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September 25, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ***SPOILERS***
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:34 PM * 945 comments

For the new ABC show from Joss Whedon. This thread contains SPOILERS.

Those who wish to avoid spoilers can either a) Not Read This Thread, or B) Watch the Show, Streaming, Right Here.

Did I mention that there would be spoilers?

Comments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ***SPOILERS***:
#1 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 09:41 PM:

I particularly liked the unicorns in Iron Man suits that fired lasers from their eyes.

#2 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Also it's on free Hulu until Oct 30 2013.

#3 ::: chaosprime ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 10:07 PM:

I was really amazed how they worked Sue Storm and Hank Pym into every scene.

#4 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 10:15 PM:

I was surprised by how much gay sex there was. I mean, after every commercial break it seemed like some guy had just [CENSORED] another guy's [CENSORED]. And in prime time!

#5 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 10:58 PM:

SHIELD seemed decent, although it has a ways to go before I care about the characters. Even Coulson.

Sleepy Hollow was extremely silly. Not planning to stick with it.

Korra S2 is watchable so far, although the grownups continue to steal the show.

I guess there isn't any TV this fall that I'm all that excited about?

#6 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 11:31 PM:

I want SHIELD to be Hill, Coulson, Ming-na, and Doctor Book standing around bantering. I couldn't care less about Lantern-Jawed Hero, Manic Pixie Computer Girl, or the interchangeable science twins (and oh god WHY another Scottish engineer?????) I wouldn't mind knowing more about Tahiti, either; let's hope the show stays uncanceled long enough to tell us.

#7 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 11:51 PM:

I am just in it long enough to get material for some femslash, because I have spent far too much time raging against the dearth of femslash and not enough time fixing the problem. (I don't watch TV generally, so a show I actually want to watch that has multiple female characters seemed like the right opportunity.)

#8 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 11:54 PM:

But Manic Pixie Computer Girl is such a fan-favorite on NCIS!

#9 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 11:55 PM:

My wife speculated that Coulson is actually an android or cyborg now, reconstructed after his "death".

#10 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2013, 11:57 PM:

That wasn't bad. I don't think I'll plan my evenings around it. But the interrogation scene was the best since the Avengers movie.

#11 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:00 AM:

Scifigrl47's stellar (and sad) "Hollow Your Bones Like A Bird" is still in canon, as far as I'm concerned, with only a minor change in locale.

(The other reason I'm watching is to figure out just how right she was. Iron Man 3 basically fits just fine into the Toasterverse.)

#12 ::: snowcrash ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:17 AM:

#9 Steve C

Or as per the Avengers movie and the comicbook-verse, a Life Model Decoy?

#13 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:52 AM:

Colson being a Life Model Decoy is sufficiently obvious an answer that it's tempting to think Whedon has something else in mind.

#14 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:56 AM:

Did anyone else wonder what was up with the weirdly specific cryptography terms? Something about how Rising Tide "cracked our RSA implementation", something else about AES.

#15 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:36 AM:

Are we agreed that he definitely for-real died? The current one is some sort of duplicate or robot, and I'm sure they'll reveal what kind in due course. I thought probably a clone with memories implanted (that whole Tahiti thing), but with Joss Whedon, as Avram points out, it could be anything.

#16 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:38 AM:

Also, it was good to see J. August Richards and Ron Glass again.

#17 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:41 AM:

I was not sufficiently Marvel-versed enough to know the term "Life Model Decoy", but "android" was my first guess.

(Clone, resurrected with alien technology, hologram with subconscious telekinetic powers, alien imposter convinced of false identity by hypnotic override...)

Gonna be interesting to see if he ever gets injured.

The early discussion about death was kind of weird, though. Stopped breathing for eight seconds? I do that every time I wash my face.

#18 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:03 AM:

Xopher @16, when Ron Glass showed up, people in my tweet-stream were like OMG Shepherd Book! and I was like OMG Detective Harris!

#19 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 03:09 AM:

Oh, so that's what TNH et al have been tweeting about recently :-) I haven't watched the trailer yet, but the comments seem to have enough silliness to them even though I haven't had a clue what it was about.

#20 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 03:12 AM:

"I particularly liked the unicorns in Iron Man suits that fired lasers from their eyes."

No, no, The Unicorn is an Iron Man villain with a head laser.

#21 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 06:17 AM:

The collective squee here is encouraging me to sit down and watch the UK broadcast on Friday evening. I don't think I've seen anything here I consider spoilerish, although I've not been following the movies it overlaps with, and may be missing clues.

I don't much enthuse for the superhero genre; it sometimes comes across as too American, in an awkward way. In the cinema, in particular, it can come across as too much an excuse for blowing stuff up. If this were a superhero universe, New York would look more like Stalingrad, 70 years ago.

But this has people that make it worth a look.

#22 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 06:19 AM:

Oh, and also? Natasha Romanoff isn't Level 7????? This TV show is not canon.

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 06:30 AM:

Natasha Romanoff isn't Level 7?????

That's what she wants you to think.

#24 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 06:31 AM:

Coulson said it...although if he was wrong about Tahiti he could be misinformed about other things too, I suppose.

#25 ::: Gag Ha;frunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 07:00 AM:

Once upon a time, Manic Pixie Computer Girl was a Chinese pop starlet.

#26 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 07:02 AM:

Assuming the "stopped breathing, got good medicine, went to Tahiti" story is bogus, there are essentially three possibilities with strong comics-canon background, with a fourth a distant possibility:

1: This is an LMD
2: An LMD died for him (this is the POINT of LMDs)
3: Vision (which opens us to explain why Rising Tide has SUCH GOOD computer technology -- Rising Tide is an Ultron front)
4: (unlikely) Skrull

#27 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 07:12 AM:

Internet typo of the week: "Nick Furry".

(I'm sure it's been done)

#28 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 08:39 AM:

BSD @25: I'm pretty sure it was strongly implied/portrayed that 'Rising Tide' was entirely, um, Skye. And boredom. With a van. And a laptop she "won in a bet".

#29 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 08:41 AM:

Oh, and I can totally see Romanoff keeping secrets Like That from the non-level-7 members of the Avengers.

(zomg zomg Toasterverse eeee)

#30 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 09:46 AM:

More possibilities for Colson:

Experimental resurrection technology that is Really Buggy and he's the best result they have yet

Experiment in Dollhouse style recording and imprinting on his previously-unmentioned twin

Alien technology (they have some examples of it in this show, and are clearly afraid of it)

I did like the line "This is an origin story." Doesn't fit the internal story of the universe very well, but it's a great line.

#31 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 10:11 AM:

Elliott @27 -- Hmm. I thought she said she had received some tech and tips from third parties. In any event, Ultron, AIM or HYDRA are all viable backers of the caterpillar lab.

Tom @29 -- All perfectly viable. I was just focused on scenarios that have links to the SHIELD/Avengers comics canon (note that your (2) matches closely with Vision's origin -- part of his shtick is he's imprinted with someone's brainwaves (similarly Ultron) and that's why he's more than just a robot).

Notably, Coulson only wears suits in the pilot. This covers both his sternum and his wrists, which are, with his forehead exposed, the spots I'd want to check for Avengers-affiliated resurrection geegaws.

#32 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 10:29 AM:

Hey, using the Cosmic Cube (clearly alien tech) is definitely Avengers-canon, and it should have resurrection capabilities. That falls solidly in my third item. Ad IIRC there are other techs from the 60s that could have been used, but it's been about 45 years since I read those issues....

#33 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 11:11 AM:

Jon Meltzer @27: Internet typo of the week: "Nick Furry". (I'm sure it's been done)

Yup.

#34 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:32 PM:

Dave Bell@21: "The collective squee here..."

Squee? Is there squee going on here? We seem to have formed up around "decent show, has some good moments".

(Okay, there's Ron Glass squee, I'm up for that.)

#35 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:47 PM:

BSD @26: I will be angry if the answer is #2. On the one hand, sure, that's their purpose. I feel like it devalues baseline human courage, though. I think what made Coulson so awesome to me was that here's this guy with no super powers to speak of, but he won't take Stark's crap and he's not afraid to test the experimental BFG on Loki if that's what it takes to create room for the team as a whole to succeed.

On the other hand, I will not be quite so upset if he's always been a Skrull/LMD/replicant/whatever, but Level 8+ have reasons to ensure that he never realizes that. Ultimately, I expect Whedon to come up with some rage-inducing cryfest that none of us expected.

Elliott @28: That's what I picked up, too, but my husband still thinks she was one of a larger group.

#36 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:52 PM:

I liked the fact that Extremis has surfaced again, I figured we weren't done with it at the end of Iron Man 3, even if it has been "new and improved."

So how many people who can make the stuff are there? Exploding people is going to get old real quick if we're spending the season just chasing them.

And I'd like to get my hands on Lola.

#37 ::: Keith Edwards ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 12:53 PM:

Coulson-as-android would tie in neatly to the fact that the villain in Avengers 2 is Ultron.

#38 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:00 PM:

If this Phil Coulson is an LMD, I will pretty much take my ball and go home.

As for the suits: the onscreen version of Coulson has never worn anything but suits, IIRC. I'd be more suspicious if he were wearing something else.

#39 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:09 PM:

What level is Nick Fury?

#40 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:34 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 39: That depends on how you feel about the continuum hypothesis.

#41 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Coulson as an LMD seems the most likely, though (agreeing with various others) I will be ticked if that's the reveal, either at movie death or--more likely, in my opinion, since it would be more Dramatic--in the series. On the other hand, no one has mentioned who/what actually killed Coulson in the movie . . . Asgardian magic of one sort of another would be an interesting twist, I think

Boy, it's been a long time since I've been moved to this sort of speculation about a tv show. I must have enjoyed the episode more than I'd realized.

#42 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:00 PM:

My bet is Coulson really did die and "Tahiti" is how he remembers being dead. He has a saintly aura I don't remember from before.

The Whedonesque one-liners seemed not quite there yet--the timing or the tone was somehow off. They felt like "now I am throwing in a clever quip, see how referential I am" more than "here are living, breathing, intelligent people who react to scary things with humor." I imagine at least part of that is the actors and the writers settling in. We'll see.

I like that the obligatory Boring White Male Protagonist(TM) is actually the punchline character. Finally! A show that realizes that the BWMP(TM) is by far the least interesting archetype of the ensemble cast.

Was anyone else thrown by the monologue? It seems rather at odds with the rather top-down shall we say, origin of SHIELD. It's hard to criticize the Man when your team is working for the Man. "We're the least awful of the shadowy organization into whose hands you might fall" is not precisely a rousing battle cry. Trying to include an "Occupy SHIELD" theme in the show is going to run hard up against that underlying fact, I think: imagine trying to write Firefly from the point of view of an Alliance strike team.

#43 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:06 PM:

Jon Meltzer (27): A doll-and-puppet-making friend of mine was planning to make a Nick Furry last year, but I'm not sure if she ever did.

---------
I haven't seen* this (no TV, not a big comic fan), but there's been such widespread squee-age in my corner of the Internet that I may have to check it out. Unless major disappointment sets in before the DVDs come out next year.

*heck, until a few days ago I didn't even realize it was a TV show not a movie

#44 ::: cicely ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:11 PM:

My theory (which is mine) is that Coulson didn't quite die in the Avengers movie, but thinks he did---and that he thinks this 'current incarnation' is a LMD into which he has been downloaded.
:)

#45 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:22 PM:

Andrew Plotkin #34: There was definite squee to be found in my meatspace arena. (Mostly Coulson-squee, with a fair amount of Ron Glass-squee as well.)

Jim MacDonald #39: Nick Fury's level depends entirely on what game system you're using...

I liked that Extremis showed up in the first episode--that tied in neatly with Iron Man 3. And I was particularly touched by Coulson's speech to Mike in the last act--it was exactly the sort of thing that someone who wanted to emulate Captain America would say. Yes, Coulson is working for SHIELD, which is The Man--but more directly, he's working for Fury ("My one good eye"). And Fury has already demonstrated that he's willing to defy orders to do the right thing.

Speculation around Casa de Me is that Coulson was an early (and, apparently, unknowing) recipient of Yet Another Attempt to replicate the Erskine formula. However, given Ultron as the villain of Avengers 2, a Vision-type android is a strong contender, as well. Whatever has been done to bring Coulson back, he's not just a highly-trained-and-skilled agent any more--not the way he Matrix-dodged the door of the van.

I think I lean more toward the android, personally; I'm not sure that "super soldier serum" would warrant the "He can never know" approach...

#46 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Also, I want Lola.

#47 ::: Laura ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:32 PM:

A couple of other possibilities in addition to the LMD/clone/alien.

Alien tech + Loki (or Asgardians) in Asgard or Earth. (I'm still going for Toasterverse canon. If Coulson is an LMD, Whedon has written an AU.)

Dead/brought back (thank you, somewhat alien tech) and now there are going to be inevitable side effects that are already starting to show, subtly.

Dead/sent back from Valhalla w/memory wipe and isn't aware that he was taken from Valhalla (and just who would end up doing the paperwork on unauthorized transfer from another dimension, huh?)

The whole thing is that he's just this guy, y'know?

#48 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 02:57 PM:

On the other hand, no one has mentioned who/what actually killed Coulson in the movie . . . Asgardian magic of one sort of another would be an interesting twist, I think.

It was shown on screen what killed/"killed" him in the movie--he got stabbed through the chest from behind. Granted, it was with the Glowstick of Destiny, but he was just physically stabbed.

#49 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 03:07 PM:

The story referenced in #11 has as good an explanation as any. It's quite a good story, too--thanks for linking it, Jeremy!

#50 ::: melissa ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 03:45 PM:

I'm of the opinion that Hill stating the Avengers are not level 7 as the answer to the Avengers knowing question is a diversionary tactic. She didn't actually say they (or some of them) didn't know...


Also, the flying drones ABSOLUTELY fit toasterverse canon. Little brothers of the flying Roombas. Love them.

#51 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 03:54 PM:

I'm hoping Magic Pixie Computer Girl is an unwitting Ultron front.

That is, that she's genuinely good with computers, but only naturally human-level good and Ultron secretly upgraded all her equipment ("won on a bet" is a good way to give an infected laptop) so that stuff just falls apart more easily for her, working from her equipment, than it really should.

And now S.H.I.E.L.D. has invited her Ultron-infected van inside...

#52 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 04:43 PM:

I'm hoping they never explain Coulson's resurrection; I think the mystery works better.

Also, I liked that they slipped the Chekhoving past me, so I didn't tumble til the payoff.

#53 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 05:17 PM:

Given that SHIELD seems to be using off-the-shelf crypto software (rather than, say, something derived from a new branch of mathematics developed by examining the Cosmic Cube), the simplest explanation for Skye’s cryptanalytic prowess is that she’s an NSA plant.

#54 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Anyone else notice Skye’s comment that the damage from the Avengers movie was cleaned up “overnight”? I predict the show’s going to be incorporating material from Damage Control.

#55 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 08:20 PM:

Having not seen the show (I don't think it shows up here in .au until either next week or the week after - I don't watch much TV, and I'm going to be moving house in a couple of weeks, so my solution is going to be to wait and buy the DVD set once it reaches our sunny shores) I have to admit the bit which intrigues me is the flying car. I mean, I can see how it would come about in the MCU - basically, Steve Rogers talks to Tony Stark about the flying car Howard Stark demonstrated (briefly) at the World Fair in '42, and Tony decides to go one better and make one which actually works.

I suspect a bet was involved, since SHIELD appears to have snaffled it shortly afterwards.

An alternative pathway to the flying car: still involves Steve Rogers talking about the one he saw demonstrated in 1942; but in this case, he's talking within earshot of SHIELD engineers who decide to start working on the concept in their Copious Free Time, with the aid of some of Howard Stark's old notes from his SSR days. In this case, part of Coulson's brief is to keep the blasted thing (and incidentally himself) well out of sight of any of the Avengers because the last damn thing SHIELD needs, in Nick Fury's opinion, is the inevitable publicity involved in any kind of patent lawsuit against Stark Technologies. And, let's be honest, Tony Stark would certainly make any lawsuit against SHIELD on this matter extremely public - he does not like SHIELD except in the most vague of conceptual fashions[1], and he'll do anything he can to try and stymie them.

(I tend to put Tony Stark's political affiliations more at the (g)libertarian conservative end of things - he's rich enough that to him, wider society isn't exactly something he feels he needs the co-operation of in order to be able to function. He's up at the end of the wealth spectrum which tends to regard politicians the way middle class folks regard plumbers and other such tradespersons - you hire them for the stuff you need done, and it's okay being professionally friendly with the ones who are really good at their job, but you don't really know them socially or anything. You wouldn't invite them to your home.)

[1] In that yes, Tony Stark can understand the theoretical need at a government level for a body which keeps an eye on known meta-humans, superhumans, sanity-compromised inventors, human-seeming and non-human seeming aliens, etc.

#56 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Megpie 71: or Howard Stark built it, sometime in the '60s.

#57 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 12:31 AM:

Does anybody besides me wonder if Skye's quip about "Todd the T1000" was a Jonathan Coulton shout-out?

#58 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 03:03 AM:

Megpie71 @55, a patent filed in 1942 would have expired in the ’50s or ’60s (depending on what kind of patent it was).

#59 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 04:49 AM:

La la la not listening...

It's on in the UK tonight (9pm Channel4, right after the IT Crowd Final Episode). I'll be back after that :D

#60 ::: Gag Ha;frunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 06:37 AM:

Russ 59: I'm afraid you've got it the wrong way round. The IT Crowd is at 9 pm. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is at 8 pm.

By the way, Manic Pixie Computer Girl used to be a pop starlet in China under the name Chloé Wang. (I posted about that before, but I made the mistake of including two links, so it disappeared into the moderation dungeon.)

#61 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 09:41 AM:

I was excited about this, and watched it with all my friends.

I felt that it did a serviceable job, but it didn't really get down-and-deep into the characters. Skating the line between a character-driven drama and a plot-driven procedural.

They spent a lot of time just getting the look right and making sure that this is a TV show that looks like it could plug right into the movies.

I like it, and I think that as it goes on it'll probably get tighter and deeper and better.

The whiplash moment got me entirely, because I was so sure in that moment that the writers had decided I needed to hate this shadowy group of secret agents, and hate them hard, and I was prepared to do it, because of how morally grey they were. I was ready and primed to hate them, and I did.

For just a second.

Excellent.

#62 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 10:28 AM:

Carrie S @ 48: Oh, I know it was an actual, physical stabbing death! It's just that gettiing stabbed by a Mysterious Mind-Altering Weapon wielded by an Actual Master of Magic seems to lead to all sorts of shenanigans being possible. Especially since that Actual Master of Magic was actually casting at least an illusion spell at the time, and didn't fully understand the Glowstick of Destiny's properties either (given the tapping-the-arc-reactor scene a bit later--maybe).

Mind you, I still think Coulson is more likely an LMD. It's just--well, the way he keeps calling Tahiti a "magical place" and smirking, as if he knows something that no one knows he knows . . .

#63 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 10:44 AM:

Asgarditi? Sounds like a cheesy cocktail in a cone-shaped glass or a retro burlesque night.

#64 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 12:09 PM:

What if the LMD died in Avengers? Doesn't Fury say he needed an incident to inspire esprit d'corp among the heros?

#65 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 12:22 PM:

Lori Coulson @64: that doesn't seem the sort of thing you could keep Coulson from knowing about (or at least he'd keep asking why he can't go see his old team, etc).

My initial Occam's-razor assumption about Coulson Lives was "Because Fury is a lying asshole who's perfectly happy to play off a saved-through-medicine incident to mislead the Avengers for a week or so until Coulson gets out of the ICU." Since only Fury saw him 'die'. But apparently they're not going with that.

#66 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 12:26 PM:

Mary Frances: I think Loki's problem with trying to use the Glowstick on Tony was that he didn't realize Tony had "armor" over that spot. Apparently the thrall-magic will go through clothing, even pretty heavy clothing, but not through several inches of arc reactor. :) And magic being all about symbolism, it's possible that tapping someone on, say, the forehead just wouldn't do. (Maybe if you hit them on the heart you can control intentions, and on the head you can control thoughts. So heart gets you a minion who will direct his normal skills to your cause, while head gets you someone who you can use like a computer, but who will use any spare processing cycles according to his own desires. /silly)

Which is not to say there couldn't have been some interesting shenanigans on Loki's part, or the Glowstick's, of course.

Lori: If the LMD died, there'd be no reason why our current incarnation of Coulson "can never know" whatever the big secret is.

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 12:36 PM:

63
No, the cheesy cocktail would be an Asgardini. (Using Absolut, I think.)

#68 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 01:51 PM:

"Asgarditi" would be Mjölnir-shaped pasta.

Better known as "hammarnudlar" in more northerly regions.

#69 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 02:16 PM:

Lila @68--I understand plans to introduce multicolored Bifrostini have been put on hold...

#70 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 02:21 PM:

fidelio, here is your Internet. Want that alfredo?

#71 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 03:11 PM:

elise @ #70--I have some cauliflower in need of decoration, so I don't mind if I do...mmmm, Alfredo sauce!

Would you care for some, Lila?

#72 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 05:00 PM:

Not familiar with recent canon, but isn't it likely that this agent Coulson is a clone? I seem to remember that being the standard explanation for bringing people back, back in the day...

That would make the original's sacrifice real, and the 'thing which must not be known' that the current is not the original.

Although I'm also good with a resurrection-with-consequences explanation.

I don't expect it to be revealed until the show gets cancelled and Joss makes a movie (or failing that, comic) to tie up the loose ends though.

#73 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 05:12 PM:

Er - also, I found it rather good, and will certainly be watching next week.

#74 ::: micah ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 10:52 PM:

There's no reason it has to be a canon reason for him still being alive. New ways to unkill people can be discovered (made up) all the time.

Mayhaps he was killed, far beyond anything normal medicine would have been able to save, but a transplant from some alien beastie could get him going again, and now there beats in his chest the heart of one of those evil space-dudes that totally wrecked the city, which is all sorts of ick and slightly worrisome in other ways as well.

Being a Whedon idea, it seems likely that it's a little non-standard.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 10:54 PM:

68
Does the sauce for Asgarditi require lutefisk, or can anchovies be substituted?

#76 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 11:30 PM:

As much as I'm enjoying the theorizing, I have to admit I found the question of Coulson's recovery the absolute least interesting part of the pilot. What I want to know is why the legendary Melinda May doesn't want to do fieldwork any more.

#77 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 11:35 PM:

Jeremy Preacher @76, um, I was never a comic-book geek, and my knowledge of the Avengers comes exclusively from the movies (and a few Hulk TV episodes, back in the day). So... who is Melinda May (I heard it as Belinda, but I can see that alliteration is more likely, this being a comic book universe and all) and why is she legendary?

#78 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 11:41 PM:

Cassy B.: To my knowledge, she is original to the show continuity (though probably a representative of the class, "Ass-kicking woman who works for SHIELD," of whom Agent Hill is also an exemplar. And Steve's old flame Peggy, of course.

#79 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2013, 11:49 PM:

Yeah, she's legendary as per Agent Cheekbones's reaction to her. She's an original character and all we know is that she doesn't want to do fieldwork (and her takedown of that fake cop was perfect. God, I love actors who can actually pull off the physicality.)

#80 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 12:11 AM:

Jeremy Preacher @79: My fave part of the May-vs.-fake-cop was how utterly unshowy she was, and how unshowily it was SHOT. Just ain't no thing, he goes down all finished done. No slo-mo, no lovingly-chosen-to-show-jiggling angles, no big roundhouse telegraphed moves because they Look Awesome On Film.

#81 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 02:05 AM:

I just re-watched early episodes of DOLLHOUSE, and I'm pretty sure Whedon is saving the reveal on Coulson until much later in the season. It'll be different from what we expect, and there'll be enough other stuff in between that it will come as somewhat of a surprise when he goes back to it.

He's very good at planting stuff and coming back later.

#82 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 03:08 AM:

For those of us who don't have a clue what's going on, what's an LMD? (I have enough trouble with things being named "The Avengers" and not knowing who's playing Mrs. Peel...)

#83 ::: Bill Stewart offers the gnomes some whiskey ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 03:09 AM:

I probably had a dot dot dot or something. And apparently it's been National Bourbon Month all month, so whiskey would be appropriate.

[A triple blank space. --Quiros Bibben, Duty Gnome]

#84 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 04:36 AM:

Jeremy Preacher@79: Yeah, she's legendary as per Agent Cheekbones's reaction to her. She's an original character and all we know is that she doesn't want to do fieldwork (and her takedown of that fake cop was perfect. God, I love actors who can actually pull off the physicality.)

Made even more impressive IMO by the fact that actress Ming-Na Wen was born two days before the Kennedy assassination, which means she's just a few weeks shy of 50. Wow, she sure doesn't look it.

One thing that's been causing me some amusement is the number of reviewers who've referred to Coulson's flying car as a rip-off/homage to the one in 'Back to the Future' when SHIELD comics had them back in the 1960s:

http://www.comics.org/issue/20052/cover/4/

Mind you, I also remember being amused when the Valiant on 'Doctor Who' was accused of being a rip-off of SHIELD's Helicarrier, as though that was the first flying aircraft carrier:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nerdcoreblog/6034936795/in/set-72157627416354106

#86 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 05:26 AM:

From Whedon I expect surprising but consistent happenings that keep deepening and expanding the story universe, and, as Tom says (@81), may be setups for later payoffs. But, also, there's the stuff that's fun because you know it's going to happen; to everyone who read the original flying car scene in the comic, around forty-five years ago, Lola was not a mystery, but a promise.

#87 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 08:21 AM:

LMD = Life Model Decoy

#88 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 08:25 AM:

Bill Stewart @82 said: For those of us who don't have a clue what's going on, what's an LMD? (I have enough trouble with things being named "The Avengers" and not knowing who's playing Mrs. Peel…)

The most accessible recent explanation of the LMDs I've seen is the one GeekMom did during their month of SHIELD-anticipation posts. The others in the series are also good, for those who want some more backstory about all of this than they currently have access to.

#89 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 08:40 AM:

In retrospect, my second link should go to GeekMom's tagged list, not the google search I linked (I couldn't find the tag at first).

#90 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 08:41 AM:

I don't think I broke the link ...

#91 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 10:41 AM:

In addition to scifigrl47's "Hollow Your Bones Like a Bird", there's this take on LMD Coulson (which also includes a relationship with Clint Barton).

#92 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 01:27 PM:

Rob 84: The flying car is a ripoff of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

#93 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 11:22 PM:

Since it was mentioned up at #14: all of the crypto stuff was nonsense. You don't delete things from databases by breaking encryption, and decryption can't be made possible only in a specific location (at least, not against an attacker that can spoof GPS signals or extract the contents of "tamperproof" devices, either of which should be well within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s tech level).

The specific mentions of encryption algorithms might be have been inspired by current events, namely talk about "has the NSA put backdoors in the specifications of our standard encryption algorithms?".

On the technobabble overall, about 50% of the noun phrases were real things.

By the way, if there was one thing I wish more people understood about computer security/“hacking”, it's this: success in attack or defense is not a matter of having more power (in whatever sense) than your opponent; the things that make the difference are qualitative, not quantitative. This is fundamentally different than confrontations in the physical world. (Breaking crypto is sort-of-but-not-really an exception — computational power does make it easier, but most failures of crypto are not due to brute-force attacks but taking advantage of implementation bugs — and the presence or absence of a specific bug is exactly the sort of qualitative distinction I mean.)

#94 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 01:37 AM:

Kevin Reid @93, I assumed she meant that her laptop had an encrypted hard drive, and had a second level of security that only accepted a passphrase in proximity to her van.

Wait — didn’t she mention something about GPS? A Bluetooth-based system would make more sense.

#95 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 01:41 AM:

Rob Hansen @84, the Back to the Future reference comes, I suspect, from the way the closing scene was shot, which (some people have said; I haven’t bothered to go back and check for myself) directly copies the ending of the movie.

#96 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 02:51 AM:

I just finished watching the first episode, and was decidedly unimpressed.

The characterization was tepid, the description of the computer tech peculiar (and yes, you could do some sort of location-based keying with your crypto -- and yes, you'd think that S.H.I.E.L.D. would be able to spoof the location _if_ they knew that was what it was keying off of), and the plotting seemed to be a combination of Whedon trying to be a clever as possible with Disney trying to be as middle-american feel-good as possible, with dreadful results.

I might try watching the second episode -- given how I think it's started, it's got plenty of room to improve.

#97 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 07:07 AM:

There's so many, many ways that people have come back from the dead in various Marvel things that I fully anticipate being faked out by one of the more outlandish ones, which will make the actual crazy reveal look a lot more reasonable.

Coulson's signature move seems to be to disarm himself, to surrender, to give something away. In the final confrontation he puts down his gun (See also this short film). He gains Skye's co-operation by giving away information. His fight with Loki almost fits this.

heresiarch @42 - I think one thing to that monologue, about being a regular guy who plays by the rules being crushed by impersonal forces, is the one they might be working with. What does it mean to be a normal person, or even (as the team members are) an action movie hero in a world where superheroes exist? Does what we do matter when there are aliens who might attack us, for who knows what reasons? How do we live our lives when Galactus is out there? I hope that's it anyway.

