Warning: this post contains spoilers from episode 1.06 of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “F.Z.Z.T.”
One reason I stick with some new shows, which seem mediocre, is because they actually do become better. The first few episodes are usually about finding voice, and learning what makes it better like what characters work best with each other. Sometimes a show may never improve, and I eventually drop it. Other times a show does a great episode, and I slowly become committed it. Last week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally started to show promise. One of the reasons is because it finally stopped focusing on Skye and focused on Jemma Simmons instead. While other Joss and Jed Whedon productions have been about a main character, this production is clearly supposed to be an ensemble piece. If the show was supposed to be about one character, then “Agents” wouldn’t be plural in the the title.
The audience was able to get closer to both Coulson and Simmons when last week’s episode was focused on them. With Coulson feeling and coming to face the fact even if his physical tests and blood work showed him being normal, he was different. Melinda May helped him come to this realization, and accept it when she told him that a person does in fact change from the experience of being dead. This also led to another glimpse of May’s past as well because it felt like she had experienced what Coulson was experiencing now when she talked to him.
Then there is Simmons story . She was infected a virus from that was inside a Chitauri helmet, and nearly died until Grant Ward parachuted out of their headquarters to save her by capturing her, and giving her the antiserum. Elizabeth Henstridge who plays Simmons shone in the episode. Her acting was phenomenal, and we were able to get a real depth for her character as well as shedding a few tears. Henstridge showed that even though Simmons may not have the field training Coulson, Ward, or May have, but she is one of the bravest of the group. We learned she is the reason why she and Leo Fitz are part of this team, she dragged him with her it and called it an adventure.
When her death was imminent, she faced it head on, and was willing to save the others by jumping out of the plane.
I think one of my favorite parts of this episode was the interactions between Ward and Simmons. While this show has clearly paired off the characters (Coulson and May, Grant and Skye, Fitz and Simmons), this is the first time they have given us great scenes with a different pairing. Yes, the Fitz and Simmons scenes were great because they make a brilliant team, but it is refreshing to see different interactions because it helps show them as two different characters. The last scene with them was very enjoyable, between her admitting to lying about the weight of the gun and him acknowledging he knew she’d been making fun of him earlier. The best part was Simmons correcting his impersonation of himself.
It’s scenes like this that leads me to believe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might finally be on to something. I hope they continue to mix up the characters, and let more of them become the focus. We don’t need a show based on Skye. We need a show based on all of them.