“I’m Engineering”

Only two more weeks until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back on my TV screen. There is still time to catch up or refresh your mind on what happened during the last two seasons. It is amazing to see this group of characters and how much they have evolved since the pilot. Leo Fitz is probably the one who has had the greatest character development.

In the first season, Fitz was still the baby of the group towards the end of the season. Fitz was a newbie who joined the team because Jemma Simmons dragged him into it. Fitz didn’t really have his own identity. He was FitzSimmons who trusted easily. Season two was a game changer for him.

At the beginning of season two, Fitz was relying on a Simmons who wasn’t there. However, Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie soon befriended him, and helped him overcome his disabilities. By the time Simmons came back to the team they were no longer FitzSimmons. For the first time he was Leo Fitz. While he was not able to handle everything he did as his last year, he was no longer the baby of the group.

Last year, Fitz proved he has chemistry with everyone. His friendship with Mack became one of the greatest relationships on the show. The show also introduced Phil Coulson, Lance Hunter, and Fitz as a trio towards the end of the season, and the trio quickly became one of my favorite things with those episodes. The three of them do not appear to have anything in common, but they were able to give pure entertainment when together.

The best relationship highlighted last season for Fitz was him and Skye. Fitz was in Skye’s corner throughout her whole process of learning she was Inhuman. One reason was because he had already went through the change of no longer being who he once was in season one. He recognized she was having a difficult time with the transition, and he was with her. He was Skye’s number one cheerleader. He didn’t care she had changed because he knew while she may have physically changed she was still the Skye he was friends with.

Fitz grew up during season two. He was able to develop his own voice, and actually saw more action. Fitz got better as time went on and season two, and one of the best episodes that showed his character growth was the finale. He partnered up with Coulson and Mack to take down the Inhumans and Gordon. While it was fun to see Fitz get into some of the action this past season, I believe someone needs to give him some field training.

As for the FitzSimmons aspect this past season it was more of a relief to have seen them separated. Jemma was more of her own person and season one, but Fitz wasn’t. While it hurt to see them apart it was the best thing to happened to Fitz. He was able to fully become his own person who didn’t rely on Jemma.

He was able to make his own decisions, and be more daring. It was good to see them become friends again towards the end of the season, but it was also good to see them having their own perceptions.

Fitz was able to evolve so much, and is quickly becoming one of the strongest characters of the show.

What to Binge: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It surprised me when they announced season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to be out on Netflix earlier this month. Usually I have to wait until the fall before I can start to binge watch a show that just aired. However, I feel it was a smart move because now it gives people a chance to start watching the show before season three airs. There is no longer an excuse of not having time to watch it all.

Summer is the time for binge watching. Where fanatics of shows yell at friends to watch something they love because they care. This is me yelling at you to watch this show. It may start off slow, but IT GETS BETTER! WATCH IT!

The show had a slow start. In some ways it reminds me of Arrow’s first season. Both shows got better as their first season went on. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was finally able to go full speed after Captain America: Winter Soldier. The show was leading up to the film, and the ramifications from the film impacted the show greatly. For me this show is like a roller coaster it took a while for the build up, but the pace finally increased.

This show has been enjoyable for many reasons, and it is why I’m giving you 10 reasons why it needs to be binge watched this summer.

 

1. Phil Coulson

Clark Gregg gives Phil Coulson life. The man passionately believes in S.H.I.E.L.D. and his team. One of Gregg’s greatest moments was the scene up above. There was despair in what the group had lost. Hydra had been with them this whole time. However, Coulson carried on. He kept his beliefs, and it made you want to stand with him (In Coulson We Trust). Gregg’s performance made you want to hug the man, and tell him you would follow him anywhere.           

But then there is also more playful side of Coulson. The one you want to keep in your pocket because he is adorable.

 

2. Captain America: Winter Soldier

Season one was tightly connected to this movie. The season was leading up to the revelation Hydra had been implanted in S.H.I.E.L.D. It was the catalyst for how the organization dealt with the after effects of Hydra being revealed. Steve Rogers may have said no more S.H.I.E.L.D., but the organization was huge. Someone had to make sure the agents were taken care of. Someone has to find and fight Hydra. Yes, S.H.I.E.L.D. fell down, but the belief for what it stood for never died. They were able to keep it alive.

 

3. Guest Appearances

The show never lacks in good guests. For instance, the show finally introduced Phil’s cellist played by Amy Acker. Other actors from both the Whedon Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe have popped up from time to time. The second time Samuel L. Jackson appeared as Nick Fury was everything I wanted and more. Then there are other actors who don’t belong to the universes like Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, and Edward James Olmos.

 

4. Villains

Agent Dale Cooper played a excellent, unhinged villain in season two. He knew how to balance the craziness and violence. Then there are the Team Hydra players. They know how to comply on being the bad guys. One of my favorites is Raina. She joins any team that will give her what she wants at the time. She will forever be in the morally grey area, and enticing to watch.

