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"It turns out massacres are a lot like sitting through God Father 3, once is enough."
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October 23 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The fifth episode is titled "Girl in the Flower Dress" and was written by Brent Fletcher.

Directed by Jesse Bochco, basically this is his directing debut on a "sci-fi" show, his previous work mostly procedurals like NYPD Blue, he was also a producer on Raising the Bar which included in its main cast J. August Richards and Teddy Sears (who guest starred in Dollhouse).
Let me ask the stupid question.

If Coulson being alive is only for Level 7+ agents, should they be doing a videoconference with a room full of investigators? Do we assume that the entire team in Hong Kong is also Level 7? Or has Coulson's survival been de-classified?

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-10-23 01:12 ]
It's 8:42. I usually like Brent Fletcher's work. Why am I underwhelmed? Hoping the last 15 make it all worth it.

Let me ask the stupid question.

If Coulson being alive is only for Level 7+ agents, should they be doing a videoconference with a room full of investigators? Do we assume that the entire team in Hong Kong is also Level 7? Or has Coulson's survival been de-classified?

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-10-23 01:12 ]

OneTeV | October 23, 01:11 CET


Well, one could argue Kwan has Level 7 clearance since he seems to be the Hong Kong station chief for SHIELD...or at least a senior agent for that branch. The squints in the background probably wouldn't have known about Coulson or what he looked like, so them catching a glimpse is less of a problem. Or, it's only North American operatives that the embargo is supposed to apply to...

[ edited by BlueEyedBrigadier on 2013-10-23 01:53 ]
So, is tech girl Coulson's daughter?
If Coulson being alive is only for Level 7+ agents, should they be doing a videoconference with a room full of investigators?

Look at it this way: when the Bus was skyjacked and the team was in the hold wondering how to escape, they were sitting right next to a flying car.
Well...I think we can safely say Ruth Negga's character is: 1) going to be showing up again; and 2) a complete psychopath. No flinching and no hesitation at leaving the Centipede doctor who Mike Peterson saved in the pilot to her fate....and boy was that fate gruesome!

Have to say though, not sure how the revelation that SHIELD has been involved in Skye's life for a lot longer than the last few weeks. It gives Skye some background and helps with why she's working multiple angles. If she had something big that SHIELD wanted, she could cut a Stringfellow Hawke for help uncovering details about her parents.
I think she's the daughter of Coulson and May, redeem147. At least that's what I thought since about 10 minutes into this episode.

Either that, or she's a life model decoy...
Well I thought tonight was a very strong episode.Probably my favorite so far.Loved getting insight into what Skye is after and the continuing mystery/threat of centipede gets more interesting.

Oh and for anybody interested,Scorch is a character from the comics.

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tommy_Ng_(Earth-616)
Hmm. Skye's motivations make much more sense now but I find it a little hard to believe she isn't fired and probably worse. Although the bracelet seems more than a little not good. I did enjoy Melinda's line about whether Loki stabbed him in the brain. He was believably angry, anyway. Clark Gregg does a good disappointed rage.
An interesting point, Dean but slight problem with that argument for inferring Coulson's team are more than a little dumb: Lola is both a two-seat roadster (though doubling up on seats would work, I suppose) and we don't know if Lola can do more than hover a few feet off the ground; as best as I can tell from the MCU, Tony Stark only got repulsor tech to work in the way his dad wanted it to around the time of the Mark II Iron Man suit's development, so unless Coulson let Tony touch Lola to finish his dad's work? Her flight ceiling may not exceed 6-10 feet off the ground ;P
I really liked this episode! I fell like the cast is gelling together and the story of an overarching enemy is coming to play. I can see a common thread of Coulson wanting to give others second chances: Skye, Melinda, and Akula (don't think I spelled that correctly) the former agent from last week. For a TV show, I thought the effects were great. I also love the chemistry between May and Coulson and the hints of backstory. Even Ward lightens up a bit. I'm really enjoying it and see it only getting better.
@Dean: They weren't looking to escape. They were looking on how to escape their wrist ties, then reclaim their expensive Bus and the immensely dangerous Hydra weapon. Having a flying car does not help with any of those.


I think the series is getting better, but it right now it still feels like The Train Job (without showing Serenity first, and before the awesome thug/turbine kicking).

I think I know why I'm having trouble warming up to AoS. In my opinion, the plot is being put ahead of the characters. We barely see the main cast outside of missions (Battleship aside). We are given bits of background, but I still don't know or empathize with any of them at this point. Buffy, Angel, and Firefly had the advantage of people being heroic because the circumstances required it, not because they chose it. Amateurs trying to act normal in bizarre situations is a gold mine of comedy. For AoS, they are trained professionals. Too much of the comedy makes them seem incompetent or unprofessional. I think we need to see more of what they do outside of the job, to get to know them as people. (Or if they are always on the job, like Agent Ward, all the more reason to put him in non-job situations for the comedy. Maybe something like a live-action Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu.)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2013-10-23 02:38 ]
Well, obviously Skye's parents identities were redacted because they are owned by a different production company!
Though some of the writing was a bit sillier than I would have liked (as a Minecraft fan, that line Simmons said made no sense), I have to say this is probably my favorite episode. Interesting things went down.

