“I used to have this down. It should be just muscle memory.”
SYNOPSIS: When the brilliant scientist Dr. Franklin Hall is kidnapped, Agent Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents must race against the clock to locate him. Skye is their only way in — pushing the team to their limits when the entire plan turns upside-down.
My thoughts on this week’s episode, and hopes for a team monkey, after the jump. Spoilers abound.
I always think it’s fun to see how different Marvel characters change between continuities. With 616 and the Ultimate Universe, part of the fun for me was always seeing how these characters are the same and how they’re different and how their backstories have been tweaked. This week, AoS brings in their own version of Franklin Hall, known to Avengers readers as Graviton. In this incarnation, he’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who is kidnapped by a man looking to steal his life’s work (the discovery of the element Gravitonium) and use it for his own purposes. Hall uses the opportunity to take the gravity-control technology out of everyone’s hands, including S.H.I.E.L.D.’s. Of course, he’s our bad guy of the week (and maybe the season) and things don’t all go according to his plan. Coulson uses Hall as the catalyst to shut down the machine, killing Hall in the process. Of course, this is Marvel, and it’s not that easy. A post-credits scene reveals Hall’s hand emerging from the leftover Gravitonium.
So this is our first real villain of the series. I wondered from the start whether or not they’d really dig into the comic book villains or just maintain a kind of vague relationship with already established elements in the MCU. I’m not personally terribly familiar with Graviton, but I get the idea that he’s kind of a heavy-hitter in some respects. So either they’re going to have to de-power him a bit, recruit someone with powers for an episode or two, or we’re going to get a few cameos. I’m hoping it’s the last option, but I’m definitely not getting my hopes up.
While I didn’t have problems with the first two episodes that others seemed to have, I still think that episode 3 continues the upward trend in terms of quality with this show. Ward and Skye, my two least favorite characters, each get a bit of backstory, and Skye’s actually becoming more and more likable as the show goes on. I’m still a little confused as to why she was recruited, but I’m thinking that there’s actually plot at work here. They made a point this week of having Skye offer up her computer skills to help with the mission and not really being allowed to contribute in that way. There’s no way that the same Coulson from the films recruited someone with no training and from an enemy organization without an ulterior motive. Do they already know she’s pulling the double-agent trick on them? Considering the truth-serum reveal this week, I’d say it’s a good bet that Coulson is playing Skye, at least a little.
And speaking of Coulson: what the heck is going on with him? Is he a life model decoy? Is he a clone? He makes more than one reference to feeling a little rusty with a certain gun move, and now I’m wondering if Coulson has been replaced. Either way, they’re making it more obvious from week to week that something fishy is going on with him. I’m not sure if the constant reference to it is to help the viewers who aren’t as well-versed in the ways that comic book properties work, but if they keep going back to it every week, it’s bound to get a bit annoying come mid-season.
This week in continuity:
- “I saw plenty of action with the Avengers.” says Coulson. Yes, Coulson, we know.
- I should have noticed this last week, but the Bus’s call sign is “SHIELD 616”, in reference to the Marvel 616 universe.
- Graviton! There’s no doubt that we’ll see him in supervillain form before the end of the season. ABC wouldn’t have been promoting this episode with the “every villain has an origin story” tag line if they didn’t have big plans.
Death Watch 2013:
I know that this isn’t, strictly speaking, a Joss Whedon show. He has some involvement, but it’s not nearly as much as with his previous shows. That said, not even the 8pm timeslot in which the show airs is enough to convince me that one of our main characters won’t eventually bite it. My money’s on Fitz at this point, just because he gets moer and more delightful every week. Maybe they’ll replace him with a team monkey.