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"Blondie Bear?"
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November 05 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The sixth episode is titled "FZZT" and was written by Paul Zbyszewski. Joss says it's a doozy.

Imperiled boy scouts!
Best camping trip ever!
Scots mocking 'Merkin accents!
"Have a cookie." Terrifying.
Yay! BONY tie-in!
Aaaaaaaand, he knows!
Coulson knows everything? How do you know?
"Coulson knows everything? How do you know?"

He knows he was dead, he knows more. I'm Sure of nothing, conjecture only.
They're so cute when they fight.
Ok, we don't need (or have the server power) to liveblog the episode beat by beat as it happens. Some comments during are ok.
This is, by far, the most emotional episode. I found myself tearing up.
"Ok, we don't need (or have the server power) to liveblog the episode beat by beat as it happens. Some comments during are ok."

Sorry, Boss. :/
Ward's Superman face is pretty awesome.
No worries, roddikinathome. Generally Twitter or Tumblr are better for that sort of thing.

I really liked this episode! Tense and dramatic with some great character moments.
But "Holy Crap!" was so appropriate. Best comment I've seen so far!
Hooray, an episode I loved unabashedly!
In the end, more tropes not subverted: the countdown to death, the noble sacrifice, the unrequited love, the heroic save, the bucking of authority by authority. I am sure I am forgetting more. Okay, fun, but not too deep. Simmons is loveable, to be sure. It does seem as though the real purpose here was to set up the larger mysteries. Clearly, Coulson has had something happen. He is not the same, and I take that literally. LMD still seems too obvious.
I think it's the best episode so far. Really starting to connect with the characters.
"But "Holy Crap!" was so appropriate. Best comment I've seen so far!"

*Bows* Thank ya. What else was there to say!?
That was a very enjoyable episode of television! Amazing character interactions. Great stakes. I love how I actually thought that Simmons might die since Joss was associated with the show. I wasn't sure it was going to happen, but I went into that commercial break actually worried that Simmons might die.
She did have a (seemingly) incurable deadly virus AND jump out of a plane. I was worried.
I might have teared up. That's probably a record for me. Six episodes in...damn Whedons.
Best episode yet. I'm finally starting to like the characters.
Does anyone think Ward could be a super soldier ala Captain America? Loved Wards humor in knowing that was mocked a nice switch from his character so far.
I love how I actually thought that Simmons might die since Joss was associated with the show.

With more than a third of the episode still to come? Not a chance.
OK, I'm no physics expert, but... is it really possible to *catch up* with someone in freefall, with no means of propulsion?
There was decidedly less than a third left. It was the second to last commercial break (the last if it weren't for this show's use of a tag), I want to say it was at about 7:50. For me that was believably close to the end of the episode for it to have happened.

Edit: Oh, and Andrew, I'm no physics major either, but as I understand it, you can change your velocity when falling by becoming more or less aerodynamic. Falling like Simmons was, you have quite a bit of air resistance. Bring your arms and legs inward to streamline your body (probably what Ward did, I'd have to rewatch the episode), and you can hasten your falling speed by decreasing air resistance.

[ edited by PaperSpock on 2013-11-06 03:58 ]
Wonderful episode, I cried. And I was spoiled because I started late.

The whole concept of an alien virus being far scarier then an invasion was just so spot on.

I had a feeling Simmons wouldn't die but I was terrified for her. And Fitz rocked the worried bestie scared shitless so well.

The whole ensemble was excellent. They gelled.

And so does this mean May's a bot too? Did anyone else catch that she died too?
Coulson's scene with the fireman was really well done. Ward is finally loosening up. Fitz/Simmons were not only non-annoying and easier to understand but actually characters instead of dues ex machinas. I almost thought Simmons would die which would be a huge Doyle level shake-up but it was not to be. I'm glad she survived so the writers can hopefully continue to give me reasons to root for her.

[ edited by eddy on 2013-11-06 04:03 ]
Great episode tonight.This one really gave Fitz/Simmons some character development and let us get to know them better othen then just the science duo.

Also like the developments with Coulson.He knows he's different.I'm still thinking LMD but I also know that that is a easy guess and probably wrong.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2013-11-06 04:00 ]
I've enjoyed every episode so far, but this was the first one to really make me actually feel something. And that sky diving scene was a truly cinematic moment reminding me of a certain scene from the second X-Men movie. This is definitely the best episode so far

I like the tease of a character death here, being a Whedon show and all, but they're going to wait until we really, really love her, THEN kill her. LOL. Though I think if she had died, it would have provided an excellent character development opportunity for Fitz, but I'm glad she lived and the sky diving scene was awesome
Simmons jumping out of the plane was the first time in the series I felt that someone I cared about was actually at risk. High point of the series so far. We need more of that.