Some random thoughts:

I'm not 100% sure Skye's telling the full truth, but I feel that everything she revealed is true.

I don't know that I expect to see Scorch return, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did.

Ward and May's reaction to Skye at the end of the episode? Brutal.

I have no clue what was going on in that bit in the end. Very, very mysterious.

I want to see the titular character fleshed out a bit. I bet she has a fascinating past.
Between the exposure of Skye's secrets, Melinda basically murdering Scorch with the serum injections, the revelation of Centipede as a recurring villain, and the doctor getting burned to death (I'm surprised they were able to get away with something so horrifyingly graphic at 8:00 on a network), the writers are really giving the series a darker tone. The preview for next week's show certainly suggests that the upcoming episodes will be in the same vein, as well (at least through November sweeps). I can't wait!
Really enjoyed this one - Skye continues to impress, and I did not see the family secret plot line from the pilot rearing its head again so soon. Here's hoping her mom and/or dad are served up as eventual big bad's. While I always read the quotes that Coulson serves as the "everyman" character, I think that has clearly become her function

For once I think we also got some true creepy malice due to Ruth Negga's performance. Look forward to her future appearances. Also a couple of nasty deaths, one which I didn't expect. Seems like we're ramping up into the main arc and I'm officially interested.

Now if we could just do something about the Ward character
@PaperSpock: I thought the same thing about the Minecraft line at first, but the more I thought about it, Miles is probably a good enough hacker to crack the source code undetected and change the mob AI, effectively "playing" the mobs (though why would he pick zombie pigmen over creepers?).
I love Ward. I like his intense silent strength . I think this show is great and will only continue to get better. Color me excited.
I think I don't like Ward because so far I don't think he can see a situation in anything other than black and white. It's either good or bad, right or wrong. No middle ground, no wiggle room. He has no empathy so I don't have any for him. (Yet.)

But I liked this episode.
An interesting point, Dean but slight problem with that argument for inferring Coulson's team are more than a little dumb: Lola is both a two-seat roadster (though doubling up on seats would work, I suppose) and we don't know if Lola can do more than hover a few feet off the ground; as best as I can tell from the MCU, Tony Stark only got repulsor tech to work in the way his dad wanted it to around the time of the Mark II Iron Man suit's development, so unless Coulson let Tony touch Lola to finish his dad's work? Her flight ceiling may not exceed 6-10 feet off the ground ;P

Conspicuous Flying Car Sitting Next to You = Handy Giant Projectile Door-Busting Weapon. It's really not that far off from what ended up happening, either.
Yes, well, assuming the flying car can match the speed of the plane. Otherwise what door could it have busted better than what the normal car did? Or are you guys suggesting they should have flying it inside the plane? In what space, other than the cargo bay, was that feasible?

Plus, nobody touches Lola.
Does anybody know if this is before or after iron man 3? it seems like iron man 3 is the only movie that's not been referenced so far. I guess it's probably before because I think tony figured out how to "sort out" extremis at the end. so nevermind that then. unless I'm wrong? I'm curious how the extremis research being done by project centipede relates to killian and aim.
anyhow, another solid episode. I think I may have liked last week a bit better, but the quality is satisfying regardless at this point. interesting backstory setup for Skye too. considering thor 2 and the next episode, the next two weeks simply can't pass quickly enough.
Hmmm. I think this episode really made the show turn a corner for me. It was darker, with more character depth and layers, and a recurring baddie established. Where the previous episodes have left me kind of cold, this is the first evidence of a show (and characters) I could really see myself liking long term. Also, the too-much-too-soon shmoopy stuff between Skye/Ward and Skye/Coulson has hit some serious bumps in the road, which could make for good character-driven drama if handled correctly. Cool!
For AoS, they are trained professionals. Too much of the comedy makes them seem incompetent or unprofessional.

THIS. So much. I am really not liking the comedy in this show. It just seems so out of place and forced.

I wasn't that keen on the bit players this ep. They have been kinda hit or miss in the guest casting for this show and I think they missed big time this ep.

The more they write Skye the less interested I am in her. And now they've given her the very definition of a boring back story.

I liked May this week. She seems to be loosening up a bit and losing the constant grumpiness. This was the first episode where she hasn't made me cringe. And Ward was good in this ep as well.

The music is still so jarring. If they wanna keep going with the same bombastic score at least turn the levels down a bit.

Again, the less said about the fight scenes the better. Just awful.

Otherwise I kinda liked this episode.
Are the comment counts indicative of how the Whedon faithful feel about this show? Personally, even with its flaws, I was completely on board for Dollhouse every week. But I can barely bring myself to watch AoS.

Out of curiosity, I just checked the comment count for Dollhouse season one episode five (a.k.a. the ep right before it got really good)... 353 comments! Compared to 25 (so far) for this show's fifth episode, which attracts WAY more total viewers than Dollhouse ever did. Something to ponder, anyway.
Are the comment counts indicative of how the Whedon faithful feel about this show?


The page views for the AoS threads are the same or a bit more than their Dollhouse counterparts. But you'll find that most fans now comment via our Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts rather than on an old-fashioned site like this. Social media has really changed the fandom. Whedonesque now has 66,500 Twitter followers, 9400 likes on our Facebook page and nearly 6000 followers on Tumblr.
I'm very intrigued by Raina and her agenda, she was so delightfully calm when letting the doctor die. I wondering if AIM are involved - maybe they got new leadership after IM3.

