By Felicia Kudronowicz
Last night’s SHIELD episode, appropriately named “FZZT” because of its electrostatic theme, also packed quite an emotional charge, with show creator Joss Whedon pulling at heartstrings by the midway point.
As usual, the episode begins with unknown characters. This time it’s camping with boy scouts. Their chaperones are telling ghost stories and just when the kids are properly scared, one of the leaders goes missing. He claims to hear a humming noise and promptly heads into the woods. He is later found suspended in midair, dead with a burn mark on his forehead. Let the games begin!
The SHIELD team is on the case, but is this format is getting a little stale? We can only hope they start switching things up a little more. As the team is investigating the scene of the crime, Fitz and Simmons come to the conclusion that some electrostatic occurrence is to blame. It apparently has twice the power of a lightning bolt. They monitor the area to watch for more flare-ups and another quickly strikes up in a nearby barn. Another person is found dead with much the same MO as the first.
The connection? Both victims worked as volunteer firefighters. One quick trip to the fire station later and another infected person is discovered. Apparently the fire crew had an alien helmet as a souvenir and, like a perverse Aladdin’s lamp, the three men contracted a deadly virus from polishing it. Simmons is put in charge of finding a cure, but she herself becomes infected.
At this point the episode takes a dark turn. A member of their own team has a death sentence and everyone is affected by the news. I immediately started wondering if Whedon, who has a penchant for killing off characters, would actually off a main character this soon. It was difficult to see Simmons close to death but it was also cute to see Fitz remain close to her the whole time. They really are a fantastic team. I don’t care if they are romantically involved or best friends, they work perfectly together.
In order to save the rest of the team Simmons decides to jump off the plane just as Fitz finds the anti serum. Of course. Ward skydives after her and everything ends on a happy note. It was honestly terrifying to watch. How dare my emotions be toyed with!!
There was also an interesting secondary story throughout of Coulson talking about his own death experience, which was for me, highly reminiscent of Buffy dying and coming back to life. Coulson seems to be going through the same thing of not really feeling the same as he did before the incident. Apparently dying changes a person. I’m still not sure the logistics of how this happened, but Coulson is definitely different now.
Overall, this episode was strong, but I am disappointed with how slowly the season arc (if there truly is one) is progressing. We’re all waiting for more info on the girl in the flower dress, centipede or a returning bad guy, but plots from previous episodes seem to just disappear.
This episode also included a Captain America, Iron Man, and Big Lebowski reference, which I loved. I’m still waiting for more Whedon references. This team just doesn’t quite have the chemistry of Buffy or Firefly, but it’s also a different beast.
I’m excited to keep watching, this show has amazing stuff coming up, I just know it.