I guess May was lying her ass off to Coulson in her speech at the end?
Good to see the show quality is still trending up. IMO, the scene with FitzSimmons doing their Ward impressions and Fitz completely failing at flirting with Skye was the funniest thing I've seen yet from AoS. And the Simmons scenes near the episode climax definitely got me to tear up: some of the best dramatic moments yet.

Did I catch Melinda's statement right when she was talking with Coulson at the end of the episode? Has she died too? Is that why she was working admin instead of in the field? That's sure what it sounded like to me.

As somebody who works in antibody R&D, I couldn't keep from thinking of all the things I'd do differently in trying to create the antiserum. Despite this, a lot of the science-speak wasn't all that inaccurate, for television at least (although the "brain cells" Simmons was showing Coulson on the monitor were definitely red blood cells).
There was decidedly less than a third left. It was the second to last commercial break (the last if it weren't for this show's use of a tag), I want to say it was at about 7:50. For me that was believably close to the end of the episode for it to have happened.

Oh - you mean from the actual jump off point. It was still too early in the episode (7:48) to be taken seriously. 12 minutes is just too long a time to have after such a simple plot twist.
Terminal velocity in regular freefall is around 200km/h, and the terminal velocity in diving position can exceed 300km/h. And, at full speed, human glide ratio is around 1. This means you can travel sideways at the same rate as you fall. So yes, it's possible to catch a falling scientist by jumping after her.
So, I know some people (including those in the room with me) were like, "Oh, she'll be fine, plenty of time in the episode and she's a main character" and I'm just, "A HOLE IN THE WORLD, though!!!"

Oh, and Jemma is actually my favorite, so I was invested and I loved this episode.
Loved the episode! Fitz and Simmons started talking slower, and I got the character development from them that I was looking for. A very touching moment between Man and Coulson, definitely some romantic tension from their past. It's nice seeing the over 40 crowd getting romantic sub plots too ;)

Coulson knows something is up, and I suspect there will be a payoff by episode 13. That will probalby be a mini-arc or twist point, which they can fill in with the last nine episodes.

The show is definitely hitting it's stride.
I honestly think this was the best episode yet! Between the moment shared between Coulson and the last of the firefighters to have handled the Chitauri helmet before he died - with the revelation of Coulson knowing he was dead for longer than 8 seconds and having a Buffy-like reaction to wherever he seemingly went - and the whole "Simmons is infected, so it's time to race the clock" section of the episode, I was totally blown away by how everything was pulled off!

I mean, the only bit of serious nitpicking I could do is the matter of how Simmons got infected; while I'm far from an expert in any biosciences-related field, even I knew that Simmons should have been a hell of a lot more careful with examining the first body re: having the Dwarves or handheld scanning equipment do extensive tests first, or using a hazard suit when doing examination of the bodies. Though I'm sure it would right up Joss, Jed and Mo's alley to have the virus be the Chitauri version of the common cold or flu based on the fact the grunt the helmet came from wasn't reacting like three firefighters and Simmons when trying to conquer Earth ;P

Oh! And did anyone else have a "Oh no he didn't!" reaction when Blake, as he was getting off the Bus during the tag sequence, seemed into intentionally mess with Coulson by spoiling Lola's shine? Definitely was hoping for a sign Coulson was about to lay a beatdown, but nothing happened!

@Sigfodr: Haha, I was thinking that too. "I mean, they probably won't kill her...but she's the cute science specialist like Fred was, and look what happened to Fred! ;_;"

I loved this episode. The writers need to give Ward more non-gruff-soldier moments because they are getting fantastic. And I'm not just talking about his Clint-Eastwood-squinty, self-mocking "I'm Agent Grant Ward" scene (which I laughed at), but his somber, frustrated "I wanted it to be a person" confession. Always the expert field operative, he's rarely found himself against a crisis he is powerless to stop until joining Coulson's team. That one scene spoke volumes about the character, and I was glad to see he was the one who dove after Simmons and saved her.

And I'm really liking how this team is coming to know each other. When Ward sees Fitz struggling with the parachute and preparing to dive out of the boarding ramp, Ward doesn't even question it; he just yanks the parachute off of Fitz, takes the antiserum, and leaps out without hesitating.
I liked it! Yeah it was pretty standard plot wise, very pedestrian in the use of tropes, but I hate the defining of tropes anyway. It was enjoyable and that's good enough at this point. After the previous episodes that's all you could ask really.

