. How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders has reprised her role from Marvel’s The Avengers.
During her debriefing, she explains to him that the world has changed, and not necessarily for the better.
The Battle of New York was the end of the world. This, now, is the new world. People are different. They have access to formulas, secrets, they’re not ready for.” she tells him.
Agent Ward asks her why he was pulled out of Paris, to which she replies “That you’ll have to ask Agent Coulson.” Just like any young agent who thinks he knows it all, he pulls out his ‘I have clearance’ card.
Ahh, yeah…I’m clearance level six. I know that Agent Coulson was killed in action before the Battle of New York.” Before Ward can fully finish processing his thought, Agent Coulson emerges from around a dark corner.
“Welcome to level 7.” Coulson says coolly.
I think we have officially found the first member of our new team.
Back on the street, we find the man responsible for saving the woman in the fire. He is being followed by one of the people who witnessed his heroic act. What could she possibly want with this man who went out of his way to help someone in need?
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, Agent Ward asks Coulson about the circumstances surrounding his death. He explains that after he was effectively killed, he was brought back to life and sent to Tahiti for his recovery.
Coulson goes on to explain the real reason that Ward was pulled out of Paris and brought to S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters Maria informs Ward that Coulson has acquired a mobile command unit, and this is where he has been assigned.
Ward explains that he is more of a specialist, and that he works alone, not as part of a team. Coulson behins to go over the assessment put together by Agent Hill. In the assessment, she gives him some of the highest marks possible. Well, except for the people skills section. Coulson tells him that he really believes that he is the man for the job here.
Agent Ward is dismissed just as they are joined by Dr. Streiten, played by Ron Glass. You will recognize Ron Glass for elsewhere in the Whedonverse. Glass played the role of Derrial Book, also known as Shepherd in both Firefly and Serenity.
As Coulson walks away, Dr. Streiten and Agent Hill share a short exchange that casts a shadow of doubt on how Agent Coulson really rejoined the ranks of the living.
Tahiti,” Dr. Streiten says “He really doesn’t know, does he?” he asks. Agent Hill responds, “He can never know.”
One can only assume that we will get more information on what really happened to Coulson at some point during the progression of the series. Talk about a reason to keep watching.
So, now we jump to a diner where we see the ‘Hooded Hero’ perusing the Employment Ads in the newspaper. On the television above, we see the woman that he saved from the burning building. You can tell just by looking at him that while he is happy that he was able to help the woman, he definitely is not looking for the credit.
Suddenly, a young woman dashes into his booth looking rather paranoid. After an inquisitive look from the man, she turns to him and says “Act natural.”
That is usually an indication that he should do anything but act natural.
She introduces herself to him as Skye. Then, she proceeds to tell him that she knows exactly who he is.
He tells her that she has the wrong guy, and that he is nothing more than a simple factory worker. Doing anything but acting naturally, she tells him that she knows that he is a superhero and begins to go all fangirl on him for a moment.
She tells him that he is in danger. That an organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. would come looking for him. She explains how S.H.I.E.L.D. knew about the Battle of New York before it even happened, and that they were able to clean it up before anyone was able to ask any questions.
How long do you think it will take for them to clean you up?” she asks.
She tells him that she can help him. She explains that she is great with computers and can help him to create a new identity; even a mask. As I would have done, he gets up and walks away from her.
Not to be denied, she gets up and follows him.
With great power comes…a ton of weird crap that you are not prepared to deal with.” She stresses.
Talk about your conspiracy theorists! She leaves him with a simple, and yet eerily polite, “They’re coming for you.” as she waves goodbye to him. Not before she relieves him of his Driver’s License, of course.
We find out that the Hooded Hero’s name is Michael Peterson.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, we see Agent Melinda May working on a stack of paperwork. Agent Coulson approaches her and before he can say anything productive, she gives him a resounding ‘no.’
So you’ve been briefed?” he replies.
She tells him that she has no intention of returning to the field. Coulson tells her that all he needs her to do is to drive the bus, and assures her that this is not a combat mission.
Then you don’t need me.” She says assuredly.
