This review contains spoilers for the pilot episode.
I’ve been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man and have been following the buzz surrounding S.H.I.E.L.D. since it was announced that Joss Whedon was aboard last summer. I’ve been a fan of Joss Whedon since long before the MCU was even a twinkle in the eye of Universal Pictures. Buffy helped me survive high school, basically. I owe much of who I am to that amazing cast of characters. So it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve been counting down pretty much the minute until the premiere. And let me tell you, it was worth every second.
The pilot episode revolves around Mike Peterson, an ordinary guy who has extraordinary powers. A girl named Skye filmed Mike doing an act of heroics and tries to recruit him for her own cause, but he’s on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar as well. Since S.H.I.E.L.D. is a big shady government agency with tons of cash, they are vastly superior to a girl living in a van in an alley (but she has wifi!) so ultimately she’s kind of screwed.
Skye seems to also be somewhat of an audience surrogate. At one point Agent Ward accuses her of being one of “those sweaty cosplay girls.” Skye admits that there was “that one time.” And hey, I’ve been around the MCU fandom long enough to know there are a ton of fabulous cosplaying ladies, though I do take issue with the word “sweaty” (my roommate may have murmured “punch him” at that line). She’s also a computer pro. So… she’s a nerd. She’s one of us. Awesome. Skye has won my heart.
The show also marks the return of Agent Coulson (which was kind of a major selling point for the show, honestly), but there seems to be a security clearance above even his head. He is under the impression that he spent some time in Tahiti, but Agent Maria Hill (glad to have her back!) seems to know better. But Coulson can “never know.” My theory? Artificial intelligence. I mean, he was stabbed through the chest. That’s kind of hard to recover from. I guess not impossible considering this is a world with superpowers, advanced technology, and aliens, but I wouldn’t put my money on it. How long they plan on dragging out this plot point, I’m not sure, but it was dropped very quickly and doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the trailer for the next episode so we might as well just move past that for now.
Agent Leo Fitz and Agent Jemma Simmons are two characters I didn’t know much about at first, but have very much fallen in love with. They’re quirky and play off each other wonderfully. I hope to see more of their friendship moving forward. I very much wish we could have seen more of Agent Mae, as well, but I guess there’s only so much you can fit in a pilot episode. I enjoyed her attitude about things and hope she becomes a bigger player later on. She has a lot of potential. So while these three characters had minimal roles in the pilot, they are extremely interesting and I hope their roles expand in future episodes.
One character that I didn’t much care for (and feel bad about not liking, honestly) is Agent Ward. This is only the pilot, though, so maybe he’ll grow on me. I feel like he was meant to be the audience surrogate, but, as a geeky female, it’s Skye who drew me in. And he insulted Skye. And he likes guns and kind of has this military wartime attitude (he’s a black ops specialist, after all). So yeah, not liking him too much so far, but I’m willing to give him more chances. I trust Whedon’s characterization. If I’m not too fond of him now, there’s probably a reason and if Whedon has his way I’ll probably love him later on… and then he’ll die. Because this is Whedon and that’s how he roles.
In typical Whedon fashion there’s a bunch of actors from his other works (besides the Avengers, that is) including J. August Richards (Gunn from Angel) and Ron Glass (Shepherd Book from Firefly). Moving forward it’ll be fun to play the “what Whedon actor will pop up next” game. I hope this opens it up for Felicia Day potential, but at the same time I kind of like her role on Supernatural expanding, so if I have to choose I want to keep her right where she is.
And now i just want to know… what is an 084?!?! Now that’s a way to end an episode. Don’t give us a minute to breathe. Tease us for the next mystery and pull us into the next episode right away. It’s ok. It’s not like I had anything else to do for the next week than obsess about this show, right?
I’ll definitely be watching live next week. This was amazing.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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