I hope the show starts delving into the backgrounds of the other characters soon, I want to know more about FitzSimmons especially.

@bonzob I don't think the lack of comments means too much. These days people tend to talk about shows via Twitter or Tumblr rather than boards or blogs. That is what I've noticed for other series anyway.
Commenting on Whedonesque is kinda retro now. (I'm being serious). It's an era of insta-fandom, 140 character thoughts and feelings in animated GIFs.
Not everybody is a fan of those social media formats. I guess the magic of big numbers draw in more and more people.

EDIT: because of grammar

[ edited by alber on 2013-10-23 11:40 ]
Enjoyed it. This is the second straight episode (since the pilot) that didn't drag at some point and drag leads to "I wonder what else is on ?" at commercial breaks (a bad thing).
I loved it. Even though I knew Skye was gonna disappoint Coulson, I still enjoyed the reveal, his anger and his disappointment in himself. I liked that he is again analyzing himself - how different he was before Loki stabbed him IN THE HEART.

-__-

Come one Phil, dig deep, I need to know!

Skye's motivations were personal. Something I had been hoping because it fits with what we have seen and heard of her character so far. The mummy and daddy comment she made last week hits harder now. I'm interested how I'm gonna look at it all in a rewatch.

Fitz is totally smitten. Don't care really.

Did May hit on Coulson? Start the fics on how Skye is the daughter born of a training session on yoga mats turned to a one nighter. lol

Ward. I really hope he goes back to being suspicious of Skye (as he should from his loner experience) and instead (due to circumstance) bro bonds with Fitz - I don't want forced romantic tension with the S.O. and the hacker.

Need to know the characters more! So dig into those backgrounds people to give them character. Right now I only feel attached to Phil.

Oh, and I'm still at awe of Coulson knocking the guy out with one punch.

Next episode looks creepy. Can't wait! Loving the darker tones to the show.
Yup, stronger episode. I think the team is supposed to very slowly gel because they are agents and have no other life. I think the lack of team members social network was alluded to early on. Thus, these characters have no context. I think eventually, slowly we will get back story. The process is that slow due to the fact that they are all secret agents or a super hacker.

Good villains are showing up and that helps to drive the story. We need a strong Big Bad.

Husband made effort to watch the whole thing after I went to bed. I'll check I later to get his usually more objective thoughts.

New thought: maybe we could say we are seeing the story of the men in blue rather then the rag tag vigilantes.

[ edited by hann23 on 2013-10-23 13:28 ]
Definitely losing interest at this point.
Also losing interest. I was rolling my eyes at the way Raina talked- all whispers and evil and all. Took me out of the story. And Scorch, went from nice to evil in a flash- no development at all. Skye's back story is of no interest to me. How convenient she turned out to be a hacker who could get in to SHIELD when her parents might have worked for SHIELD. And her past boyfriend- c'mon. The guy is a committed hacker, he steals money to help the cause- that is part of what (some) hackers do- take from the Man to fight the Man. All of a sudden Skye is ethical now? Since she had no apparent job at the beginning of the show, where did she get the money to buy all her tech? These logistical mistakes just bother me. What reason was there for Raina to let the Doc get killed? Oh, I see; they want her to be a bigger bad- but not THE big bad. I've tuned in for all the eps so far, but I am afraid this is devolving to me. I cringe whenever Ward is on screen. And I have seen several interviews now where we are told Skye is supposed to be our point of identification. That's bad, in my estimation; they should not be telling people whom they should identify with, because that is not how identification happens. Buffy knew this.
Not everybody is a fan of those social media formats. I guess the magic of big numbers draw in more and more people.

That's how I feel. Facebook and Twitter are terrible platforms for group conversations... especially if you want to know what everyone thinks and not just your friends. I'll stick with the old school.

I thought this was an OK episode, but I'm really missing the Whedony turns of phrase. I think I'm gonna stop thinking of this as a Joss show, because it's really not. I'm enjoying it, but not as much as Buffy, Angel, Firefly or Dollhouse.

I really wish this was a 9:00 or 10:00 show, though.
My husband and I had the best laugh over the hacker being based in Austin.
We were pleased to see the real aerial shot of our hometown and then giggled insanely at the street-level stuff. Yeah, you'd need to narrow those streets and seriously de-homogenize those crowds to really look like our fair city. XD
I think this was a step in the right direction. I had better impressions from the main characters, the story was more interesting and made better use of the Marvel world, overall tone seemed more mature, Ruth Negga as the titular "girl in the flower dress" was excellent and return of Centipede welcomed. I like how they slowly unfold this arc just like in the old Whedon shows.

Btw, anyone else thinks, that Winter Soldier from Cap 2 movie might have a connection to the Centipede project and the organization behind it?
Dana, Skye planned the whole thing. She learned to hack specifically because she wanted to find her parents, she discovered this organization called Shield had redacted crucial information and therefore decided to go after Shield. At that point she got extremely lucky they offered her to be part of the team instead of locking her up, giving her a much bigger opportunity to snoop but the rest was all very deliberate on her part.