Music was still god awful though.
I enjoy the hell out of live blogging episodes, so have at it. The server can take it.

Also... good episode. Got a bit teary there for a bit.
Fitz was trying to break me with his face.
Fitz was trying to break me with his face. <- Love.
Awesome episode, holy crap indeed. Also does anybody else think this one was the script Joss "tweaked"? Call it a gut feeling.
I really didn't like where she hit her lab partner in the head with a fire extinguisher, really hard. Who does that?
Must be standard SHIELD cognitive recalibration.
I understood that reference.
A much, much better episode. It's the first time I felt the show had any real emotional gravitas and the performances were great. Fitz and Simmons finally became characters in their own right and the actors really got to shine. If the series keeps this level of quality up there might be some hope for it yet.
Signs that I have been part of the Whedon & Supernatural fandom for long - half the time I was thinking "Oh, Jemma - please don't die - it's too soon. We don't know you enough to moarn yet." I was more worried/scared about what Fitz/Coulson would do were she to die.

Favorite ep so far :D Keep it up writers.

After thoughts: was Coulson just brought back from the dead in the normal sciency way and we are now dealing with normal human post-death-experience? Can it be this easy/deeply human? May died too it seems. Mom and Dad have so much to bond over.

Ward mocking himself - so funny, I was shocked into laughing. He actually sees himself as a big brother/protector.

Skye in the background - I don't really mind. It's nice to see how emotional she actually is - she's the 'normal' person in the group.

Phil with the fireman. Chills.

Best part - It's no longer Fitz/Simmons - it's Fitz and Jemma. It was good to see them as two people.
Again it was over before I realized it. Whatever else can be said about an episode when it speeds by like that they are doing something very right. And like others have mentioned this episode on an emotional level took it from being interested in what was happening to caring which is a big step up.
[D]id anyone else have a "Oh no he didn't!" reaction when Blake. . .seemed into intentionally mess with Coulson by spoiling Lola's shine?

Yes! I came here just to see if others had mentioned that. Given all the fuss that was made about "Don't Touch Lola" from the early trailers, that seemed like a moment designed to take off on Twitter etc.
This was by far my favorite episode so far, from getting to know Fitz and Simmons better, Fitz's hilarious attempt at flirting, the mocking of Agent Ward, the fact that Skye was still in the doghouse, Coulson's scene with the firefighter, Fitz and Simmons battling the virus, Ward's touching scene with Skye about not being able to protect them against something he can't see and understand, Simmons' heroic sacrifice - I thought she actually would die, mostly to give Fitz character development - Ward's cool sky diving scene, Coulson's angry-father scene, the May-Coulson hint-dropping scene, the Simmons-Ward scene were Ward mocked himself, the touching Fitz-Simmons sisterly kiss with Fitz holding his pillow, all toped with the guy touching Lola. I'll need to watch it again to get more of the hint-y details, and to not be so run-on sentence-y, but this is truly a Whedon show.

In my opinion, this is the episode that made *all* of the characters interesting and human.
I liked how Fitz was so worked up at the end because he couldn't be the one to skydive to the rescue. That's a decent scene in itself, but it worked even better because Ward had his moment of sitting around and feeling useless. If they'd actually talked to each other about it I think it would have been a cliche of, "Oh look, we each add our unique talents to the team!" Since they didn't talk and they both worry about it, we see that they're all useful, but it still feels more human and real.
Terminal velocity in regular freefall is around 200km/h, and the terminal velocity in diving position can exceed 300km/h. And, at full speed, human glide ratio is around 1. This means you can travel sideways at the same rate as you fall. So yes, it's possible to catch a falling scientist by jumping after her.

I love that you posted this information!!
I loved this episode!
-I don't sweat, I glisten.
-The way he said "fast as 'humanly' possible"
-large amounts of iron in blood
-feeling "rusty"
-no muscle memory
-programed "magical place" response.
-affinity toward machines "Lola"
-feeling different
-May coming up with a way to explain and distract from seeking why he feels different. (she knows/suspects the real reason).

He's a Cylon! or possibly has an artificial/semi-artificial body.

[ edited by garyyager on 2013-11-06 16:39 ]
Good character episode for Simmons and Fitz. I'll admit I needed a little help warming up to them and this one delivered. Hole in the World was definitely on my mind... and actually I'm still left contemplating blue Chitauri-God Jemma with lightning bolts... it could have been a thing, but I'm glad she's still with us. But Fitz, Fitz, Fitz... you're a mechanical genius and you still can't operate a door? Everyone knows that depressurizing the plane unlocks the doors!