After a short, but effective conversations she asks him if that is really all he is asking her to do is drive the bus.
I’m not asking. But it’s a really nice bus.” Agent Coulson say as he walks away.
We then go to a hangar where we see a state-of-the-art aircraft ready to depart. Agent Coulson has finally put together his team.
As we see Agent Ward come aboard, we are introduced to the ultimate nerd squad, Fitzsimmons. Or should I say, Fitz and Simmons.
Leo Fitz, played by Iain De Caestecker, is an engineering expert and Jemma Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge, is the bio-chem expert. These two are the peanut butter and jelly of the high tech world. They work so well off of each other that they are quite the unstoppable force.
After Ward is politely assaulted by Simmons in order to obtain his DNA for encoding, we hear a car pull into the plane. Agent Coulson pulls in with a beautiful vintage red car. A beautiful vintage red car named Lola.
Coulson is briefing Ward as they walk down the hallway when they are approached by Agent May. She tells Coulson that they may have a hit on one of the Rising Tide.
As the aircraft takes off from the hangar, we hear the mysterious voice that has been coming over the radio since the beginning of the episode. We find that the broadcast is being originated from a van in the alleyway. Hmmm…I wonder who that could be?
The truth is in the wind. It’s everywhere. You cannot stop the Rising Tide. You will not find us, you will never see our faces, but rest assured, we will rise against those who shield us from the truth. And nothing can stop us in the…”
She pauses when the door to the van opens, and we see Agent Coulson smiling on the other side; Agent Ward by his side.
She turns to them and says simply. “Hey. What up?” as the place a black hood over her head and remove her from the van.
Agents Ward and Coulson bring her back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. mobile command headquarters and sit her in an interrogation room.
They ask her for the name of the hooded hero, to which she plays coy on. She then tells them that they can’t beat her encryption, and that they have nothing on her. Agent Coulson explains otherwise.
He says that they have a very strong coincidence, what with her being on the scene when the building went up in flames.
Want to tell me what my team is going to find out?” he asks.
We then see Agents Fitz and Simmons arriving on the scene with Agent May. They begin to examine the scene and the collateral damage done to the roadway outside.
Flipping back to Agents Coulson and Ward interrogating Skye, she proceeds to mention all of the operations that they have covered up, and says that it is no wonder that they would be covering up ‘Centipede.’ Centipede? This is news to them.
They tell her that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not the only group of people looking for people with powers. There are people that are looking to exploit and dissect them.
We now see our hooded hero, Michael, sitting in his home with a Notice to Vacate from the Sheriff’s Office in his hand. He is on the phone with someone who obviously knows who he is and what he can do.
He is trying to convince the Doctor on the other line that if they were to get in front of this whole thing and try to market the drug, which we now know why it is called centipede, that they would be able to do some good with it. Unfortunately, they do not see things quite the same as he does.
When Agents May, Fitz, and Simmons get into the charred remains of the building, they realize that it was a super-secret lab. Super-secret lab + Superhero = No Coincidence.
Agent May tells Fitz that if he is going to work in the field, then he is going to have to get his hands dirty, to which he assuredly denies. He opens a briefcase and a number of little drones begin to buzz around in the air. It would seem that Fitz knows what he is talking about. The engineering expert has created an army of little drones to do his dirty work for him. Well, played Fitz…well played.
Back at headquarters, Coulson and Ward tell Skye that her guy may be in danger, and that they need his name so they can protect him. She demands that she be the one to go and talk to him, not the T-1000, as she refers to Ward.
Coulson asks Ward to join him outside of the room. Coulson tells Ward that she is an asset and they need what she knows. Coulson then pulls out a briefcase that has a rather ominous looking gun in it. One that is normally used for extracting one’s DNA.
Back at the explosion site, one of Fitz’ drones uncover something quite useful. They uncovered a highly damaged surveillance camera. While the unit may appear to be fried beyond recognition, Fitz points out that those particular models have flash memory, and with a little luck, he would be able to pull some images from it from just before the blast.
Another of the drones uncovers something else; a piece of alien tech.