 

5. Fight Sequences

The combat is fun to watch especially with season two. Melinda May has been kicking butt since season one, but season two showed more of the team in action. A beautiful thing to see is Bobbie Morse and Lance Hunter fighting each other, but then being in sync while fighting the bad guys.

 

6. The Characters Added On The show started off with only six members of the team, but the team has evolved over the past two seasons. It has added new characters. Antoine Triplett was the who brought the funk to the group, and he will forever have a piece of my heart. Then there were more additions is season two. My favorite being Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird. As soon as she and Jemma Simmons bonded, I knew I was hooked.

 

7. The Number of Women One thing that sets this show apart from other shows is the number of women. Generally I find a show to be lacking with women. The men always outnumber them. This group usually has the same amount of men and women. We also get women who have questionable morals. The women on this show are not there to help a man’s story line along. They have their own stories. They will also protect the others, if you even try to mess with one of them.

 

8. The Characters Before the first season is over there will be at least one character to fall completely in love with. You will find yourself worrying about the character, and wanting to protect them at all costs (my favorite is Jemma). It is more than probable to fall in love with more than one of these characters. They all have differences, but they work brilliantly as a team. They also grow over the series. The character growth and evolving of this series is a beautiful thing. The best example would probably be Leo Fitz who was the child of the group in season one. Fitz has grown up, but is still this caring man you want to hold and protect.

 

9. The Friendships Friendships are a key factor for me watching a television show. I love seeing camaraderie between two people who will be there for the other person. This show has multiple friendships. All the members of the team are friends, but the bonds between certain people on the team are different. They each bring their own value and interest. I cheered when Mack and Leo became friends. I encourage a friendship between Bobbie and Jemma while I still love the Jemma and Skye dynamic.

 

10. The Family The core group became a family during the first season. They will protect each other at all costs, and consider wherever the team is home. It isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. that is home for them, it is the people they love.

 

Bonus: It is all connected. I had a better understanding of the films with how they connected parts the show and films like Avengers: Age of Ultron together. It has also already started what will probably be the basis for Captain America: Civil War.

Tahiti: A Not So Magical Place

Warning: this post contains spoilers from episode 1.11  of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Magical Place”

This week’s episode marked the half-way point of season one. It was a great episode and Clark Gregg was at his best. It is interesting to see how far this show has come since the pilot.

Agent Grant Ward has definitely improved since the pilot. As I have mentioned before, Ward finally gained my interest in “F.Z.Z.T.” Since then he has become a character I enjoy to watch on the show, and I no longer fully cringe when he shares a scene with Skye. I’m glad their relationship has turned more into an older brother/younger sister type of relationship instead of the possible will they or won’t they type of romance it was suggesting at the beginning of this show.

Another change with his character is he has slowly become a team player. The pilot established him as a person who doesn’t play well with others. He preferred working alone. However, over the past few episodes it has become clear the people on The Bus with him have become very important to him. I smiled this week when he said his team was going to find Coulson.

My favorite scenes with him have generally been when he is with Fitz or Jemma, and I’m glad I got more of them in this episode. It is good to see Jemma reprimanding him about tearing his stitches, and him teaming up with Jemma and Fitz to interrogate Vanchat.

I loved how this episode was about the team working together to find Coulson, and reminding Agent Victoria Hand how important he is. She doesn’t get why he is so important, but everyone else including the audience knows he is special. S.H.I.E.L.D. would not be the same without him.

This leads into Coulson’s story line for the episode. Clairvoyant is the baddie for season one. We still have no idea who Clairvoyant is, but Raina is enough for this episode. She trusts the Clairvoyant even though she herself doesn’t know who it is. Raina knows how to get things done, and she appears a little bit psychotic with her attitude. She is able to get things done without using force (I think it is the flower dresses). She is able to get Coulson to use the machine willingly, and he is able to find out more about what happened to him. All I’m going to say on that subject is his flashbacks freaked me out.

Clark Gregg does an amazing performance as Coulson with him not knowing what happened to him finding out more pieces of the puzzle. We also learn he is alone in the world with the exception of S.H.I.E.L.D. For him, S.H.I.E.L.D. is his family. The way Skye comes to him while he is finding out what happened to him was a great scene. It showed how important these two have become to each other. In some ways, they have a father/daughter bond happening, which makes sense. They are both alone in the world, and only have the team as their family.

I’m also glad they brought back Ron Glass for this episode. The confrontation Coulson has with the doctor in the vehicle was truly great. We see a broken Coulson. He hardly ever shows this side of himself to anyone. The only other person we have seen like this is with May. I still wonder what Fury’s reasoning was to bring back Coulson. Was it only because Fury didn’t want to lose his friend? That he felt guilty for Loki killing him?

This show has improved since the first episodes, and I can’t wait to see the second half.

