Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Seeds

"All this history. Just wish I was part of it."

You know what they say, be careful what you wish for...

This week Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. served up another so-so dish of mission of the week caper with a side order of arc story progression. The main bulk of the action took place in the Ravenclaw branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy (the Slytherin branch is where they train all the assassins and accountants). Turns out S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts is a fairly dull place. Not that we saw much of it, just a lecture hall, a dorm room and the student bar. Nothing to make it seem any different from any other fancy school for smart kids. Dropping into their old stomping ground would’ve been a great opportunity to learn more about Fitz and Simmons, maybe even learn about how they first met and became inseparable. Instead we got a rehash of ‘The Asset’ with a scientist associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. (a cadet this time) creating machine for smarmy Ian Quinn (who is apparently chummy with the Clairvoyant) that gets out of control (accidentally this time) and inadvertently creates a potential super-villain. Been there, done that.

No part of Seth or Donnie’s plan made sense and relied too much on sheer blind luck to work. To recap, they couldn’t get their freeze ray thingamajig to work so they froze the school pool to lure Fitz to the school so he could help them figure out how to make it work. Right, how did they know that S.H.I.E.L.D. would send Fitz specifically to investigate this? S.H.I.E.L.D. is a massive global organization and Fitz is likely one of many technical experts they have on the payroll. Sure, the pool incident is the kind of thing the team look into all the time, but their missions are supposed to be classified Level 7. Would a pair of cadets know that this team even exist let alone what they do on a weekly basis?

The best portion of the episode was May and Coulson's trip to Mexico, which isn't much of surprise since the show is often at its best when these two share the screen. Coulson’s recent experience has changed his world view considerable. He’s tired of secrets. Not just the secrets his superiors have been keeping from him, but the ones he has been keeping from his team, specifically Skye. Which is why he decides to come clean straight away with what he and May learned from their little trip south of the border. And what was that? Oh, only that Skye potentially has dormant superpowers and the reasons she was moved around from foster home to foster home as a child was because someone has been killing everyone who knew she's used to be a pop star in China where she really came from.

Wait, what?

This is a major revelation. What the hell is that doing in a B-plot. This should be the A-story, not all that boring stuff at the academy. Skye learning this should’ve been the focus of the episode. Her whole reason for joining S.H.I.E.L.D. was to learn where she came from and who her parents were. I also think it was a mistake not to fully show Skye processing and dealing with this information. Simply telling us how she dealt with it just wasn't very dramatically satisfying.

Intel and Assets

--So what is Skye? A mutant? An alien? Do her origins perhaps have something to do with this awesome piece of casting news?

-- Donald "Donnie" Gill is the real name of Blizzard, an Iron Man villain. He was the second Blizzard, the first was Gregor Shapanka.

--Skye's mention of Bucky Barnes was a nice references to Captain America: The First Avenger and a nice bit of foreshadowing for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

--Did Donnie reverse the process or did the artificial storm just dissipate on its own?

--Once again we Coulson out of his suit. He always looks so naked without it.

--Even the pool table in the student's secret bar has the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on it. Is there anything they won't put their stamp on?

Skye: "This is where you got all your PhDs?"
Simmons: "No, you need at least one to get through the door."

Skye: "You're not exactly 'Old Man River' and Fitz looks younger than us."
Fitz: "Time will come when you won't make fun of me for that. You'll be jealous. You'll be jealous, wrinkly, old hags."

Firz: "Simmons is probably smarter technically, but that's because she likes homework more than life itself."

Two out of four S.H.I.E.L.D. logos.


Patrick said...

Early in the episode FitzSimmons mention that the device is based on concepts they devised back during their time at the Academy, so Donnie & Seth's plan to lure Fitz back does make some sense. It's not a stretch to think SHIELD would bring Fitz in to consult on an incident involving tech he originally designed.

The idea of Skye's origins being tied to that recent casting news is quite an intriguing possibility. Maybe it means a certain other character related to that world might return someday.