Imagining if Lola had fallen out of the back of the plane too... Coulson diving after her with no chute! And putting her in hover mode just in time.

On the gripe side, and maybe it's just me, but on several occasions now I feel like I'm being told about character interaction that I haven't actually witnessed. Ward is being hard on Skye, Mommy and Daddy are fighting, etc. When did this happen? Maybe characters are being mildly grumpy or disagreeing, but the dialog makes it sound like there was some kind of harsh knock-down drag-out fight that I apparently completely missed.
"He's a Cylon!"

"Music was still god awful though."

I didn't even notice. Not a downside for me yet.
This episode was definitely an improvement over the preceding episodes, but my 12 year old predicted Simmons dilemma the moment she touched the Scout Master's corpse, along with quite a few other plot twists so I think there is still a heck of a lot of room for more.

They chose to imperil the one character that we even remotely cared about though, so good choice there. (aside from Coulson, who is a given}

There was some character development, but again, there was room for more. I produced a few tears when Simmons jumped and I wasn't sure that she would survive (her jump, BTW was no earlier in the episode than Jenny Calendar's neck snap, in reference to a comment above) but she did, which oddly disappointed me. I don't necessarily want Simmons dead, but I do need to see evidence that this show is not a rote, by the book, MOTW, vanilla, 70s flavored, static, action show and showing us that no one is safe would have been a fairly easy way to do that.

Fitz is still a stereotype and yet an enigma at the same time. The stupid crush he has for Skye needs to go. I mean really. Could nerd boy falling for hawt female lead BE any more stereotypical? But they did add a little meat to the Fitz/Simmons relationship. They both desperately need to be explored more. This whole episode would have been much better served if we'd gone into it actually caring about the pair. And Fitz really needs to show some range of emotion, or it needs to be explained why he isn't. Although scientific genius who also happens to be on the Spectrum is its own stereotype, even though kids like my daughter could really use someone to identify with that is better than the contemptibly ridiculous Sheldon Cooper.

I have hope though. Fitz is pretty much in the place where Topher was by this time in Dollhouse, albeit much less reprehensible, and by the end of season 2 Topher was the best character on the show.

Ward is a smidgen less boring. Jumping out of a plane does not substitute for character development, but the scene where he made fun of himself and acknowledged that he knew the others did so was a leap in the right direction.

Skye continues to be hopelessly preposterous. They almost completely skated over her betrayal of the group last episode. Why was Ward the only person that was upset with her? The actress herself sounds extremely interesting. She has spent a LOT of time in China and speaks fluent Mandarin (I think, I may be wrong about the exact dialect). Give Skye a multicultural background. Show us she has unique traits. Have her speak a little Chinese. ANYTHING. Please show us that she is more than bright eyes and bouncy hair.

They are moving way too slowly with Coulson's reveal. SHIELD writers need to be locked in a room with a DVD player and a couple seasons of Vampire Diaries so that they can learn to produce plot twists and lasting meaningful character development.

I did enjoy the episode, it was an episode designed to grab us by the heart strings but through it all I was conscious of the fact that it fell short of similar episodes in Whedon's other shows.

In the end, though, I think SHIELD is moving in the right direction and I continue to have hope that it will reach its full potential.

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-11-07 01:28 ]
[D]id anyone else have a "Oh no he didn't!" reaction when Blake. . .seemed into intentionally mess with Coulson by spoiling Lola's shine?

YES! Not only that but he seemed a bit covetous. I sense a lot of competitiveness between the two. Possibly a whole Spike/Angel thing, where Blake is Angel and Coulson is Spike.

Because Coulson would DEFINITELY be Spike.

[ edited by ladypeyton on 2013-11-06 17:57 ]
I can't add much to the comments above, it indeed was the best character episode and moved the audience and cast forward together in one big step, nicely done. I will say that this being Season 1 of a major network hit, I was not and will continue to not be worried about any of the major characters being killed off. I seriously doubt this is that kind of rodeo.
Coulson comforting the fireman at risk to his own life was tense and lovely at the same time. He was either gassing on about what's next being beautiful, to give him solace, OR he really did see the next plane of existence when he died and that's why he's so changed, not being nervous at all about bucking authority (He was so "BRING IT" at the end of the episode - what an awesome moment) because death is no big to him anymore. In fact, I felt reverberations of Tim Minear's famous Angel dialogue there: "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."