At the mobile command center, we see Agents Coulson and Ward back in the interrogation room with Skye. Coulson explains to her that the compound he holds in his hand is QNBT16, the top shelf martini of sodium pentothal derivatives, a brand new and extremely potent truth drug.
Unfortunately for Ward, it was never Coulson’s intention to use that on Skye.
He shoots Ward in the arm with the formula, and then tells Skye if she doesn’t believe them, then she has about one hour to ask Agent Ward whatever she wants. Coulson then exits the room, and lets the fun begin.
At a factory, we see Mike trying to convince his supervisor to give him back his job. The supervisor explains to him that he didn’t meet his quota, and that he had no choice but to let him go.
The drug is clearly starting to have an effect on Mike as his mood is growing increasingly more violent. He shoves a large rack full of heavy equipment halfway across the room before shoving his former employer probably 4 feet in the air into a stack of tubing.
The boss tells him that he is not the bad guy here. After ripping the tank off of one of the forklifts, Mike tells him “You’re the bad guy, and I’m the hero.” as he bashed him with the tank.
Back at the mobile headquarters, we see Skye has rejoined Agent Coulson. They talk briefly about the conversation between her and Agent Ward. Then, they see the security footage from the factory where Michael assaulted the supervisor.
Skye and Agent Coulson join the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as they begin to investigate our new friend Michael. He explains to them that he is a good guy who has been handed a bad break.
They then go over the photographs that they recovered from the fried surveillance camera at the lab. Unfortunately, the resolution is too bad for them to really get a handle on what is going on.
Skye tells them that she has audio from inside the lab just before the blast back in her van. She says that there is a lot of background noise on the recording, but with all of the technology at their disposal, surely they could clean it up.
Coulson says that they have her van, but that she was right, they could not crack her encryption. She informs them that the encryption is tied to the GPS, and that if they returned her van to that alley that they could get the information.
It would seem that after his encounter with the supervisor back in the factory, Michael has decided to pay a visit to the woman he rescued from the building. He comes in the room bearing a bouquet of flowers.
Unsurprisingly, things are not always what they seem.
The woman in the hospital is the very same doctor that Michael was speaking to earlier on the telephone. So it was her who did this to him. Hmmm…
He says that he saved her; however, she asserts that he is the one who exposed her.
“The people who gave me this technology, they are very serious, and they do not want to be revealed. Mike Peterson, needs to disappear.” she says.
He tells her that she is right, and that is not who he is anymore.
Oh God, this is a disaster.” she sighs. “No…it’s an origin story.” He replies as he jumps out the window.
They team finally has Skye’s van back in the alleyway. Agent May is on the ground with Skye while Fitz is back on the plane trying to get the feed connected.
After a short string of innocuous sexual innuendos, they start to get everything in order. I love it when nerds get flustered.
Coulson and Simmons are working on the piece of alien technology they acquired.
Agents Ward and Fitz finally put the pieces of the puzzle together, and coupling the photos they have from the recovered camera with the audio file that they received from Skye, they are able to recreate a 3D hologram of the events that took place in the lab just prior to the explosion.
The patient is growing substantially angrier at every second he is denied what he came for. When they take a closer look at the subject, they see something on his arm that resembles a centipede; the same thing that we saw on Michael’s arm earlier in the episode.
Speaking of Michael, back at the van with Skye and Melinda, we see Skye stick a memory card into the inside of her bra. Possibly in order to conceal information from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Just as they are getting ready to pack up and head out, Michael appears out of nowhere incapacitating Melinda.
He tells her that he is saving her from the scary men in the black suits, and that she is going to help save them. Them, you may ask? That would be his son that he pulls into the van from just outside the door.
In the lab, they retrace the origin of the explosion from the end backwards. Once the reconstruction is complete, they realize that the explosion was not a bomb, but a man. It is revealed that the drug behind Project Centipede is indeed the extremis drug that we first saw in Iron Man 3.
If this is the same drug that Michael has coursing through his veins, then there is no telling when h could go off and take out a 2 block radius worth of people; innocent civilians.
Well…you wanted a bomb.” Coulson says to Ward.