I gotta say, Skye's been a much better character of late. Ward, too. Coulson & May are still the MVPs of the show, though.

sunbunny said...

The boiler room looked EXACTLY LIKE THE BRONZE. Yeah it was really weird how Skye's backstory was slipped in. And I wish we'd seen more of the scene where Coulson told her.

Patrick said...

Eh, I kinda like it sometimes when a show doesn't give us a full scene if we already know how it's going to play out. Just giving us enough to know what the rest will be can sometimes be more powerful.

A nerd hangout looking exactly like The Bronze? Gee what a shock. It's not like any of the students at the SciTech academy ever would've watched Buffy, right? ;)

William Russell said...

There were a few moments in this episode that made me go , huh. It seemed out of character for May to blurt out her "secret" to Coulson and why would Donnie freeze himself, everyone he wanted there was there and probably going to question him anyway. What really annoyed me though was the Skye reveal. She should have had an ep or two to come to terms with this incredible information not a five minute montage with Coulson telling us how she took it well. The shows narrative seems to take the path of least emotional resistance. At least Coulson seems to be having an actual character arc.

migmit said...

Well, there were parts I liked, and parts I didn't. I liked the Bronze being relocated to wherever the Ravenclaw is. I HATED Coulson being out of his suit. That's what Joss does all the time. Giles, Weasley, Simon — they all started closing very strictly and all loosened up with time. And it was always for the worse — except for Giles, who managed to stay the same.

drnanamom said...

So I am still in the minority here because I continue to enjoy this show. Maybe it's because I grew up with this kind of superhero show. It also doesn't have to be super duper awesome for me to enjoy it. It's just fun and I like the characters but then I watched the original Batman series when it was original. I think I also enjoy how straightforward the show is. Yes we have some mysteries but they aren't totally convoluted and crazy. Those kinds of shows are starting to wear on me.

Billie Doux said...

I liked this episode. I'm becoming more comfortable with the 'verse and the characters and I'm starting to get into this show, just a bit. Enough that I really hope they get a second season. They're getting a second season, aren't they?

Patrick said...

Billie, considering the cross-promotional opportunities the show affords, and Marvel's long-term planning when it comes to their cinematic universe, my guess is it'll at least get one more season unless the ratings REALLY tank. I probably enjoyed the early episodes more than some folks here, but I'd definitely agree they've been getting better. And let's be brutally honest, all of Joss Whedon's shows had somewhat uneven first seasons, quality-wise. Well, all of them except Firefly ;) Hopefully Disney/Marvel will recognize that the show is finding its groove and will give it more time to develop.

mazephoenix said...

This show's finally starting to be really good..I hope they get to continue..Skye annoys me less than she used to and May's a badass..Coulson's a great leader..
I hope SuperGunn comes back..leg or no leg. And Akela.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm very intrigued by this reveal for Skye. I thought they'd end up going with the much more tired "her parents were agents killed in the line of duty" thing, so her turning out to be an 0-8-4 is an unexpected and interesting twist for me.

I first saw the actor playing Donnie Gill --- Dylan Minnette --- when he appeared in S6 of Lost, and in this episode, I couldn't get over how now he looks even more like he could be Jack's son. A little more grown up and with the buzz cut ... I did a double take when he first appeared on screen.

Lamounier said...

Wow, way to go with the revelation from Skye’s past. Though I agree that that should’ve been this episode’s focus instead of the B-plot. Her story went from something I didn’t care much about to the most interesting arc so far. I also wish we had seen more of her reaction than just Coulson telling May how she reacted.

The A-story was fun, but it sort of fizzled out on the final act. We all knew the storm would dissipate somehow and who cared if Seth lived or died? No tension there at all. As for Donnie, I liked him so it’s nice to know he’ll probably be back.

Simmons was adorable as always. Loved her “did not think so” at Ward’s reply that Operations didn’t have a boiler room.

William Russell, I agree with you that May revealing her secret to Coulson seemed out of character. Actually, I agree with everything you wrote on your comment. :)