Game on.
See this was a perfect example for what I wrote about last episode: they needed to establish a "norm" to be able to mess with it and have it resonate. Fitz/Simmons have been the cute, always chipper and harmonious science couple for five weeks and now they underlined that big time in the beginning of the episode and then stomped all over it by pulling a Willow (read: putting the adorable innocent one in serious peril). And it was awesome!

This whole three-generation-family dynamic is what I love about the show right now. Ward being the oldest son, Fitz/Simmons and Skye being the youngest siblings (Skye being the adopted one, new to the family) who often don't take things are seriously as they should and then May and Coulson filling the obvious parent role. The early lab scene was so wonderfully done with Fitz trying to hit on Skye and Skye grinning when Jemma does the same goofing around thing. This part reminds me so much of the Season one Buffy+Xander/Willow triangle, it's uncanny. I love Skye's reactions to things. Something about it feels very natural and rarely like "acting" ... I wonder if that's scripted or a director's input thing they're doing.

I wouldn't mind spending a lot more time with "the kids" on the bus. There's a reason why Objects in Space and Out of Gas are two of the best episodes of Firefly (note that I'm aware that it's not just because of the location!).

PS: I did totally miss the part when Blake touched Lola apparently!

And also, for those that teared up: WHEN did you tear up? I broke the moment Jemma stepped to the glass and asked Coulson to tell her dad first. That killed me. Those moments that say more by talking around something or verbalizing nothing at all always get me hardcore.

[ edited by D-e-f- on 2013-11-06 18:19 ]
Those moments that say more by talking around something or verbalizing nothing at all always get me hardcore.

The moment you stop talking, you start communicating. (I think I stole that from joss, I'm not sure).
"The moment you stop talking, you start communicating. (I think I stole that from joss, I'm not sure)."

I'm pretty sure that's either in the commentary or in an interview about HUSH.
I've also felt the family vibe for a while. Mom & Dad, big brother, and the twins are clearly defined . Skye kind of flips between the neighbor kid who is always over, the adopted orphan and foriegn exchange student. Usually I see her as foriegn exchange student.

[ edited by garyyager on 2013-11-06 18:44 ]
Great episode. Not seeing the quality jump, however. This is the show I've been watching all season. Glad others are getting on board. Still have yet to be aware of a single note of music.
This episode was the most distinctive yet with some long desired Whedon feel to it. Yeah, it was mostly or just tropes, but the realization was good and it all worked. It was emotional, but not too pathetic. I liked the interaction and banter between the main characters – especially the (self)mocking of Ward. What I liked even more was the "humanization" of FitzSimmons, who until now seemed like only caricatures and not real characters. Simmons was at least sympathetic (adorkable, actually), but Fitz was just dull. However, this was the first time when I thought of him as real, functional and even likeable character.

All in all, I had a family-friendly "A Hole in The World" vibe from this. What would really make this episode resonate would be to indeed kill Simmons. But I'm glad they didn't kill her, because it would be a pity to lose this particular character and actress. There's a lot hidden potential in her. ;) And besides, if people are suppose to once again moan about Whedon killing characters, let them first really like them, so that they could be truly pissed when they die. :)
The big jumping out the plane moment was a highlight for me. It was the kind of action I don't expect to see in a TV show and I just ignored the fact that the Bus can hover over water or something? (in order to get them back on board).
And I'm really enjoying Coulson and his conflicted feelings about what happened to him. He is told over and over that he is not acting like the old Coulson. He doesn't feel like the old Coulson. Does he suspect it is more than what others are telling him?

I have a bad memory. Who was speaking with the Dr played by Ron Glass when they say he must never know. Was it May?
I loved it, it hit a lot of the notes I've been waiting for them to get to. Excellent episode.

And, yeah, it may not have been "Hole in the World" exactly, but let's be realistic, guys. This is the sixth episode of the show. Not every Whedon series hits its stride perfectly out of the gate. Firefly is the exception, not the rule.

D-e-f-: I had tears welling up when Fitz broke the quarantine. Can't remember the exact line, but something along the lines of "We'll do what we always do. We'll fix it together." I may have a deep love for good partnership moments. *laughs*

Lioness: Maria Hill was the other person in the conversation there. But I think that Melinda May does know the truth, maybe she's on the team to keep an eye on Coulson? Between the end of this episode and the trailer for Winter Soldier, I feel like we're going to see some definite questions of loyalty come up as we approach summer. But that's just my speculation.
Ah, thanks kishi. It suggests to me that Melinda May may not know any more than Coulson does, but that the same thing, whatever it is, happened to her.
Yup, this was trope-y, but: Tropes Are Not (Necessarily) Bad. The breaking-isolation scene, the "I feel powerless" scene, the heroic self-sacrifice scene... all perfectly standard. And a lot of fun. The plane jumps were both excellent, and definitely got me more amped than anything else the show's shown.