Agent Ward is busy readying his weapon for the mission. Fitzsimmons tells Coulson that there are only two ways they can resolve this situation; they can either isolate him in order to keep him away from people, or they can put a bullet through his brain. If they do that, the chemical reaction will cease and the explosion will not happen.
Coulson tells them that they need to come up with a third solution; one that doesn’t involve Mike’s son losing a father.
Just then, Melinda calls in to inform them that Michael had taken Skye.
Back in the van, we see Skye working at her computer attempting to erase Michael’s information from the database, essentially giving him a new identity.
How do I know you can do this?” he asks her. “I’ve done it before.” she replied.
Well, this is interesting. I wonder who she has done this for before. Could she not be exactly who she says she is, or is she involved in something much deeper?
As Fitzsimmons are trying to work on the third option that Coulson requested, suddenly alarms start to ring out. Someone is attempting to breach S.H.I.E.L.D.’s security protocols. Coulson tells them that it is a latitude and longitude. Skye is attempting to tell them where Michael has taken her.
She the operative approach the van in an attempt to secure Michael, he begins to panic, thus beginning to heat up. Suddenly, the door comes flying off of its hinges, barely missing Coulson. People on the streets begin to panic and scatter.
In order to get away from Michael, Skye kicks some completely random stranger in his man parts, and blames Michael. A fight ensues, and Skye makes a run for it.
During the brawl, we notice that the good doctor has shown up with a plan of her own.
Ward attempts to incapacitate Michael and explain to him what is going to happen. Michael fights Ward off and follows Skye, eventually catching up to her.
Skye pleads with him to stop, and tries to tell him that S.H.I.E.L.D. only wants to help him.
Suddenly, the man who accompanied the doctor to the station opens fire on Michael, striking him in the shoulder and sending him flying over the edge of a very high balcony, crashing into a newsstand.
Before the third party with the gun can do any harm to Skye, Agent May quickly takes him out.
Michael and Coulson are now face to face.
Just as Michael begins to realize that he really could be a hero, and use his powers for good, a shot rings out from up above, hitting Michael right between the eyes.
Fortunately for Michael, the weapon Ward used to shoot him was not the weapon that he brought with him to the station, but a weapon that Fitzsimmons brought to the station as a means of saving Michael from his ultimate destruction.
After a quick inspection, Simmons lets everyone know that their plan was a success.
Coulson makes the announcement to the rest of the team that Michael is in stable condition and that the situation has been neutralized.
Now that the calm her been restored, we see Coulson and Skye taking Michael’s son to his mother. They discuss what is ahead for the members of S.H.I.E.L.D. While they may have won the day, they certainly did not “cut the head off the centipede” and that the person who perpetrated this is still out there.
Coulson asks Skye if she has considered their offer.
I’m not exactly a team player.” She says. “We’re not exactly a team,” Coulson says. “But we’re in a position to do some good.”
Just then, a call comes in from Agent Ward and Fitzsimmons. They tell Coulson that they have an O-8-4. Coulson asks if this has been confirmed. Ward tells him that they want them to go in and confirm it.
What’s an O-8-4?” Skye asks Coulson.
He tells her that she has exactly 10 minutes to decide if she really wants to know.
She tells him that there is no way that they will make it to the airport in 10 minutes in Lola.
Just as she says that, Coulson flips a switch on the dash, and suddenly Lola transforms into some sort of super-powered hovercraft.
Coulson turns to Skye as he puts on his sunglasses and replies, “The tide is rising.” as they zoom off on the way back to headquarters.
Overall, I would say that they have done one hell of a job putting this series together. While this could have been chock full of cheese and overdone clichés, I feel like they have found an interesting way to tie the lives o superheroes into everyday life. There is a fair balance of comedy to tie in the action going on, and with any good superhero series, there is plenty of mystery to unfold throughout the season.
Will Skye agree to join the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What exactly is an O84? I guess we’ll have to tune in next week to find out.
Here is a peek at next week’s episode.
Make sure to check back next week as we take a look at Episode 2, entitled ‘O-8-4.’
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.