(I found Ward slightly disappointing - he's clearly the hero of some other spy series who has wandered into the next door universe with superbeings. He knows he's outclassed but he goes in to fight the super-strong guy anyway. Which is interesting but I'm not feeling it.)

I don't know if the above adds up to anything or not. I guess I'll have to watch some more.

Xopher @92 - Outrageous! No S.H.I.E.L.D. comic would rip off the works of Ian Fleming.

#98 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 07:26 AM:

Neil W, 97: Hm, so Ward is vaguely Riley-ish. I liked Riley, but then, he wasn't just J. Random Headkicker.

#99 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 10:36 AM:

Neil W @97: I think it is deliberate that in another show about these events, Ward would be the hero. And in yet a third, SHIELD would be explicit bad guys. And in a fourth, Mike would be the bad guy ... possibly with Doctor Lady and Centipede protagging.

But this is the story we're told, with Coulson's team central and right-but-muddy-and-he-knows it ... I think. Maybe.

I'm underslept. And I really want the next three episodes right now so I can quit stressing over whether the network's going to make Whedon break it.

#100 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 12:33 PM:

I just remember how mediocre I thought "The Train Job" was, and how I let that keep me from watching Firefly until the whole series was out on DVD. Not that bad an option, mind you; it was much better on the DVD, with the extra unaired episodes.

So I'm going to put a little energy into watching more episodes of this than I might have on the merits of the first ep.

#101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2013, 05:35 PM:

Ghoula tanks.

* * *

I found it refreshing that Coulson was . . . deeply moral.

It would be so easy to make him a sinister Company Man who takes phone calls from even more sinister never-seen higher ups, and whom the team members find themselves working around to do the right thing.

There are parallels to Alphas, although the characters on that show were more human and desperate.

#102 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 12:53 PM:

P J Evans @ #75:

Most likely lutefisk mashed op in sourherring juice.

In general:

I have seen (most of) ep1 and quite liked it. I missed 5-or-so minutes at the beginning and the show is at a semi-awkward time for watching the UK broadcasts. But, I think I will at least make an effort at seeing ep2, Whedon or not (I am one of those who considers Whedon's involvement at most a neutral and J. J. Abrams as a very negative signal on quality).

#103 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 11:13 PM:

Avram #94: …had a second level of security that only accepted a passphrase in proximity to her van.

Was it bringing together her and the van, not the van to a specific location? Then I misremember.

[I am having trouble posting all of this comment, specifically a long delay followed by a 500 error. I suspect that I am tripping some anti-spam tarpit, so I am going to try breaking it up to see if one part is the problem.]

#104 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 11:14 PM:

… In that case, the attack is to pry open whatever device is doing the proximity check and extract the key it's holding. That's what I meant by ‘extract the contents of "tamperproof" devices’. This doesn't apply if the data or the key is there-not-here, but in that case encryption per se is again not the issue.

#105 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 11:19 PM:

A non-encryption-related trick, which is useful if can get line of sight but it would be unsafe to show up, is to point a directional antenna at the van. This has been used in the real world to violate the assumption "this does not need to be secure because the radio signals are short-range" for several common wireless protocols; “range” is not an inherent property of electromagnetic waves.

#106 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 11:24 PM:

[Apparently my last paragraph was at fault. I rewrote it a bit and it went through. I'd love to know what the issue is, though; I've previously met this problem and just given up on posting a substantial comment. Here's the original, rot13'd:

Nabgure gevpx haeryngrq gb rapelcgvba, juvpu zvtug or hfrshy vs lbh pna trg yvar bs fvtug ohg vg jbhyq or hafnsr gb fubj hc, vf gb cbvag n uvtuyl qverpgvbany nagraan ng gur ina. Guvf unf orra hfrq va gur erny jbeyq gb qrsrng nffhzcgvbaf bs “guvf qbrf abg arrq gb or frpher orpnhfr gur enqvb fvtanyf ner fubeg-enatr” va frireny vafgnaprf — JvSv, Oyhrgbbgu, naq ASP. Ryrpgebzntargvp jnirf qba'g unir na vaurerag “enatr”.

But in any case, I'll shut up about Bad Science On TV now.]

#107 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2013, 11:34 PM:

Kevin, I'm not seeing a post from you in either the moderation queue or the spam bucket, so I don't know where they're going.

There was some discussion of errors-on-posting in the last open thread. They seem to be striking at random.

If you get one again, if you could copy the error message and post it in an open thread maybe someone can figure out what's going on.

None of the anti-spam thingies here should return an Error 500.

#108 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 02:17 AM:

I just realized it was on Hulu, so I'm very late catching up here.

Am I the only one who watched the fight scene at the beginning and thought, "Geez, all these white guys look alike!"? I could not parse who I was supposed to be following at all. (This is a common problem for me -- apparently my brain just doesn't process video information fast enough for today's movie fashions -- but it was made considerably worse by the near-identical appearance of all the participants in this case.)

Jeremy, #7: You want femslash, check out the Warehouse 13 fic on AO3. Lots of female characters, and I think every possible pairing has fic.

Jon, #27: It's been done, apparently, by Marvel. There's this on DeviantArt, too.

Gelfling, #35: My impression sort of splits the difference -- she was freelance, not part of any group but willing to take what she could get from anybody else. Which in turn makes me very suspicious of her apparent change of heart.

Avram, #54: I took that as a bit of hyperbole, translating to "they got everything off the streets much faster than normal and before anybody got a good look at it."

Avram, #94: A practical issue with the way she described the GPS-linked "encryption" working -- it ties her down physically to one location, thus negating the advantage of her having the van in the first place. I remember catching that and thinking it was weird at the time.


Also, a fanfic rec: Touching Lola. The flying-car thing was just a bit anticlimactic after reading that, but I still have hopes.

#109 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 12:12 PM:

Touching Lola is completely Toasterverse-compliant, it seems to me.

Or it is in my headcanon, anyhow.

#110 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 01:40 PM:

For the newbies in the crowd, could somebody please unpack "Toasterverse"?

#111 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 02:05 PM:

The Toasterverse is the alt-universe setting for a series of truly excellent Marvel Avengers fan-fic pieces written by scifigrl47. It's known by this name because it features Calcifer, the AI-capable toaster who argues with the Avengers over toasting bagels and other breakfast goods.

I highly, highly recommend them if you're at all interested in such things. A search on "Toasterverse" will bring up the appropriate links.

#112 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 02:14 PM:

Jacque, there's a listing on this page. The Casefiles are here.

#113 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 02:21 PM:

Huh, I somehow ended up with two of the same link. The series page that has the chronological listing is here.

#114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Carrie: Ah. Thank you.

#115 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 04:28 PM:

Specifically, something that runs through the Toasterverse is Tony Stark making lots of AIs all over the place and then losing control of them. The flying roomba plague is one of my favorite set-pieces.

Overall, they're screwball comedy with breaks of heart-twisting emotion (often of the pairbonding sort; in the Toasterverse Tony and Steve are a couple, and so are Coulson and Clint).

#116 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 09:13 PM:

Awesome Easter egg after tonight's episode. I so hope this is a trend.

(And another hearty thumbs-up for scifigrl47.)

#117 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 10:24 PM:

Re Lila's @116: I wonder if we'll get it on the Hulu 'rebroadcast' ... I no longer own a working TV tuner, so internet sources are my sole path to serialized visual fiction.

#118 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2013, 11:59 PM:

I've been following the discussion and finding that it and the AO3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. works list are causing me problems on the same level: I am a Joss fan, and, after seeing "Much Ado About Nothing," very much a Clark Gregg fan, but have only heard vague rumors of either comics or movie canon.

I'm liking it a lot, but I worry, because I was also one of the eleven people in the US who really liked the TV version of Birds of Prey (for which I had a comparable ignorance of comics canon).

Haven't seen tonight's episode due to chicken-keeping and cooking dinner, and if the DVR cuts off the Easter egg I will be seriously displeased.

#119 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 12:05 AM:

Thanks for the warning about the Easter egg, Lila -- I would have missed it if you hadn't said something. IIRC, that was the first piece of network TV that I've watched since ANGEL was still being broadcast....

#120 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 10:39 AM:

I liked the rubber raft.

#121 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 01:08 PM:

I thought that was a damn smart move, the raft. Probably wouldn't have worked in the real world...but this is a comic book, so it's fine.

I'm watching the episodes DVR'd, so I guess I missed the Easter egg. Cuts off in the middle of the scenes-from-next-week. Maybe I should adjust the end time.

#122 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 01:18 PM:

Wow, it took looking at IMDB for me to place Iain De Caestecker (Fitz). Knew I'd seen him somewhere before (ur jnf gur znva xvq sebz Gur Snqrf). Different accent, of course (he's using his native one, or something close to it, here), but even so.

I like Fitz much better than Agent Ward (I love smart nerdy guys). That will not, of course, keep me from shipping them.

#123 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 02:13 PM:

Carrie @112 & 113, I have been thoroughly nerdsniped. Thank you. I think.

(Other than shipping, how far are the toasterverse stories outside of canon? I'm not really a comic geek, you see, but I enjoy the movies...)

#124 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 02:19 PM:

Okay, back to speculations.

Colson is not an LMD or an android. What does he say about "Tahiti" every time someone mentions it? "It was a magical place." So, he's been resurrected magically. Which makes for a Christ sub-plot, with the team being the disciples. We're being set up to think that Skye is the Judas figure (there's going to be someone who betrays him, but it's not who we suspect).

The major Marvel figure that we haven't seen show up so far is, IMO, Doctor Strange. He had only minor crossovers with the main Marvel universe, but I think he had a few (going by 40+ year old memories here). He's likely to make a small appearance in the show at some point, since they're going to such trouble to set up the "magical" aspect. Bringing him in wholesale would really mess up the universe, and I don't think Whedon would go that far (or the Marvel Overlords, which is probably more to the point).

Colson knows he was brought back from the dead. He knows there's a mission. He's building this team so they can fight it. It's going to involve both technological and magical elements; and the techies will have to figure out (once they stop being paralyzed by the existence of real magic) how to use it in a technological manner -- use their analysis techniques to figure out how to do something specific with the world of magical tech.

That's my theory at this point. Anyone with a better sense of the Christian mythos is welcome to try to map the members of the team onto various disciples. It might be amusing.

#125 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Didn't they have an AO4 sighting at the end of the episode? Sounds kinda meta to me.

#126 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 04:57 PM:

"He had only minor crossovers with the main Marvel universe, but I think he had a few (going by 40+ year old memories here)"

Doctor Strange stories tend to be less interwoven with other superheroes than a lot of Marvel's characters, but he's certainly a part of the Marvel Universe (with a specialty in Deus Ex Machina walk-on parts).

#127 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:02 PM:

They did make a Dr. Strange movie, you know. It was embarrassingly bad. That may be why they haven't touched that character again.

#128 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Xopher @ 127... I'll give that 1978 some credit for having tried. It is really insane that someone attempted a "Doctor Strange" TV movie with TV's budget and TV's primitive tech. That being said, I love the character.

#129 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Cassy B. @123: Basically all the homosexuality and most of the FEELS are non-canon. The wacky way action happens is VERY accurate to original, as are all the crazy (some on-screen, some off-screen but mentioned) battles with baddies/robots/whatever. Toasterverse Reed Richards and X-Men are roughly about right (given the observer bias, in the cases where we're being told about them by Toasterverse-Stark, etc).

A case can be made that Toasterverse-Stark is canon-compliant; some people feel it goes a little farther down the ubergeek-but-has-FEELS road than is justified by the current movie canon, but doing stuff Like That with Stark rhymes with his past continuities (plural). Movie-Stark is already a bit of a reimagination of one subset of his comic continuities so I'm calling it fair.

Toasterverse as a whole is not canon-compliant because it (and most of the ficcing fandom, really) assumes a long-running calm fond deep relationship between Coulson and Clint that predates all on-screen appearances of the characters in the current movies. Only secondarily is it non-canon-compliant for "Tony and Steve don't fall in love" reasons, because you can try to pretend to shoehorn that stuff in 'after' a given movie or whatever, and then just get Jossed (actually by Joss, for once!) by later released stuff.

In my head, the Captain America fic involving his past drawing Tijuana Bibles and interacting with the period Greenwich Village queen scene, pre-Captaining, is completely and utterly canon and I am not dissuadable. I can't find the title/author but I know it's been linked on ML before (that's how I found it), so I may be more forgiving of Cap-queer-after-movies fics than some people.

#130 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:26 PM:

Serge, I was speaking of the 2007 animated disaster.

#131 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:27 PM:

Was the easter egg the fishtank reference? Because if so, it's before the credits on the Hulu 'rebroadcast' version.

#132 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:30 PM:

Elliott, are you referring to More Man Than You? (I saved the link when it was posted here before. I like it too.)

#133 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:31 PM:

Xopher @ 130... I own the dvd because, well, it *is* Doctor Strange, but my feeling about it was 'meh'. By the way, a couple of years ago, I met Len Wein, who created the Swamp Thing, but who also worked on Doctor Strange, and neither of us could figure why the Doc never can keep his comic-book alive for more than a few issue. By the Vapors of Valtorr!

#134 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:42 PM:

Elliott 131: Oh, that? But that was spoken dialogue. How is that even an Easter egg?

Serge 133: Most Marvel comics have the villains talking in hifalutin' language with $40 words, while the heroes wisecrack like street kids. Maybe Marvel fans don't like the fact that Strange talks like a villain in the other books, plus he refers to randomly-generated alliterative entities, which even I (who love fancy language) find annoying, by the Hideous Hecksayers of Hamoogloo.

#135 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:44 PM:

Oh, and one other thing. Has anyone noticed how close the pronunciation could be between Tahiti and Tehuti, or Thoth?

#136 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Xopher @ 134... By the Hords of Hotdiggidy! On the other hand, Thor also talks funny. Mind you, he's got a big... ah... hammer.

#137 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Re: Easter Egg. I haven't seen yesterday's show yet; it's DVRed. Is the Easter Egg before or after the Coming-Next-Week-NOW-WITH-EXTRA-SPOILERS that they're putting on shows these days? Because I normally kill the show when the Next-Week-Spoilers hit; I don't WANT Next-Week-Spoilers. But I'll be willing to stick it out if there's an Easter Egg afterwards...

#138 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 06:11 PM:

If you see the fishtank reference, then you've seen the Easter egg. That's a pretty safe, non-spoilery way to mark it.

#139 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 06:21 PM:

To get to iRobot from the Readercon hotel:

a) Turn right out of the hotel parking lot onto Mall Road.
Turn right (south) where Mall Road tees into Cambridge Street.
Bear right up the ramp unto limited access highway 128
Take the Middlesex Turnpike/US 3 North exit (first exit after getting on 128)
Go past the ramp down to the Middlesex Turnpike
Go up the ramp to US 3 North.
Drive about two miles, get off at the exit to route 62.
At the bottom of the ramp, when the light turns green, go straight through the intersection onto Crosby Drive. Go past the entrance ramp on the left to US 3 North. Take the next left, which goes into a business park, and drive to the building which iRobot is in.

To get to RSA (company which does cryptographic computer security codes) from the Readercon hotel:

Follow the instruction above, but do not take a left into the business park iRobot is in. Keep going instead.
Follow Crosby Drive for a mile or so north, to where it curve east and meets the Middlesex Turnpike at an intersection. When the long light turns green, turn left (north). Go over the Shawhsheen River, and look for the RSA sigh on one of the driveways on the left.

As for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there is a lot of inane technobabble involved, sigh.

#140 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 06:26 PM:

Did anybody else read Michael Straczynski's 'alternate' miniseries about Doctor Strange? I wasn't that crazy with how he used Clea, but he had the Ancient One chatting about Simon & Garfunkel, and there was some talk about yak butter.

#141 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 07:57 PM:

Elliott Mason @ # 129, would that be More Man Than You?

(And now I see Xopher got there first.)

Easter egg is after the "next week's episode" teaser, immediately before the beginning of the alleged comedy that follows in the next time slot.

I also would like to point out more possible evidence that Coulson is a Howard Stark fanboy as well as a Captain America fanboy: I suggest Howard is the "he" who designed the walkie-talkie wristwatch in Coulson's collection.

#142 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Stepping away from my rant on the open thread:

To understand the marvel universe if I haven't ever read comics or seen any of the movies but need some back story for the TV show (and toaster universe), would the xmen movies be the place to start (and stop)?

And if I say deep space nine was my favorite Star Trek (ie I like character-driven stories that pass the Bechtel test, not things blowing up), then what are the best movies to watch to get oriented but not annoyed?

I have a budget, but time on my hands. And a long journey soon, when I could watch movies on my ipad.

#143 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 10:10 PM:

The X-Men movies are ok for explaining the X-Men, but not really the Marvelverse as a whole. Honestly, if you can watch at least the first Iron Man movie, Thor, and the Avengers, you'll probably be fine for the show and the Toasterverse. Some things happen in the other two Iron Man movies that are moderately relevant (so you could add them in if you like), but I think those three would get you set enough to not miss any big obvious stuff.

Also, read (some of?) the GeekMom posts they did in the month leading up to MAoS's premiere (I linked them back upthread, but here it is again; the posts are in reverse-chronological and originally ran from most-peripheral to most-central to the new show). They do a great job of going back to the comics and talking about the evolution of a character, antagonist, whatever, with all necessary context to understand why fans of it like it.

#144 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 10:10 PM:

Probably for the link. I checked that it worked ...

#145 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 11:34 PM:

Mea @ 142... May I recommend Kurt Busiek's miniseries "Marvels"? It showed some of the most famous events of the Marvel Universe, as seen by a normal person. For example, what would such a person do when the World Devourer comes to Earth and even the Fantastic Four can't stop him and it looks like it's curtains for us all?

#146 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2013, 11:55 PM:

Serge - thank you.

Here is the problem. I have never been able to get into a graphic novel or comic. I know that there are GREAT ones out there, and that I'm missing out. But I have a big blank spot when it comes to graphic novels - it is like listening to music in the wrong key. So, due to the limitations in my ability to consume that format of artistic content, I was hoping for recommendations on a introduction via movie.

#147 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 12:10 AM:

mea: Without going into comics/graphic novels, it's really hard to understand the Marvel universe. I think the best bet is not to try, oddly enough. The underlying material gives the movies extra depth, which is not really what movies are for; and the movies are generally designed so that there's a complete interior story, across the various movies. Mostly what I'm finding fun is how they morph what the comics had back in the 60s.

That said, the X-Men films are not a good intro at all to the 'verse that's being explored in the Avengers complex (nor are the Fantastic 4 movies, nor the Spiderman movies). Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America are all being done as a series with The Avengers -- and they're producing a lot of richness among themselves. So I'd recommend the Iron Man movies, definitely, as introducing a certain amount of what's going on; I haven't yet seen the Thor or Captain America movies and have been spotty on the Hulk. The Iron Man movies, though, really help (and they have Robert Downey Jr in them, which is a real help).

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

#148 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Xopher in #127:

They did make a Dr. Strange movie, you know. It was embarrassingly bad. That may be why they haven't touched that character again.

Your confidence in this theory may possibly be shaken if you contemplate 1998's Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite that movie, here we are, watching a series about S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway.

#149 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 01:08 AM:

Tom and Elliot,

I appreciate the input. Trying to express gratitude without visiting the gnomes.

#150 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 01:21 AM:

Mea, #142: I was sort of a comics nerd growing up, but more DC than Marvel until I fell in love with the X-Men back in the 80s (not the Classic X-Men, but the updated version with Cyclops and Shadowcat). The Avengers were hardly on my radar at all; I knew most of the characters by sight, and some of their origin stories, and that was about it.

I have also not seen most of the movies. I saw the last 15 minutes of the first Iron Man movie, which engendered a profound reluctance to watch either the rest of it or anything else with him as the central character. I have a HUGE problem with protagonists that keep making me want to smack them upside the head, and "boyish charm" isn't charming at all on a man over 30; Tony Stark cuts perilously close to being a Macho Sue. I've seen some bits of the Thor movie, nothing at all of either Hulk or Captain America.

(Cap was a character I had less than zero interest in during my comic-geek days because of the heavily jingoistic nature of the source material; ditto Nick Fury. Who was white in the comics, just to forestall potential confusion. Historically, there haven't been many black characters as series leads.)

That said, I found the Avengers movie to be quite enjoyable and comprehensible despite not having seen any of the lead-ups. If you watch that, and then maybe go look up all the main characters on marvel.wikia.com (which will give you their backgrounds in text rather than graphics), you should be up to speed enough to follow the show.

#151 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 01:38 AM:

I really like the macho sue article.

And I cannot be alone in people new to the marvel universe who misread nick fury as "nick furry."

My first mental image was a squirrel, ala rocky and bullwinckle, not David Hasselhoff.

#152 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 05:58 AM:

About the Hulk... Stay away from Ang Lee's "The Hulk". Go for 2008's "The Incredible Hulk", which starred Edward Norton and Liv Tyler, both of them fans of the character.

#153 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 06:01 AM:

And let's not forget 2012's "Avengers 1978", a fake coming attraction for what the "Avengers" movie would have been like in 1978, and which used footage from the various 1970s TV movies.

#154 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2013, 12:21 PM:

In Australia, the first episode was held back a week, and then the first two episodes were aired back-to-back yesterday. I think that worked out; I suspect I like the show, and certain of the characters, more after seeing the two episodes than I would have after just the first one.

TexAnne @ #22, et seq.:
The most detailed response to the "not Level 7" comment I've seen is this one here.

Mary Frances @ #62:
I've seen a couple of people suggest that Coulson is self-consciously hinting he knows something with the magical place remark, but I'm more inclined to think that the remark is a piece of irony that he doesn't himself possess the context for. I'm seeing it as a canned response he's been programmed with (for whatever value of "programmed" turns out to be appropriate) to paper over the gaps in his false memories.

(I may be influenced here by the old MacGyver episode where one of Mac's friends is abducted and brainwashed to assassinate a visiting dignitary, and given a set of false memories to cover his absence. "It was just me and the fish, like a dream come true." "...like a dream come true.")

Lila @ #141:
I thought I heard Coulson say that the walkie-talkie wristwatch was invented in Poland. (And in the 1930s, which doesn't necessarily mean anything one way or the other as regards Howard Stark, but I can't help mentioning because that puts it comfortably ahead of the 1946 Diet Smith model.)

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @ #148:
Ah, but you notice they haven't, in Xopher's words, touched that character again - they had to create a completely new Nick Fury before another SHIELD movie could be contemplated.

#155 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2013, 07:13 AM:

Erm, I know a random person's random opinion doesn't really carry a lot of weight, but I like Ang Lee's The Hulk. I mean, it's flawed and it's flaws are sometimes goofy, but it's not totally awful.

Also it lead to this, Stewart Lee on Ang Lee.

#156 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2013, 07:38 AM:

Paul Herzberg @ 155... I like Ang Lee's The Hulk

And that's the bottom line.

(My apologies if I suggested there might be something wrong for liking it.)

#157 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2013, 08:04 AM:

"My first mental image was a squirrel, ala rocky and bullwinckle"

Guardians of the Galaxy is going to feature Rocket Raccoon, who is fairly close to being a Nick Furry character.

#158 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2013, 09:17 PM:

He has Tony Starks ark reactor for a heart.

#159 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 01:50 AM:

I don't read Marvel comics, and haven't seen all the movies—and I'm thoroughly enjoying this TV show. I may be missing Deeper Meanings, but I'm enjoying the fast dialogue, silly fighting*, and general shiny.

*As in punching a bad guy, dropping him unconscious to the ground, and then turning your back on him. That reminds me of old cowboy TV shows.

#160 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 11:15 AM:

Saw the second episode. Fun, exciting, not spectacular.

My DVR didn't record the very end of the credits. What was the bonus scene? I did see the scene where Fury chastises Coulson for making a mess.

#161 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 11:22 AM:

Stefan Jones @ #160:

That was the bonus scene, as far as I know. Apparently there's been some regional variation in whether it appeared before, during, or after the credits.

#162 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 01:27 PM:

I laughed when Fury first chastises Agent Coulson for having a bar, and then admitting it is a nice bar.

#163 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 05:57 PM:

Mea @ 149: There actually is a viewing order to the Avengers family of movies:

IRON MAN
INCREDIBLE HULK
IRON MAN 2
THOR
CAPTAIN AMERICA
THE AVENGERS

Though these are standalone movies, the order is basically because of the post-credits teasers, which lead into the following movies. I like all of them, but am particular fond of the first one and final two. These six films also constitute what Marvel have termed 'Phase one' of the development of their cinematic universe.

'Phase two' is set in the post-AVENGERS world and dealing with the fallout from the events of that movie. To date, this includes:

IRON MAN 3
AGENTS OF SHIELD
THOR 2 (in cinemas within weeks)

#164 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2013, 09:51 PM:

Still bored by everyone except May (and I'm not really interested in why she quit fieldwork. "Nameless Horror" is enough for me.) Even Coulson didn't hold my interest this time. Whoever described him as a Hufflepuff is A-plus correct, though. That idea actually kept me watching. Everybody else is just "no, no, go away and grow a character before I strangle you with your quirks."

#165 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 01:56 AM:

I’m betting that whichever of Fitz-Simmons is the male one traded away his personality for that briefcase full of spiffy quadrotors.

#166 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 02:21 AM:

Am I actually the only one who liked the fast-talking Britsh twins? I mean, ok, they don't have a personality yet. But, you know, neither do my kittens. They'll grow into them. (The kittens, not necessarily the twins.)

#167 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 07:45 AM:

TexAnne: I find Ward boring. I like May best, and am willing to hang out with Fitz and Simmons. Skye is annoying. Coulson is being bland even for Coulson, which in the Whedonverse I take as a sign that he's manfully holding it together under tremendous pressure or angst or some damn thing.

I'm willing to give it several more episodes at least. Of course, part of that is we've got a streak of takeout pizza on Tuesday nights followed by watching Agents of SHIELD with daughter and daughter's girlfriend that is quite pleasant apart from the content of the show....

As for the Tahiti thing, my theory is that Coulson has amnesia for a significant chunk of his recovery, he's aware that he's been given false memories, and he's working behind the scenes to find out what really happened.

Where's Romanov when you need her?? Oh right. She's off Winter-Soldier-hunting with Cap.

#168 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 11:32 AM:

I find the science twins boring because of the recent-in-mind comparison with _Pacific Rim_, which did that gag better and more distinctively in less screen time.

I'll still watch the show, though. It's got some good bits and nothing in it chronically annoys me.

(I still haven't found a TV series this season that I'm enthusiastic about.) (I'm looking forward to whatever specials Dr Who gives us, but the next season isn't until next summer.)

#169 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 12:05 PM:

Speaking of Doctor Who -- did you hear that they found a large batch of the lost episodes in Etheopia? That's pretty exciting!

#170 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 12:22 PM:

Tom @ 169: If it's true. This rumour has been floating around the internet for months now and what's in that Mirror report doesn't look any firmer than what's been said to date. I would *love* for it to be true (seeing 'Power of the Daleks' and 'Web of Fear' again after all this time - you bet), but I'm not getting my hopes up just yet. What makes me doubt it is that the Beeb are still going ahead and animating some of the missing episodes allegedly found in this cache, something that would be a very odd thing to do if the story is true.

#171 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 02:39 PM:

106 episodes found would be *all* the lost episodes, which seems an overly-neat quality to the story.

#172 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 02:59 PM:

It's quite possible that some of the episodes found in Ethiopia are not lost. We also don't know the condition. There's a lot we don't know, even if the find is genuine.

#173 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 03:25 PM:

It's also quite possible that it was a large archive that was found, that includes among other things all the lost episodes -- and they're only mentioning the lost episodes because the others aren't interesting. Condition would certainly be a reason for the BBC to be keeping the planning going on the animated versions.

I'll await further developments in any case. And thanks for the insider view, Rob -- I'll be less expectant of a perfect outcome. But I've been in on the finding of a few archives in my time, and it's a pretty wonderful thing when it happens.

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 03:33 PM:

My first thought on the archives was 'were they next to the Ark of the Covenant?'

#175 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 03:37 PM:

Okay, there's now a version of the story from the Radio Times which seems a lot more specific: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-10-06/doctor-who-newly-discovered-lost-episodes-to-be-released-for-sale-this-week

(It also says it's unconfirmed)

#176 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 04:29 PM:

The radiotimes story doesn't mention a source, not even an anonymous one, and it contradicts the Mirror story. (If the BBC was negotiating last week, they're not getting anything on sale next week.)

I am putting all of this in the "noise on top of noise" category until the BBC says something. (Beyond "it's not true", which they said a while ago.)

#177 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 04:42 PM:

P J Evans @174 -- have you read Raiders of the Lost Basement, as originally published by P&T in Izzard? These things actually happen.