Also, considering the various evildoers we've had so far, it was a nice change to have the third firefighter just be a poor schmuck who's next in line to die. And Coulson's willingness to take risks to be there for those in peril suddenly makes a lot more sense... His "bucking authority" also bodes well for the Winter Soldier tie-ins.

Mild subversion in that Blake knew at once that Coulson was cheating, and was (mostly) fine with it.

ETA: thoughts on the "Sandbox" -- one, though they didn't mention it outright, the Sandbox is clearly in the Sahara (crossing the Atlantic from New York, dealing with the Moroccan office, etc.). Which is a really good place for biological containment. I do begin to notice a somewhat childish theme to the SHIELD base names -- the Slingshot, the Sandbox -- and I wondered about that. And then it hit me: it's a subtle reminder that humanity is so "hilariously outgunned." We are the kids playing with our little toys, trying to stay out from underfoot among the gods...

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2013-11-06 20:41 ]
Someone commented about the music. Some have noted it, others not. I find it very intrusive.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-11-06 20:43 ]
ManEnoughToAdmitIt, nice insight! I noticed the slingshot/sandbox/kids'-toys naming, but I'd thus far failed to come up with a meaningful reason. And I like yours. :) I did wonder, though, if Rayna's phrasing of "[getting their] toy soldiers off the shelf" at the end of the prior episode was part of the motif as well, and what this could mean about the backers and motives of Centipede. Ideas?

[Edited to clarify]

[ edited by KieraJenG on 2013-11-06 21:27 ]
I agree that this was the best episode so far, and made me want to rewatch it immediately. Coulson really popped out as a character in this one, with his admission that he knows he was dead for more than 4 seconds; his concern about why he feels different - anyone else feel a callback to Buffy questioning not feeling normal when she comes back in season 6 - dying and coming back is not a trivial experience -it changes you); his willingness to stand his ground against a superior; and that scene with Melinda May. I thought the bit where she tells him to take his shirt off was very hot, actually, even if ostensibly for not hot purposes. There is just such a strong sympathetic and sexual tension between the two of them. I don't think her comments about what she had gone through necessarily mean that she had also died - that would be too coincidental. I think she just went through some other majorly traumatic incident and was reminding him that it takes time to heal from these.

Mild nitpick. SHIELD is an international organization. Even for those members born and raised in the U.S., by the time they reach any kind of useful level they are trained and used to communicating in global standards. Scientists use the metric system. Even U.S. scientists. Ward may not be a scientist but given that SHIELD is international he damn well should be used to using metrics. Whatever amount that pistol was off by, it should have been in grams not ounces.
My fave episode so far. And I'm not seeing (er, hearing) the music issue still (although I wonder if the sound mix has been tweaked).

I think the show is about family. And, you know, spies and superheroes and shit. But the interesting stuff is the personal stuff. I realise I'm not saying anything ground breaking there, but when you read the internet you'd think the show could be 94032940 times better by adding Luke Cage (as an example) - my take, screw Luke Cage. Tell me why Coulson does things.
Yeah, best episode so far. Still have some big issues, and although I really like Simmons and Henstridge, the show hasn't nearly earned her death well enough for me to have even a little suspense over it. But the sweetness between her and Fitz was really good.

But the scene between Coulson and the fireman was the best of the show so far. That's the SHIELD I want to be watching. Really fantastic.

Still wish the spy stuff was just a bit more... interesting. This episode was a step forward in that direction, especially once they introduced the idea of a Chitauri virus. But it all started really blandly, again: some guys out camping, telling spooky stories... then wouldn'tcha know it, something actually spooky happens. And while the floating dead guy visual eventually paid off with the rats (in a moment I really loved), didn't really strike me as a strong enough visual hook on which to hang the teaser.

And this was the first episode where I've noticed the music. Agreed, though--tone it down!

Overall, best episode, without a doubt. Excited to see this show continue to grow.
It was better. I'm still not calling it good, but it was better.

Poor Coulson - has to take orders from the Man in Black.
One thing that keeps ticking me off: Every time Coulson addresses FitzSimmons as FitzSimmons. It doesn't sound like something someone would actually ever say to the addressee. I like that they refer TO them as that but it sounds completely unnatural to me when Coulson addresses the two like that.

Oh and did anybody else get a weird Torchwood-vibe from this episode? I don't actually know why, though. Maybe it was the predominance of British accents and alien virus/science-y stuff. Man, I miss that show.