As for the crispy Doc, I thought it was implied in the dialogue they (the big, bad and still unnamed organization running the Centipede project) wanted to get rid of her once she had figured out the burn-out problem and Raina took the first opportunity to make it happen. Not to mention that while Scorch was busing killing the doctor he couldn't go after her, so she gained a couple of precious minutes to escape. BTW, the way she talked seemed very deliberate to me, maybe we'll learn later on she has some kind of hypnotic power (possibly tech-based, given everything else we've seen from her organization so far). Total speculation, of course, but it occurred to me as a possibility during their very first scene together while I was thinking what a moron that nice street magician was for trusting her :)

As for Miles, he didn't steal money to help the cause, he put an innocent in danger to make money. If he had hacked the Koch brothers bank account and skimmed a couple of millions I'm sure Skye would have been much less outraged ;)
I enjoyed this episode. I really liked Raina. The character was really interesting played by this actress. I found her scarily intriguing.

The special effects of people burning went on a bit too long for me but that's small stuff I guess.

It's solid, I'm hooked. Like season one Buffy, like the first season of Heroes. I'm not in love, but we're dating. :)

Still having a problem with the background music. I'm noticing it and not in a good way and it's taking me out of the show a bit when it happens.
Things that I really loved:

-Skye's reason for becoming a hacker and then joining SHIELD. It's a proper mystery and gives the girl the right motivation to be what she is.

-Ming Na's nuanced performance. So subdued, and yet so telling.

-The return of the Centipede Project. Whatever is behind it, it's definitely the Big Bad. Right now I'm voting for a new threat, something that's not in the Marvel Universe.

-THAT TAG SCENE. The atmosphere, the hint of so many layers behind the conspirating, the name-dropping of a Clairvoyant, the mysterious convint.. this is setting up the rest of the season.

-Rayna as a middleman villain. Part noir femme fatale, part psycopath. The right face as an antagonist until the Big Bad shows up. And I'm feeling "gifted" vibes from here, like a telepath, empath, especially given her final line to the convict.

All in all, a satisfying episode with a solid A-plot and tantalizing hints for Skye's arc and the season's main challenge.
I loved Skye being insulted when hacker guy said she had been living in her van.
My gut told me that the Clairvoyant was another person inside of the man behind the glass, and that he was a multiple personality.

I could be wrong -- just wanted to get it on record. :)
I think I'm gonna stop thinking of this as a Joss show, because it's really not.

That's very astute. AoS is paid for by Disney, produced by Disney, and aired on a network owned by Disney. It's target audience is the broadest denominator possible. Joss' shows have never been.
All the characters (bar Coulson) are created by the Whedons. And Coulson arguably came together in The Avengers thanks to Joss. Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse - paid for by Fox, owned by Fox, distributed by FOX and Warner Bros. Also: 8pm Tuesday airing was not uncommon. When you look at the ratings breakdown it skews particularly young, which had in common with.. the other shows.

I think part of the problem some people have is: they grew up. Instead of 6 opening stand alones they're subconsciously thinking "Can we watch Breaking Bad?".

[ edited by gossi on 2013-10-23 16:37 ]
It may be interesting to note that the very first Black Widow, way back in the forties and long before our beloved Natasha Romanov came to life was called... *drumroll*... Claire Voyant. I didn't know (credit goes to some really huge Marvel comics aficionados on another forum) but can it really be a coincidence?
Yeah, notsomuch Austin, huh Mrelia? I laughed when the city bus had "AUSTIN" in the info display instead of street names. At least they got the blue color right. And yep on the needing more diversity. At least they tried... and a big cheer went up from our table whenever ATX was mentioned. :D

Rolled my eyes when "Scorch" yelled "NO ONE CAN STOP ME!!!" LOL such a tired, old-school comic book line. It was that moment when I said "Nope. Not Joss." I kept thinking "Dude, what's your endgame? You just gonna stand there and burn things while yelling taunts?" And what was his motivation again? Oh yes, to be famous.

Wow.

Our club is still gonna get together to watch, because I can't believe it's going to stay this bad, and ep. 3 gave me hope. But really, show? So far, it isn't great.
Am I the only one who got major "Buffy-era-vamp-dusting" flashbacks when the doctor was incinerated?

That neatness aside, I thought the episode was excellent all around. Yes, the Skye hunts for her parents thing is cliche but we'll see what comes of it. Strong character moments, even pace, interesting plot and some big-bad set up with some vile characters. I like.

Does anyone know if we're supposed to know who the guy was at the end of the ep? I recognize the actor but can't tell if he's supposed to be an established character or just ominous on his own.


On the whole, no, the series hasn't hit it's "Surprise/Innocence" mark but it's still an enjoyable and fun show and it's shown a lot of potential for growth.
nyrk- I grant that. But still. She ended up one of the world's greatest hackers? Lives in a van? Has some source of money we never see? Is upset at her past bf for selling a secret in order to fund his effort (yes, the effect of this killed someone, but that was not the plan- see Edward Snowden- was his relase ethical or not? Did it put people in danger? Does it matter if money were or were not involved?). Skye had to have some sort of parents in her life. I find it all too convenient. But that is my problem. I just cannot view this as a comic book. I view it as if it were more in-depth oriented. And it does not work when you think about everything too much.
About having to be Level 7 to know that Coulson is alive. In the pilot, Ward mentions that he is Level 6 so he knows that Coulson died. That suggests to me that everyone below Level 6 has no idea that Coulson died in the battle of New York, so should not be surprised at seeing him. Also I still think "Level 7" was Coulson's little joke. People who need to know he's alive know it on a need to know basis. There is no formal Level 7.