#178 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 05:01 PM:

While I'd be a little disappointed if the latest Who rumor weren't true, I must confess I'd be delighted if it were a set-up for the release of "dutched" fan-made Who episodes. (Possibly with much better special effects than the originals.)

#179 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Tom, I do know that these things actually happen. It's that Ethiopians claim that they have the Ark in one of their churches. So...

#180 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 05:27 PM:

The Radio Times story mentions two episodes and probably relates to the two episodes that were genuinely found earlier this year and subsequently screened at the ICA. These are unconnected with the Africa rumour. (Also not exactly going to set the world on fire since they were one episode each of 'Galaxy 4' and 'The Underwater Menace', the latter being widely regarded as Doctor Who's 'Plan 9 From Outer space'.)

And, yes, 106 would be all the missing episodes. The Africa rumours earlier this year spoke of 90. They also said these had been found in a warehouse in Uganda.

#181 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 05:40 PM:

Hmm. Digging further, there may be something more going on. I guess we shall see:

www.bleedingcool.com

#182 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 06:08 PM:

Aha, that is considerably more promising. (The bleedingcool link, which reports a BBC press conference is upcoming.) Thanks.

("Cautious optimism", as we say in an unrelated fandom.)

#183 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 09:24 PM:

Fitz is the male part of Fitz-Simmons. I think he's absolutely adorable and charming and I'd love to know someone like him in real life. He's not flashy or extroverted but he has PLENTY of personality for my money.

Lydy 166: You Are Not Alone. Though I like Fitz better than Simmons, that may be because he's so cute.

#184 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2013, 10:40 PM:

Lydy, I really like the idea of them as kittens.

#185 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 01:14 AM:

I'm enjoying Fitz and Simmons, though I agree some more character development for them would be nice.

#186 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 01:16 AM:

I've just realized that part of what I find so weird about Fitz and Simmons is how .. naked they are all the time. I'm used to broken-and-armored-over-the-spackle people (and most of the Avengers are that sort), and especially Simmons is so constantly gleaming all her soul's secrets right out her pores that it almost makes me uncomfortable.

I knew I found watching her intense-er scenes uncomfortable, but I hadn't quite articulated why until now.

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 11:39 AM:

I found the first ep okay, and the second one bland, but so far, they are at least entirely serviceable doing-artwork-to TV. (Plus, I'm desperately hungry for skiffy, these days.)

~oOo~

Am I the only one who is bored to tears by Daleks and Cybermen?

#188 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 12:13 PM:

Jacque 187: Am I the only one who is bored to tears by Daleks and Cybermen?

You are not. This is not the same thing as being bored with Doctor Who, however. I just think the Daleks and Cybermen are played out. I felt the same about the Replicators on the Stargate franchise. When I heard the "Replicator noise" I rolled my eyes and said "oh, damn," because every episode with them ended the same way.

The fact that ST:TNG took the Cybermen and did them better years ago (yes, I'm saying that the Borg are a Cybermen rip-off, but a successful one) doesn't help either. All the interesting plots have been done, some of them twice (The Doctor being cyberized and Picard being Borged, very similar concepts). If I never see another Cyberman I will be perfectly happy with that.

The Daleks could still go somewhere interesting, but they keep doing the same thing with them over and over. The last interesting Dalek story was "Asylum of the Daleks" as far as I'm concerned.

I'd put the Weeping Angels on the "used up" pile, too.

Come up with some new monsters, guys.

#189 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 01:50 PM:

"Dalek" -- the first new-series Dalek episode -- was wonderful. (I first saw it at Worldcon, I believe, 2005.) I wish the show-runners had had the artistic stubbornness to leave it at that.

The Cybermen have *always* bored me, but the most recent uses have at least tried some new things. Maybe I'm just reacting positively to Neil Gaiman.

...The dirty secret of my Dr Who fandomness is that *at least half* the episodes I've watched, of *every era and actor*, have been *not very good*.

#190 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Xopher@188: "Last" in the sense of "most recent", or "last" in the sense of "they should end things there"? That construction usually means "most recent", but in context that doesn't make a lot of sense.

#191 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 02:32 PM:

David, I've been watching things out of order. Right now I can't actually remember whether the Daleks have appeared since that episode. I thought they had, and were boring. *goes and checks* It appears not, though, which a) makes my comment pretty nonsensical and b) leaves me with "OK, that's enough Daleks. Don't want to see them again."

#192 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 03:34 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @188: "Am I the only one who is bored to tears by Daleks and Cybermen?" You are not. This is not the same thing as being bored with Doctor Who, however.

Verily and forsooth! And when (while we're on the topic) is 7.2 going to come out? I'm jonesin', here.

I just think the Daleks and Cybermen are played out.

I think they started played out. They're just brainless destroying forces. There's no motive to it. No intent that could be manipulated, not interest to influence, even. So they become approximately as interesting as an oncoming asteroid. Which is to say not very, because it's already been repeatedly established that [this] is how you destroy [that monster]. Yawn.

Yeah, I thought "Blink" was brilliant, but ever since, the angels just become one more Big Bad.

I felt the same about the Replicators on the Stargate franchise. When I heard the "Replicator noise" I rolled my eyes and said "oh, damn," because every episode with them ended the same way.

My theory was that they used those episodes to train up new writers. Or after a long weekend when everybody was too wasted to actually, you know, be creative.

I keep hearing show runners comment, "Everybody just loves the [Big Bad du jour]!" and I want to scream "What everybody!? I hate those almost as much as I do the 'let's spend the entire hour skulking around the corridors of the alien ship' episodes!"

The fact that ST:TNG took the Cybermen and did them better years ago

Huh. Yeah, I hadn't made that connection, but I think you're right. But for my money, the series that really went to town with the Borg was Voyager. To my extreme surprise, I actually found myself looking forward to Borg eps in that series.

Andrew Plotkin @189: The dirty secret of my Dr Who fandomness is that *at least half* the episodes I've watched, of *every era and actor*, have been *not very good*.

Yup. This is actually true of most TV. What saves it (if it can be saved) is the characters and the relationships. If those are good enough, I'll endure a lot of collateral mediocrity.

Xopher Halftongue @191: "OK, that's enough Daleks. Don't want to see them again."

I'd be willing to watch them again if they could come up with something new to do with them. The (new version) ep with the Dalek that opened its little can and Saw The Light and then died actually had a surprising amount of merit to it. But that's the only one I can think of.

#193 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2013, 10:14 PM:

Jacque @192: Fun fact! Jeri Ryan only auditioned for 7 of 9 (her agent was called and she was requested to come in and read) because her youngish-at-the-time son happened to overhear that HIS MOM could be ON STAR TREK and bounced and enthused at her energetically until she did it. :-> She hadn't thought much of the part secondhand and at a distance; after she (at his urging) went in and read for it she found it juicy and interesting, and was happy to be cast.

#194 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2013, 11:38 AM:

Jacque @ #192: I think they started played out. They're just brainless destroying forces. There's no motive to it. No intent that could be manipulated, not interest to influence, even.

That isn't how they started out, though. The first time the Daleks appeared, they had a clear and understandable backstory and motivation (which, however, went by the wayside subsequently because it didn't scale to "universe-shaking menace"). Even later, there are some good Dalek stories - specifically the ones where the writer doesn't fall into the trap of thinking of the Daleks as brainless destroying forces.

"The Power of the Daleks", which is unfortunately one of the stories from the 60s that went missing, is a good Dalek story, with some similarities to "Dalek". A single Dalek, held captive by humans, with no operating weapons, shows itself capable of getting around its captors by other means.

I also think Ben Aaronovitch's first Doctor Who novel is pretty remarkable. One of the Aaronovitch's recurrent concerns in his writing is to avoid lazy racial stereotyping: you don't tend to get, say, "an African" in an Aaronovitch novel, but an individual whose roots are in a specific place, who has been shaped by a particular culture and history. Which is nothing many other writers haven't done, as far as that goes - but I can't think off-hand of any other writer who extends the same effort to his Dalek characters.

#195 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2013, 01:04 PM:

An official BBC post which talks of "a number" of missing episodes having been found:

Missing episode announcement

This is starting to sound promising.

#196 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2013, 10:07 PM:

Tonight's episode was better than last weeks. Ok, wonky science on Gravitonium, but some nifty FX, some good character development from Rising Tide girl.

So what does it mean that Phil couldn't work the gun like he used to?

#197 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2013, 10:39 PM:

Also, Coulson's decision tonight strikes me as an excellent origin story for a supervillain. And Coulson should know this - consider who he works for.

Just sayin'.

#198 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 09:35 AM:

I was just laughing at the wonky science - Gravitonium, Upsidaisium, Handwavium, all the same, right? But what I noticed most was that during the training and fight scenes, I kept looking over at my housemate, who's a brown belt in tae kwon do, and checking HER reactions. I didn't notice these things so much before she started studying (though I've been noticing fencing for years, as my ex-husband fenced both modern epee and SCA).

That, and what was Skye's dress MADE out of, that the skirt was still swirling airily around her legs after she'd climbed out of the pool? Swimsuit Lycra? I would have expected it to be clinging and plastered.

I was surprised that the truck driver survived the impact, too. Seat Belts Save Lives, or artistic license?

#199 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 09:52 AM:

Shove a Canadian scientist into Upsidaisium...

#200 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 10:43 AM:

... Agent Coulson does not have the muscle memory. I hadn't made the connection until Steve C. pointed it out.

On the other hand, I'm the first person here to actually say out loud "Dr. Franklin Hall is Graviton in Marvel canon."

#201 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 10:53 AM:

Next... Molecule Man... Absorbing Man... The Texas Twister...

#202 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 11:29 AM:

When Vin Diesel was saying that he really really wanted to be in an Avengers movie, I envisioned him as Absorbing Man. He has the right look.

(And that villain would work in movie continuity because he got his powers from Loki in comic ... )

#203 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 202... So Diesel is one of us? Did you know that Michael Chikliss also is? Apparently, in his late teens he declared he'd one day play Ben Grimm. He eventually did, in what I think of as one of the worst comic-book adaptations I've experienced in this century.

#204 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 12:26 PM:

My guess is that Coulson's lack of muscle memory means he's no longer in his original body.

We did see him bleed, and then later he was healed, so if he's an android he's a pretty high-grade one. Or they're doing repairs while he's "asleep". Or some damn thing.

#205 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 12:30 PM:

Serge #203

Vin "D&D Character Tattoo" Diesel? One of us? I thought everyone knew!

#206 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 12:41 PM:

Jim @ 205... No, I didn't know. By the way, I think James MacAvoy also is one of us. So is Ben Affleck, and so was his "Daredevil" co-star, the late Michael Clarke Duncan.

#207 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 01:06 PM:

I suppose they could do Molecule Man too, if some nebbish managed to get hold of The Tesseract.

The Texas Twister, though - no. Not even with Stark technology. Just saying.

#208 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 01:52 PM:

Jon Meltzer @ 207... I was wondering if anybody else would remember the Texas Twister.

#209 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 01:56 PM:

I'm really sad that I can't get into this show. I find our main young heroes to be bland and so far past tropes that they're actual cliches (Oh, look - it's a Heroic White Guy telling a Young Sassy Hacker what to do!) and the plots seem, I don't know... sort of kiddie-level. The characters I give a shit about (Coulson and Melinda May) are hanging out in the background being authoritarian or mysterious respectively. The science nerds could be the best part of the show, but I doubt that's ever going to happen. It being a Whedon show, I suspect there will be some character development for them at some point, but it's just not hitting too many complexity buttons for me to care overmuch. The good thing is the general lack of racism and misogyny. I am happy about that, and hope that it influences the rest of network TV for a few seasons (dare to dream, right?) but at this point I don't think a network drama airing at 8pm is aiming for me in the audience.

#210 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 01:59 PM:

2008's "The Incredible Hulk" starred Edward Norton, who was a fan of the comic-book, and Liv Tyler, who was a fan of the TV show. Another tidbit of trivia, of which my brain is full... Remember the old man at whose diner Banner finds shelter after coming back home? That was actor Paul Soles, who did the voices of the Hulk and of Banner in the 1960s cartoon. He's better known though as the voice of Hermie the dentist Elf in Rankin-Bass's "Rudolph".

#211 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 05:59 PM:

The handling of the gravitonium chunk leaves open the "Is Coulson/SHIELD a bad guy using all these good people for bad ends?" question. He specifically told OtherAgent to not mark it for slingshot,which would've been MY choice. I can think of two quickie 'why' answers off the top of my head, one significantly more nefarious than the other:

* Gravitonium is known or suspected to have a Very Bad Interaction with being thrown into the sun. We only have one of them, we need to not, um, compromise it.

* It might well be useful later, don't throw away anything useful.

With the added twist that if Coulson knows the good doctor is likely to still be alive in there, he might not want to murder him ... or might want to hang onto him for later usefulness.

#212 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 06:02 PM:

Probably a matter of spacing.

#213 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 10:34 PM:

I loved the fact that Fitz actually ate popcorn while tracking Skye into the bad guy facility.

My guess is that Coulson's lack of muscle memory means he's no longer in his original body.

I was thinking that very thing. Of course, this is a misunderstanding, because "muscle memory" is actually happening in the backbrain and spinal column, but hey. Might not be his original backbrain and spinal column either.

#214 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2013, 10:43 PM:

We also have no idea of how revivification might work. An LMD would be much more likely to have that kind of muscle memory -- the dolls in Dollhouse (not Marvel canon, but Whedon) did have that kind of muscle memory, since Echo could write a letter in the hand of the person she was imprinted with (in Haunted, S1E10). And LMDs were supposed to move like their originals -- well enough to fool agents of HYDRA, at least, in Fury's first meeting with SHIELD, as I recall.

I'm led to wonder by the line in the preview of the coming week, not clear who it's being said to: "You're a robot -- can you do that?"

#215 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 11:53 AM:

The show apparently takes place in the Marvel movie universe, which seems to be much like the Marvel comics universe, with a similar allowance for hand-waving in physics, etc., for continuity and/or plot points, but with filters for stuff that would look too silly in live action, even with the usual movie/TV divergences from reality. If our suspension of disbelief doesn't match the allowance/filter settings we can get jarred. Also, we are in the early episodes, and we know Whedon likes progressively nuanced tropes. So I'm hanging on. We shall see....

#216 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 12:08 PM:

I think it definitely behooves us all to remember that this is a comic book brought to life, not a real-world simulation with, somehow, superheroes.

I am particularly susceptible to this error. Note my comments about muscle memory above. In the comic-book universe, Coulson's muscle-memory could be failing because

  1. His new muscles don't remember because they didn't do what he remembers doing.
  2. He's still experiencing aftereffects from his resurrection.
  3. His nerves were damaged during the time he was dead before they froze him or whatever.
  4. His raith ("subtle") body isn't fully synchronized with his new/artificial physical body.
And there are many other explanations, none of them possible in the real world, but none of them outside the realm of Marvelverse possibility.

#217 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 12:18 PM:

I do think it's likely that Coulson actually believes he lived and recuperated in Tahiti; he seemed honestly confused that his muscle-memory wasn't there. And although people have referred to him dying, my recollection is that it has not been in his presence, or has been sotto voce and he plausibly might not have heard it.

And, of course, even if he heard them, he could plausibly believe that they're mistaken about him dying and simply fell for Fury's cover story.

Me, I'm inclined to agree with the folks here; "Tahiti" is a fake memory or a post-hypnotic suggestion or some such; Coulson actually died, and was actually brought back (for some value of brought back) somehow.

#218 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 12:24 PM:

Xopher: what language/tradition is that raith there? I suspect I've run across a reference to it without knowing it (I assumed it was a pun on "wraith").

#219 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 12:30 PM:

Marv Wolfman made a comparison between "SHIELD" and "Arrow", saying that the latter has more going in it than the former has had in three episodes. "Arrow" may have more stuff going, but I can't get over Oliver Queen's dad shooting himself after shooting the one surviving crewmember - without asking the latter's opinion - so that his precious son can make it with what little supplies they had.

#220 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 12:53 PM:

Lila, it's supposedly Gaelic. I got it from Starhawk. As far as I know it's not related to 'wraith', but my dictionary lists 'wraith' as "origin obscure," so there's no way to be certain.

#221 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 01:21 PM:

Cassy B @217 -- I thought Coulson had commented several times on his having died (about once per episode), though he said it was only for a period of minutes. I'd have to go re-watch it to pick out times on the screen. I think he knows he was dead.

#222 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Tom @221, I don't recall Coulson explicitly saying he'd died. He did say he'd "stopped breathing for eight seconds" which struck me as weirdly trivial; if his heart had stopped for eight seconds that would be one thing, but breathing? Not so much.

(Which makes me wonder what process stopped for eight seconds that Coulson conflated with breathing.)

Anyone out there remember him actually saying he'd died?

#223 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 01:59 PM:

"Director Fury faked your death, to motivate the Avengers." [...] "It wasn't that much of a stretch. I stopped breathing for about forty seconds." "That gets longer every time you tell it." "You get shanked by the Asgardian Mussolini, you can tell it your way. I was looking at the big white light and it felt like a lot longer than eight seconds."

(Got it right here.)

At face value Coulson has every right to joke about having been briefly dead.

#224 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 03:28 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @223 Hmmm. I find it interesting that the subjective time was longer than eight seconds. Presumably someone told him it was eight seconds... but I'm wondering if it was actually minutes, or hours...

#225 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 08:41 PM:

I wasn't terribly impressed with this last episode. The main plot didn't make much sense: The evil tycoon of the week wants the gravitonium because evil. Do I have that straight? A lot of the little stuff was good, but it all added up to much less than its parts.

#226 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 09:29 PM:

The general idea of the series seems to be that mankind is Just Not Ready for certain technologies. This week’s ep was the first in which the Bad Tech is of entirely human invention, rather than a modification of an alien import.

James Nicoll has already joked about a 1930s version of SHIELD, protecting the world from air conditioning and antibiotics.

#227 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2013, 10:13 PM:

Avram @ 226... Considering what a bangup job SHIELD itself has already done with unusual tech, I think I'll take my chances elsewhere. Anyway, who gets to decide when we're ready for that tech? The same clowns who wanted to nuke Manhattan to save it from an alien invasion?

#228 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2013, 06:34 PM:

Well, I now have _The Web of Fear_ and _The Enemy of the World_ (Troughton serials) purchased and downloaded, and am planning a watching party.

My current feeling on SHIELD is that the writers(*) are trying to buy thematic riffs that they haven't nearly invested the payment for. The first episode laid out a decent mission statement (in Coulson's voice) but you have to fill that in with shows. Now they've got bits like the "big brother" line, okay, good idea, but it's just a line until we are comfortable with Wade and Skye etc as people. First. Which they're not yet. To me.

Anyhow.

The contrast with _Arrow_ is that _Arrow_ consciously set itself up as a drama (which riffed on superhero-genre ideas). Lot of characters, but within the first couple of episodes their character arcs were all introduced and running. SHIELD is... it's not *ignoring* that(**) but it's a smaller part of the show structure.

Plus, obviously, _Arrow_ kept alien tech and superpowers firmly out of scope. That made for very good focus. (I understand that's going to slip in season 2. Their mistake to make, I guess.)

(* I don't know how much Whedon is involved with episode specifics.)

(** Except for the science twins, who had better turn into *some* kind of payoff sometime this season.)

#229 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2013, 07:09 PM:

The show apparently takes place in the Marvel movie universe, which seems to be much like the Marvel comics universe

I'm kind of curious if there's any precedent in the Marvel comics universe (about which I know next to nothing) for the idea that Malta is some kind of semi-rogue state that's opted out of the usual international organizations and regulatory frameworks, where would-be corporate supervillains can set up their home compounds... or if that was just some weird bit of sloppiness on the part of the show's writers.

#230 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2013, 07:26 PM:

Malta not so much, but there is the island of Madripoor; they may have decided to give it a real-world name for some reason?

#231 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2013, 01:59 PM:

Malta used to have a reputation for being a base for weapons dealers. Tom Clancy has that pop up as a plot detail in..."Patriot Games" IIRC.

(The Zodiac boats used in the prisoner-springing caper were sold to the Irish terrorist by someone in Malta.)

#232 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2013, 05:21 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 231:
Hmm... I'll have to mention that to my Maltese friend and see what he knows about it ;-)

(It was just a bit jarring to hear the villain speechifying about how wonderful that place was because it was so free of the stultifying, oppressive regulation of the US, the European Union, etc., etc.... and know that Malta has been part of the EU for the past nine years, and part of the Eurozone since 2008. So, not exactly free of all those regulations.)

#233 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2013, 10:22 PM:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D drinking game.

Even having seen only 1 episode as yet, this rings very true to me.

#234 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2013, 02:47 PM:

I have a friend whose mother is Maltese. His cousins came over from Malta for a wedding and had many tales of the long history of smuggling on the island. (One of them looked very like a pirate as well).

In the real world, Malta is part of the EU, one of the organisations called out by Quinn as over-regulating his research.

#235 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2013, 10:16 PM:

Tonight's episode: big belly laugh at the order to "seduce him". Even bigger WTF, dude!, at a datalink that can send video but can't manage the measly few kilobytes per second for sound.

#236 ::: Steve C. was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2013, 10:18 PM:

And I have some tasty tenderloin, freshly microwaved.

#237 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2013, 11:03 PM:

And eye surgery on the show. Isn't that special.

#238 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2013, 11:19 PM:

I 'like' the cavalier manner in which Agent Coulson justifies monitoring what we put out there on the web. Of course, he's a good guy so he'd never abuse such power.

#239 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2013, 09:27 PM:

Two thoughts:

One: Agent Coulson may well be nice, but he is not good.

Two: This universe does not have science, it has Science! instead. (That is, mad science operating under different physical laws from our own, which may or may not count as magic. Yes, this makes Tony Stark a Spark.)

#240 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Dear Agents of SHIELD writers:

EYEGLASSES DON'T BLINK.

Grr.

#241 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2013, 10:09 PM:

Here's what worries me: Everything about Dollhouse that I hated and decided to ignore because it was "too stupid to be intentional" was everything that the intended-finale [1] was ABOUT.

So the apparent-clunkiness might be a Deep Reveal that I will be deeply annoyed by. Or it might just be "Disney owns this, and they're leaning on us, so we're going to pitch it at people who are simultaneously nine and forty-five years old."

Because so far I'm buying none of the characters except Agent Coulson [2], none of the situations, and don't even like buying the handwavium. [3]

[1] "This isn't getting renewed, so we're giving them the ending now." [SUMMER PASSES] "We got renewed? What?"

[2] Barely and grudgingly.

[3] If you go to the opera on purpose you can't complain about the melodrama; if you watch a superhero movie you can't complain about the science.

#242 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 03:27 AM:

Anyone else notice that the technological weirdness seems to be getting less weird?

Eps 1 & 2, alien tech. Ep 3, Earth-made tech utilizing an exotic element and cutting-edge physics. Ep 4, something that SHIELD’s house gadgeteers can reproduce with an hour’s work.

#243 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 06:31 AM:

"We do seem to be learning by trial and error - mostly error."
- from "Alphas", which was very flawed, but better than this

#244 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 06:33 AM:

I wonder if SHIELD's next episode will have Agent Coulson run into yet another woman from his past, which would make it the 3rd time in 5 episodes.

#245 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 02:07 PM:

I'm beginning to wonder if Whedon is involved mainly as Name Recognition. Even Dollhouse had more snap than this. He evidently directed the pilot, but he only shows up as cowriter, and in only two eps. If so, he's not doing his personal brand any favors.

#246 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Jacque, I wonder if the lack of snap is because Whedon's working in someone else's world. Buffy and Dollhouse were his creations, but SHIELD isn't (at least, not entirely). Yes, he did the movie, but that can be a good deal different than a TV series.

#247 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 09:55 PM:

_Buffy_ was *also* Whedon working in somebody else's world. Then there was _Much Ado About Nothing_...

Maybe he's not working on SHIELD personally. Maybe he's just writing weak scripts. It happens.

#248 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2013, 10:56 PM:

@247 Andrew Plotkin

_Buffy_ was *also* Whedon working in somebody else's world.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was created by Joss Whedon. He wrote the script for the original 1992 movie, though he hated the way it ended up being made. The series was his proper vision, but it was always his world.

#249 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 01:09 AM:

So I binge-watched _Arrow_. The last time I read a Green Arrow comic, he was clean-shaven and had a red feather in his hat, and Speedy was his kid sidekick, not his kid sister. That was, I guess, many retcons ago. But I've seen later covers, so the hooded look wasn't a surprise. Heavy on the angst pedal. It looks to me like when a character has to make a decision, they go for the one that will produce the most future emotional pain and character conflict. Lots of physical pain, too. And the characters seem somehow false or hollow to me; not sure why. I like the structure, with the back story running parallel to the current story; I don't watch enough TV to know if this is a common thing.

#250 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 02:29 AM:

Cheryl@248: Whoops! I had forgotten, or never knew, that the Buffy movie was Whedon's script.

(I still wave my point around generally -- there are a lot of factors here, and it's not obvious that "my sandbox / other sandbox" is a crucial one.)

Don Simpson, re _Arrow_:

"I like the structure, with the back story running parallel to the current story; I don't watch enough TV to know if this is a common thing."

I guess _Lost_ made it famous? In genre TV, anyhow. _Once Upon A Time_ does it too, with mixed results. (It's a mixed sort of show.)

(Not quite the same cases, as both of those shows scramble the past-era storyline rather than running it linearly.)

I went through _Arrow_ S1 in about a month. I figure I'll wait and then do the same thing on S2. It's not like I'm short of TV right now.

#251 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 05:19 AM:

... a datalink that can send video but can't manage the measly few kilobytes per second for sound.

I can imagine (only slightly handwaving) arguments to the effect that an artificial eye isn't really a very good place for a microphone.

(Or that someone originally designed said eye assuming that if the person using it needed audio communication, they'd just wear a microphone.)

#252 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 07:50 AM:

Jacque @ #245:

I gather from reports that although he was involved in setting up the series and planning where it was headed, Joss doesn't have much of a hand in the ongoing running of the thing because he's busy with the next Avengers movie. The actual hands on the helm are those of the other two co-creators. (They've both worked in the Jossverse before, for what it's worth, on Doctor Horrible and, for better or for worse, on Dollhouse.)

#253 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 08:54 AM:

Re Arrow: I quit watching it partway through S1 (and now those eps have expired off free Hulu); I'm not sure if I'm going to watch S2. It was full of loathsome people.

However, one thing it never did was trivialize its female characters, or put them there primarily for the titillation, which shocked, surprised, and pleased me when I realized it.

(also, watching ActorName do things with his amazing naked upper-body musculature was wonderful. I am shallow)

#254 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 09:42 AM:

Not comicky, but is anyone else watching Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? I enjoyed OuaT all right, and still almost can't imagine Disney is allowing this kind of transformative fic with their characters.

My main (and completely unspoilery) reaction to the pilot of Wonderland is, "So, um, that backstory they breezed past? Why is THAT not the show?? It sounds an awful lot more fun than what you're pointing the camera at now ..."

#255 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 09:58 AM:

I watched "Arrow" for a few episodes then gave up. The initial outing had a big problem for me, with Dad deciding that Son is such a great human being that, when their yacht sinks, leaving Dad, Son and the only remaining crewmember with limited supplies on their raft, Dad decides that the only way Son can survive is if Dad blows his own brains out after blowing out the brains of the crewmember, whose opinion wasn't asked and Son doesn't object. Besides, I miss the Ollie Queen who'd sarcastically call Batman 'Chuckles'. I also miss the boxing-glove arrow.

#256 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 10:04 AM:

I watched one episode of Arrow, wasn't intrigued—and was reminded of the '80s evening soap opera, Dallas.

#257 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 10:47 AM:

I really should start watching my DVD set of "Birds of Prey".

#258 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2013, 12:05 PM:

I never tried Arrow. I've only been tempted because Colton Haynes and John Barrowman were on it, but never actually watched it.

I have, however, been watching the lead actor's cousin on The Tomorrow People. So far its chief virtue is eye candy.

#259 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 03:49 AM:

I'm the last person in the world to see this, right? The Consultant

I guess I do want to watch some of the movies after all.

#260 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 06:54 AM:

The new season of Arrow reached the UK yesterday and it seems that Ollie Queen is trying to stop being haunted murderous revenge vigilante The Hood* and maybe try to be less murderous and more heroic. Also I don't know if the actor has improved or the writing is better suited to him but I find him a bit more convincing now.

Serge @255 Besides, I miss the Ollie Queen who'd sarcastically call Batman 'Chuckles'. I also miss the boxing-glove arrow. Yes - they've positioned him as the straight man in the show. Which doesn't mean he can't be and isn't funny, but only often enough that's it's always a surprise.

#261 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 09:18 AM:

Lila @240

...although it seems like it would be trivial to insert a periodic cut out/switch to backscatter (whatever the original does) into the already compromised feed. Admittedly the blink thing wasn't something I'd thought of, but I'll be surprised if that's the worst assault on the suspension of disbelief the show throws up.

