GEEK: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. WAS SOMETHING ELSE

OK, that just happened. We now know how The Winter Soldier put a big dent into the storyline of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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We have intrigue and subterfuge throughout the episode. We don’t know how to trust, even at the very last moment of the show.

First, we see that John Garrett is in a pinch being chased by drones sent from the Hub by Victoria Hand. Hand believes that there are dirty agents all over the place once the events of the Winter Soldier start to grind into motion. Garrett gets out of the ‘pinch’ but the threat continues…

Then we jump back to the Bus where the stand off with May extended into this next week’s episode. Guns are trained on May but she still won’t reveal much of the plan to monitor Coulson. She does reveal that Fury is her contact who has been laying low (we now know that Fury sniffed out the Hydra months before these events). As the conflict heats up, the Bus riders start to question each other as the factions became more and more fractious. What ultimately happens with this arch is that the Bus riders realize that May isn’t their biggest nor most immediate threat. May gets iced as they discuss what could happen once at the Hub. where the Hand is intent on eliminating those on the Bus she believes to be duplicitous.

Simmons and Tripplett (Simmlett) are still at the Hub investigating Skye’s blood, which Simmons reluctantly reveals.  Simmlett now are playing their own cat and mouse to test each other’s loyalties, this dance carries into their interaction with the Hand who shows up to test their loyalties herself. Just when we think the Hand is dirty…..

Garrett gets on the Bus after more trouble in the sky. The Bus finally gets back to the Hub where they are met with hostility: S.H.I.E.L.D agents shooting out the windows of the Bus and blowing the hatch open to expose the belly of the ship.  Ward and Skye are sent off the blow up….something, while May, Coulson, Fitz, and Garrett work to disable….something. Ultimately, we find that during a standoff with armed agents, Garrett isn’t (or is) who we thought he was.

That’s not the end though, in a moment I had been dreading Skye and Ward express feels to one another and share a kiss. Ward is questioning himself because he killed Thomas Nash and also expressing that he did it for Skye because he cares. He then exits a closet and dispatches about 8 other SHIELD grunts before coming back to Skye who finally acknowledges that he is not ‘boring’ (wink, wink).

When Skye and Ward blow up the whatever, that kills the lights and May and Coulson take advantage of Garrett’s monologuing to get the jump on his stooges. The fight continues as May wins while Coulson struggles with Garrett. Fitz shoots a guy and then gives Coulson a night-night stick that EMPs Garrett. The battle is won.

The Hand observes that Captain America has downed three Hellicarriers in DC and SHIELD has suppressed HYDRA for the time being. She notes that they have lost East Africa and ‘The Treehouse” and she appears uncertain of what comes next as HYDRA and SHIELD may no longer be active.  We get a silent scene of the Bus riders observe the fallout as many SHIELD agents and employees are in custody. Ward appears to be devastated that his former S.O. is in custody while Tripplett is screaming about trust as Garrett is walked out in chains.

That is it..right? No, the tag for the episode show that the Hand is transporting Garrett to the deepest, darkest hole when Hand asks Ward if he wants to put Garrett in an even deeper and darker hole…a grave.  I thought he would say no and say that the Fridge would be enough, but Ward did not do that. He stood, shot the guards to Garrett’s left and right, and then proceeds to give the Hand a gut shot with 2 more shots in the head to finish her. Brutal, much like the Winter Soldier.

Garrett smiles at Ward and Ward nods back with a smirk…whew!

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A few thoughts:

1. We still do not have any non-scientific mysticism: Garrett proved to be the ‘Clairvoyant’ and no magic was involved.

2. Ward will make an interesting bad guy for the crew, but is he really a bad guy, he never said Hail Hydra? Does Ward have some of the Beserker in him, like Lorelei told him in Yes Men.

Nevermind…

3. The Hand grew on me and now she is gone!!!! I wanted H.A.M.M.E.R.

4. Was the Index lost or publicized when the Widow open sourced SHIELD’s private information.

5. WINTER SOLDIER SPOILER: We know that Strucker is experimenting on people with Loki’s Chitauri staff and producing “special” people, so we won’t have mutants, but what will we have and how that play out on MOAS?

6. Will we eventually lose the Bus? The episode was somewhat cathartic in its destruction of the Bus, and a preview has been released showing that the Bus riders will have a new hangout somewhere that also holds Patton Oswalt.

7. Will the new McGuffin for the rest of the season be HYDRA or Ward trying to gather the 0-8-4s that were on the Bus?

Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Shocks Fans With Two Big Villain Reveals – TheWrap.

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In honor of his debut on Arrow, we flashback (no pun intended) to the pilot episode of the last Flash. Seems like a pretty rudimentary now. How the heck did they get M. Emmett Walsh in this show?! There is a clear reliance on Tim Burton’s Batman, Dick Tracy, and the Batman: the Animated Series aesthetic. Also a young Paula Marshall is in there!!

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Happy Friday! Daily Download is back, on a Friday because I’m lazy!

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Geek: Could More Diversity Help Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD?

When Marvel’s was announced, I was geeked, and then the cast photo came out. I immediately thought that the cast looked bland and did not inspire excitement. However, I continued to remain extremely excited by the prospects of the TV show. Then the show happened, and most critics of the show continue to complain about the regular cast. I know that two of the main characters are Asian-American, but the variation of ethnicity does not move the eye.

Most conversations I have had about the show revel about the antagonists in the show (coincidentally three of these actors have been black), and how much better they have been than the regular cast.

Reports are now coming out that Fox has a diversity initiativeDeadline’s reported that Fox, which has a genuine hit on its hands with Sleepy Hollow, which stars Nicole Beharie as Detective Abbie Mills, making her the second African-American female lead on television, and backs her up with a deep and diverse supporting cast, is now treating racial diverse as an important business metric. “Not only are you going to have more chances of a show being made here, more chances of a show being a success on TV, more chances of making it into syndication, more chances of a show selling globally and making you millions of dollars, but you are going to bring more viewers to our air and keep us in business,” Fox Broadcasting COO Joe Earley apparently said at a meeting with showrunners and other business figures last week.

Of note, MOAS is now receiving an audience at the same level as Sleepy Hollow. Both have seen declines in the viewership, but Sleepy Hollow has been much more steady compared to MOAS. I would offer that Sleepy Hollow is as weird and random as MOAS should be. The broadcast TV landscape is just now catching up to the fact that black audiences will watch shows that feature representations of their culture much more than those with a distinct lack of color. Scandal has been a phenomena and Real Husband of Hollywood has once again shown us that black men can be funny.

I have always held the belief that MOAS is mired in having to create distinctions in its cast not because of personality, but because their characters are bland. That blandness is not some curse of whiteness, instead its that there is no “there there”. We are reaching to connect with characters with no clear delineation between each other who then talk over each other. We also have nothing to make us say, “oh, that’s different” about this person or even their interpretation through acting, except when we have the special black guest star (see Ruth Negga, Samuel L. Jackson, J. August Richards, or Pascale Armand).

I think most people who was chomping at the bit for MOAS wanted something that they hadn’t seen before. Instead we have gotten some surprises, but mostly quibbling young white kids with white dad and an Asian mother. If Marvel’s intent was the sell this show in Asia (a great strategy by the way), then it worked, but unfortunately, it is losing ground in the US. I believe this is because they don’t reflect our American reality of diversity as it stands now. To that point, I feel that MOAS would have been more successful had they skewed more “diverse” in their casting.

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