[ edited by barboo on 2013-10-24 16:31 ]
I think part of the problem some people have is: they grew up.

That's a problem? I'm simply hoping for a level of sophistication in the writing equal to Joss' other projects, which so far is lacking in this one. People say "give it time, Joss's shows need time." How's about hitting the ground running for a change? That would be nice.
What Gossi said

I am not going to argue that the show is without fault - I certainly have some tweaks n' suggestions I'm happy to discuss if the producers want to give me a call.

That said - a sizeable chunk of the criticism seems to come from diehard Buffy/Angel/Firefly fans who offer what - to me - are fairly disingenuous arguments. Too many "pretty people"? As opposed to the homely teenagers that populated Buffy? Not "plausible?"? - like vampires that know kung-fu? "Too cheesy"? like green demons singing karoke? "Too corporate"? Unlike the ma and pa shop called Fox?

Listen - this show SCREAMS Whedon. Quirk. Humor. Derring do in a fantasy landscape w/ over arching plots. I'm not saying anyone is required to like the show - but to imply this is some radical departure from what's come before is a bit of a stretch

All of this is - of course - IMHO
trunktheslayer I immediately flashed on Buffy in the wedding dress from The Prom in Angel's dream sequence when they step outside. *immolate*
While I thought the episode was pretty pedestrian in general, I did take a lot of hope from the closing scene. Finally we've got a Big Bad, a couple of genuinely creepy recurring villains, and the beginnings of a series arc.

I also like that we've got a mystery in the identity of Skye's parents. But if we ever get a "Skye, I am your father" moment from Coulson, I'm going to file a police report that Joss Whedon has been kidnapped and replaced by a Skrull.
"Aw, crap. They gave him a name." Best line of the show, and a definite Whedon-y line. Granted, this is a Jed and Maurissa show, but they are keeping the spirit alive.

Hooray for growht on Melinda and Ward's characters! Ward and Skye playing Battleship, Ward and May drinking together, these are the little bits that will flesh out all the characters more.

I was off-base on Scorch, but he did end up being an established Marvel character. I wonder if Centipede will be it's own thing, or an offshot of Hydra or AIM? The strongest bet would AIM, since Scorch seems to be an Extremis project.
As a kids' show, a Disney show, AoS delivers quality. But if this wasn't a Whedon show I probably wouldn't have tuned in or continued watching. I'm not into comics, and except for Buffy with a rocket launcher, not into action shows for the sake of the action. I like stories with interesting character development, where plots and arcs serve the characters, not the other way around.

I really liked the character moments in this episode. This is the first one I enjoyed enough to want to watch again. If we get more episodes like this I will become a fan of the show.
I watched on Hulu, and think this is the first weakish one for me. There's definitely moments to like, and it helps flesh some things (people) out.. but I don't know where the jokes went this week. I don't know, it just didn't click. It's interesting to see how some episodes work for some people and not others though - I know some of people didn't like the episodes before this, but I loved 'em.

Oh, and I actually like Ward. I wasn't sure on his character at first, but he's a grower.
@Dana: has she not ended up as one of the world's most brillant hackers, SHIELD would never have noticed her. I find the whole thing immensely more believable now that she has a reason for being interested in SHIELD, and is not just some "information wants to be free" hacker.
Ward is growing on me. The more scenes we get of him not being a secret agent, just hanging with the others, the more I get a sense of him. He's still a bit too reminiscent of Ballard, though.

I've liked Skye from the first episode - which I didn't expect from the trailers - and I'm glad to finally know what's on that memory card. It fits perfectly with what we've seen so far.

Chan's abrupt turn toward evil is not as abrupt as it might appear. I don't think he was all that good to begin with. He wanted fame, he wanted to be noticed; Centipede just gave him the opportunity, and he jumped at it. And found out later he shouldn't have trusted them, of course. SHIELD could have done more for him, instead of just trying to keep him on a leash, but I guess that's not their main objective.
Oh - good point. Loved the Skye reveal. Gives her a human reason for being there.
Random thoughts after rewatch on Hulu: (1) Scorch's "this is torture" line, in combination with May and Coulson's comments about his character before his abduction and their eventual solution to the situation, gave me a "tell me, are you familiar with the works of Shun Yu?" flashback*, so I guess we know who the true Scorch is, or maybe was (off-screen deaths can't be trusted); (2) the immolation scene was pretty gruesome for an 8pm show on a major network, but I found it even funnier after seeing someone complain on the MAOS facebook page that the scene with Skye in her underwear was inappropriate for that hour but made no mention of the fire; (3) the scotch that May and Ward drink has apparently changed its bottle shape, which is unusual (see Hollywood's best fake products page) -- it looks like they relabeled a Bruichladdie bottle; (4) I really don't understand all of the disappointment in the comments here... I'm prepared to trust Joss and his collaborators to take me into the stories that they are prepared to tell, not the ones that my puny brain will demand of them.
_____
*And since I had to pull out my disc to verify the wording of this quote, I'm stopping everything to rewatch "War Stories"
For Chan's literal "melt down" at the end, it may have helped if the evil lab techs mentioned that Chan's platelets stop the Extremis from exploding, but that the psychotic side effects were still there. (Which would make Raina that much more evil when she doesn't care.)
So, I guess Raina was not the Raina from the Savage Lands after all. Did I miss something, or did she make the guys in suits appear out of thin air, to catch Chan? There's no way they were in his room before.
tomg, I noticed the Scotch (Scorch, he he) bottle as well! I am a collector, no joke. I have several different bottlings of Buichladdie. That caught my eye. ragondux, that kind of problem (people appearing out of nowhere) has been a problem in the show. It also happened with the good guys, when May and Coulson were after Scorch. Ebert used to have a name for this, since it is a protocol of movies, but in real life could never happen since the people involved would be apparent to anyone there. I forget what he called it.
Not read all the comments, but anyone else notice that Agent Kwan was the Dollhouse employee who was "enjoying himself" in the Attic?