Enjoying it so far, but it's not gripping me by the shirt collars the way Buffy or early Supernatural did. It feels less like the beginning of a whole new world opening up and more like mid-run "monster of the week" in a familiar universe, which is not the greatest sign for a show four episodes old. Maintaining faith that we're waiting on a big bad or overarching theme to make it more cohesive.

#262 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 12:18 PM:

I feel sort of like the Good Fairy in Little Bunny Froo Froo: "I'll give you THREE chances to be good...!"

Well, more than three. But not, say, a whole season.

#263 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 12:55 PM:

I finally figured out who the guy who plays Coulson reminds me of: Anthony Head.

I've watched OUAT because: Robert Carlyle! (Rumplestiltskin: creepy and adorable!) But I find my patience with it generally limited. (I never did grok the appeal of Lost.)

I find it's one of those things that works better when watched in batches, so I'm currently saving up the first five eps for a binge.

Finally got around to watching Bones, which is another one improved by bingeing. Absolutely fell in love with T.J. Thyne; if you want a fun, StFnal love story, try Shuffle.

Angel always annoyed me; David Boreanaz just can't carry off the angsting Romantic Hero, I'm sorry. Booth is a much better fit for him.

#264 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 02:55 PM:

John A. Arkansawyer @259 -- not the last. And thank you for the laugh.

#265 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 04:49 PM:

Jacque @263: I fell away from Bones (after initially loving it) when it started suffering from what I call the Series Mystery Book 5 Problem: it got so wrapped up in quirky personal lives and rohMAAAAANtic subplots and such that it quit actually having a whole plot/mystery/problem in each episode.

I watch them for the plot. I like that the characters feel like people, but when their personal lives rise up and strangle all the life out of every other aspect of the show, I lose all interest. I may be odd, though, because the 'monster-of-the-week' eps were the ones I liked BEST in X-Files, and I understand I am in the tiny minority on that.

This happened to Anita Blake after Blue Moon, for example, though some authors manage to make it past five books. Susan Conant's dog mysteries (starting with A New Leash on Death) made it surprisingly far, as I recall, before I had to give up on it due to the relationship-thrashing and lack of any interesting plot per book, as did Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak books.

#266 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 05:24 PM:

Elliott Mason (265): I liked the X-Files Monster of the Week episodes best, too. (The habitues of alt.tv.x-files used the phrases 'it's not just you' and 'you're not the only one' so often that we abbreviated them to 'injy' and 'yntoo'.)

#267 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2013, 06:27 PM:

For me, Bones fell victim to my general problem with detestable leads. Took a while for me to decide Brennan was actually a bad person, and not just irritating (and I've ranted about her here before, so I'll leave it at that).

I barely made it through one season of The Mentalist. Actually I probably watched that one longer than I should have, because he had his little flares of decency, the way decent people have little flares of temper where they say things they later regret.

#268 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 12:55 AM:

Another unexciting episode tonight -- a little tiny bit of visible Coulson arc advancement with the "What did they do to him?", and I bet they're building something with the various bits of tech introduced in each show like the blackboard equation (a maguffin which makes no sense at all except in an early Marvel universe plottish way -- if it's that secret, who are the two geeks inside, and why did the seller have a sellable access card?). There's not being very much payoff so far. Backscatter x-ray tech without an x-ray source, though -- that's pretty interesting tech.

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 07:23 AM:

Neil W @ 260... they're finally adding humor to "arrow"? Good. Even Mike Grell's work on the comic-book sometimes laughed ar itself, like when Ollie sang the theme song from Richard Green's "Robin Hood".

#270 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 12:14 PM:

I think I'm about done. Nobody's actions make any kind of sense. (E.g., you've got a guy with magic platelets or some damn thing, so obviously the thing to do is take his current supply and then kill him, rather than, I dunno, keep him around so he can make more platelets.)

#271 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Yeah, that was pretty disappointing. At least they killed off that damned doctor, though they appear to have replaced her with someone even worse. And it was good to see May in action. And people actually speaking real Chinese on TV was also kinda cool (Whedon likes it, apparently, but couldn't quite make it happen on Firefly).

The fireproof platelets made me go "Whaaaaaaat?" And he had bloody sores on his arms...with no platelets, wouldn't they keep bleeding and not clot? Jim, can you comment?

And I agree with Lila, "let's take the platelets and kill him" made no sense. I think they're just trying to evil up the villains, to maintain contrast with the sort-of heroes. "See, we don't murder our allies! We enslave them with control bracelets! We're GOOD!"

I'm afraid I didn't buy Scorch's corruption, either. He just wasn't that evil, or that amoral, at the beginning that he could have gone all the way to killing people—even SHIELD agents—that quickly.

And if those bracelets keep you from using electronic devices, doesn't that pretty much make Skye useless baggage? I mean, she's a hacker—if you disable her hacking you might as well just lock her up in the SHIELD equivalent of Gitmo.

#272 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 04:21 PM:

Xopher@271

If I recall correctly what Coulson said about the other bracelet is that the guy would have problems with electronic equipment for a while (with the length of "while" unspecified). Also that the bracelet would do what Coulson wanted it to do.

Which suggests that any effect of the bracelet on hacking is to some extent under Coulson's control.

#273 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2013, 09:14 PM:

SHIELD: It was an episode. Apparently I don't judge evil scientists plans on logic, because the platelets don't bother me. But I wish the evil doctor lady was distinguishable from Simmons by my poor weak brain. (By face, I mean. Voice is no problem.)

Hm, IMDB says FitzSimmons have first names. Not sure IMDB is reliable, though.

Yes, I've been watching OUATWonderland. It's... well, it's got all the cheese of the original show, but without the real-world anchorage and without either Robert Carlyle or Lana Parrilla. (Naveen Andrews is a good actor but his character is one-note, so far.)

It's thin cheese. A Kraft Single, one might say. And yet, I'll watch it, because -- I dunno, it's low-stress and pleasant. I've watched sillier things.

(And yet I didn't stick with _Sleepy Hollow_, whose chief virtue -- according to fans -- is that it's silly adorable cheese. Eh, nobody pays me for consistency.)

#274 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @273: Eh, nobody pays me for consistency.

One of Nancy's buttons: "I'm more committed to truth than to consistency." :-)

#275 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 04:15 PM:

I like "Sleepy Hollow." Haven't tried either of the OUATs.

I say avoid CW's "Reign" like the plague -- their costumers apparently don't know how to make a period dress (strapless gowns on the maids-in-waiting? And cutesy names for them that are definitely neither Scots nor French?!).

As for historical accuracy, the less said the better. To the best of my knowledge, Diane de Poitiers was infertile, there was no bastard son or daughter by Henri. And Catherine de Medici was not a redhead...

#276 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 07:13 PM:

SHIELD continues to disappoint, and I continue to watch. Meanwhile, on Arrow, Black Canary has shown up, Ra's al Ghul has been mentioned....

#277 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Xopher #271

wouldn't they keep bleeding and not clot? Jim, can you comment?

Yeah, he'd find clotting a challenge. But removing all of his platelets would be even more of a challenge.

If you have someone who produces Magic Platelets, keeping him around to make more would be an Extremely Good Plan. I guess the bad guys ignored the Five Year Old Child line in the Evil Overlord's List. ("One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.")

I don't know what's up with this show. I expect that it's the interference of Marvel Creative Services (five lies in three words).

#278 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 07:48 PM:

So, here's an explanation of why they might not have wanted to keep him around.

Initial plan: keep him around. But, he's highly unstable, and could easily go off the deep end. So, here's their alternate plan -- take out enough of the platelets to have plenty to analyze and from the analysis synthesize whatever protein/magic it is that keeps him from burning. They get one chance at this. They couldn't have taken out all his platelets anyway, but plateletpheresis is a well-known technology (it's been used to take platelets out or my blood). Sample gets taken, he reacts really badly to some part of it, then goes crazy and injects himself with Extremis. They've got what they *need* in their sample (which did not look like the product of platelet extraction to me -- it's not red/pink at all, but a sort of butterscotch color IIRC). And they're following a triage scenario getting it out of the building because everything's just gone completely wrong. And they knew this would be a possibility because, like, give them a name and they go batsh*t.

Trying to find out what the factor in his blood is that keeps him from combusting is better than using whole platelets because of blood compatibility problems. A solution that only works for people with type AB blood (as single-donor platelets could, per this compatibility chart for platelets) would not be very helpful for someone trying to put together an army of super-soldiers.

They don't need to give all their soldiers his platelets. They need to give them his immunity to burning up. That immunity may be found in his platelets -- but that doesn't mean it has to stay there.

#279 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Yeah, but the opening of the ep has them using goons in fireproof suits to kidnap the guy, rather than saying “Hey, we’re willing to pay you a buttload of money to let us do some tests on you, and also we can get you out from under SHIELD’s aegis.”

#280 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 10:19 PM:

They had to pull him out of SHIELD's surveillance quickly, and didn't want to take the time to convince him to come visit them. Besides, they are the bad guys -- that has to be demonstrated every so often.

#281 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2013, 11:34 PM:

Also they actually said "take all his platelets and kill him." Not like keeping him was ever a plan.

#282 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 10:51 AM:

"Three words: are mutants dangerous?"
"That's an unfair question, Senator Kelly. After all, the wrong person behind the wheel of a car can be dangerous."
"Well, we do license people to drive."
"But not to live."

I think of these words from 2000's "X-men" when I watch "Agents of SHIELD" and it's not favorable to the latter.

#283 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 11:26 AM:

Hmm. People assume that the main characters of a movie or TV show are the good guys. This isn't so. The Men in Black were always the bad guys until the movie Men in Black, and I would contend that making them the central characters doesn't change the moral equation. They wind up saving the world a few times, but overall they're still the bad guys they were in The X-Files.

SHIELD aren't the good guys. They're allied with the good guys part of the time; that's the best you can say.

It's interesting to contrast it with The Tomorrow People, whose cancellation should be coming along any week now. In TTP, the organization that's trying to contain and depower the mutants is unambiguously evil; they control you, take away your powers, or kill you (or both of the last two). SHIELD is a little gentler, but wayyy off the "good guys."

#284 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 11:54 AM:

Xopher @ 283... Last week's episode only reinforced my opinion of SHIELD as anything but the Good Guys. If they shared the same reality as the "X-men" movies, Agent Coulson and his crew would happily be enforcing the Mutant Registration Act.

#285 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Xopher @283, Serge @284, I think you have to allow for shades of gray here. Shield are certainly not White Hats; they're Big Brother. But in their defense, they're not exactly Black Hats, either; they didn't imprison or kill pyrotechnic-guy; they just kept an eye on him. (Still not good, but not exactly Evil, either.) In the stuttering words of Hacker-girl (sorry, I can't remember ANYBODY's names), they're Big Brother that sometimes beats up bullies for you. (And sometimes are bullies themselves.)

I haven't decided what I think of this show. My husband expressed profound irritation at the presumption that All Hackers Are Anarchists....

#286 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 12:07 PM:

Oh, and didn't Shield say there was no such things as psychics? So how do they explain pyrotechnic-guy? (And Centipede seems to think that psychics exist, if they have a tame precog...)

#287 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Cassy, good points on shades of gray. (I've heard there are 50 of them, but I think that's a gross underestimate.) Seriously, they're Gray Hats.

And they told Scorch that he couldn't use his power or they would come for him. I started rooting for him at that point. That was definitely on the bad-guy side.

As for "all hackers are anarchists," it's more that all hackers are outsiders of one kind or another; some are anarchists and some are in it for the money. The meaning of the word has changed from "someone who does computers at a deep level, with little regard for structure or aesthetics" to "cybercriminal."

#288 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 12:22 PM:

Whatever else it may or may not be doing, the show is being fairly upfront about the fact that SHIELD are, at best, the grey hats.

(And on the "what's up with Agent Coulson" front, I think it's significant that the former agent with the prosthetic x-ray eye who knew Coulson from before didn't say "That's not him," but rather "What did they do to him?" Based on that, my current bet is that he's a cyborg, rather than either a robot or a clone.)

#289 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Cassy B... Agreed. They are grey hats, but they scare me. First, you have the Inner Circle that unilaterally decides to nuke Manhattan after Nick Fury's own bunch dabbled in forbidden technology that allowed for an alien invasion to begin. In last week's episode, when the hacker asks about due process, they basically say they don't have time for that. Of course the hacker himself turn out to be full of BS and everything is front-loaded to make SHIELD's actions OK. There are bad guys who want to use mutants so of course we have to keep them from living their own lives.

#290 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 07:24 AM:

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s mistake is that it wants to keep all this stuff under wraps. It completely makes sense for a grey-hat in-the-shadows organisation to tell a pyromancer to not let anyone know, because there are bad people out there who shouldn't be allowed to know this stuff exists. But they still think and act like a covert ops agency, when what with the alien invasion etc. it's all out in the open. They should be shifting to a police role, telling the pyrotechnic they're keeping an eye on him, so don't step burn anything he shouldn't, but not keeping it a secret.

I also recall the first season of Buffy which opened with the undeniable truth that vampires were bad and slaying them were good and the Slayers and Watchers were the good guys etc. and that turned out to be a bit more complicated. As for Joss Whedon's involvement, I'm certain that as an executive producer scripts cross his desk. He's reported to be a workaholic, so it seems likely to me that he's at least read and commented on them.

Serge @269 - Arrow isn't a comedy and never will be. But the first season seems to have been a prologue and Ollie has got some of the rage out of his system, and more of the angst has been moved into the flashback scenes. Still, I laughed out loud at the scene when three characters complained about their secret identities.

#291 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 08:17 AM:

I think it's also significant that this is a grey hat organization that has recently lost a huge amount of materiel and a significant number of people. In other words, it's abruptly more resource-poor than it used to be. Possibly this accounts for the "stand over here and don't get into any trouble" approach to the pyro street magician.

BTW, the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer definitely supports the grey hats view of SHIELD.

#292 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 10:10 AM:

I'd be tempted to ask Agent Coulson WWCAD.
What would Captain America Do?

#293 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 10:11 AM:

Neil W... So, no boxing-glove arrow? Drat.

#294 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Not yet. Which is a pity as there have been great places for them to be used in the first three episodes. Instead stun arrows and regular arrows used non-lethally.

#295 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2013, 11:16 AM:

Okay, there was enough in this week's episode to make me watch next week's.

Possibly just for the fun of me and my daughter simultaneously yelling DON'T TOUCH LOLA!

Startled daughter's girlfriend considerably, but our dog (whose name is Lola) slept right through it.

#296 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2013, 08:55 PM:

Think I'm done with SHIELD. We had the science-twins character focus episode, and I'm still not into them. Not enough left here that I care about, and Coulson's backstory isn't enough of a gimmick to cover. Ah well.

#297 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2013, 09:18 PM:

I liked this week's episode. There was some emotion to this one, particularly Coulson's doubts about himself. The play between Fitz and Simmons isn't quite there yet, but it's growing.

But why the hell does a six-engine jet not have a visible copilot?

#298 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2013, 09:45 PM:

Given what I've heard about Whedon's refrigerator habits (this and The Avengers is what I know of his work), I've been expecting what didn't happen tonight to happen, so good for whoever didn't kill her off.

If this turns into a Fitz-Simmons-Ward-Skye quadrilateral-like object, I don't think I'll like it. And while it was nice seeing Ward not be frustrated, I was really hoping Fitz would hop into Lola to save the day.

#299 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2013, 11:22 PM:

Fitz FTW! This is getting good.

#300 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 12:02 AM:

An improvement over last week's episode, which was an improvement over the previous ones, and the preview for next week's episode looked comic-booky in a good way. The series seems to be finding its footing. And the Cnexre reference took me by surprise: it fits established comic continuity, but it's not a connection I expected them to make.

#301 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 02:31 AM:

What Parker reference? I missed it.

(And this is explicitly marked as a spoilers thread; no need for Rot13.)

#302 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 09:36 AM:

I approve of the FZZT episode, even though it is awkwardly welded from two interesting bits. Firstly the problem is an accidental result of an alien invasion. Then Ward complains about his uselessness, which fits in with my personal theory of him being the hero from a spy thriller who has found himself in a superhero universe. THEN he goes all James Bond, because there will always be a need for nerve, daring and courage to deliver the payloads of the technical part of the team.

Steve C @297 - Not only why does it not have a co-pilot, but why is the team not twice as big?

Then they could send 6 people out into the field. Leader or second in command can keep an eye on things from the command centre on the plane. Pilot and co-pilot. Then that leaves one technical expert and two combat ready agents as backup on board in case things go wrong, as they do every week.

Of course to do that Coulson would probably have to halve the size of his office* to make room for them so that's a no go.

* Which would leave very little room for the camera crew to be able to film from every angle as they can at the moment.

#303 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 09:43 AM:

What happens if the team's latest problem comes up in a town that's 100 miles from any landing strip? It's too bad the Bus can't do vertical landings/takeoffs. At least, if something went wrong with its engines, it'd have a better glide path than the Helicarrier has, which writer John Hemry has described as worse than a brick's.

#304 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 10:03 AM:

I agree, things are looking up. I may be losing objectivity because I adore Jasper Sitwell and because Barton & Romanov got namechecked, but hell. Fanservice is a legitimate tool.

#305 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Do we know for sure it can't do VTOL? Really and truely?

#306 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 10:23 AM:

And Serge, I was expecting them to use Lola (who does have VTOL) for the exfil rather than the bus. On the one hand, unquestionably the bus has better armament and probably better shielding, but on the other hand, Lola's a lot more nimble and can get a lot closer without being noticed.

#307 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 10:36 AM:

@301 Avram: When Coulton and May were talking about the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who dropped Skye off at the orphanage. At the end of the conversation, May looked at some photos and said, "Parker." In the comics, Richard and Mary Parker worked for Nick Fury in a proto-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency.

(I can always remember the names of Peter Parker's parents because my own parents are named Richard and Mary.)

#308 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 04:12 PM:

We saw the big SHIELD plane hover in place and swivel its jets in the most recent ep. That implies VTOL capability to me.

#309 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 05:12 PM:

VTOL it is then.

#310 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 05:23 PM:

@307 Steven desJardins

When Coulton and May were talking about the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who dropped Skye off at the orphanage. At the end of the conversation, May looked at some photos and said, "Parker." In the comics, Richard and Mary Parker worked for Nick Fury in a proto-S.H.I.E.L.D. agency.

She said "Poor girl", not "Parker".

#311 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 05:28 PM:

Thumbs up on this week's ep. Nice touches include the harm that secrecy and compartmentalization can do ("trust the system") and Coulson's loyalty to his team. Also, the slight hesitation in Coulson's automatic response about Tahiti ("It's a magical ... place") as if it was implanted in him. Idle thought ... What if Coulson is a Life Model Decoy, and a prototype for a more human version, and the original Phil is still in, erm , Tahiti, in some sort of coma?

#312 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 05:29 PM:

A prosciutto sandwich with a touch of pesto perhaps?

#313 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 06:43 PM:

@310 Cheryl: Oh. Whoops. For one brief shining moment, I thought they had actually planned out a detailed, interesting backstory for one of the characters. My bad.

#314 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Well, I feel the need to be more explicit about what I liked about this episode.

Fitz is developed as a character. In this episode he proves that he's smart (the dumbness about the sandwich aside) and brave, and can think on his feet (just as I was thinking the timely blowing of the lights was contrived—it wasn't) and is not too timid to kick someone in the face when it's called for (though I had to watch that four times before I was sure what happened, which isn't very good editing). He was also able to be tactful with Simmons and not tell her "sorry, the big lug there chucked the sandwich into the tarn." I totally crush on Fitz, but surely anyone can see that his character is becoming more of a person and team member and less of a stereotype?

Simmons got "into the field" a little too, though less excitingly. She was never in any real danger, even of the court martial she worries about after stun-gunning an agent.

Team bonding, rule breaking, and the SHIELD person's callousness turns out to be confidence instead. What's not to like?

Lila 306: First, Avram is right (308). But also, Lola doesn't have enough jet power to blow down a bunch of enemy soldiers.

Steve 311: I interpreted that as Coulson finally noticing that he automatically says that whenever anyone mentions Tahiti.

#315 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 09:07 PM:

@313 Steven desJardins

Oh. Whoops. For one brief shining moment, I thought they had actually planned out a detailed, interesting backstory for one of the characters. My bad.

I'm not sure that her saying "Poor girl" necessarily precludes that, but... OK, then?

#316 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 09:11 PM:

It would be cool if Skye turned out to be Spiderman's sister. Probably not a lot of stories to hang from that, though, especially if Spiderman never appears on the show.

#317 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2013, 09:48 PM:

I was thinking Skye might turn out to be May's daughter. Ming-Na Wen is actually old enough to be Chloe Bennett's mother, and Chloe Bennett has one Chinese parent.

#318 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 10:41 AM:

I'm trying to watch the ep and I'm stuck with Simmons trying to get Sitwell to leave her alone in the Seeeekrit Halllway of Seeeeekrits.

I'm supremely uncomfortable and have to keep closing the window, both because there's this horrible sexual-harrasment air over the entire scene (my current pause was Simmons commenting on his head) and because SITWELL WOULD HAVE TO BE A TOTAL IDIOT not to know what's going on: I mean, seriously? Skye is VISIBLE FROM WHERE THEY'RE STANDING, and Simmons has a 1 in Subterfuge. Sitwell, as previously established, is Coulson's equal.

It feels like laughing-at-incompetent-people, and I hate that and it makes me feel like a bully. Watching TV should not make me feel like a bully. :-/ I think I'm going to skip forward short bits until something else is happening and just acknowledge I won't know directly what happened in that scene.

#319 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 11:06 AM:

Elliott, and they could have fixed that so easily by putting Sitwell in that final scene with the SHIELD boss, and saying something like "I had to play so dumb to let them get away with this!"

#320 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 11:10 AM:

Yeah. Shield has cameras and AI, and A TAG ON SKYE. They knew she was standing at that doorway. They couldn't NOT know. It's an idiot plot, and Joss knows better. :-/

Having seen the poor-girl scene, I think it likely that Skye's parents were caught in some kind of crossfire (either as bystanders or participants) and SHIELD took the loose parentless (or parents in permanent SHIELD custody?) kid to an orphanage.

#321 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 11:18 AM:

Xopher: Or perhaps, "I don't appreciate being the one who had to play dumb for that, ma'am. Because I had to play really, really dumb."

#322 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 11:38 AM:

Well, it was clear by the end that the SHIELD boss (what was her name?) not only expected but wanted Coulson's team to extract Fitz and Ward, so SHIELD's selective blindness to Skye's presence is satisfactorily explained. I honestly don't think that's a retcon, but they could have made the agent's stupidity (and he had to go some to out-stupid Skye and Simmons, who were...well, let's just say I think the average 8th grader can lie better than that) more explicitly part of the boss's design.

Carrie, yeah, even better!

#323 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 11:41 AM:

His patsy is legendary, after all.

#324 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 12:02 PM:

My hand-waving on the stupid agent is that SHIELD expects sophisticated, subtle threats to security, not clumsy, dimwitted ones.

#325 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Sorry, wasn't gnomed. Persistent name....

#326 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 06:48 PM:

Xopher@322

I also got the impression that Coulson was actually trying to nudge Skye into her hacking excursion.

#327 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 07:38 PM:

I don't think Coulson can be an LMD for several reasons -- the scar that he shows off for one, the medical results, the ways in which the Level 8 members treat him, and such. It doesn't play. A revenant, definitely, but not an LMD.

#328 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2013, 09:49 PM:

Well, that was satisfying. And I'm glad to see my fears of a "Fitz-Simmons-Ward-Skye quadrilateral-like object" seem to be unfounded. Now: Does May already know about Skye's parents? And will Skye hack SHIELD to get Coulson's file?

#329 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 12:56 AM:

Agent Jasper Sitwell (S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, Class of '66) appears to have lost the blonde brushcut and horn-rimmed glasses he was sporting the last time I saw him.

#330 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 02:30 AM:

Tom Whitmore @327, the scar which could easily be artificial — I mean seriously, you’d accept a robot with realistic simulated human-like skin, but not that the technicians who put it together could add a fake scar? The medical results he’s not allowed to actually see the originals of?

The only thing that makes me think that he might not be an LMD, at this point, was Skye’s line in the most recent ep about Coulson “acting like a robot version of himself,” which seems too on-the-nose if that’s what they’re really going for, but just right if that’s what they’re trying to trick the long-time Marvel fans into thinking.

#331 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 11:44 AM:

If he's a robot, Simmons has to know -- she's mediscanned him on camera. And I doubt she'd be cleared for it (or could keep the secret from him, if she knew).

#332 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 12:43 PM:

I had to smile when Agent Coulson objected to being told something implying he might be an older man. I don't know if Coulson is the same age as Clark Gregg, who plays him, but the latter is 51 years old, which makes him 7 years younger than me. And did you know he's the son-in-law of Joel Grey? I mean that Gregg is, not Coulson.

#333 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 02:34 PM:

Ming-na Wen will turn 50 this month. This makes me extremely happy, in a genre where women over 30 are mostly either absent or insignificant. (Also: Rene Russo, who's nearly 60, kicking some serious ass in Thor: the Dark World!)

#334 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2013, 03:14 PM:

Lila @ 333... Rene Russo? Be still, my heart. Anybody else remembers her being in the short-lived TV series "Jon Sable"?

#335 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Serge @332: Thanks for making me google that name. I now know not only that Joel Grey originated the Emcee in Cabaret, but that he ALSO originated the Wizard for Wicked.

His daughter, Jennifer Grey, was known to me from Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Ferris' sister) ... and yes, is married to Gregg.

#336 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2013, 12:17 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 335... Wilkommen! :-)

#337 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2013, 10:26 PM:

I thought tonight was another decent episode. I wasn't expecting the Professor (nice turn by Peter MacNicol) to be an Asgardian.

And a sly Dollhouse reference at the end, when Coulson asks, "Did I fall asleep?" during his dreaming of Tahiti.

#338 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2013, 11:24 PM:

"Of course I don't know Thor. I was a mason. I didn't hang out with the Crown Prince."

I kept expecting someone to say "Aren't you a little short for an Asgardian?"

#339 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 01:44 AM:

The Doubleclicks have written a song about Agent Coulson

#340 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:57 AM:

Interesting episode, where it looked like the story would be about dealing with the couple who'd found the first segment of the Staff, but it wound up being about Peter McNicol, and about the old crap dredged out of the memories of the team's hunk.

(When we were told about Pagan Hate Groups, I went 'Huh?')

#341 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 08:49 AM:

Sadly, there are a bunch of groups who claim to worship the Norse gods and are also virulent racists.

#342 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 08:49 AM:

Serge, actually, some white supremacist groups use Norse pagan imagery, and some individuals and groups who define themselves as Norse pagans also espouse some nasty racist shit, and sometimes they claim that the racist stuff is justified by their religious beliefs.

It's a very big can of worms and I've tried to make my description as calm as I can. I'm in NO way saying that All Norse Pagans Are Racist. Very far from it. But I'm also trying to avoid the No True Scotsman type of defense.

I do NOT recommend Googling to learn more about the overlap.

However, I did find it entertaining to contemplate what the Marvel movieverse Asgardians would make of those groups. Or, rather, how they'd go about expressing the basic concept of You Guys Are Assholes. Chris Hemsworth's Thor being earnest and serious, Sir Anthony Hopkins being a scathing Odin, and Idris Elba's Heimdall just standing there, deadpan, letting them work it out for themselves.

#343 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 08:52 AM:

Serge: Anders Breivik, for example. See also this.

#344 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:00 AM:

Rikibeth, I shudder to think what Loki would do.

#345 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:03 AM:

I stand corrected.

#346 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:05 AM:

Lila @ 338... "Aren't you a little short for an Asgardian?"

Thse are not the Druids you are looking for.

#347 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:29 AM:

Carrie S., I suspect he'd egg the assholes on, then deliver a speech to one of the other lead characters about how much fun it is to make the humans fight each other, and how little they realize that they're all just puny mortals. And Tom Hiddleston would have that crazy-evil light in his eyes which I have only ever seen outdone by the one Richard E. Grant can produce.

#348 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 10:05 AM:

I think he'd start by egging them on, but then there'd be a very sharp lesson. Granted, probably of the form "None of you puny mortals are any better than any others", but still.

(The guy who runs Ardalambion wrote up a very nice treatment of the Akallabeth and how it might be filmed, and my buddy and I tried to cast it. Until Benedict Cumberbatch ended up as Smaug, he was our leading contender, but the voice is just too distinctive for him to be Sauron now too. Thus, Tom Hiddleston as Annantar Celeblamba...)

#349 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Can I ask a favor here, and get a spoiler?

The video cut out while I was watching this ep before the final Tahiti sequence -- so I've heard the audio. What happens in the video part?

#350 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Coulson's in a little beach cabana with his shirt off (dude's been working out), getting a massage.

#351 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:24 PM:

OK, first: PAGANIST? *facepalm* Doesn't anyone fucking copyedit or fact check these fucking scripts?

