Agents of SHIELD
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 1: Pilot

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 25 Sep 2013 16:26
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But the clear champion in the "I've got a secret!" event is, of course, Agent Coulson: His post-Avengers backstory is so mysterious even he doesn't actually know what it is!

In what will surely be the most fan-fixating of the show's character teases, Coulson is, along with most of his colleagues, walking around under the impression that he only almost died at Loki's hands, that Nick Fury decided on the fly to fake his death as a gambit to guilt-trip the demoralized Avengers into getting their team-up on and that he spent the last year recuperating in a tropical paradise. But an exchange between two of his associates once he's out of earshot explicitly imply that those events, and his memories of them, are false - and that the truth is something much less pleasant that they need to keep him from finding out.

Okay, that's interesting. The prevailing fan theory, since before the show, even, has been that Coulson really is dead, and that this person walking around leading a S.H.I.E.L.D. outfit is actually an LMD. (That's Life Model Decoy, an indetectably human-looking robot.) The LMD has been implanted with the late agent's consciousness and has, for whatever reason, been deceived of his own true nature. Further, said Coulson-bot will eventually be upgraded into the android Avengers-fixture The Vision - a theory that's been bolstered by the reveal of The Vision's creator Ultron as the antagonist of the next Avengers movie.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - or at least its first episode - is a show that is so far more promising than great; but then promising better things to come is what pilots are supposed to do. The fanboy in me, of course, is onboard just on the basis of finding out what's going on with Coulson and seeing what Marvel Universe sundries will come sweeping by the camera. (Graviton is supposed to be in the next episode.) It's impossible to really tell if any of this would be compelling without The Avengers jump off and 50 years of Marvel continuity to draw from, but the world we have is the world we have and in this world this show is decently compelling.

I want to see where the heavily-inferred relationship between Ward and Skye goes in particular, and relationship or not I like the thematic possibilities inherent to the idea of a tech-savvy Truther-type actually getting the Big Answers they were looking for and possibly realizing that they now want to fight for the side they started out against. I also want to see more of "Fitzsimmons," and not only because they remind me of Gottlieb & Geiszler from Pacific Rim.

And yes, even more so I want to see how this experiment works in tandem with the rest of the Phase 2 Marvel features. Thor will be returning to Earth in about two months time, will his presence be felt by S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV as it's being felt by other entities in theaters? Will Coulson turn up to reveal his not-deadness to his boyhood hero in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Will Ward, May, Skye and company be vessels through which we first encounter announced and hoped-for movie heroes like Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Luke Cage, Ant-Man or Doctor Strange?

For now, I plan on sticking around to find out.

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet. Recently, he wrote a book.

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