That guy has great delivery!
Dana, I don't know what Ebert called it, but TV Tropes calls it "Behind The Black".

[ edited by Sunfire on 2013-10-23 23:49 ]
Fixed the link to not go to a blank page on this Black. I don't think there is anything behind there, but the coincidence did amuse me.
Rachelkachel- thank you for the link! This is it even if I still cannot remember what Roger Ebert called it. :-)
I was very disappointed with this episode, definitely the weakest for me. I felt like I was watching a bad episode of "Heroes". The other episodes were very flawed but they had humor or Whedony moments, this episode had almost none of that. The scenes with the bad guy of the week were just plain bad, and I kept rolling my eyes until the very end.

I've been optimistic so far, each episode was a little stronger than the last, but I almost had trouble getting through this one! The only good thing was the directing, darker and less generic.

Really hoping next episode won't disappoint.
My two cents - This was a great episode. It had someone with actual superpowers (something a comics based series should have more of), it had real development on Skye's story, and it gave the show a bigger plot with an actual physical big bad

Now if we can only develop Fitz and Simmons a little more. Or possibly at all.
urkonn, I completely agree with you.

Also, as others have mentioned, I really liked the last scene with girl in a flower dress and creepy guy.

So far its been: liked the pilot, didn't like the second ep very much, have increasingly liked the following three, with this one probably being my favourite, mainly because of the arcy stuff and because I liked the charisma of the girl in the flower dress.

I liked that Melinda switched to Chinese to speak to Scorch.

I was also surprised by the graphical nature of the doctor getting scorched, and it also reminded me of dusting vamps. It did give me a comic-book vibe though, which might be why it got past the sensors.
The biggest flaw in the episode for me was a Chinese guy who spoke Cantonese with a horrible, horrible accent. Even Melinda spoke better cantonese than him. :D
They're doing a lot of set up in these episodes. I look forward to seeing where it all leads by the end of the season. This was the Nikita season 1 formula, and the show kicked into second gear near the end of that season and was awesome ever since. Right now, I find the show fun and accessible, but once all these pieces they are putting into play all come together later we're going to have something really special here.

I hear people rave about shows like Justified and Mad Men, but say that they didn't really become amazing until second season. Some shows need that first season just to lay the foundation for everything. I see the various seeds Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is planting, and they are interesting enough to keep my interest. The dialog and humor so far has been stellar too, don't understand any complaints about that.

Still not super impressed by the action sequences though, that's the show's only real flaw. I feel like Melinda May's awesomeness is being held back by mediocre action directing, editing and choreography. Maybe things will get more interesting once she finally gets an opponent who can match her skills. I've said it before, but Nikita, Chuck, Angel and Buffy were leagues better than this show in the action department. Actually, Burn Notice was too
I actually think this is the best one so far. I loved Raina, she really seemed evil and I hope she becomes a regular. That little interaction she had with the doctor from the pilot reminded me of the Lindsey - Lilah relationship (ok, it was brief but let me hope). I see the big bad coming. No 'Man on the Street', 'Innocence' game changer yet, but I am beginning to feel it.
Bummer. I was hoping to see continued improvement after last week's much-improved episode, but this episode seemed to move in the opposite direction quality-wise. Just about the only mildly interesting part was the female villain, who could have been a fun combination of sweet and wholesome, yet totally evil. Unfortunately, they didn't let her become a compelling villain because there was nothing really at stake. The protagonists were never in any serious danger. And it was impossible to care about Kwan, the guy she was torturing, because he was so uninteresting and unsympathetic.

This episode really just did not work at all on a lot of levels. And frankly the writing felt phoned-in. The dialogue is largely platitudes and cliches, and the characters seem like cliches too. Melinda May has been driving me particularly nuts. I get it, ok? She's cool and tough because she says cool, tough stuff when she's beating people up or hanging with her teammates. Can she please do or say something interesting now?

As a huge Whedon fan and a huge Marvel fan, I really really want this show to be awesome. I'm not giving up yet, but this episode made me sad and frustrated.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-10-24 05:01 ]
Or are you guys suggesting they should have flying it inside the plane?

