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Friday, 8 November 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: FZZT


First things first: best episode so far. Even the lack of an actual villain - something for Agent Ward to punch - was a key strength of this particular story.

FZZT began with the team investigating strange deaths that left their victims floating in the air after bizarre electromagnetic anomalies. A bit of legwork traced a connection between the victims to a firefighting crew who had been at the site of the Battle Of New York and picked up a Chitauri souvenir. Unfortunately that wasn't all they picked up.

By about the mid-point of the episode it was obvious that this wasn't going to be a breezy story, coupled with a sub-plot about Coulson questioning his health and general well-being after his death (however brief) during the Avengers movie.

But then one of the team falls victim to the same infection that claimed the first responders and it appears as though the show is heading towards a very dark place. For the longest moment I honestly thought we would be saying good bye to someone before we'd even really got to know them.

Brilliant performances, especially from Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons and Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, really sold the emotions here and suddenly I found myself invested in these characters who I'd previously seen as almost background players on the team. I now care about this pair far more than I did before this episode and, by extension, the dynamic of the team feels stronger.

In fact Paul Zbyszewski's script and Vincent Misiano's direction helped everyone bring their A-game to the episode.

FZZT struck an almost perfect balance of James Bond stunts (slight pity the freefall scene rather taxed the show's special effects), believable character interaction, X-Files-style weirdness and Marvel Universe tie-ins ... and the absence of any costumed villains wasn't even an issue.

Easter egg-wise we saw a return of  Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) from Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 and the pun-tastic clues to Coulson's rumoured Life Model Decoy status continue to stack up - "feeling rusty", "high iron content in his blood" etc Either that or he really is being set up to become the Vision.

Until this week, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been running on the good side of average, but FZZT elevated it up to the level I've been hoping for since the optimistic promise of the Pilot. Let's hope this new standard is here to stay.

4 comments:

  1. I hope Coulson doesn't become the Vision. There has to be some other reason, Asgardian magic nano tech implants, somthing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not a fan of that possibility either but it was one of the more popular theories bandied around upon his return :-)

      Delete
  2. I liked it, but I would have liked it more if they had followed through on bumping off one of the Twee Twins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going into the break I really thought they were going to pull the trigger on that one and it was only when we came back after the adverts that I realised it wasn't going to happen. It would have been a very brave move and possibly not one the typical audience of a mainstream show like this would approve of so early in its run.

      Delete

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