Side note: I still want to see more May and Skye. I have a feeling this could be one of Skye’s possible strongest relationships on the show, and I wish May had become Skye’s S.O. over Ward.

Now You Just Destroyed the World’s Most Dangerous Sandwich.

Warning: this post contains spoilers from episode 1.07  of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Hub”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely showing growing pains as the season progresses, and it has lost viewers because of it. However, I have seen improvement with the last couple of episodes, and fell in love with last week’s. This week’s episode upheld my belief that the show is getting better.

 

Parts that worked:

Phil Coulson: Clark Gregg is always a highlight on this show as Agent Phil Coulson. He is able to a great depth to Coulson that didn’t appear as much in the Marvel movies, and it makes the show better. I’m not sure this show would survive without him. We get to see him be the leader, and still face issues about how S.H.I.E.L.D. had no extraction point for his Agents, while still not knowing the full details about his “Tahiti” recovery.

 

Melinda May: Although her role was the smallest in this episode, May still shines. Her best delivery was in her scene with Coulson, when he is talking about the team and trusting the system. She continues with her meditation, not saying a word, but Coulson continues to talk and uses her glances at him as her responses. Her eye roll after he walked away was priceless. This is the beauty of May, she doesn’t have to say much, but she is still able to get so much across to the audience. She is also able to be Coulson’s sounding board because she is the one who best understands him. It is the reason why he comes to her with his problems and is more open about himself to her.

May can’t get a minute’s rest.

 

Fitz and Ward: I loved this pairing. They are forced together on the mission with both of them not being big fans of the other. Last week’s episode was a great stepping stone into this partnership because of Simmons’ story. Fitz feels animosity towards Ward for being the one who jumped out of the plane and catch Simmons and give her the anti-serum when Fitz was struggling with putting on his own parachute to save Simmons. Ward believes Fitz is the biggest rookie on the team when it comes to field work.

Still they are paired off, and Fitz is able to save them from a group of Russians because he knows how to fix their electricity. He is then able to confront Ward about how he goes about trying to always be the alpha male by throwing the last punch and sweeping in to the save the girl (Simmons). Fitz tells Ward that he is every bit of an agent like Ward and he is right. In the end, the partnership works. One of the main reasons why it works is because Coulson had asked each of them to take care of the other because that is what a team does, even if they are not each other’s favorites. Another is Ward addressing the Simmons issue and acknowledging that both he and Simmons know that Fitz would have jumped after her to save her. Both of them have their expertise, and they are both able to help save the other by working together. While they still are not the best of friends, I hope I get to see more interaction between these two characters.

 

Simmons: Simmons is slowly becoming my favorite character on the show, which is saying A LOT due to my love for Coulson. Simmons can work with any character on this show and still shine. She tells Skye she can’t be part of Skye’s bad girl shenanigans because she enjoys following the rules. However, when it comes to saving Fitz and Ward, she makes an exception. Simmons can’t bear the idea of Fitz being tortured because they are partners and the best of friends. They have each other’s backs, and they’re both aware that their expertise is in the labs and not actual field work, which is why they worry about each other. One of my favorite scenes is Agent Sitwell finding Simmons trying to get access to a computer she is not allowed on. It leads to horrible flirting on Simmons part, and then her shooting Sitwell with the Night-Night gun and saying sorry afterwards.

It was interesting to see her opt for the Night-Night gun instead of giving herself up, and I now want to see both her and Fitz learn more about training for the field. At the end of the episode, they are together again, gleefully telling the other how kick-butt they each were. I need an episode where either May or Ward takes them training (preferably Ward).

Victoria Hand: The episode also introduced, Victoria Hand, a character from the Marvel universe not seen in the movies. It is nice to see the show include characters from the comics, and I hope they continue doing so in the future.

What didn’t work:

There felt like there was too much of Skye’s presence in this episode. Last week worked because we got a breather from seeing her in almost half the scenes. This week her presence seemed constant. Yes, there is the story of her mysterious past, but she doesn’t need more air time than the rest of the group constantly. While it feels like they are doing Coulson’s “Tahiti” trip the right way with only giving it one or two short scenes a week, it feels like we are drowning in Skye’s story. What about the other members’ pasts? We still have only seen glimpses of May and Ward’s pasts. We know a little more about Fitz and Simmons because of last week, but we know all about Skye’s lack of history due to it being redacted by S.H.I.E.LD. The character is not meshing well for me, and I wish they would try something new; possibly less screen time, or even have her team up with May.

 

I hope this show continues to play around with the pairings, and see what comes from it. Coulson’s and May’s and Fitz’s and Simmons’ relationship are established, and play great back ups, but since this is a team it needs more pairing than them. The last two shows have proved that Ward has had some of his best scenes yet with both Fitz and Simmons, so here’s to looking forward to more of these pairings.

 

A Glimpse of Greatness

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.