The Norse Pagan RELIGION that Whedon trashes in this episode is called Asatru. It's the second-most common conversion religion in US prisons, where it does tend to be the white guys banding together against the black guys (who more commonly convert to Isalm). But I have some friends who are Asatru and I'm not friends with any White Supremacists, I promise you (and if I find out otherwise it will go right back to being true when I cut them off without another thought). Certainly none of them are the bloody destructive murderers the ONLY PAGANS SHOWN HERE are in this episode, gods damn it to fucking Whedon hell.

He's 0 for 2 on his Pagan religions. In BTVS he made hash of Wicca, then made fun of Wiccans for being religious instead of just wanting to throw magic around like Willow.

I'm beginning to think he's kind of an asshole.

Steve 337: I didn't think that was a sly reference. I think Coulson is a Doll.

Tom 349: He's getting a massage in Tahiti. He appears to wake up. The woman you heard continues to massage him. When she says "it's a magical place," he wakes with a start in his very high-tech bedroom on the Bus.

#352 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:25 PM:

Nothing peculiar happens when the music comes up at the end?

#353 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:26 PM:

(dangit, hit 'post' too soon) and then he wakes up in his quarters on the Bus, gasping.

#354 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Thanks for the quick responses -- that all makes sense.

#355 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:44 PM:

To elaborate on "Coulson is a Doll," of course he'd have to be the Marvel equivalent. They could have taken a Dollhouse read of his brain after he lost consciousness but before he died, then grown one of those thingies (or taken some innocent guy and given him surgery to make him look like Coulson), then written Coulson's memories onto the guy's brain.

#356 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 07:55 PM:

Also, why are the characters palling around with that smug Asgardian piece of shit? What happened to Ward was his fucking fault. I'll stop short of saying they should have let him die, but they definitely should have locked him in a box and not let him out for...I dunno, how about a decade or two? Nothing to him, of course.

#357 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 08:43 PM:

Diplomatic immunity?

Probably not, but I get the feeling that SHIELD is going to handle Asgardians with kid gloves. They'll keep a close eye on the professor; he's a valuable resource.

#358 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:09 PM:

Xopher@351

It should be noted that "just wanting to throw magic around" is also what got Willow in trouble. And one of the key influences that helped her recover was a group that seems to have taken a more spiritual approach to magic.

#359 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 09:15 PM:

Xopher: Whedon's recent mansplainy comments about feminism make me think you're probably right.

#360 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2013, 10:31 PM:

Interesting question of whether one can "read" a personality from someone really recently dead, or whether that quality is actually what goes away upon death. It's not at all obvious that they could have gotten to Coulson quickly enough to record a life-map (we don't know how long that takes, either -- just how long it takes to wipe someone, effectively instantaneous). At least, that's what happens in the Dollhouse universe. And I did like the audio reference, but I expect it's not really relevant.

#361 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 01:47 AM:

Yeah, just a few minutes into this week’s ep, I was thinking to myself “Wow, Xopher’s gonna be fuming over this one!”

Leaving aside the matter of whether they’re Ásatrú (I don’t think that word is ever used in the ep, and the impression I get from skimming Wikipedia is that actual European Germanic neo-paganism is a bit more complicated than that), I think this week’s bunch of bad guys is the weakest yet, in terms of how they’re written. Barely anything in the way of motivations of characterization — I don’t think they even had names. It reminded me of shows I’d watch when I was a kid, where a biker gang or a bunch of punk rock fans would be the villains, and it the writers seemed to assume that the audience would just go along with the characters being violent criminals because they were bikers or punk rock fans. Like orcs in modern fantasy games.

Is this something carried over from Thor 2, or just crappy writing?

#362 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 02:55 AM:

The two that cut down the tree (and did we ever actually get an explanation of just how they knew exactly which tree it was?) did have names; we saw them on a readout screen. I don't think anyone ever said their names out loud.

#363 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 03:19 AM:

It's fairly well established that the Professor thinks with his penis, and told one of his students a bit more than he should have in order to get her into bed.

#364 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 06:20 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 363... the Professor thinks with his penis

Mrs. Howell, Maryann and Ginger tell all.

#365 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 07:37 AM:

Avram@361

As far as motivations go, I find "We want to be Gods" to be an entirely sufficient explanation.

#366 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 09:05 AM:

Not carried over from Thor 2, at any rate.

And yeah, we appear to have two kinds of villains: 1. the Orc/Iago model (that's just how they roll) and 2. the misguided/drugged/enhanced model, who will either be dead or disappeared down the SHIELD rabbit hole by the end of the episode.

Geez, Professor, you couldn't have dropped the stupid thing in the OCEAN? (For preference, three different oceans?)

And yes, glad someone besides me noticed that Inappropriate Grad Advisor Is Inappropriate.

#367 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 09:18 AM:

Lila @ 366... someone besides me noticed that Inappropriate Grad Advisor Is Inappropriate

So did I.

#368 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Lila@366

He considered dropping the staff in the ocean but worried it might cause an epidemic of berserker kraken.

:-)

#369 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 10:04 AM:

Michael I @ 368... Thordines?

#370 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2013, 11:32 PM:

I do get tired of Coulson's death and stay in Tahiti being mentioned every episode. And I still would prefer that they never explain it; I like the mystery.

Meanwhile, on Sleepy Hollow, there was a glass armonica of the original foot-treadle type, which gladdened my simple heart.

#371 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2013, 08:29 AM:

Should we make bets that "Agents of SHIELD" turns out to be Agent Coulson's equivalent of Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"?

#372 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Serge: If it does, I'm personally going to tape a picture of Joss Whedon's face to my heavy bag and wear it out.

And then never watch anything of his again.

(Glass armonica for the win! That's amazing.)

#373 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2013, 01:19 PM:

Serge @ 371: Maybe he's in Valhalla, with paperwork. A cross between "Job" and "Captain Stormfield's Entry Into Heaven".

#375 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2013, 01:43 AM:

People say they're tired of the Is-He-Or-Isn't-He-Back-From-The-Dead thing, but they give us a pretty decent if not great episode without any Coulson death content and no one says a thing for a day now.

#376 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2013, 07:43 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @#375, between NaNoWriMo and Thanksgiving, I'm lucky I had time to watch the episode.

Not one of the best, IMO. I'm really tired of villains whose motivation is "IITS" (It's In The Script).

And I wish writers wouldn't do the "magic speech" thing. It only works if the speech is actually magical--I mean on a "band of brothers" level. If it just sounds like "I turned a PTSD survivor into a merry prankster with this one weird trick!" it kicks me out of the story.

But I was glad for a vacation from Tahiti.

#377 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2013, 08:43 AM:
I'm really tired of villains whose motivation is "IITS" (It's In The Script).

See, that was the part of this episode that I got. That's the bittersweet-ending version of how that story starts, down in the comments, where the spoken intro lives. The parallels were lively in my mind as I watched. The Magic Speech--thanks for that expression!--I took here as shorthand for vulnerability. Showing that can, I think, work magic.

What I didn't get was how incompetent the "bad guy" (hardly a villain) was. Did he ever kill anyone on purpose, even with all those surprise attacks with lethal weapons? I don't think so.

The show seems to still be deciding what sort of violence it's going to show. One day, it was a needlessly severed arm or a tastefully sizzled eyeball. Another day, it's strictly flesh wounds, if that. I myself like the Silver Age vibe of the MCU, which isn't so dark as the DCU (is there even an acronym?), and would prefer CCA-Approved violence levels. The creators are always welcome to turn up all the other stuff to make up for the lack of death and gore.

But the b-plot. Was it about a S.H.I.E.L.D. tradition of pranking as initiation? Or was it about Maye's background? Were Ward and then Coulson playing Skye with their ever-more-believeable-yet-still-unbelieveable stories? (Though I'd kind of like it if FitzSimmons gave Skye a totally made-up story which she iterated to the truth in two steps.) Is it a S.H.I.E.L.D. thing that once you commit to a prank, you carry through even in the middle of a hairy live situation?

It puts me in a mood to watch Family Guy.

#378 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2013, 09:25 AM:

John Arkansawyer@377

I'm not sure that "incompetent" is the right word in reference to the bad guy not killing anyone on purpose. "Lucky" is probably a better word. I don't think he was specifically trying to kill anyone (at least not most of the time) even though he was certainly doing lots of things that could easily have gotten someone killed.

(I'm fine with calling him a villain. Deliberately repeatedly sabotaging an extremely dangerous piece of equipment definitely counts. Not to mention sabotaging the plane carrying the person you're supposedly trying to protect.)

#379 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2013, 03:11 PM:

As someone who doesn't have a TV I'm sometimes out of the loop on stuff like this, so ... when is the next ep likely to come out? Ish?

#380 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2013, 03:43 PM:

Looks like there's one tonight but then not another new one until the 7th of next month.

#381 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2013, 10:56 AM:

I'm going to be out of the country (so Hulu won't work for me) over the holidays; it's a relief that I won't have an ep expire out from under me while I'm gone.

#382 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2013, 11:27 AM:

Don't know about anyone else, but I *really*liked last night's ep. Good cliffhanger.

#383 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2013, 12:33 PM:

Lila@382, it's also shifted the focus from what "Our Team" is doing to what really happened to Agent Coulson after he died.

#384 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2013, 04:47 PM:

Okay, I've caught up, and I think I'm down with this. Definitely benefits from binge-watching (and is entirely acceptable artwork-doing-TV).

Andrew Plotkin @228: My current feeling on SHIELD is that the writers(*) are trying to buy thematic riffs that they haven't nearly invested the payment for. ... (* I don't know how much Whedon is involved with episode specifics.)

Okay, I think maybe I have a sense of what's going on here. I suspect this series is much more Jed's baby than Joss's. And Jed is, like, twelve, so he's got some growing to do as a writer/producer. But I think this is an entirely serviceable effort.

Steve C. @297: But why the hell does a six-engine jet not have a visible copilot?

Can you seriously imagine May letting anybody else in her cockpit as anything besides a passenger?

Neil W @302: Not only why does it not have a co-pilot, but why is the team not twice as big?

Standard regular cast size for a first season is usually around six...?

Elliott Mason @318: I think I'm going to skip forward short bits until something else is happening and just acknowledge I won't know directly what happened in that scene.

I've actually taken to doing that for bits that are boring and/or icky. It's very rare the sex scene that gets played through. Very few actors/characters make it worthwhile. (And smacky lips. Really? I guess we have to know that they are capital-K Kissing!) (Sorry: digression.)

Steve C. @337: I wasn't expecting the Professor (nice turn by Peter MacNicol) to be an Asgardian.

Any hope for a recurring character? (I miss Larry Fleinhardt. I wonder what he'd think of the CERN Higgs result?)

Lila @338: I kept expecting someone to say "Aren't you a little short for an Asgardian?"

Ahem :-)

Carrie S. @341: Sadly, there are a bunch of groups who claim to worship the Norse gods and are also virulent racists.

I was kind of tickled with the "Paganists" construction. I mean, it stands to reason that we would have our wackadoodle fringe, too.

Carrie S. @344: I shudder to think what Loki would do.

"Hmmmm. This could be useful...."

Xopher Halftongue @351: Certainly none of them are the bloody destructive murderers the ONLY PAGANS SHOWN HERE

I think that was intended. Pagan:Paganist::Islam:Islamicist, is how I read it. (Have I got that syntax right?)

Avram @361: I think this week’s bunch of bad guys is the weakest yet, in terms of how they’re written. Barely anything in the way of motivations of characterization

Well, I can retcon it to make it work: The Berserker staff is presumably designed to work with Asgardian physiology, and one assumes Asgardians would get training to use it without undue side effects. With humans, on the other hand, the staff would tend to short-circuit nuance and reasoning, and dial any native dysfunctions up to 11...? Stir in some wannabes with chips on their shoulders and, voilà!, instant violent nincompoops.

#385 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 12:45 AM:

For what it's worth, I started watching again and am caught up.

They've now put in enough story time on May to make her a real character.

I saw a good comment about Firefly recently, saying basically that you can pick any two main characters, and they have something in common and also something that separates them. E.g. Mal and Zoe are both soldiers, but Mal is an idealist and Zoe is a pragmatist. So any character scene has dynamics built in. (Philip Sandifer was the blogger who said this.)

Whedon seems to be good at this kind of ensemble-assembly. You could say it about Buffy, and the Avengers movie. SHIELD is missing it.

#386 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 12:51 AM:

I was pretty happy with this week's episode, though I read some really tough reviews of it. The obvious new thing is that there's a mole somewhere in S.H.I.E.L.D. if Coulson's death and revival are known to Centipede. Coulson's team, operating somewhat outside the system, is both likely to be secure from that mole and well-equipped to ferret it out. Possibly that's part of why his team has this independence, that the mole was suspected.

#387 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 03:44 PM:

As an alternative to there being a "mole inside SHIELD" how about, someone in Centipede has a hotline to Loki?

#388 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Mole? It’s possible that Coulson’s death is public knowledge — it’s canon that it’s known within SHIELD (and among the Avengers) below clearance level 7. If Centipede does their research, they can’t help but have noticed that this supposedly-dead guy has shown up and intervened in a number of their operations. He was present in their Hong Kong facility, which probably had cameras all over the place, possibly streaming video to a separate location (which would have survived the destruction of that facility).

Or maybe they just hacked SHIELD’s encryption, which seems to be something any decent computer hacker can do.

#389 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:36 PM:

I think The Clairvoyant is a mole within SHIELD.

#390 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 08:03 PM:

Lori/Avram/Elliott @387-389: All possibilities. It wasn't so obvious as I thought it was. (One of those occurred to me after I'd posted--all the others hadn't.) There is, however, one thing I'd bet money on:

The Clairvoyant isn't an actual clairvoyant, any more than Barbara Gordon was really an Oracle.

I'm guessing that Clairvoyant might refer to the use of those nifty eyeballs. That's seeing at a distance, right?

(And didn't someone mistake clairvoyance for precognition during the episode? I seem to recall that. Maybe while they were reviewing that prison visit video footage? That seems right.)

#391 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 08:52 PM:

The Centipede people are described as being always "one step ahead of SHIELD". A mole would seem to be the obvious reason for that.

#392 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 08:15 PM:

I'm betting (on little to no evidence) that when we finally see the Clairvoyant, she'll be female. (I noted this episode that the one person who seems to have met the Clairvoyant didn't use any gendered pronouns in discussing him/her...)

#393 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 08:36 PM:

Cassy B -- I'm with you on The Claivoyant being female. And I don't think there's a mole. Centipede hasn't actually been one step ahead of SHIELD throughout this -- they've been one step ahead of where SHIELD thinks they are. And most of that seems to have been just related to them thinking things through a bit better.

#394 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 11:30 PM:

Cassy B. @ 392: Ooh, that's good! I like that.

I've seen a variety of theories about Skye's parents and Maye's stake in the issue. I don't like Maye being mom. It's too pat and doesn't fit the facts as we know them. But doesn't every Marvel Universe need an Aunt Maye?

#395 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 01:36 AM:

I'm just hoping that the fact that Centipede wants Coulson because they think he can help with the serum means the whole LMD theory is right out. Because I don't see how a robot could help with that.

Maybe Agent was dosed with the serum as a last ditch effort to save him? I don't know. I'm just reminded of Lois McMaster Bujold saying that of course she would never use an idea that fans had thought of, simply because the fact that they thought of it means it was too obvious.

Here's hoping Whedon went the non-obvious route.

#396 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 02:37 AM:

"I'm just reminded of Lois McMaster Bujold saying that of course she would never use an idea that fans had thought of, simply because the fact that they thought of it means it was too obvious."

The reality of modern fandom-on-the-Internet is that there *aren't any* ideas that fans haven't thought of.

#397 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 08:20 AM:

Jacque @384 Standard regular cast size for a first season is usually around six...?

Obviously. See also why every room on the bus lookes interesting from all angles and has room for, say, a camera dolly, to move about it. However as an alternative I suggest that it would have been possible to establish a flight crew as recurring characters, not being on camera except for episodes when the bus is more than transportation and home base. The choice not to do this seems to emphasise a. the isolation of the team, with them operating as the crew of a vessel, b. May's role as pilot (especially in earlier episodes when the rest of the time she stood around looking disapproving when she wasn't kicking bad guys in the face) and c. that the bus is often more than the HQ and trasport.

Xopher @351. This was lazy and stupid. It needed more to fill us in on who these guys were. It should have gone something like:

Coulson:... Norse Paganist Hate Group
Skye: Norse Paganist what now?
Ward: Most worshippers of Asgardians are regular law-abiding folks, but these guys have links to organised crime and extremists.

... and the episode continues. Hopefully actual script writers would have come up with less awkward dialogue.

And with the most recent one Coulson surrenders again (Me @97 suggesting that this is his signature move). I'm not saying that he planned to be captured. I do suspect that there is a backup plan for this situation. It's possible that his backup plan is merely to leave May in charge of his gang of over enthusiastic kids who will not rest until they find him.

#398 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 10:11 AM:

Neil W @ 397: "It's possible that his backup plan is merely to leave May in charge of his gang of over enthusiastic kids who will not rest until they find him."

It's a pretty good plan, too. It'll only fail once.

#399 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 09:00 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @394: Maye

I've looked around, and in all the references I've been able to find, the name is spelled without the e...?

#400 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 11:37 PM:

And in the captions as well. No e.

#401 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2014, 01:36 PM:

So, excited for new ep (eventually), and also excited about the possibility of a historical Agent-Peggy-founding-SHIELD-with-Stark-pere series.

#402 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2014, 01:21 AM:

I'm confused. Does this mean he is, or isn't, an LMD?

#403 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2014, 02:04 AM:

Isn’t.

I was left kinda wondering what the coverup was for. Couldn’t they just have told him “Yeah, the treatment we had to use on you was pretty traumatic, so we stuck that Tahiti memory in there to keep you from being a psychological wreck”?

Also, if they can bring people back from the dead, doesn’t that mean that there’s no tension in any situation where a valuable (to SHIELD) person has a gun pointed at them? (I’m guessing they can’t bring you back if you’re utterly blown to bits, so it’s still possible to threaten people with death, just harder.)

#404 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2014, 01:01 PM:

Yeah, I'm really hoping this is not the whole answer and that there's more to come, because as is, the reveal doesn't really make sense.

Not good storytelling, though, to not make that plainer.

Other than that, I finally liked Skye this episode (a poster elseweb described it as 'the Skye show, featuring special guest star, Competency!').

#405 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2014, 01:32 PM:

I've skipped over these last comments so as to not see what was in this episode in order to ask: What is the deal with having to be a cable subscriber in order to see this episode? I am not a happy puppy. I don't have cable, don't want it, don't need it. Dammit.

#406 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2014, 01:39 PM:

John Arkansawyer@405:

I'm watching off iTunes. Two bucks an ep. Not sure if I've mentioned that already.

#407 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2014, 04:52 PM:

As to the content of the episode... I am disappoint. I don't see where this goes, story-wise. It's not about anything Coulson did, or did not do, or his sense of his identity. What's the consequence? How does this play as a Coulson character moment for the rest of the season?

(Aside from his peering into a mirror to check for scars.)

It could be a fake-out explanation, but that does not disqualify these questions. (A red herring plot must not fool the audience into believing that the plot *sucks*. I hope this principle does not require explanation.)

#408 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 10:21 AM:

Closing my eyes to scroll down and post: free Hulu used to put them up the morning after airing, but now it's 8 days. So my participation in this thread is going to become time-shifted. :->

#409 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 11:16 AM:

Elliot, you and I are in the same boat, waiting for Hulu.

By the way, the folks who gave recommendations to read the toaster universe? Thank you. I've been enjoying those stories - and some of the gender-swapped ones I've run across. Interesting to see the things that stay the same and the things that have to change for believability when ironman and captain America are women.

#410 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Ok -- I've been rolling the episode over in my mind, and I find myself wondering WHY Coulson is so important that they would do that to him to keep him alive? I can't find anything in any of the current arc of movies that would explain it.

Those who've read the comics, is there anything there that makes this episode make sense?

Loved May booting Skye off the team, and the rest of the team's behavior, but someone needed to drop the bitch from HQ out of the plane...while it was in flight. She really pushed all my "this is not a person worthy of trust" buttons.

#411 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 01:30 PM:

Coulson isn't someone from the comics, I think -- at least not from the 60s/70s version. I haven't seen the last 2 eps, but one reason why Coulson might be So Important is -- he isn't. He happened to be the one who died at the right time, and was not on someone's Shit List. That's a valid reason for spending time and effort to save him.

#412 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 02:18 PM:

"Coulson isn't someone from the comics, I think"

He's been introduced there, but only after most of his film appearances. Don't think there's anything there that'd help explain anything.

#413 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 02:27 PM:

But "the right time" was just before New York was trashed -- which means *lots* of people died. Lots of SHIELD agents, even. I don't see the logic.

If this were a better show, I'd trust that there was another layer coming. Ah well.

Lori (no-relation) Coulson: "...but someone needed to drop the bitch from HQ out of the plane..."

Mmm, no. This I thought they did fairly well: Victoria Hand was being played as an antagonist to Our Folks, but she was never unfair. She gave orders, but when people disobeyed them, she looked at the results rather than kneecapping them. She overruled Ward when May didn't back him, but let them run off when May did. She got her result (Centipede takedown).

Coulson thanked her afterwards. That's not a subtle hint.

#414 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 08:25 PM:

So, did anyone else respond to "...is that a Roomba?" with, "...is that a Toasterverse reference?"?

I think there's still more to Coulson's return than has been said. If "traumatic surgery with icky medical robot procedures" is all it is, then why was it hidden from the seemingly-omniscient Clairvoyant?

#415 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 08:32 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #414, ME!!!

Unfortunately, that immediately led me to think about how much I'd rather be watching the Toasterverse show.

That reminds me that I promised myself I'd podfic the only one of my fanfics that won't be damaged by my Southern accent. *wanders off to find a quiet room to record in*

#416 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2014, 10:10 PM:

@414 David Goldfarb

So, did anyone else respond to "...is that a Roomba?" with, "...is that a Toasterverse reference?"?

Yes. Yes I did. STEEEEEEEVE!!!

I think there's still more to Coulson's return than has been said.

I hope so. What a clunky let-down otherwise.

#417 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 06:48 PM:

Yeah, I think there has to be more to Coulson's resurrection than that. Without something more, the best that can be said is that it's not quite as bad as the truly stupid explanation of the Silence in Doctor Who, which made no sense at all and had me cursing Moffat (again). And that is damning with faint praise, if you like.

#418 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2014, 11:28 PM:

Am I the only one who's still watching?

Well, so Skye is an object of unknown origin. That's fascinating. I think she's the Key, and any ep know Glory will show up to claim her!

I feel sorry for those poor kids, led astray by the evil Quinn.

I particularly liked Coulson's speech to May toward the end. Everything has changed for Skye now. We'll see how it plays out.

#419 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2014, 11:35 PM:

Oh, and...new career, Agent Weaver? Or should I say...Cathica?

#420 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 12:41 AM:

Still watching. It is somehow growing on me, or I am shrinking to it.

I will admit to saying "The power of Pollyanna compels you" during Coulson's speech.

#421 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 02:07 AM:

Watching on Hulu means that Xopher is commenting on the episode I won't see till next week. But I just watched the Tahiti episode and:
1. If I hadn't read the Toasterverse first (due to rec's here), I wouldn't still be watching this show. But I'm glad that I did, because I like that there are so many strong women characters on this show.
2. There has to be more to the brought back from the dead story because by itself nothing was explained - some hand waving about medical trauma but nothing about why Fury would order extra-ordinary measures.
3. Totally pulls me out of the story to hear the woman cellist storyline. Nope, Toasterverse wins.

#422 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 07:20 AM:

One fun little note.

The name of one of the students: Callie Hannigan.

Perhaps a little shoutout to fans of "Buffy"...

#423 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 07:25 AM:

Xopher: was I imagining things or did Coulson say "unat ba, Unjxrlr!" in the teaser for next week's ep? (ROT-13'ed for Mea and others who haven't seen it).

If I was imagining things... well, headcanon makes everything better.

#424 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 09:18 AM:

Lila@423

On rewatching the trailer I think what Coulson says is "Oh God. Hang on. Just hang on."

#425 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 12:25 PM:

Rats. ;-)

I know they can't afford that actor, but I was hoping they could maybe afford a phone call from him.

#426 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 03:30 PM:

Mea @421: The Toasterverse does win. I hear the woman cellist reference and think, "Naaaah. Just naaaah."

#427 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 12:32 AM:

Xopher... Still watching. Not excited about it, but reasonably entertained. And I got to see Lola fly.

#428 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 02:12 AM:

Agreeing with Mea @421 -- that isn't the Big Reveal. After all, they said that Ron Glass didn't get called in as a doctor until the 8th operation or so, and that's as close to the actual event as we've gotten so far. I expect that the phrase "moved Heaven and earth" to get Coulson back alive is probably less metaphorical than usual; it's really unlikely that we're as close as two removes from the truth.

Now, why Coulson was having the personality changes that led them to bring Glass in (sorry to mix actors and characters, but I don't remember the doctor's name) -- that's a part of the reveal. I hope it's interesting.

And The Clairvoyant gets more interesting as this goes on. It's almost as if SHIELD knew such a danger would exist, and wiped Coulson's mind -- but if the Clairvoyant is that good, why can't s/he read the information from Fury's mind, or someone else's?

And it's pretty clear now that Coulson's not an LMD.

#429 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 07:26 AM:

Maybe the 'heaven and earth' comment means that Alice Krige made a housecall. After all, being an Asgardian qualifies for the 'heaven' part. As for 'earth', well, the movies are planning to introduce Doctor Stephen Strange.

#430 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 09:51 AM:

The other thing is that maybe Coulson ISN'T the only agent killed circa New York that got revived. He may not even be the first. Possibly he is the only/first successful one -- the first to come back a functional human being capable of being put on ordinary duty.

Since Centipede super-soldiers are A Thing this season, why shouldn't (part of) SHIELD be trying something to, um, turn deficits in HR's ledger into assets? Methinks the Potentiality Speech is thematic.

(I caught up thanks to a friend's cable subscription's streaming capability, not wanting to wait for Hulu anymore)

#431 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 03:59 PM:

Got to watch it last night. Ok -- is the kid who got powers from his device a potential super villain or super hero? Or is he now another mole within SHIELD?

After this episode I'm totally convinced that Centipede has infiltrated SHIELD, and I'm wondering if they've already begun dismantling it from the inside.

I don't mind the show raising more questions than it answers, but I would like a little more resolution in each episode. How many more balls are they going to put in the air before I get tired of trying to keep track of them?

#433 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 06:37 PM:

The more I think about it, the more I find myself in sympathy with rascal paradyne.

( I would read the hell out of an Agents comic written & drawn by scifigrl47 and rascal. Just as I would the imaginary novel by Cliff Pervocracy in which a genuine, consent-based kinkster rescues the heroine of Fifty Shades of Grey from her faux-kinkster rapist abuser.)

#434 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 10:01 PM:

Lori, in the comic books Donnie Gill is the name of a supervillain called the Blizzard, so presumably they're setting him up as a bad guy. (The comic book version was not very similar, though—a non-genius hired to wear the costume, which had ice-making gadgets built into it—so maybe they'll go in a different direction.)

#435 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2014, 10:39 PM:

Repeating to agree strongly:

I would read the hell out of an Agents comic written & drawn by scifigrl47 and rascal.

#436 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 01:10 AM:

I just caught up in time for next week's episode...okay, this week's episode, if there's an episode this week.

It's getting better and better. It feels like an actual Kirby-Lee-Ditko-type Marvel comic, much like the Avengers movie did, and that's what I'm looking for. I can forgive a lot while I'm holding on for that teenage feeling.

What I hadn't expected, but should have, is how much more impact the fantastic violence of the static page has on me moving. The scene where Po gets killed wouldn't have fazed me in a comic. It was hard to watch live, even though he's scum.

(What is hard for me on the page? 24 Hours in Sandman, some of issues of The Invisibles. But those are very much not Silver Age comics, so that shouldn't be surprising.)

Skye gets more and more interesting. That she might be The Clairvoyant occurred to me, but I think it's likelier she's The Clairvoyant's twin or daughter. If so, quite possibly she is unknowingly feeding him information.

I'm thrilled she punched out Raina.

And I wonder...is it possible she could be The Clairvoyant herself? Is it possible she has the sort of power that would allow her to run her operation even while in custody and under observation? It's notable that The Clairvoyant is happy to commit violence by remote control and through proxies--like an evil version of Gordon Dickson's Exotics, whose aversion to violence was essentially selfish--and that Raina doesn't commit it at all, by her own hand.

Quinn might be bluffing. If the existence of The Clairvoyant is a thing known in the inner evil circles of evil, then it's a card he could play. And a dangerous one. The Clairvoyant doesn't seem the type to like being name-dropped.

I've also read several of the Toasterverse stories. The big long one focusing on Clint Barton was exceptionally good. A couple of the others were entertaining, if not as good as that. After that, maybe I made poor selections.