The moment you stop talking, you start communicating. (I think I stole that from joss, I'm not sure).

One of my favorite Joss quotes and likely fuel for my next term paper. :D

I'm pretty sure that's either in the commentary or in an interview about HUSH.

And you would be correct! I think it was the commentary.
Nice episode, although as someone noted earlier, I've liked much of what's come before so I didn't see it as some kind of quantum leap forward. It was nice to have a FitzSimmons centric episode and especially nice in that it seemed the writers have made a concerted effort to tone down the "talk over" style and let their dialogue breathe a bit

Where I See This Going Theory of The Week: Coulson learns the truth about what Shield did to him without a consent form. He loses it and takes his ragtag outfit and goes rogue, leading into a Season Two civil war type scenario

This would: makes sense for Coulson, tie in nicely with Winter Soldier premise (bad guy Robert Redford running the show), and dovetail into the Whedon "don't trust big institutions" world view. Anyway - that's what I think today

Finally - add me to the list that has never even noticed the music, much less been bothered by it. Although, that in itself might be considered critical of McCreary's work
Interesting comments about the music. I often felt Dollhouse had incredibly intrusive music that played non-stop over every single scene. I just wanted to have some moments that were powered by the words and actors, not forced along by the music. I'm not noticing the issue here. Perhaps it is because this show is a little more mainstream it what it is aiming for, but it doesn't standout as something that is out of place. I'll try to remember to pay attention to it more in the next episode and see if it really is as continual as some are saying.

As pretty much everyone else has said, this was the best episode so far. I felt last weeks was a bit of a dip in quality, but I have felt the show going from strength to strength every episode. I loved the feel of opening sections, which felt like something out of the X-Files or Fringe. The second half set the tension high and really did not know what the fate of Simmons would be. Unlike a couple of other commentators, I did feel a little at ease once she jumped from the aeroplane though; it didn't seem like the right way to end a lead character's life after the more emotional moments that had lead up to it and it did have the feel of setting up a action packed finish. Still, it was an exciting sequence that was a little more in keeping with the sort of thing we were expecting from a Marvel TV series.

I'm pretty on board with all of the characters now, with the exception of May, who seems a little bland at the moment, with her damaged veteran story. I'm a little surprised that so many people seem to like her a lot, but she does have some good moments with Coulson (although he is probably my second least favourite character.) Even Ward has grown on me. I recall saying after the first episode that I could not see him developing into anything interesting, comparing him to Ballard, but without any possibility of a deconstruction of the character. Surprisingly, there is a bit of deconstruction going on, but rather than something that is being forced on him, Ward is slowly opening up to those around him. He may not be the most fascinating character, but his robot shell is cracking and he is becoming more and more likable. I know this programme is unlikely to deal with superheroes in great detail, but it would be interesting to see Ward interacting with one. Seeing the hero and protector of the team having to work alongside a hero and protector of the planet could create some wonderful moments, and could make Ward question the responsibilities he places on himself. I've always liked Skye (she has always seemed like the only character to actually have a character since the first episode, so I don't really get why many viewers don't like her,) and Fitz/Simmons have always been an enjoyable presence to me, although it has taken until this episode for them to really shine.

Hoping the following episodes can keep this standard going.
BlueEyedBrigadier - I noticed that too. 'Hey, he touched Lola!'

Good episode. I like getting these little mentions of stuff the characters have done prior, time at the academy etc.
I was a bit shocked when Simmons jumped from the plane - for a moment, I honestly thought she was going to die.

Loved the huge hug Skye gave Simmons at the end. Almost family!

Also, Coulson yelling "DON'T GET ME WRONG I'M HAPPY YOU'RE BOTH STILL ALIVE" just tickled me.

Ward is funny, when they give him stuff other than dour. I actually really like Ward! And I'm relieved I still have my FitzSimmons!
"F.Z.Z.T." was GREAT! All caps needed, because I was looking forward to see Paul Zbyszewski's writing on the show for so long, and it delivered. Zbyszewski most notably wrote the three great episodes "Jughead", "Namaste" and "Follow the Leader" for LOST. Now, what I want to see, and hope will happen, is Joss Whedon directing one of his scripts. Keeping my eye on that.