Can only speak for myself - yes. Launch it through the wall leading into the Bus's passenger area; mayhem galore...

The music is still so jarring. If they wanna keep going with the same bombastic score at least turn the levels down a bit.

Although I am IRL a working, professionally trained classical musician and a HUGE proponent of the Shirley Walker school of filmic soundtrack awesomeness, I do tend to find Bear McCreary's stuff to be just too generally over the top for live action tv (with the exception of his work on Human Target, which I found to fit the mood of the show perfectly.) Don't get me wrong - all those orchestral flourishes are great, but sometimes it makes it hard to take what you're seeing seriously.

Are the comment counts indicative of how the Whedon faithful feel about this show? Personally, even with its flaws, I was completely on board for Dollhouse every week. But I can barely bring myself to watch AoS.

Imo every Whedon show up to this point has had - at its heart - some sort of serious, substantive topic going on underneath all those... trivial matters (like plotting, characterization, quality of execution, etc.) Based on what I've seen so far MaoS is sure seeming like all it really boils down to is pure escapist fantasy - which is perfectly alright, assuming that's your thing*. It's just that - when you get down to it - there really isn't all that much to be said about that sort of entertainment after the fact other than "I liked it!" or "I didn't like it."

Listen - this show SCREAMS Whedon. Quirk. Humor. Derring do in a fantasy landscape w/ over arching plots. I'm not saying anyone is required to like the show - but to imply this is some radical departure from what's come before is a bit of a stretch

Imo "imply" has nothing to do with. It is proving to be a radical departure from the Whedon standard, at least in terms of the things I outlined above. As to whether or not this is a bad thing - that's up for you to decide.

Still not super impressed by the action sequences though, that's the show's only real flaw.

Let's just say that between Person of Interest and Arrow, Maos is so far proving to be... somewhat painful to watch in certain respects.


* And makes perfect sense since - imo - that's what the Marvel mythos is all about.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2013-10-24 06:03 ]
Based on what I've seen so far MaoS is sure seeming like all it really boils down to is pure escapist fantasy - which is perfectly alright, assuming that's your thing*.

Escapist fantasy does not have to boil down to what AoS has been so far (i.e. cliche after cliche after cliche). Same as with procedurals, of which I have seen people complain that the show is too much procedural. The X-Files was procedural and it was one of the greatest shows ever. Doctor Who, traditionally, is all one off stories. It all comes down to execution.

It's just that - when you get down to it - there really isn't all that much to be said about that sort of entertainment after the fact other than "I liked it!" or "I didn't like it."

I do agree with this statement in regards to AoS. I was just thinking about the fact that I have had no interest in re-watching any of the episodes so far. That's the first time ever for a Whedon show. I even watched Dollhouse multiple times between each episode and I hated that show.

[ edited by Kaan on 2013-10-24 06:31 ]
My favourite so far. However I don't like comicbook realities so perhaps this show will never be for me.
I couldn't read all of these before bed, but I did want to mention that I didn't notice the hovercar as a reference to Captain America's Howard Stark Expo scene until it was brought up here.

Everyone's noting all of Coulson's LMD like qualities -- the programming, the fact that he was probably way deader than he thinks he was. But either Phil has a major hard-on for everything from Cap's era, or they are bringing up his like of that era's stuff over and over again for a reason. My friend's theory that he's one of the kids at the end of Cap, with the baseball cards, is looking less and less out there every episode. (This would imply Infinity Serum or that he's been an LMD for years already, btw)
While we're talking about AC, I hope those who were disappointed with his lack of concern for the handler last week appreciated his sad face this time. It is too rare to see on TV someone who cares about human lives. In most shows, bad guys get killed and nobody cares. On AoS, they take extra steps to tell us that some of those are not bad guys.
I think part of the problem some people have is: they grew up.


Weirdly enough, I think you're right. I just think it's the writers, not the audience that grew up, and their show is standing amidst a medium-sized midlife crisis. This show is about flashing toys. Tech, plots, jokes... it's all so very adolescent, like they're recapturing a glorious youth, that they - of course- never had. You could feel the fun Joss had doing Avengers, and making a big time blockbuster is still probably one of the best mediums for fun to be had, but if you make a TV show, you gotta have a question.

An urge.

MAoS is trying to get that short-term blockbuster-fun to TV, and this just is not the medium for such an attention span. The narrative is so thin, the characters so idle, that you stand to see a lot of Plots(tm) and Action(tm) that doesn't do anything for the characters or any questions they could raise.

This, in large parts, is what reminds me so much of any JJ Abrams-schooled sci-fi. This hack-attitude of Mystery(tm) that substitutes for themes. Cliffhangers that substitute for stories. And just like all those Abrams-shows and their descendents, MAoS is ... juvenile. In order to get that huge, juvenile mainstream-"nerd" fanbase. And in order to finally play with the toys that the other kids always had.

At first I thought, maybe it's the world. Maybe Joss just struggles to populate a world with done characters and clear ties to other narratives, while his own strength is building up stuff from scratch and building into it the questions he likes to ask. Maybe it's the Marvel universes' fault, for not having any intersting questions at its heart, which might very well be, considering how broad and general most of their characters set out.

