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With Great Power Comes a Lot of Weird Crap: Agents of S.H..I.E.L.D. Pilot Review

By on September 25, 2013
"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)

"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. (ABC/Bob D'Amico)

By Felicia Kudronowicz

The much anticipated Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD finally premiered last night on ABC. And it didn’t disappoint. The pilot episode was filled with all the trademark action, wit, and storytelling for which creator Joss Whedon is known. Ok, so there may not have been an Iron Man cameo, but it was a solid first episode.

The pilot opens in Los Angeles directly after the “Battle of New York” aka the end of the Avengers movie. We watch as a little boy plays with superhero toys while his dad talks on the phone in the background. Suddenly a nearby building explodes and Dad rushes into the flames. He scales the building with Spiderman agility and rescues a woman. Despite his attempts at stealthiness Dad is spotted by our first familiar face (from promos), Skye (Chloe Bennet- seen last year on Nashville), who just happens to be recording the entire incident.

Now that we’ve meet our first superhero, it’s time to meet our agents. First up is Agent Ward with those impressive combat skills of his. Ward is a fighter, but definitely not a people person. (In a recent people skills evaluation he got, “a little poop with knives sticking out of it.”) Fitz and Simmons meanwhile are a duo whose names and personalities just happen to fit beautifully together. These guys are the brainiacs of the operation, demonstrating extensive knowledge in biology and technology. (We can’t wait to see more of that in future episodes.) Of course Coulson makes his return, even though the last time we saw him he was busy dying. It’s simply stated that his death was a team building exercise/ploy. Not a very satisfying explanation, but it is hinted there is more to this story to be revealed, and we’re happy enough to play a wait and see game on that front. The final member of the team is Agent May, a former combat fighter who has since retired and is wasting her valuable skill set doing paperwork when we meet her first.

With the SHIELD team established (in fairly short order) we get more of a back-story on the hooded hero Dad from the opening, Micheal Peterson. It seems Peterson worked at a factory but was laid off when he suffered a back injury. We also learn that Peterson took it upon himself to go visit a mysterious doctor (as you do) who injected him with superpowers in the form of  a centipede looking capsule on his arm containing a superhero cocktail – oh and did we mention that it also happens to turn him into a human bomb? Cool!

Peterson visits the girl he saved from the building and PLOT TWIST we learn she’s the doctor who gave him his powers! This was a pretty neat reveal. It’s great to see how Joss doesn’t have a shred of gender bias. We might have assumed Peterson saved a damsel in distress, but actually he was out to protect his mad scientist creator. Genius.

Peterson kidnaps Skye to help him … and honesly I’m not sure what his end game was there, but of course SHIELD finds them just in time. Coulson tries to talk him into coming with them (could they really use a human bomb on the team?) but we’re thrown for a loop when Peterson is abruptly shot right in the middle of the head by trigger happy Ward. Cue plot twist two! The bullet was actually a diffusion device for the bomb created by Fitz and Simmons! You go nerds!

Overall this an amazing start to the series. The pilot did a great job of introducing the major characters in an exciting and different way. It also had that Whedon voice that we’ve all come to love. SHIELD offers viewers a rapid fire sense of humor, pop culture references galore and a wonderful script. (I’m also pretty sure there was a Harry Potter reference in there that made me squeal.)

Welcome back Whedon, I can’t wait to see how the season progresses. I’m guessing more Whedonverse actors, comedy, back-stories, and action.

Tune in to see what happens next week on Tuesday 8/7c on ABC.