I'm not familiar with Vincent Misiano's past work as a director, but he handled himself very well on this one. After two weeks away from the series, they accomplished the best character development so far, with Fitz, Simmons, Ward and Coulson. And there was a charming exchange between Agent and Melinda May. I really enjoyed that. #LMD
Fitz= F.Z.Z.T. Yea? Can't believe it took me that long to realize.
How long before someone grabs that for a license plate... Checks watch.
In re: to the sandbox and slingshot. In the avengers cartoon, the super villain prison is called the big house when in actuality its a tiny prison created by Hank Pym.
ETA: thoughts on the "Sandbox" -- one, though they didn't mention it outright, the Sandbox is clearly in the Sahara (crossing the Atlantic from New York, dealing with the Moroccan office, etc.). Which is a really good place for biological containment. I do begin to notice a somewhat childish theme to the SHIELD base names -- the Slingshot, the Sandbox -- and I wondered about that.

I just assumed they were chosen because they were in the same vein as the word "Shield". SHIELD - shields, slingshot - sends things into space, sandbox - sandy and hides your toys.
I'd assumed "slingshot" referenced this and "sandbox" referenced this.
I'm now waiting for them to name some kind of SHIELD super-weapon "pacifier." :)
"I just ignored the fact that the Bus can hover over water or something? (in order to get them back on board)."

No, they had to ask for help on that one. Coulson mentioned it when he was yelling at Ward and Jemma, though it was easy to miss.
I really liked the character development and especially the Fitz-Simmons relationship. Oliver Sava at AV Club had a really good observation: "The dynamic between the two is very reminiscent of Buffy’s Willow and Xander, two long-time friends who act like brother and sister but easily have the potential for something more. The kiss on the cheek Simmons gives Fitz at the end of the episode makes me think that, like the Buffy pair, Simmons has romantic feelings that are unreciprocated by Fitz, who is fawning over Skye the way season one Xander lusted over Buffy."

What does "F.Z.Z.T." stand for? Is it just supposed to sound like "Fitz"?
I believe the periods were a mistake, mike13. Doesn't stand for anything, it's just the sound of an electric short. Fzzt!
How could the periods be just a mistake? It's the title of the episode.

Maybe it's a reference to the acronymic title of the show and name of the organization? Although that admittedly seems a little tenuous.
I liked how the episode put the characters above plot. It was needed at this point. Not just Fitz and Simmons, but also Coulson, May and I think I'm starting to warm up to Ward.
Squishy, I mean a mistake on the part of journalists and possibly the ABC press team. Different sites are using different spellings of the title, some with periods, some without; some all-caps, some not; and so on. For example, the official stream of the episode from ABC doesn't have periods in the title. Meanwhile, this listing of upcoming episodes from Futon Critic spells it both ways.

I mean, maybe the periods are there just as a play off the title of the show--I could buy that--but I seriously doubt there's an actual acronym behind the letters.
D-e-f-: Well, they've already got the "night-night"...
Loved the episode, I've been thoroughly enjoying them all so far but I think I'd agree that this was the best one yet. I especially liked Fitz' crush on Skye, the perfectly platonic FitzSimmons relationship and all Coulson scenes in the episode.

The only character that doesn't hit with me & my three fellow watchers yet is May, who didn't do much yet besides looking sad/bitter, and whose lines tend to be plain or dull. I hope she's getting some development/backstories in soon.
Somebody last week on the promo thread mentioned FZZT having to do with fzzt branes, which is something related to string theory. I have no idea what any of that means, so I'm hoping someone science-y on here can tell us if that relates to this episode or not.
I think May has gotten plenty of character development. It's just very subtle. I like that. She's my favorite character
I've been thinking about the conversation May had with Coulson and decided that whatever happened to her was NOT the same as what happened to him although they may both think it is.
Although she chose a desk job when she recovered, her skills are clearly not rusty as his are.
And count me in as someone who found the music intrusive at least once when I thought it was drowning out everything.
The music is noticeably inappropriate.
I loved this one! I was very happy to see so much time spent on characters instead of action, and enjoyed how much of it was on the bus. (So I guess I like it when it doesn't act like it has as big a budget as it does?) It was great to finally see more of FitzSimmons, or rather Fitz and Jemma.

For a while I wasn't worried for her, but when the third rat started floating I became genuinely afraid they were going to kill her off. However, when she jumped out of the plane I was convinced she would stop her fall when the virus took effect and suspended her in mid-air, allowing Ward to catch up and immunise her retroactively...if she wasn't already dead...maybe I didn't think that through. I was just surprised the episode didn't use the floating set-up.

My only gripe is that the teasers continue to take away time from the main team (do they have a collective name yet? They should have one!). We wouldn't have lost much shock value if we'd started with them looking for a body and discovering it afloat. Basically, the more time spent with the characters, the better.
I really like the bond between May and Coulson; the best since Mal and Zoe. There is so much between them not said in words. Looking forward to more development.

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