What I had to hold in mind was these stories were taking defining character notes and building entirely new characters from them, and not working with the actual characters, which is interesting but not the story I want.

The Toasterverse story and Agents of SHIELD are both about the feels. And yeah, action and all that, too.

The feels ring trueish for me in some of the Toasterverse and just don't in the others. Coulson's short speech to May about Skye in the last episode? Totally realistic. Exactly what someone like Coulson would say.

So will the saintliness people have remarked on--the difference in post-death Coulson--stick now that he knows the truth? Is it a potential in him all along that got activated or a change that will wear away? That's something I care about.

#437 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 01:12 AM:

Damn. I made a gender-specific pronoun reference to The Clairvoyant. Obviously, I intended not to do that in the same place where I suggested The Clairvoyant (whose name I kept writing out for just this reason) is a particular woman.

#438 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 02:00 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @436: To each their own, but my favorite part of the Toasterverse is how she writes the bots. Tales of the Bots, in case you haven't already read them and are still interested.

#439 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 02:15 AM:

shadowsong @ 438: Thanks for an interesting observation! I'd read a couple of those stories and found them not terribly believable, but I was focused on the humans. I'll go back and read them soon and focus on the bots instead.

#440 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 06:15 AM:

The problem I see with Raina as the Clairvoyant is that it makes her arc go "I'm a dangerous person running a large group.... actually, there are people above me who're even more dangerous.... no, actually it's me at the top after all." Could work out kind of anticlimactic.

Samuel Sterns (The Leader) might be one possibility for the Clairvoyant -- he has mental powers and became one of the loose ends of the films when the Hulk movie did underwhelming business. Or MODOK, who fits the profile even better (more prominent mental powers and runs evil science organisations) and seems a character who could work as a reveal without needing to be the subject of a fair play mystery.

#441 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 08:11 AM:

Skye as the Clairvoyant is one of the more exotic theories I've heard though not quite as exotic as "May gets pregnant by Ward and the baby gets sent back in time and is Skye."

I hope it's not true (the Clairvoyant one I mean). I like Skye.

I was also glad to see someone punch Raina, who's been deserving it for a while now. The fact that it was Skye was even better.

#442 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 08:14 AM:

Tch. Dropped a comma there. Damn smartphone keyboard.

#443 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 10:48 AM:

James Moar @ 440... Did you know that MODOK has a girlfriend, and that she's named MODAM?

#444 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2014, 11:32 AM:

Serge @ 443: Note also MODOT (Mobile Organism Designed Only for Talking), whose chief weapon was talk radio and television.

#446 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 12:18 AM:

I liked the Rashomon-like structure of this episode.

Quinn needs to die in a very slow, painful fashion. Some Asgardian 1000-year agony or something.

#447 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 07:33 AM:

What kind of agent:

1. can't tell time by the sun, or alternatively by noticing how big the bloody patch on his shirt has gotten since he last noticed it
2. thinks that immersing a non-breathing body in oxygen, at any temperature and pressure, will sustain life
3. takes a "hyperbaric chamber" of unknown structure and origin (and what did they do for power supply while they were transporting it?) aboard their top-secret jet to their secure medical facility?

The IITS just keeps piling up. (IITS=It's In The Script, courtesy of Jabootu's Bad Movie Guide.)

#448 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 10:16 AM:

Not to mention actually restarting the patient's heart. They should have been keeping up CPR until she had a pulse.

The only thing I can think of is that all of them must know that Skye isn't human, and can absorb oxygen through her skin. Maybe SHIELD found this out when she was a baby of unknown origin.

More likely the writers are just completely ignorant of the most basic facts of medicine, but Joss Whedon has successfully explained things I thought were just errors before.

#449 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 01:45 PM:

A hyperbaric chamber for a sucking chest wound? Seems contraindicated to me.

Next question, SHIELD doesn't require any of its agents to have some emergency first aid training? CPR?

I'm really struggling with suspension of disbelief here.

#450 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 04:40 PM:

They also reduced the temperature, which makes me think there's some comic book physiology going on: maybe suspended animation cryotubes are a known, proven technology in the TV Marvelverse.

I'm more annoyed that the writers think "Ha ha he's Deathlok!" is a payoff. I'm not giving bonus points for literary references, dudes, make the story work on its own terms.

#451 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 05:46 PM:

It’s pretty clear they were treating the hyperbaric chamber as a supertech suspended animation box. They shouldn’t have given it a name that refers to a real-world item. They could’ve just said “That’s a modified suspension chamber. How are they getting hold of so much secret SHIELD tech?” and Ben’s your uncle.

#452 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 05:50 PM:

She appeared gut-shot to me; both wounds were in her abdomen, below the rib cage, so I don't think it's a sucking chest wound.

There is scientific fact behind lowering the body temperature of trauma victims, although I've only heard of it being used for brain and spinal injury. Maybe Simmons figured the blood loss counted as a brain injury by that point? I am no kind of medical professional.

I've no idea what good the increased pressure was supposed to do, or how it miraculously restarted her pulse and respiration!

#453 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 08:34 PM:

I'm not too troubled by the rez chamber. If the show is internally consistent the bad science will just mean she wakes up as Leadwoman or Bullet-Eating Lass or something.

The Rashomon-like storytelling in this one didn't work for me, though; felt like they had 40 minutes of footage and an hour to fill.

#454 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 09:16 PM:

For the nonmedical types, a hyperbaric chamber is used to increase the partial pressure of oxygen in the patient's bloodstream (by increasing both the pressure and the oxygen content of the air inside the chamber, sometimes using pure oxygen, and often including intervals of regular room air at various points during the session). The patient does have to be breathing and have a pulse for this to work. The main things it's used to treat are nonhealing wounds (such as foot ulcers in diabetic patients with poor circulation); tissue necrosis (death), especially in bones or other locations with poor circulation; and carbon monoxide poisoning, because although CO will displace oxygen from red blood cells at normal atmospheric pressure, given enough pressure and a high enough concentration of O2, you can make it go the other way. Because the equipment is expensive, they're always looking for new things to use it for, such as brain damage caused by stroke or head injuries.

There WAS a brief vogue for treating wounds with high-pressure oxygen by directly exposing the wound (e.g. in a small tank that held only a leg or arm) but it turned out not to work as well as breathing the stuff.

It's extremely expensive, sometimes dangerous (you have to be VERY CAREFUL about fire and sparks, and lung ruptures can happen) but it's not all that SF-nal.

#455 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 09:35 PM:

I liked the Rashomon like structure. Hour-long TV series have to adhere to a strict 44 minute time limit which makes editing critical to effective story-telling, and I liked the way they did this. However, it's not that original - CSI did something similar a couple of seasons back.

Applying some hand-wavium, the magical hyperbaric chamber obviously has properties that we don't fully know about.

Also, the grenade used to rob them of time-sense probably messed with other senses as well, so they didn't twig to the sun's position in the sky.

I thought it was a fairly strong episode. Coulson's emotional reaction to Skye's near-death (if that's all it turns out to be) indicated a much deeper connection between the two of them.

Wild card idea: Coulson is Skye's father. He'll find out how later.

#456 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 09:55 PM:

@455

I liked the Rashomon like structure. [...] However, it's not that original - CSI did something similar a couple of seasons back.

Well, sure. Lots of shows have used the Rashomon effect, some better than others. I really liked how AoS used it here.

#457 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 10:08 PM:

So *that* is what happened to the Abomination after the Hulk beat the crap out of him.

#458 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 10:20 PM:

I'm in the "not so impressed with the structure" camp. The point is to show something new in each repeat. This episode failed to do that consistently.

(E.g. the first repeat, the jump-off-train-grenade scene-boom, was just shown twice. Why show it twice? It served no purpose except to establish that we'd just seen a scene out of order. You have 44 minutes, don't waste 'em.)

(Example of doing it right: the second time we saw corrupt-guy, um, Senor Euruso approach Coulson -- we got a flash of his gun. And the business with the hotwired car was nice.)

I suspect that having Stan Lee walk by and tell Coulson "You have a chance to do better" is a promise from the writers to the audience. Fine, if they carry through with it.

#459 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2014, 11:27 PM:

From The Simpsons, episode "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo:"

Marge Simpson: You liked "Rashomon."

Homer Simpson: That's not how I remember it.

#460 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 11:10 PM:

Watching May beat the hell out of Quinn was great fun.

This is getting delightfully weird. What happened to Coulson is stranger than any of our speculation.

*crickets chirp*

Am I the only one still watching this?

#461 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2014, 11:21 PM:

I'm still watching, but I'm a few weeks behind. Gotta love Tivo.

#462 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:09 AM:

I'm still watching.

It seems that Tony Stark's assessment that Fury's "secrets have secrets" was more right than we knew at the time.

As for Coulson's resurrection, I'm just so glad that he's not an LMD (which was my biggest fear) that I'm content to watch the whole T.A.H.I.T.I. thing play out.

I want to be Melinda May when I grow up. I want to be Elizabeth Henstridge right now.

I must say, though, that I would like Skye a lot more if they stopped trying to make me like her so much. They spent the whole ep saying, "Skye would know this!", and then proceeded to easily figure things out without her... that's not really arguing for her as a necessary part of the team.

#463 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:23 AM:

"Watching May beat the hell out of Quinn was great fun."

May beating the hell out of Quinn was torture porn, gratuitous, and cheap exploitation of the "Skye is everybody's love baby" theme which the show has never really earned.

...That sounds more negative about the show than I truly am. I'll watch out the season.

But... I feel like the writers can't keep sight of a storyline even *within* an episode, much less week-to-week. What *was* Coulson's motivation for keeping Quinn on board? Just to beat him up more if Skye died? But then what was the point of the denoument conversation where Coulson disclaimed "throwing him off the plane"? What am I supposed to take from that entire plot thread?

Introducing three more semiregular characters gives a whiff of desperation.

I guess I don't buy a single one of the story beats in this episode. Except that the Clairvoyant is scary. They're hitting that solidly.

#464 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 12:37 AM:

There's no logic to refusing to let them take Quinn.
The fortress didn't have any guns to mow them down outside the door?!?
There's no ethics in attacking and killing 2 (apparent) Shield agents in order to try to save Skye.
I'll give them carrying a flashlight instead of wearing night vision goggles, because the audience doesn't really want to watch actors whose faces are covered with giant goggles.
It's very silly to suppose that you can break into an experimental medical research facility, find a drug that will work (without knowing dosage, yadda yadda) and have it work instantly. I'll give them that, because this is comics.
What the hell is the guy floating in a tank who yields magic healing juices? An Asgardian or something?
Coulson & his crew have been demonstrated to be rule-breakers, but why did the other two guys go along with the assault and mass destruction?

#465 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 02:20 AM:

"What the hell is the guy floating in a tank who yields magic healing juices?"

I think that was intended to be a Frost Giant, as depicted in the first Thor movie. (If someone has a better interpretation, I'll take it.)

#466 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:21 AM:

Holding on to Quinn makes sense if the team doesn’t trust the rest of SHIELD to not cut a deal with him or something. I don’t think the show really established that, at least not that I noticed.

My first thought was that floaty guy might be a Kree, or a Skrull, or some other canonical Marvel alien. (Except aren’t the Chitauri sorta kinda supposed to already be the Skrulls?) One reviewer thinks it is a Kree, and also that it’s a cross-promotion for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. (It’s already been announced that Ronan the Accuser, a Kree, will be a villain in Guardians.)

#467 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:26 AM:

"(Except aren’t the Chitauri sorta kinda supposed to already be the Skrulls?)"

Yes. The film version was kind of different, but in the Ultimate comics they're obvious Skrull-equivalents (and later, the Skrulls show up and call them a splinter group).

I haven't seen this yet, I'll admit (the UK is only up to episode 10), but Krees are one of the most obvious Marvel-canon guesses for a blue-skinned humanoid, and there's the Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in there. Atlanteans are also blue-skinned, but introducing an inhabited present-day Atlantis seems like a bigger leap into fantasy-land for the Marvel movieverse than aliens does.

#468 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:27 AM:

"(Except aren’t the Chitauri sorta kinda supposed to already be the Skrulls?)"

Yes. The film version was kind of different, but in the Ultimate comics they're obvious Skrull-equivalents (and later, the Skrulls show up and call them a splinter group).

I haven't seen this yet, I'll admit (the UK is only up to episode 10), but Kree are one of the most obvious Marvel-canon guesses for a blue-skinned humanoid, and there's the Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in there. Atlanteans are also blue-skinned, but introducing an inhabited present-day Atlantis seems like a bigger leap into fantasy-land for the Marvel movieverse than aliens does.

#469 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 09:29 AM:

Sorry, accidental double post. I did correct the pluralisation of Kree, though. You know, focussing on the important stuff.

#470 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 01:42 PM:

Some folks over on the book of Face say that the thing in the tank is "Gray Hulk?" Whoever or whatever that may be.

Since the only comics I've ever bought were "Modesty Blaise," "Dracula," and "Elfquest," I'm in the dark in regards to the Marvel Universe backstory.

#471 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:38 PM:

There was a phase in the late 80s where the Hulk became grey-skinned, with a fairly intelligent and selfish personality instead of his usual overgrown-toddler one. (It's quite well regarded, for shaking up a book that was otherwise rather difficult to write well.)

But that Hulk is still Bruce Banner, who they're surely not going to kill offscreen for this show, and making it someone else would be getting away from the Gray Hulk concept.

#472 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 03:41 PM:

Andrew 463: May beating the hell out of Quinn was torture porn, gratuitous, and cheap exploitation of the "Skye is everybody's love baby" theme which the show has never really earned.

Torture porn? Seriously? I don't think it exactly rises to Jack Bauer levels. She wasn't doing it to get him to talk, or even exactly because he deserved it (which he richly did), but because she lost her cool completely. That's a very weird reaction for the extremely controlled May, but this is Joss Whedon, not Stephen Moffat, so I hold out hope it will make sense at some point.

You're right that they haven't earned the "love baby" thing. She's a part of the team, and they've become attached to her. Everyone except May and Coulson acts that way.

Personally I take it as supporting my theory that Skye is May's biological child, and she knows that at some level. But since Skye is also an object of unknown origin, my current theory is that May will become pregnant by Ward (or Coulson, which would explain why he's acting that way), and have the baby, which will be sent back in time.

That's probably wrong, but I'm enjoying it.

Speaking of things I enjoyed, Quinn is a really evil, rotten, privileged, arrogant piece of shit. Killed a couple of people some eps back just to keep an industrial secret, completely indifferent to global catastrophe if avoiding it interferes with his personal gain...he's basically a Koch brother. And I can't do anything about them, and I'm too civilized to beat people up myself, or even to enjoy watching bad people get beaten up in real life, but it was very satisfying to me in a TV show.

If that makes me a bad person, so be it. I think it allows me to be a better person than I would be able to be if I had no such outlets. I made up horrific torture-murder fantasies about Osama bin Laden too—none of which I would (probably) have been able to inflict on him had I gotten him in my power. Such things relieve my sense of helpless rage.

What *was* Coulson's motivation for keeping Quinn on board? Just to beat him up more if Skye died? But then what was the point of the denoument conversation where Coulson disclaimed "throwing him off the plane"? What am I supposed to take from that entire plot thread?

Again, this is Whedon. Let's see what he does with that. Personally I think he was going to use Quinn's internal organs to replace the ones he damaged in Skye (which wouldn't work IRL, but this is a comic book). That would be completely fair, and in no way gratuitous, but it's a last resort (clearly).

I don't know what the non-human critter in the underground facility is (or was), but it's pretty clear that Coulson recognized it, and is horrified by the idea that some of it is in him (and now Skye).

I suspect that there was a second layer of false memory, and that nothing he remembers about his resurrection is true.

#473 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:16 PM:

Xopher@472

nothing he remembers about his resurrection is true

I'd assume that some of it is true. Especially things like pleading to be allowed to die.

#474 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Well, that could be a trauma they put in to make him not want to remember anything further. But you're probably right.

#475 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2014, 04:39 AM:

I've finally gotten around to watching the show today, and found that I had pretty much completely forgotten the cliffhanger. Not great evidence for my involvement in it. But I do plan to keep watching.

I also figured "GH = Gray Hulk". Possibly someone besides Banner who was exposed to gamma rays? Note that in the comics, Hulk has been shown to have a healing factor; also, a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner to his cousin Jennifer Walters was the origin of the She-Hulk, another example of something Hulk-derived having healing properties. So it's well within the bounds of comic book pseudoscience that you could make a cellular regeneration drug from a Hulk.

#476 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:06 PM:

Right, so why, when told by a credible source that Lorelei can control ALL men with her voice, do they send in ANY male field agents? I mean, seriously, have none of them ever played D&D? Or Traveller? Read the Odyssey? Studied any form of tactics at all??

"Go 'round the back" -- without a female backup and where nobody can see you get coopted. Smart. Not.

At the VERY least they could have equipped the males with sound-cancelling earbuds (so they could still talk to each other). YOu're going to tell me Shield doesn't have those?

This plot hinged on Shield Is Stupid. <grumble>

#477 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:14 PM:

Yes, that annoyed me too, Cassy. It's what TV Tropes calls "plot stupid."

More disturbing, and I didn't really take note of this on my own, is that Ward was raped in this episode, and everyone acts like it's just nothing, that after all he had sex with a beautiful woman, right, who is neither his regular sex partner nor the woman he loves, and she coerced him in the vilest possible way, and he's just supposed to be OK with that.

I. Don't. Think. So.

#478 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2014, 11:16 PM:

Cassy B - yeah, I kinda wondered about that too. And May should have raised the strongest objection of all to males confronting Lorelei.

#479 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 07:59 AM:

Xopher @477, yeah, that bothered me too. Men don't object to being raped by beautiful women? Hah. Pull the other one; it's got bells on. (And that poor groom who was coerced away from his bride; did he even survive? I doubt anyone was calling an ambulance....)

And Ward apologized to May for attacking her like you'd apologize to a girlfriend, when he SHOULD have apologized like you'd apologize to a teammate. (Ok, that's nuance and maybe I misread it, but that's what it sounded like to me.)

And can Lorelei compel gay men? What about lesbians? Transgendered, intersexed, asexual folks?

#480 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:03 AM:

Also, isn't Lorelei lucky Ward's not gay? Isn't SHIELD lucky May's not gay? Unless it's really a purely genetic thing, which I suppose is possible.

When they raided the Vegas room, all the voices I heard (except Coulson) were female, which I suppose means they're capable of learning...

#481 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:09 AM:

It just occurred to me: I'm fairly sure that the idea was that Sif would go into the bar and get Lorelei; Ward was sent around back just to apprehend any of her guys who tried to run once she was down. Not that that made it a smart plan.

#482 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:37 AM:

1) I kept waiting for Coulson to pull wax out of his ears and say something about a classical education. Would explain why he didn't get mind controlled on the plane. But, yeah, when supertech is your thing and you know there's a problem in advance and you don't do anything about it, that's Plot Stupid. I was personally expecting a noise cancelling ... antimicrophone. Lorelei can say whatever she wants and people just hear little staticky noises.

2) when your choices are "punch out the weedy scientist and break out Sif" and ... anything else... why would you do anything else?

Also,
3) If you've got a [handwave] nonlethal gun you should be pulling the trigger a lot. Whenever you feel like it, really. Mind-controlled buddy? Shoot 'im. Might be mind controlled? Shoot 'im. Got an idea for a Facebook picture? Shoot 'im. Holding Ward at gunpoint was Plot Stupid, especially when they MENTIONED earlier that these guns are OK for shooting your friends with.

4) My feeling is that Lorelei's power works on a chromosonal level. I don't know if I can defend that, except to say that she's not hitting the "girlfriend" button; she's hitting the "queen" button. It's still a bit old-fashioned but so is Asgard.

#483 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:01 PM:

I suspect this of being a straight ripoff from the Hathor episode of Stargate SG-1. No one made a fuss about Daniel being raped, either, which may be why it didn't enter the writers' mind in our supposedly-more-advanced time.

Nah. It's rape culture. If a man has sex with a woman, he's supposed to be OK with it, mod only his commitments to other women, and maybe her commitment to another man iff he's a friend. I hate that fucking bullshit.

I doubt they even thought about gay men. Could have been a cool moment, too: surprise! he's immune. I'd certainly believe that Lorelei wouldn't have thought of it.

I'd have to rewatch to be sure, but I don't think Coulson ever came face to face with the unmuzzled Lorelei, so she never used her voice on him. It would be interesting if he were immune, but I don't think we have evidence he is.

BTW the Lorelei is a monster from German myth, sort of a combination mermaid and siren. She sits on a rock, combing her golden hair, and stupefied men wreck their ships.

#484 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:11 PM:

Xopher, if you mean Coulson might be immune because he's gay, we have evidence that he's not--the cellist is described as female, so if he's into men as well he's bi, which probably isn't a defense. (Though note that she did have to touch Ward; her voice alone wasn't enough. And I'd be willing to bet that Coulson would be similar.)

While I do not dispute that Ward was raped, it's quite clear from the way it happens that Lorelei doesn't think of it that way; she refers to it as a reward. And personally, I think it was rape whether she fucked him or not--the rape happened when she took him over, not when they had sex. Fitz was raped too, and all the bikers, and the poor newlywed guy...

#485 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:32 PM:

No, I meant I don't think Coulson is immune at all. He was never exposed.

Unless there was a scene I don't remember, but I'd think it would stand out.

#486 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:33 PM:

Apparently I picked the right time to stop watching the show.

*waits patiently for Captain America: The Winter Soldier*

*re-reads scifigrl47's stuff while she's waiting*

#487 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 12:38 PM:

Oh, I may have misunderstood: if Coulson IS immune, I think it's from the alien drug. But he was faking with Fitz, who assumed Lorelei had gotten to him.

#488 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:11 PM:

Xopher @487, Coulson was never exposed (at least, not onscreen). HE was smart enough not to go anywhere until a female agent declared the area clear...

I'd've liked Coulson to be immune, because I really really like the Toasterverse. (But the cellist, alas, was refered to by the female pronoun.)

In fact, all the main characters have been been identified as heterosexual (or at the very least bi), either by showing them sleeping with opposite-gendered people or by at the very least heavy-duty flirting likewise.

#489 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:14 PM:

Yeah, I don't think she ever got a chance to even try with Coulson. Regardless, even if being a solidly gay man is a defense (which I agree with Sandy B that it likely isn't), canonically he doesn't qualify. :)

I had an interesting thought that sadly isn't borne out: Sif says that most men can be swayed with just the voice, but some few have to be touched. Wouldn't it be interesting if what makes the difference is one's orientation? Like, she couldn't use just her voice on Xopher; she'd have to touch him. It would be interesting because she had to touch Ward...but alas, if he's not entirely straight he at least prefers women, from what we've seen so far.

I think Fitz assumed that Coulson couldn't have gotten that far without encountering Lorelei, which wasn't smart of him but "tradecraft" is not Fitzsimmons' area of expertise.

Next question is, can Lorelei tell if she's managed to ensnare a given target if he fakes it? I mean, could Ward have pretended to be caught and avoided touching her until backup arrived?

#490 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:28 PM:

Carrie S@489, I think it's simpler than Fitz' lack of tradecraft. I think it's just Fitz's naivity. "I think she's terrific; obviously EVERYONE thinks she's terrific. Except poor deluded Sif whom I'm guarding..."

#491 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 02:46 PM:

I think she had to touch Ward because of his great strength of will and/or character. Much as I'd love him to be gay or bi (and hey, let's throw in "into older guys who've had half of their tongue removed," because why not?), I see no evidence of it, and I'm OK with that.

Some guys are straight. Tragic, I know, but I've made my peace with it!

Also, Coulson. I was not at any point arguing that he might be bi or gay.

#492 ::: Cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 03:25 PM:

My husband did point out that when the SHIELD agents were going into the room to try and track down Lorelei, all of the voices we heard were female.

#493 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 03:51 PM:

Cylla @492, I noticed that too. Thus proving that Shield may be idiots, but they are at least capable of learning from their mistakes... <wry>

#494 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Of course, this was also after I had paused it when the SUVs were pulling into the Biker Bar and said "And here is where I become very disappointed in this script; there should only be women walking out of those vans, and there won't be."

In a way, I was pleasantly surprised. Given the need to have the PCs participate in the events, having Sif (who I adore; so much adore) go after Lorelei while Ward went in the back to round up strays was at least a marginally sensible approach. Still bone-headed, but better than I'd feared.

#495 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 06:02 PM:

Oh, I see why people thought...the "surprise! he's immune" was in reference to a putative gay male character they could have included and didn't, not to Coulson or Ward.

#496 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:40 PM:

Commenting to note that I finally caught up. And everyone else has already said what I was gonna, sigh.

#497 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 08:52 PM:

Xopher, #491: I don't remember the exact phrasing Sif used, it was something like "the rare man who is strong enough" to resist her voice alone. So yeah, she had to touch Ward because Ward is Just That Good.

I knew you weren't saying Coulson was bi/gay, I'm sorry, I just thought the idea was interesting and was playing with it.

cyllan, there's also the fact that Sif is an Asgardian, and thus a physical equal to Lorelei, which none of the other PCs are. (Wanna bet that Odin...well, "Odin"...sent Sif because she's the only trained warrior he has who's immune to the target?)

And that raises another question: is Loki immune when he's shapeshifted? For that matter, is Loki immune because he's a Wbgha?

#498 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 09:14 PM:

Myth!Loki is pretty clearly nongendered (for convenience he wears the male Loki shape a lot, but is known to go female at the drop of a hat). Marvel!Loki is, um ... somewhat different ... from myth!Loki at the best of times, though.

#499 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2014, 09:18 PM:

Carrie 497: If these things had principles or rules, these questions could be answered. I'd point out, however, that species doesn't appear to matter; humans and Asgardians, as long as they're men, are affected.

If the principle is "have a Y chromosome" or "have only one X chromosome" - well, why do we think Asgardians have either of those things?

#500 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 09:17 AM:

Elliott, it's very true, but Sleipnir exists in movie-canon, so I maintain that Marvel!Loki got up to some stuff when he was young and foolish. :)

species doesn't appear to matter; humans and Asgardians, as long as they're men, are affected.

Which is based on the assumption that "man" and "woman" are some kind of immutable laws of the universe, which...well, someone is Doin It Rong.

If the principle is "have a Y chromosome" or "have only one X chromosome" - well, why do we think Asgardians have either of those things?

Indeed so, though it's possible Asgardians have some kind of similar genetic basis for biological sex.

...and now I want to write fanfic in which Lorelei encounters a man and is confused about why she can't control him, and the tag scene in which we discover that he's trans. (This assumes that her power hooks into something genetic, and not "how much testosterone do you have right now" or whatever.)

#501 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:06 AM:

Perhaps it's more that Lorelei is just strongly hetero and her power depends on her orientation. In that case, chromosomes in the victim wouldn't matter. If Lorelei perceives the person as male, magic takes care of the rest. Or, failing magic, emotional control similar to that of the Mule.

#502 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 11:28 AM:

That is very elegant, Steve. Headcanon accepted!

#503 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 01:36 PM:

So cis men in really good drag would be unaffected? Or guys who just aren't macho enough for an Asgardian to see them as male?

Sif is an anomaly as a woman warrior. I haven't seen any others, nor have I seen any Asgardian males who were not warriors. I conclude that Asgard is Macho Asshole Culture, generally, and Thor isn't exactly a counterexample!

I really do NOT like that theory, sorry. Not that ANY theory really makes any sense.

#504 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 02:33 PM:

I suspect that if "insufficiently macho" were a defense, Fitz wouldn't have gotten caught. We the viewers have seen him be badass, but Lorelei has not, and his default persona is way more meek scholar than doughty warrior. For a person from Macho Asshole Culture, which Lorelei definitly is, he's not exactly a shining example of a manly man.

I say Asgard is MAC because, for example, Loki seems to come in for a lot of ribbing for being not macho enough in the first Thor movie.* This despite being a very competent warrior, as we see in the fight on Jotunheim.

I like Steve's idea because it doesn't require there to be any hard-wired "men" and "women" for it to work, we don't have to account for genetic differences between humans and Asgardians (assuming Asgardians even have DNA), and it's still consistent with what we see on screen. Even Sif's explanation makes perfect sense as long as the Asgardians haven't realized it's Lorelei's perception that matters, and in MAC, how would they? Everyone's gender presentation would match their biological sex.

*: And in the second, the filmmakers go out of their way to make it clear that he learned both his magic and a lot of his fighting style from his mother, which brings up a possibly-accidental coolness in that the Norse had more than one kind of magic, and the one Loki uses is the "feminine" one. Actually I'm all but certain it was accidental, but it's still cool.

#505 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 03:23 PM:

The ep is still sitting, unwatched, in my DVR, but building off of Steve’s idea: If you were an Asgardian looking to stir up trouble on Earth, and looking for someone to bestow this power upon, you’d want to recruit people who are (a) bisexual, and (b) turned on by people who are dangerously competent. (Assuming you couldn’t find someone who was just attracted to everyone.)