But then again. He wrote Astonishing X-Men. And boy, did it not matter at all, what the universe was. There was a story there, a thing he needed to tell, a bullet we needed to dodge. And I don't feel anything remotely similar here.

And I don't like Breaking Bad.

Plus, this Abrams-feel is strengthened by a very ugly tendency to juggle Big Topics just enough to get to the level of lipservice in the sense of making sure that we're not on another planet. Snowden, for instance. MAoS would be ok, if it would set out with those episodes, going towards a look at how digitalization changes privacy, or Americas foreign policies post-Bush or the neoliberal state treating citizens like customers or any other topic that you can set up with that high tech governmental secret agency. There's options there. But as it is, ever since (mass-)surveillance shifted from half-hour ethical conundrum (in The Dark Knight) and overarching meta-topic for the reasons we watch genre shows (in Dollhouse) to throwaway-halfline (in Avengers) and plot-device (in CitW), I had this feeling that Joss was losing his will and his guts to tell stories. Cause, he knows it better than anybody, it's messy. It costs. It's hard.

If all he does now is rollercoaster rides, I struggle to see him any different from the Orcis and Kurtzmans of the world. Which, sadly, really turns me off and makes me stop watching this show, just like I stopped watching all of theirs'.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2013-10-24 15:20 ]
Breaking Bad was an interchangeable example in prior post, wiesengrund. Replace it with Game of Thrones etc.

When you look at joss' prior work, you have a show with a blonde cheerleader which tries to reimagine high school, you have a vampire fightin' Batman with gadgets, you have a show set on a spaceship with a whorecompanion, you have a show set in a whoreActive house filled with tech... It's not that different. The problem is always getting to the point where the story matters. Where something means a shit. I know they can do that here.
As I tried to say, the setting, the blurb, the world as it is does not matter so much as, yes, a reason, a cause, something that matters. All his priors shows had that from the outset, amidst all silliness and goofiness and whatnot. I might even find some of those causes boring (redemption just doesn't do anything for me, but that's just me), but at least it was clear, he was using genre to tell something, that has nothing to do with genre, the setting, the world. And the sillyness and clunkyness mostly stemmed from using genre and writing sometimes-bad genre scripts. But we can live with that, if we know there's an end goal at play that is not about vampires or spacecrafts or tiny furniture. And there always was.

If this show has it, I couldn't guess it after five episodes. And keeping you guessing at this promise while entertaining you is exactly what all those other shows, the non-Joss shows always did. It's the basic strategy if you have no desire to complicate things.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2013-10-24 15:55 ]
Did I miss something, or did she make the guys in suits appear out of thin air, to catch Chan? There's no way they were in his room before.

Was I the only one that thought that the abruptness of the other men showing up was not a mistake at all, but indicated that Raina had somehow hypnotized him when she told him to close his eyes? I got a sort of supernaturally manipulative vibe from her from the beginning when Chan really wasn't responsive to her at all and then a minute later he's telling her his life story and taking her back to his place...
It's not Joss's world, wiesengrund. Yes, he invented most of the characters, but I think he's a bit constrained by the fact that he's not playing in his own sandbox. Yes, your example of X-Men is a good counterpoint, but that was in a comic book, in a fairly niche market, and a genre market at that. With Marvel he has to play to the galleries, or has been steered toward playing toward the galleries.

The last truly Joss-built world we saw was Cabin, which I found to say quite a lot, telling a story that begged to be told. Once he's done with Marvel and can put the paychecks it gave him into making his own stories again, then let's talk about if he's making roller coasters. (As an aside, I heard a little self-criticism in the other hacker's lines about how the money could change his life...)


And for all that, I think I agree with you. My patience with AoS is far from thin, but it's starting to get thinner. I need some more depth to it, sometime this season.
You know, when I think back to Buffy and Angel season one starting, I wasn't really sure what it was trying to say as a whole. I was there for the jokes and action, basically, and stayed around for the feels. I was also 16.
And so far AoS seems to be written for 16 year olds. Television writing has matured greatly since Buffy debuted in 1997 though. Someone needs to remind AoS what year it is.
I think it would preferable to chat about the episode, instead of playing "the show is good, no the show is crap" game on this site. If people want to fight then there's plenty places elsewhere they can do it. It's getting to the point where our hospitality is being abused.
I really enjoyed this episode. I loved the first three, but was not too gone on last weeks.

This new villain is fantastic. I hope she is a recurring character, and that we see more of her. I am enjoying the slow burn, and remember we have another 17 or 18 episodes left this season(can't member the exact number of episodes we are getting the season) so there is no rush on my part to get any further along in our story arc. Remember that Angel season one was basically one standalone after another, and it wasn't until the fifth episode of season two that a proper arc started i.e. the Darla arc.

A big thumbs up from me then for this episode. Good dialogue, good action, nice twists, and furthering of the centipede plot. I for one am in for the long haul.
Best episode yet! Keep it up
Finally saw it! And yes, JossIzBoss, I assumed that Raina was working some kind of mojo on the guy. There was clearly a time lapse when he closed his eyes. And the doctor was out of the loop -- she didn't know how Raina got him to volunteer.
@JossIzBoss: I didn't want to imply there had been a mistake, I really had the impression she made them appear. But of course, her hypnotizing Chan is more likely.

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