And in such a situation, who would SHIELD look for to counter this threat? The one obvious answer: Inspector Clouseau.

#506 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 03:35 PM:

Or Johnny English.

#507 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 04:22 PM:

Carrie, I guess that makes more sense. Even when the real explanation is "It's a comic book, for heaven's sake!" I still like to work out some kind of rule.

Avram, if I were that troublemaking Asgardian, I would bestow the power on Jack Harkness.

#508 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 06:00 PM:

Vaguely related to MAC: There may be valid reasons there are a lot more male Asgardian warriors than female.

Asgardian combat styles emphasize upper body strength. I saw a webpage which said, basically, the average man has more upper body strength than 99.9% of women. And the guys one standard deviation above average are a LOT stronger. Which is who you pick for military training, pretty much.

Caveats:

1) that webpage is by a man whose mind I hated on sight. Either he is a terrible scientist or I am. It referenced a study by, potentially, better scientists.

I checked with a friend I respect who had access to the actual study (Vanessa Heggie of "The H Word") and she said 'The paper and the stats are legit. What's at stake is whether you think the lab test means anything in real life, and if you think the population they chose is representative.'

2) Asgardians may not have as dramatic an upper-body-strength sexual dimophism as humans.

Still, when you're recruiting people to swing hammers you're gonna end up with a lot of beefy males and a lot less beefy females.

#509 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2014, 07:42 PM:

Sandy B. @ #508, the other question is whether, and by how much, training makes a difference, and whether this factor was controlled for in the data collection. For example, it's possible that the average man gets more upper-body exercise than the average woman, or even the top few percent of women.

As a former martial arts student, I also feel compelled to point out that the discrepancy between lower-body strength of men and women is significantly less than for upper-body strength; if you're doing something like judo, aikido or taekwondo, this matters. And, of course, if you have missile weapons, questions of visual acuity and hand/eye coordination come into play.

#510 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2014, 11:53 PM:

Well, that was twisty. Not at all happy about May's apparent status/betrayal/whatever, but very happy that Agent Hand turned out to be the bad guy, or one of them...apparently. I never liked her, and always suspected her of ill intent.

But it all could twist around again next week. The preview implied that it might. In fact it could twist around two or three times in next week's ep alone.

#511 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 08:58 AM:

I avoid previews, so I don't know what's happening next week, but I admit I felt vindicated. When they closed in on whats-his-name I turned to my husband and said, "I *still* think the Clarevoyant is female."

Hah.

As for May, she may be reporting directly to Fury. Or... is there any other super-secret Marvel hero organization that she might be secretly seconded to? I don't know comic books. She's smart and twisty but I doubt she'd betray her comrades, based on previous behavior.

#512 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 10:13 AM:

Well, she said it wasn't what it looked like, and she was using stun rounds when she shot at Fitz. But reporting behind Coulson's back IS a betrayal of Coulson, even if it turns out to be "for his own good." But we'll see what justifications are bandied about.

There's actually less doubt about Hand than I expressed above. She gave the order to kill everyone on the Bus! No excuse for that, and no going back from it. She has to be permanently out of commission, or this won't be over.

To quote the villain in one of my favorite movies, "I for one am very interested to see what will come next."

#513 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 12:15 PM:

Cassie B @ 511... is there any other super-secret Marvel hero organization that she might be secretly seconded to?

Whedon came up with another spook outfit called S.W.O.R.D. when he was writing the "X-men" comics.

#514 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 12:15 PM:

Cassie B @ 511... is there any other super-secret Marvel hero organization that she might be secretly seconded to?

Whedon came up with another spook outfit called S.W.O.R.D. when he was writing the "X-men" comics.

#515 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 01:35 PM:

Attempt to dislodge something that I thought I posted on how May's loyalty may not be only to Coulson, and she may have been put on the team with orders to report on his mental status. I haven't seen the ep, I'm just going by what's here.

#516 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Speaker to Tall People ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 02:02 PM:

Tom Whitmore @515:

Sorry, nothing in the back end that isn't appearing on the front page. Maybe it didn't post.

#517 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 02:03 PM:

Idumea Arbacoochee: that does happen sometimes, and thanks for looking.

#518 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 10:34 PM:

OK, I just rewatched the end of the episode, and I think Tom is right. May has orders to watch Coulson, but she isn't (or isn't knowingly) working for the Clairvoyant. She was genuinely bewildered when Coulson accused her of that.

It's hard to tell, even freezing and looking carefully, whether the marks on the glass where May shot at Fitz are splatters of gel or shatter marks. If the latter, she was at least endangering Fitz's life by shooting at him. If the former, not so much.

Hand says "take out" everyone on the plane. While this normally is a euphemism for killing, it could be a Whedon weasel for taking them down with icers. If he's planning to twist us wrt Hand, that's how he'll do it.

Personally I hate Hand, so I want her to be a bad guy (as in, on the "villain" side—in my book she's already pretty bad) and for her character to end with next week's episode, but I usually don't get what I want.

And one more thing: someone turned the plane around. It wasn't May. Who else can fly the plane?

That's right: Ward. Also the only one who's not in the cargo hold ("parking garage") during the confrontation, and the one who shot the fake Clairvoyant.

#519 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 10:43 PM:

Again, haven't watched yet (still waiting for ABC to release it to the web). But May is a superb shot; if she'd wanted to hit Fitz, she would have (this being television, where intent and guns in the hands of competent people go in the same direction. Incompetent people, not so much.)

Also, Xopher -- turning the plane around -- SHIELD is really good at remote control of large difficult objects, like the plane. All it needs is someone to put the ship under remote control. Landing is more difficult, and would most likely require a Real Pilot; but stuff in the air is Pretty Easy, especially "turning around." So unless there's a landing involved, I wouldn't point to Ward.

#520 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 10:49 PM:

Tom, he was behind a pane of glass. Had the glass not been there, she'd've hit him in the chest and in the face. She did intend to shoot him; the question is how willing she was to kill or seriously injure him.

And while I agree that they can do remote control, Ward was conspicuously absent from the confrontation. That's suspicious (unless Coulson locked him back up after their conversation).

#521 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2014, 11:05 PM:

You have more info than I do!

#522 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 08:51 AM:

Tom Whitmore@519

According to the Mythbusters episode "Air Plane Hour" the autopilot on most modern airliners is capable of landing the plane entirely by itself.

#523 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 10:52 AM:

Yes, but I'm less sure that the autopilot could do a midair 180 on a VTOL superjet.

But then, this is comic book technology. This is a universe with disintegrator rays during WWII. So technological plausibility isn't really a criterion at all.

What IS a criterion is "what have they said they can do?" I would say they've been vague about the capabilities of the plane, and clearly established that the Hub always has more capability than field agents think.

So, could well be that it was in response to an entirely electronic signal from the Hub. Or could have been Ward. I'm betting the fact that it could be either will cause suspicion and doubt in the next episode (unless, as I've said, Ward was locked back up after his conversation with Coulson).

#524 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 10:59 AM:

I'm hearing that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has spoilers for this show, or that next Tuesday's episode has spoilers for CA:TWS. Anyone know if that's true?

#525 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 11:59 AM:

It occurred to me late that May *can't* be reporting to the Clairvoyant. She overheard Coulson talking about the Guest House, and logged a message: "He knows." In the same speech (end of Yes Men) Coulson establishes that SHIELD doesn't know what Fury arranged with Coulson and the Guest House; the latest episode confirms that. May must be talking to someone who *does* know; Fury is the only candidate at the moment.

As for Hugh^WGrant^WRock^WWard whatever his name is, he cannot be the traitor because he is officially stupidhead over Skye and this show doesn't have the balls to have him still working for the person that got her shot.

#526 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 01:00 PM:

Good points, Andrew. My only quibble on Ward is that a) the possibility of mental domination (as has already happened on this show) is always there and b) he might just have complex loyalties. I think we can, as you say, rule out him working for the Clairvoyant, at least directly, but he still could have been the person who turned the plane IF he thought he was being loyal to SHIELD or Fury or someone.

It does seem much less likely now, though. I'm betting it was either a remote control thing or an automated failsafe should the secret hardline* be cut.

And I also thought of something that might get Hand off the hook (much as it pains me to admit it): she could believe that Coulson is the traitor and that all his people have joined him.

*OK, again, WWII-disintegrator Universe, but how stupid is it to talk about a "dedicated hardline" on a frickin' PLANE? At some point it becomes an RF (or some WW2DU ooga-booga) transmission, and there's no reason to have an additional hardline.

Having written that, I now realize they could be talking about hardline connections to the plane's main transmitter. But that's still hokey. It's a Plot Device.

#527 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 01:17 PM:

Xopher@526

You have to have a hardline connection to your plot device. Otherwise transmission gets unreliable and it can generate plot holes.

#528 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 02:09 PM:

Plot holes will now be formally known as Moffats, after a primitive writer who abandoned plot consistency along with all sense of duty not to cheat his audience.

#529 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 03:08 PM:

Xopher@524 The next episode either takes place alongside or after the movie, comments have been a little ambiguous about that. Seeing the movie before the next episode was the recommended order, though.

The movie's already been out a week in the UK, and, yes, there is something the show's going to have to address....

#530 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 03:14 PM:

That pisses me off. I can't afford to see that movie right now, but more importantly, do they really expect ALL the Agents fans in the US to see the movie in one weekend? I'm sure they'd LIKE us to, but that's a pretty stupid thing to expect.

Also, some people who don't have money or time or inclination to see the movie yet, but mean to eventually, will just not watch the next episode (or DVR it, which from a ratings standpoint is the same thing). The stupidity of this should be obvious.

Full disclosure: I watch everything on DVR, so they really don't care what *I* do.

#531 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 03:58 PM:

Xopher@530

I believe the intent is that the movie and the TV show can be viewed independently. That is, they do provide additional background for each other but both are sufficiently self-contained that they can be watched alone.

Whether the execution of this is successful is a separate question.

#532 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2014, 05:06 PM:

Thanks for saying that, Michael. That makes me feel a lot better about it.

Also, I can decide to believe it and not worry about missing context.

We're agreed that the SPOILERS warning for this thread applies to the TV show and not the movie, right? </whine>

#533 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2014, 07:18 PM:

It would be kind of fun if the big conspiracy that Coulson's team has been clashing with turns out to be entirely independent of the big conspiracy that Cap and company clash with in Winter Soldier.

Although it wouldn't say much for the competence of SHIELD's internal security...

Incidentally, if anyone is wondering whether Winter Soldier contains the standard post-credits scenes, the answer is yes. One in the middle of the credits, and one after the end.

#534 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2014, 07:23 PM:

I would beg my fellow Fluorospherans not to spoiler The Winter Soldier here. I do want to be able to come here and talk about Agents of SHIELD but it may be a while before I can see CA:TWS. Can you ROT-13 them or something?

#535 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2014, 09:40 PM:

ROT-13'ing CA:TWS-relevant comments as Xopher requested:

V npghnyyl whfg fnj "Raq bs gur Ortvaavat" gbavtug, gur qnl nsgre frrvat PN:GJF, juvpu zrnag gung V unq n sha zbzrag bs erpbtavmvat jura Fvgjryy jnf beqrerq bss gur fubj naq vagb gur zbivr. V'z ernyyl jbaqrevat ubj jryy gur fubj vf tbvat gb unaqyr guvf vqrn bs nyy bs FUVRYQ'f frpergf geraqvat ba gur jro.

#536 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2014, 07:58 AM:

Michael I @533, while, like Xopher, I'd appreciate everyone to rot-13 Winter Soldier spoilers, the fact that there might be a conspiracy somewhere in a comic-book movie is rather as spoilering as the idea that there might be a wedding somewhere in a romantic comedy.... <grin>

Thanks for the heads-up on sitting through the credits; it's always good to know when NOT to run for the bathroom....

#537 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2014, 08:56 AM:

Xopher@530: Over here we we're one week ahead of you with Winter Soldier, and we're currently two episodes behind with SHIELD. With regard to Sitwell heading off for a mission on the TV show that we see in the movie, that's a nice nod to the fans rather than anything else, plus that entire opening sequence on the ship was released online by Marvel weeks ago should you wish to view it, anyway. With regard to the consequences for the TV show the movie has to have - after years of being a comics reader I'm used to these things not always quite appearing in the order they should, anyway. Personally if you can't get to see the movie in the next week, I'd watch the show, see what happens, and go to the movie later for the how and why as interesting backstory because I'm sure they won't structure things so that it's absolutely vital you see the film first.

#538 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2014, 01:36 PM:

Thank you, dotless, Cassy, and Rob.

And Cassy's right. The fact that there's gonna be a wedding isn't a spoiler. Which couple gets married, which couple breaks up, and who is behind the scenes catering the whole affair ARE spoilers.

#539 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2014, 08:47 AM:

Some speculation prompted by Winter Soldier.

Vg'f orra cbvagrq bhg ol inevbhf crbcyr gung Nezva Mbyn (gur thl va gur pbzchgre) vf na rkpryyrag pnaqvqngr gb or gur Pynveiblnag.

#540 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2014, 12:32 PM:

Michael I@539: That had occurred to me. Gurer'f qrsvavgryl zvffvba bireync orgjrra cerqvpgvat jung ntragf jvyy qb naq gur guerng gnetrgvat nytbevguz va gur zbivr.

#541 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2014, 02:18 PM:

For anyone not up to date on the Open Thread, Abi has created a CA:TWS spoiler thread. Comments that are spoilers for both the movie and this show, though, will presumably still have to be rotated.

#542 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2014, 10:30 PM:

I haven't seen the new Captain America, though I'm aware that AOS builds on that story.

About tonight's episode - wow! While my wife and I always had some doubts about Bill Paxton's character, I did not expect the revelation about Ward. Gobsmacked, I was.

#543 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 12:11 AM:

Well, shit. That sucks. Agent WARD?!?!? VERY unhappy.

Well, at least we won't have Hand to kick around anymore.

And there WAS a spoiler for CA:TWS in tonight's episode! Damn them.

#544 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 03:03 AM:

It's still possible that Ward set that scene up with Agent Hand to convince Garrett to trust him. Which would probably imply that he had been Hydra, but decided to change sides sometime after shooting the Fauxvoyant.

#545 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 05:06 AM:

I very rarely see movies in the theatre, but I made an exception for TWS just because I figured it would have an effect on AoS. My cousin and I went to see it on cheapie Tuesday while I PVR'd Turn(3), and Holy Cow, am I glad. I would have been really peeved if I'd seen the ep first and gotten all that info before seeing the movie.

#546 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 10:39 AM:

I clearly shouldn't have watched the ep yet. Maybe I'll stop watching the series.

This kind of thing really pisses me off.

#547 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 12:16 PM:

It's not necessary that they add movie spoilers after this point in the show, I think, but given how tightly they've tied the show to the movies (at least following US airtime and release dates) I'm not surprised that they had to deal with the overlap in this episode. They clearly could have been less explicit about a couple of things, though.

Given that they're keeping the show and movies linked up, what did they have to say? Gurl qvqa'g bireync va nal cnegvphyne ybpngvbaf. Tvira ubj uvtu hc frireny punenpgref ner gurl cebonoyl unq gb zragvba ULQEN rkcyvpvgyl. Gurl qvq abg unir gb zragvba Pncgnva Nzrevpn, naq V'z abg fher gurl unq gb zragvba gur uryvpneevref bs qbbz. Jnf gurer nalguvat ryfr fcbvyrevfu gung gurl fyvccrq va?

#548 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 12:33 PM:

dotless i@547

Fvgjryy. "Shel'f qrnq".

Although avoiding either of these might have seemed a bit odd for those who HAVE watched the movie.

#549 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 01:02 PM:

Michael I@548: The former could probably have been simply omitted in the show, I think, at least for a while. The latter would have been harder.

#550 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 01:46 PM:

@547 dotless ı

It's not necessary that they add movie spoilers after this point in the show,

I'm so spoiler-phobic, and hate so much to spoil others, that I'm nervous about typing the next sentence in the clear, even though it's not necessarily a spoiler, really, once you know that a connection between movie and show exists. Nevertheless, rot13 ahead:

Gur senzrjbex Pbhyfba'f grnz vf jbexvat va unf pbzcyrgryl punatrq; V ernyyl qba'g guvax bar pna whfg fxvc guvf rcvfbqr naq cvpx hc ba gur arkg bar jvgubhg orvat fcbvyrq sbe GJF.

#551 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 03:26 PM:

The thing about it is that Shel orvat qrnq is not really the spoiler there--at least, not any more than you'd get just from watching the trailer.

Naq jvgu gur jnl pbzvp obbxf jbex, uvz abg orvat qrnq vfa'g n urpx bs n fcbvyre rvgure...

I'm extremely pissed about Ward. Even assuming that he's just trying to worm his way into Hydra for counterespionage purposes (and that is a motive that Hand's test didn't take into account), he killed three people for it. I was sitting there muttering, "Skye is not going to approve of this, Ward," and that's only more damning because my feelings on Skye/Ward, and Skye in general, are best summed up as "Meh".

#552 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 03:27 PM:

Posting to shake loose a server error, nothing to see here, move along.

#553 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 04:06 PM:

Cheryl@550: Sorry, what I meant was that, for people like Xopher who have seen the spoilers in that episode, it's possible that they might not be more spoiled by future episodes. Given the show's record, though, I wouldn't count on future episodes not dropping in more spoilers as "treats" for those who have seen the film, so I'm not sure it's a particularly useful observation.

#554 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 04:13 PM:

I’m actually pretty happy to learn that Ward’s a traitor, because it explains his otherwise-under-motivated shooting of Thomas Nash. I really wasn’t buying the did-it-to-protect-Skye cover story, though I might have with better acting and writing.

#555 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 04:31 PM:

I'm also pissed about Ward, and I think his killing three people is the show telling us he is not just worming his way into Hydra, that he was Hydra all along. The closeup of Hand's bleeding hand was confirmation that those weren't icers.

Of course, this is Whedon, so he could be lying to us, and Hand and the other two could have faked it. Neither that nor the vast betrayal it looked like is beyond Whedon.

As for Ward/Skye (if they were a soap-opera supercouple we could call them Skyward), given my theory about where Skye came from, my reaction to her kissing him was "Ewwwww!"

I think Ward is really Hydra, and has been all along. That would probably mean May is already pregnant, or my theory is shot to hell. I really want to find out what happens, but I won't, because I'm going to stop watching the show until I've seen the movie, which could be...before next week, or could be next year.

#556 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 04:57 PM:

I was just thinking, this actually makes all the breaks in between episodes make sense: they knew they couldn't show Turn(3) until TWS was in theatres, so they were stretching the run out on purpose.

Hmm.

#557 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 04:57 PM:

At this point I don't know what to think about Ward, or about the odd expressions on his face at the end of the episode. Hydra? Mind control? Deep cover? Food poisoning?

#558 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 05:00 PM:

Cheryl, you're giving them credit for more sense than I really think is merited. The assumption that anyone who didn't see the movie the first weekend isn't enough of a fan for them to consider shows them to be pretty goddam stupid, in fact.

#559 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 05:23 PM:

Xopher, I don't think I have seen your theory about Skye's origin. Do you suspect her of being Ward and May's back-in-time child?

I wish I lived closer to NYC, I would totally take you to see the movie.

#560 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 05:26 PM:

@558 Xopher Halftongue

Cheryl, you're giving them credit for more sense than I really think is merited.

Perhaps. The series premiered on September 24th, so if they had shown all the episodes uninterrupted, they would have been at this ep, #17, by January 14th (I think I'm counting that correctly). That really would have been far and away too soon. If they had followed the more standard network rule of no new eps in January, that still would have put this ep on, what, February 11th? Still not good.

I do think that showing it the Tuesday after TWS's Friday (NA) release was kind of soon. The thing is, if they waited too long, then there would have been several weeks of eps in which those events were not acknowledged, and people who had seen the film would have been wondering 'what the heck'.

The AoS production team were only told after their 1st ep what was going to happen in TWS, so at that point they had to work with what they were given. Maybe I am giving them too much credit, though I do believe they deserve more than zero.

#561 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 05:33 PM:

Yes, that's the theory. Skye being an object of unknown origin because of the time travel, and of exactly the right ethnic mix to be Ward and May's child. It explained Ward's special attachment to her, at the time.

I didn't actually know the background about TWS and AoS, but it doesn't surprise me. I'm not talking about the Hydra infiltration here; I'm talking about the direct mention of Captain America's victory at a particular place over a particular opponent (whose name didn't come through on the captions, but a person with normal hearing would have gotten it). I assume the hero will win eventually, but I don't want to know in advance what battle will be the place of victory!

#562 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 07:17 PM:

Xopher @561: I assume the hero will win eventually, but I don't want to know in advance what battle will be the place of victory!

Isn’t it generally the one near the end of the movie’s running time?

#563 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 07:33 PM:

Well, yes, but I don't know that that battle is the one. He could win more than once; he did in the first movie, after all. I know that he qrsrngf fbzrbar be bgure va gur Gevfxryvba, but not when that happens.

#564 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 08:48 PM:

My personal thoughts on Ward and the after-credits scene and blah, is that the timeline goes thusly:

* Clairvoyant recruited him to Hydra while he was working under him 'for years'.
* He was assigned to the Coulson/May team while closeted Hydra and took it to infiltrate etc etc.
* He bonded with the team, mildly with May and (for whatever reason; I can't stand the 'whatever the plot needs this week' way they write her character) very strongly with Skye.
* He shot the fake-Clairvoyant because he had orders to AND for Skye.
* After the shooting and the whole into-the-light plot, he has a lot of time alone in that room to think about his motivations and his now-conflicting loyalties. I forget, wasn't he the one standing in the Computer Room Of Doom talking about all the crap on the plane's computers that Hydra couldn't possibly be allowed access to? Good acting on the part of a double agent (plus he knew he could get the hard drive Skye was backing up onto), imho, while he's also having a lot of internal collywobbles.
* He's about to shoot Skye a way into the Place where they blew up the Thing, and he has more collywobbles and a realization, perhaps, that she's v v v important to him.
* He sees Clairvoyant being perp-walked and allows some of his genuine anguish to show (double anguish, IMHO) while Coulson explains stuff. He realizes there's no point in outing himself as Hydra, and might be Hydra-loyalty reasons to stay covert.
* Both his motivations are working in tandem as he volunteers to go to the Freezer with Hand: no conflict. Both his Hydra side and his protect-Skye side want to be on that plane, for different reasons.
* Hand makes the offer. Ward makes a call, possibly half on reflex.
* Then he has a good, long, blood-soaked Think about stuff ...

and either he's now a conflicted double-agent deep within Hydra (which is about to take the Freezer -- and does Ward know there's something under the Freezer that Hydra shouldn't have?), or a really conflicted Hydra agent who has a strong emotional bond to someone on the other side.

Either way it's interesting. More interesting than just "He was Hydra all along and lying to Skye".

In re Coulson's insightful "no, this is you being a psychopath" line, Ward really did initially have all the low-affect killer-for-hire coulda been a good guy or a bad guy thing going on that half the cast of Criminal Minds did -- possible borderline psychopath, etc. Clairvoyant's kind of guy. And I think some of the bits of the show where we've seen Ward lose his shit and have his composed mask slip or melt to show wobbly puppy-dog Feels might well have been breadcrumbs towards the eventual might-betray-Hydra thing.

I kind of want Xopher's theory of Skye's origins to be right because it's just so comic-bookly awesome (incl the oogy kiss). But I had a lot more comic-bookly awesome possibilities for Coulson's return (and why the Avengers might not be told -- haven't seen TWS, don't know what happened there, but if Fury was worried Coulson was compromised there's NO WAY he'd have put them back in as the Avengers' handler) that weren't what they went with, so I'm not guessin'.

#565 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2014, 09:56 PM:

Saw this interview earlier today with the show’s executive producers, Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb. Loeb had this to say:

How much fun is it to, in the pilot, have Coulson look at Ward and say, "I haven't seen scores like this since Romanoff [Scarlett Johansson]," and have everyone in the audience go, "Oh, that's so great. He's a good spy." No, what that means is he's somebody who can work at the same level as somebody who's done nothing but fool people about her identity from the very beginning. The clues were there, you just didn't know where to look.
There are more bits in there about how Ward’s deliberately built emotional connections with everyone else on the team, in order to better infiltrate. (And yeah, probably spoilers for Captain America 2.)

#566 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2014, 07:27 AM:

Elliott Mason@564

Ward knows that there's a LOT of stuff locked away in the Freezer that Hydra shouldn't have. He has an itemized list of some of it.

#567 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2014, 10:58 AM:

Avram@565:

"Oh, that's so great. He's a good spy." No, what that means is he's somebody who can work at the same level as somebody who's done nothing but fool people about her identity from the very beginning.

So he's a very good spy?

#568 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2014, 02:46 PM:

Michael I: So, going forward, we'll have a really good dramatic-irony way of knowing just how Hydra-loyal Ward really is. If he spills his guts on all the Seekrit Dangerous Stuff, he's Bad and was always Bad. However, if he lets Hydra keep not-knowing about any of the stuff they have no other source but him for knowing about, then he's at least conflicted. Or playing a deeper game involving pitting Hydra against Coulson's Busload, at least.

I love falsifiable fanwank theories! :->

#569 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2014, 02:52 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 568... Or Ward is only pretending to work for Hydra when he's really with A.I.M.

#570 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2014, 03:56 PM:

Elliott Mason @568, or that he knows how to preserve his own value in a treacherous organization.

#571 ::: James Quixotic ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2014, 10:41 PM:

Coulson: "We've landed the Bus in the middle of the wilderness. Now we're going to walk seven miles in the cold and snow."

Me, yelling at screen: "You're standing next to a flying car!"

#572 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2014, 12:08 AM:

Yeah. I had to pause the episode for a moment to rant to my spouse that Lola was Right There! Bright red car! Flies!

Spouse's suggestion that maybe Lola didn't have enough gas was considered and rejected. The suggestion that Coulson wouldn't risk Lola in the Canadian wilderness was grudgingly accepted with a lot of grumbling.

#573 ::: Brad Hicks (@jbradhicks) ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2014, 12:35 AM:

Lola is a two-seater.

#574 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2014, 08:22 PM:

Let me also take a moment to snert about that 7 mile hike through the "Canadian wilderness". Which was, like in so many Hollywood productions, obviously put together by someone who has no idea what it's like to walk 7 miles in the cold, snowy forest.

#575 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2014, 01:17 PM:

Not to mention, in the first establishing shot of them walking away from The Bus, the 'snowy wilderness forest' looked a lot more like sprigs of spraypainted lavender and a model plane ...

#576 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 10:35 AM:

Oh man, I really, really love May's mom. :->

Also: Skye, secret badass ...

#577 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 11:32 AM:

She said, "It's too late," and I said, "That is so May's mom." Which, now that I think about it, sort of says something about my relationship with my mom, but we knew that. :)

I was very proud of Skye for realizing what the penny was for, and that's tough to do because my general attitude towards Skye is "Meh".

I was amused by the revelation that...the new guy, I can't remember his name...is a grandson of Gabriel of the Howling Commandos.

And, last but not least, the whole storyline with Amy Acker left me kind of cold. Perhaps I have internalized Clint/Coulson too much by reading fic.

#578 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 02:09 PM:

Carrie S @577: Do we know which Howling Commando? They might not share a last name (and there's no reason it has to be The Black One, it could be The French One for all we know).

#579 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 02:21 PM:

OK, I admit I assumed it was The Black One. I am not sure how much of that was my preconceptions about skin color and how much was my preconceptions about TV tropes (as opposed to TV Tropes).

Apparently Gabriel's last name is/was Jones; the new guy on AoS is...let me check...Antoine Triplett. Triplett doesn't match any of the other HCs either.

#580 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:22 PM:

I felt sorry for Skye in this episode, because that really had to have hurt. A lot. It hurt ME and to me he's just a character I liked on a show, before finding out he was a traitor.

Bets: she did something to the disk, like swap it for one without SHIELD secrets on it. Maybe she'll boobytrap it, but I don't think she had time in the storeroom.

I'm torn about what I want to happen. I'd love for the final whatever to come from Skye, because his betrayal of her is the most extreme, but WHAT it should be...I can't decide. Not that it really matters, since this is Whedon we're talking about.

Maybe I'm only thinking of this because Amy Acker was in this episode, but a truly excellent fate for Ward would be what happened to Fred on Angel. Some being (a dying human, or maybe an Asgardian or something) who needs a body moves in after (or at the same time as) Ward's mind is completely and permanently destroyed.

This lets us get rid of Ward but keep Brett Dalton.

But I think probably what will happen is some kind of punishment and redemption pathway. Whedon seems to like those. I think that's kind of stupid, because it's not like he did one bad thing one time; he's been a traitor for the entire time he's been in SHIELD.

#581 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2014, 03:40 PM:

Oh man, I really, really love May's mom. :->

There's a hint that we may meet her Aunt Robin in the next episode: "I've always liked Maria."

#582 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 01:40 PM:

Once, just once, I would rejoice in having a Marvel scene taking place in Canada recognize that we are not always hip-deep in snow. Right now, in fact, there is NO SNOW outside. None. And yes, while there will be snow in the most Northern bits at the moment, May appears to have had a nice easy hike to a convenient paved highway in Ontario. Where there is no snow.

#583 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 03:06 PM:

Em: We have a few lingering snow piles right around my house since this has been a very painful long winter, but it was RAINING today so they've probably dropped a few more inches. None on the streets and it's all the human-packed snowpiles that are denser than nature.

On the one hand, we're within 2 hours' drive of the US border, not Vaguely Described Northern Wilderness Where Whole Secret Bases Can Be Hidden. On the other hand, the temperature variance between us and areas that would qualify is, um, not that big. Or, as you say, NO SNOW.

(Nobody ever shows real city street snow in movies or tv either. You know, brown-grey and coated in sand. But that's another rant for another time).

#584 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 03:33 PM:

You can't actually use real (fresh) snow in a movie, because you get ONE TAKE. That's not usually enough.

City street snow is probably not used because cities don't like their dirty-salty-slush season shown on film, filmmakers like to be able to get the next permit, and actors don't like to be ankle-deep in below-freezing water.

#585 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 03:40 PM:

This talk of snow reminds me of the episode of "War of the Worlds" that was set in Sacramento, and yet there was a two-foot thickness of snow everywhere. That's what you get for filming in Toronto.

#586 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 03:53 PM:

@580 Xopher Halftongue

Bets: she did something to the disk, like swap it for one without SHIELD secrets on it. Maybe she'll boobytrap it, but I don't think she had time in the storeroom.

She was staring at the "window", which, AFAIR, are all computer screens, right? If she hasn't boobytrapped the drive, maybe she hid it in the screen somehow? Either that or left a message - she did have Koenig's tablet with her.

#587 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Mama May said, "500 miles". Her car had Pennsylvania plates (I think).

That's approximately the distance from Philadelphia to Toronto.

Pittsburgh is a bit closer - only about 320 miles. Something like North Bay would be 500 miles from Pittsburgh.

I'm just trying to get an idea of where in the "Canadian Wilderness" the base might be. There are paved roads leading North out of North Bay; that's how you get to the Provincial parks.

But, yeah. There's no snow. I even checked sat images from Environment Canada, and it all seems to be green up to Hudson's Bay, at least.

#588 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 05:17 PM:

Could the base have been in the mountains? I have no idea where there are sufficiently tall mountains in Canada.

#589 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 06:07 PM:

There definitely are mountains tall enough in Canada - the Rockies go all the way up out West, and the Long Range mountains in Newfoundland have a couple of (small) spots of year-round snow, but Ontario is pretty flat (and goes as far south as California comes north).

I may just have reached saturation point after seeing many comics in which the X-Men are lounging poolside in Westchester while Wolverine struggles through an inexplicable blizzard "somewhere in Canada" ;)

I've also determined that most television and movie folk can survive for ages without having to breathe, given that it's FREEZING and you can't see them exhale.

That, however, is a tangent. I want more of May's Mom - television women who are simultaneously old enough to have adult children and having cool adventures are about as thin on the ground as accurate depictions of snowy weather and Canadian climate patterns.

#590 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2014, 07:04 PM:

Xopher @ 584: I know all about not liking getting one's slushy and ugly season on film: Google street view did their initial Winnipeg sweep in March. The protests were sufficient that they had to come back in summer (The view of my street is now pretty and green and leafy.)

I'm amused at the assumption that city street/sidewalk snow is slushy by nature. :)

But I should really talk about the show at some point... ;) we're actually almost all caught up like.

#591 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 12:49 AM:

@588 Carrie S.

Could the base have been in the mountains? I have no idea where there are sufficiently tall mountains in Canada.

There are certainly mountains tall enough in BC/AB. It's just that they aren't within walking distance of Ontario.

In re: the ep - I normally like Amy Acker quite a bit, but she wasn't really given much to do in this episode. Or maybe, like Carrie @577, I'm so used to Phlint I just can't see Phil with anyone else.

I'm kind of getting to the point where I want Skye to be the one to take Ward and Garrett down, just because they will so never see it coming from this silly little girl.

#592 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 12:56 AM:

Amy Acker gives me the willies because of her role on Person of Interest (in which she is brilliant and creepy). I had to refrain from yelling at Our Heroes not to trust her.

#593 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 01:15 AM:

OK, I just fell over laughing at this quote over on Previously.tv:

Can we keep Mama May? She's so badass, the Cavalry calls her.
#594 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 03:03 AM:

Cheryl@591: The problem I see is that if they do that (and they might) they're probably going to do it by having her develop super-powers (note her unresolved status as an 084) and I'd rather she manage it with purely her own human abilities.

#595 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 07:35 AM:

I can't comment on recent developments, having given up watching the show. But I did want to say that, w/r/t all the folks who are saying "I can't buy this relationship because fanfic" that the reason for that is that THE FANFIC WRITERS DID A BETTER JOB OF SELLING IT.

Nothing on Agents of SHIELD is remotely close to producing the kind of emotional investment that the works of Copperbadge, or scifigrl47, or BlackEyedGirl, or hoosierbitch deliver. Essentially, Agents *is* fanfiction, albeit with a high budget and official authorization and a deadline. Maybe it's the deadline that makes the writing weak.

Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension used to use the term "IITS" (It's In the Script) for things that happen just because the writers say so. I think Agents of SHIELD has a bad case of it.

#596 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 07:56 AM:

Lila#595 : It's worth noting that the show has improved markedly since it was able to stop treading water waiting for the new Cap movie to come out. I'm starting to be of the opinion that it should have premiered maybe a month before that movie, since the way it's handled the fallout has been much more interesting than the previous episodes.

#597 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 09:51 AM:

Xopher@580

One thing that occurred to me is that Ward's false claim about killing Garrett may end up being foreshadowy.

#598 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 10:42 AM:

Michael I @597: I don't know if it's a trope, but it should be. Given the number of times a bad guy has claimed someone is dead and then had that person stagger into the limelight saying "not quite" (for recent examples, think Frozen) I think that this claim is likely to bite him in the butt. "Oh, Skye, you're just being paranoid. Ward's a good guy. Wait...is that Garrett on the surveillance screen...?"

#599 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 03:34 PM:

Em@596: I'm starting to be of the opinion that it should have premiered maybe a month before that movie

One tradeoff would have been the close tie-in with the Thor movie back in November. I liked that; it had the same (though smaller scale) focus on the people who have to sift through the pieces after a blockbuster movie has busted some blocks.

#600 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2014, 10:29 PM:

Just saw the trailer for next week's ep (some people consider trailers as spoilers, so I'll rot13):

Gurer'f na Nzrevpna Nezl pbybary naq uvf Nzrevpna Nezl Fcrpvny Sbeprf pbzvat gb trg Pbhyfba... va Bagnevb.

Bu, lrnu. Ab ceboyrz. Ab bar urer'yy zvaq.

Frevbhfyl?

#601 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 12:24 AM:

I finally caught up on this week's episode, and I just have to say ....

... Skye's name from the orphanage was Mary Sue???

That explains so much.

#602 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2014, 01:43 AM:

Cheryl: As someone who found out while watching Buffy that my experience of next week's ep is enhanced by not watching the trailer, thank you.

#603 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 07:21 AM:

We're still two weeks behind in the UK and we've only just seen the ep where Ward shoots Hand, so I haven't read this thread beyond that point in the discussion. One little tidbit I thought I'd mention is that in the comics Hand is canonically lesbian - we see her break-up with her girlfriend in an issue of DARK AVENGERS. Never mentioned in the TV show so may not apply there.

#604 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2014, 10:16 AM:

Cassy B@598

That too.

Although I was thinking more that Ward might end up killing Garrett in a way similar to what he described.

#605 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2014, 10:22 PM:

Em@596, me@599: On the other hand, they really do seem to be putting a whole lot more into each episode now; so yes, if they could have had this kind of pacing earlier it would have been worth only having the immediate tie-in with CA:TWS. Or maybe they really needed this much time to set things up before they could get to this point. I don't know.

My favorite part of tonight's episode: at the end, Coulson's "Huh."

#606 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 12:31 PM:

"I *told* you to buckle up!"

Agent Coulson to Skye last night.
I also laughed later when they pulled into that parking lot.

#607 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:08 PM:

dotless ı: completely agree. Such an amazing character moment. It'd be underplayed, except that's kind of Coulson's schtick ...

Is it just me that's looking at the setup revealed in this ep, with Maria Hill and some other refugee agents working for StarkIndustries, and thinking that in "a while" this could lead to Coulson handling the Avengers again?

#608 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Serge: Is it just me, or is that the first time Skye saw Lola fly? Was she along on the dropping-off-little-Peterson mission?

#609 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:21 PM:

Skye was in Lola at the end of the pilot, but Phil said explicitly that Lola had a fairly low flight ceiling, which is likely why it didn't occur to Skye that they would be taking the car.

#610 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 01:50 PM:

With Stark funding the tattered remnants of SHIELD and the Avengers, the whole thing is going back to its comic-book origins. (Without Jarvis as a human butler. By the way, there was one "Avengers" issue the cover of which showed Jarvis telling the Avengers to stand back while he determinedly starts cleaning the place after its latest trashing.)

#611 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2014, 09:35 PM:

I thought the latest outing was fine. Loved the scenes with Lola and the way Phil showed fear/dismay/relief when they finally made it safely to solid ground.

I've noticed that quite a few episodes have dealt with PTSD in the characters, even if not explicitly spelled out. It's good to see heroes who just don't shrug it off.

#612 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Thanks to Tardis Eruditorum (specifically his writings on the UNIT years of Doctor Who), I've realized that part of my adoration of Coulson is because of the ways he is like Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart ... whose superpower was Utter Unflappability. It doesn't matter what you do, the Brig WOULD NOT FLAP. Period. He had a permanent flap-ectomy in his youth.

Tardis Eruditorum also pointed out the nature of the connection between that superpower and the Monty Python "Sergeant-Major Marching Up And Down The Square!" skits (which were airing roughly contemporaneously). Sort of a disconnection from reality while remaining utterly true to one's Self?

Coulson rhymes, is what I'm saying. Or trying to. Insufficient sleep.

#613 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 12:42 PM:

That parachute would have been very, very handy if, say, Skye had fallen out of Lola because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

#614 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 03:55 PM:

Em@613: Skyediving?

#615 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 06:45 PM:

Thank Ghod, the parts of the team I care about are back together.

Ward reads to me as having a stalker-like obsession about Skye. And the perverse side of me would like to see Skye kill both him AND Garrett. (Note: Shooting's too good for them, pity there's no Sarlacc in the Marvel universe.)

#616 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 10:30 PM:

I think Skye was stupid not to just let Ward die. Stupid to think there's anything redeemable in him. But of course she had to stop it or the story would be over. IITS.

I could hardly believe it when he kept trying to lie to her about his "feelings" for her. The chutzpah of that is jawdropping. I don't think she fell for it though. And even if he was telling the truth (and I don't think there will ever be any way to know for sure, since Ward could lie entirely convincingly to anyone, including himself, and does), it's still better if Skye doesn't believe him, because he deserves that.

I agree with Lori. Defenstration's too good for him; throw him out the window! (Actually my fantasies of how to dispose of Ward involve insect larvae.)

I thought I saw a tweet saying this was the antepenultimate episode. But then they said there was only one left. I'm confused.

#617 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2014, 11:02 PM:

@616 Xopher Halftongue

I think Skye was stupid not to just let Ward die. Stupid to think there's anything redeemable in him. But of course she had to stop it or the story would be over. IITS.

Well, yeah. She should have let him die, I think. The only way I can justify it, sort of, is that she was saving herself. She tells Deathlok, "He's a murderer", and Deathlok asks, "But are you?" Wanting to not become what she hates, in that moment she chooses to save Ward.

I think it's a bad choice, long term, because it gives Hydra the drive, but if I interpret it that way, the scene reads better for me, so I'm going with that.

Oh, and Whedon/Tancharoen/Marvel/Show? Canada is an independent country, not the 51st state. The US Army doesn't actually get to run military actions within our borders, nor do they get to "take possession" of bases on our soil, being, as we are, AN ACTUAL SOVEREIGN NATION.

Seriously, do Americans really think their military can just do what it wants in other countries? I wanted to throw something at the screen.

It wouldn't have taken much. The "special forces" could have been a joint CAN/US task force, which would make perfect sense since SHIELD was an international organisation. They still could have had Adrian Pasdar doing his thing. Instead, they chose to be ignorant and insulting.

#618 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:57 AM:

Xopher: Ward could lie to Skye, and he could lie to himself, but could he lie to Lorelei the sorceress? She's the one who let us know he was sweet on her (instead of May) in the first place.

I was assuming for most of the show that Skye had deliberately futzed with the encryption while in the café in order to trigger the "erase everything" mechanism. But looks like not.

#619 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 07:52 AM:

Lorelei could have lied to make trouble. After all, she didn't reveal that he was a traitor! Hardly has the team's best interests at heart.

In fact, Lorelei could have figured out that he was a traitor whose plan was to romance Skye for her cooperation. That's consistent with the characters of all concerned.

#620 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 08:12 AM:

Cheryl@617

My thought is that the U.S. had tacit approval from the Canadian government on the condition that the operation remained "quiet".

#621 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 08:14 AM:

My #620.

I suppose another possibility is that the U.S. simply didn't bother to inform the Canadians beforehand that they were conducting the operation.

#622 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:04 AM:

Ward could be really messed up and actually think that he has feelings for Skye. Or he could totally be lying. Or some of both.
I wouldn't have minded Skye letting him die, but probably not really in her character and as Xopher said, story reasons.
It looks like from the next week previews at the end of the show that we will be getting some background on Ward and Garrett.

#623 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:10 AM:

Ward could even have feelings for Skye; fake something like that for long enough and you start actually feeling it, often.

#624 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 10:16 AM:

Carrie S.: Yes, kind of a variant Stockholm syndrome.

#625 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 12:06 PM:

Undercover operatives, I hear, sometimes have this problem. They get lost in the cover persona, and sometimes change sides.

Ward was undercover for years and years, and didn't change sides. He might have feelings for Skye, but it seems more likely he's just using a "honeypot" scheme to get inside her defenses.

He's not going to stop trying it. Even when she was escaping in a police car, he was yelling "you don't understand!" Bullshit, she understands perfectly, you Nazi piece of shit.

#626 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 01:04 PM:

Indeed she does. I was kind of amused by how offended he got when Skye told him he was a Nazi.

The only reason I think he might actually have feelings is because that started recently, and liking Skye isn't any kind of ideological conflict with being Hydra. He spent his undercover time deliberately not making personal connections with anyone; he only slept with May to more easily snow her, for example. He might have gotten sucker-punched by teh feels.

None of which makes him not a Nazi piece of shit, alas. The actor's worth looking at, but the character needs to die horribly.

#627 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Carrie 626: I feel the same way about Adalind on Grimm. I like the actor, but I want the worst possible death to happen to the character. On that show they might be able to do it.

The actor took this character, a "woman you love to hate" kind of villain, who's done the most awful, sadistic things, of which multiple murders are some of the less horrific...and made me empathize with her when her baby was kidnapped. She made the anguish of a mother bereft come through, and even though I hate her and want her to die, I couldn't help feeling for her.

That's acting, man.

It also helped the other actors sell their scripted behavior, which was to take her in, give her a hot drink, wrap her in a blanket and generally be nice to her...this character who has tried to kill—or worse—all of them. If she hadn't sold that to the audience, their behavior would be completely IITS.

I don't thing the show has sold Ward's feelings for Skye in that way. That's only partly because Brett Dalton hasn't made it believable; he hasn't had lines that distinguish between not wanting to kill her because she's a valuable asset and not wanting to kill her because he's in love with her. And that's partly because only the former will cut any mustard with Hydra, so lately all his conversations with anyone else can't show feelings for Skye even if he has them.

Personally, I think he's still trying to play her, and she's not as gullible as he thinks.

I was kind of amused by how offended he got when Skye told him he was a Nazi.

I loved that. "That has nothing to do with today!" I don't buy that argument from Volkswagen, and they are not, as far as I know, currently trying to take over the world by violent means. Nor have they deliberately murdered anyone I know personally, as Ward has done to Skye.

Hydra was, in fact, founded by people for whom the Nazis were not sufficiently extreme. They're the crazy wing of the Nazi party. Calling him a Nazi is, if anything, understating the case!

#628 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:14 PM:

And that's partly because only the former will cut any mustard with Hydra, so lately all his conversations with anyone else can't show feelings for Skye even if he has them.

Garrett clearly feels that he's got a real soft spot for her, and I don't think Ward would have had any reason to fake it around him. Dunno. I think I'll be a little peeved if they make it Ward's Twoo Wuv Redeems Him, though.

Personally, I think he's still trying to play her, and she's not as gullible as he thinks.

I'm not surprised she wasn't quite cold enough to let him be killed in front of her, but I very much doubt she will ever believe him no matter what he says--which is another reason I'm still iffy on the subject of his true feelings. At this point, what possible use is it for him to keep pretending? He's obviously not as bad at people skills as he wanted SHIELD to think ("I'm everyone's type"), and he has to know that Skye is not going to believe him.

I mean, I guess it doesn't cost him anything but harsh words from her to pretend, but it seems like he wouldn't bother.

#629 ::: Larch ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:27 PM:

I got the sense from what Ward said to Raina ep before last that his loyalty is to Garrett personally - that he feels he owes Garrett for something huge (to him). It didn't seem to me that Hydra was even on his radar except as the vehicle Garrett had hitched them to for more power & better toys. I could see them both being disgusted with the "true believers" and utterly unconcerned with the history and nature of Hydra.

Not that that redeems Ward in any way! Nor does it really matter for the question of whether his feelings for Skye are real (and I can go either way on that). But I'm pretty skeptical that Ward's Hydra membership is anything more than situational.

#630 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:45 PM:

I could see them both being disgusted with the "true believers" and utterly unconcerned with the history and nature of Hydra.

Not that that redeems Ward in any way!

To a certain extent, going along with Hydra for better toys is more reprehensible than going along because you believe in them.

I agree with the idea that Ward is only Hydra because Garrett is. (And Garrett appears to be because he thought they were the best gig going.)

#631 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 02:57 PM:

Does anyone besides me want to see Garrett bite the dust with "Don't Fear the Reaper" playing in the background?

#632 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 03:13 PM:

I'm hoping for "Vesti La Giubba," but OK.

#633 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 03:23 PM:

For those who don't know, here's Pavarotti performing Vesti La Giubba. The part you've heard a million times when someone is either a) deciding on a course of action they'll later regret or b) getting their comeuppence (either deserved or just inevitable) starts around 1:45.

It was the sound track for a TV commercial where the character goes down hard in a barrage of water balloons; I laughed my ass off, and only later realized that it was only funny because I'd seen it used in all seriousness so many times.

#634 ::: James Quixotic ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 04:30 PM:

@617 Cheryl writes:

Oh, and Whedon/Tancharoen/Marvel/Show? Canada is an independent country, not the 51st state. The US Army doesn't actually get to run military actions within our borders, nor do they get to "take possession" of bases on our soil, being, as we are, AN ACTUAL SOVEREIGN NATION.

Thanks you for that. It perfectly sums up my thoughts.

Other pet peeve of the episode, though really, it's a pet peeve about the trope.

Paraphrasing: "This man dies if you don't give me the macguffin - by not giving me the macguffin, you're *murdering* him."

I hate hate hate that twisted non-logic. My response to Deathlok would have been "Actually, *you're* murdering him - you're just making me watch it." But then, I'm not Skye.

#635 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 05:12 PM:

Hear, hear, James. Manipulative murderers and terrorists use that argument all the time. Bullshit.

#636 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 12:48 AM:

I think it was significant that Dethlock tells Ward that he was "Just following orders."

Ward, raised in the U.S., knows that the Nazis were the bad guys. He hasn't allowed himself to believe that he's fallen in with their modern-day incarnation.

I suspect he'll see more evidence of Hydra's evil and come to the conclusion that he's on the wrong side.

#637 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 09:07 AM:

I'm fairly sure that Ward does have genuine feelings for Skye. Among other things, Ward actually seems to be trying to convince Garrett of such feelings and that they should be taken into account when making plans. Ward's feelings aren't currently strong enough to override his personal loyalty to Garrett but they do affect where he tries to maneuver within that loyalty. And they may become his rationalization for turning on Garrett if his personal loyalty to Garrett ever weakens.

(Which it might. Last episode's events suggest a distinct possibility that Garrett is eventually going to push Ward just a step too far.)

#638 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2014, 09:48 PM:

Finally caught up!

...I don't have much to add. Except that I wish I'd known going in that SHIELD was a decent six-episode miniseries with a tedious 16-episode prologue.

#639 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 12:57 PM:

Andrew Plotkin@638: I can just see the advertising tags now...

YOU'LL THRILL as we slog through the ramp-up period!

YOU'LL SIGH as we take break after break!

YOU'LL SCREAM as we drop unannounced spoilers for Captain America!

YOU'LL BE ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT once we finally get through April!

(YOU'LL CHEER FOR MAY, the agent and the month!)

#640 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 01:20 PM:

dotless i... Three cheers for Agent May!!!

#641 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 01:20 PM:

dotless i... Three cheers for Agent May!!!

#642 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 01:21 PM:

dotless i... Three cheers for Agent May!!!

#643 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2014, 06:46 PM:

Serge Broom@640-642

Three cheers indeed...

#644 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 02:42 AM:

So, now that I’ve seen Captain America 2, I hafta wonder — what’s on the hard drive that everyone wants so bad?

We know that all of SHIELD’s files have been made public. The drive has data on the stuff Coulson’s team has been doing, which is all stuff that Ward was present for, so HYDRA knows about it. Maybe there’s Fitz’s & Simmons’s data on the gadgets they found, but HYDRA’s raided the Fridge, so they have the actual gadgets!

#645 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 06:37 AM:

Avram@644

One possibility is that they acquired some stuff that they don't entirely understand and don't want to experiment with.

#646 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 09:14 AM:

Avram@644: Well, it's been made clear that Simmons worked out more about the GH stuff than is available on the general SHIELD/Hydra databases, which is the immediate reason they're hunting after the drive contents. As for the rest, the best theory I've got is that FitzSimmons are such super geniuses (cue cartoon coyote?) that the information they've worked out on the various items they've encountered would be beyond any quick efforts by Hydra.

As for the general CA:TWS plot point, gurl'er pyrneyl tbvat gb unir gb chg fbzr obhaqf ba vg. Vg'f abg nf vs Shel gbyq nalbar rirelguvat. V qba'g guvax gurl rira gbyq gur nhqvrapr jurer gur zntvp uryvpneevre-fhoiregvat puvcf pnzr sebz.

#647 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 05:04 PM:

Having seen Captain America 2 after not just Turn, Turn Turn, but the week after... while it did to some extent inform my expectation of the movie, I think it was in ways that hurt it significantly less than those who are groaning about the relevant spoilers here think.

(This is most recently in reaction to dotless i at 639, but anyone perusing the thread can find prior examples.)

Re: The drive: I'm pretty sure Fitz and Simmons have not only encountered, but invented some tech that isn't used by any other branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- and they clearly hadn't downloaded all of it - or plausibly but arguably any of it -- to any landbound source. Every piece of information they can keep away from the people who have the physical objects seems a point in their favour. Maybe not as big an advantage as they're acting to let the plot hang on it, but enough for a moving-train viewing of the episode. (Mixed metaphors r us.)

#648 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2014, 09:56 PM:

Why did the chips have to “come from” anywhere unusual? I assumed they were just some spares that someone loaded new information into.

In this week’s ep, we saw that Fitz’s & Simmons’s tech skills aren’t anything unique. Those Cybertek guys weren’t too impressed by the icer bullets.

#649 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 01:06 AM:

We saw that the icer bullets aren't anything unique. They weren't leading with their best card. They needed an excuse to be in the building. Impressing the Cybertek guys was a by-product at best.

I doubt that Fitz-Simmons are actually dead. No one's dead on a show like this until you see their dead body, and sometimes not then. If they're alive, maybe Fitz will finally accept the truth about Ward.

I want to see Ward and Garret die, and I don't want to wait until next season for it, dammit!

#651 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 08:29 AM:

I'm caught All The Way Up.

My opinions, such as they are:

* SHIELD had that base in Snowy Canada and the Canadian gov't knew nothing about it; it's a secret. As such it's fair game for anyone who can keep it. Is that a good way to deal with your allies? No, but you can get away with it and there's sort of a resource rush on right now.

* Ward's response to being told he was a Nazi: I liked it because that's a classic neo-nazi response. "No, we're not Nazis, we're ... American National Socialists. Who respect many of Hitler's ideas. Totally different thing. "

* Skye had reasons for letting them not kill Ward. It turns out. Nice to see her getting her "I have big brown eyes, behind which I am a lying calculating spy" moments.

* There was more than one crazy wing of the Nazi party, but Hydra was certainly out there.

* The Icers: one advantage of putting it in a bullet instead of an aerosol is that you can shoot people from, like, a hundred yards away. Not that anyone does; even in Real Life most shootings happen at conversational distances. But Coulsen and May weren't there to do a good sales job.

* "Take care of Buddy" : Wasn't that something the Hitler Youth actually had to do? Here's your dog, train it, love it. Now kill it for Hitler.

* As always, we find out that the biggest problem with joining supervillain organizations is your co-workers.

#652 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 09:28 AM:

I have a theory about Skye's background: she's an Inhuman. This is a real house of cards, though, and as I'm watching on UK pace, a couple of the big points come from US-paced spoilers rather than what I've seen. It goes as follows:

The blue alien is probably a Kree, as they're Marvel's most frequently-occurring blue humanoids. Specifically, it may be an analogue for Captain Marvel -- it's referred to as "G.H.", and one version of him is called "Geheris Halason". Also, when Garrett's given a synthetic version of the GH compound, he 'feels the Universe', which resembles Captain Marvel's cosmic awareness.

Now, Skye doesn't seem to suffer the side effects from the GH compound that other people do, and she seems to have originally been found in association with literal monsters. The Inhumans, in the comics, were created by the Kree, which might explain compatibility with a chemical derived from them, and some of them have bizarre physical forms.

This could, of course, be utterly wrong. And I was wrong about the identity of the Clairvoyant, so my track record's not great.

#653 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 03:17 PM:

Liveblogging (sort of), because I am so full of squee I can't just watch by myself. :->

* WOW Garrett is an abusive piece of sociopathy ... of the model that everything in Ward's upbringing would have told him was a Real Manly Man Who Shoots Straight And Tells It Like It Is. Yuck.

* Backflips look cooler, but wouldn't running have been faster? Oh well.

* Large file transfer. SNERK!

* At least Buddy loves him ...

* Also, Cybertek and Hydra are holding the stupid ball this ep so as not to find Our Heroes. Oh well.

* MAY IS STILL THE BEST.

* Wooooow, that's a lot of manmade objects for Ward to get in six months ... I have my suspicions about whether he met anyone in those cabins, but that's just my nasty fanfic-and-roleplaying-influenced mind speaking.

* I wonder where they got the jet? From Stark/Hill?

* I'm starting to suspect Garrett's going to shoot Buddy in front of Ward ...

* Nice try at macho posturing from Fitz. :-> And Chekhov's Joy Buzzer!

* Oh god oh god oh god Garrett you ASSHOLE that is SO MUCH WORSE than just shooting the dog in front of him ...

* Coulson is always mega-adorkable. AdorkaBadass 4Eva.

* Hey, at least they didn't just have the Havana bunker rigged to blow remotely. It's harder to argue with/fight a really big charge of C4 than a Centipede soldier holding that Asgardian staff-weapon ...

#654 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:08 PM:

Elliott, see why I really want to watch Garrett die slowly and painfully? They're not going there, though. He's going to become a super-powerful something-or-other and then explode or something.

Yawn.

I still have hope that Skye will get to kill Ward. But they appear to be setting him up for a redemption path, which is patently absurd. He's been a traitor since he joined SHIELD, and is, as Skye pointed out, a serial killer. And yeah, Garrett's treatment of him in the flashback was cruel—the sort of cruelty that makes people into psychopaths, which Ward really qualifies as IMO.

The fact that he keeps trying to EXPLAIN to Skye is the creepiest part of all. Like anything he could say, any explanation he could give, could possibly make it OK.

This isn't Buffy. It's not like he's been robbed of his soul and putting it back will make him someone you can, if not trust, at least work with. No. He can't be redeemed, only defeated. And if they redeem him I think I'll probably give up on this show.

#655 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Whenever someone mentions the Inhumans, I am reminded of Marvel's one-page story the premise of which was "What if the Inhumans had been a rock group, with Black Bolt as the Lead Singer?".

#656 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:27 PM:

Ward is seriously psychologically damaged. If he isn't killed here, then being locked up in a seriously guarded institute would seem to be the only option.
A free roaming Ward at the end would seem to be out of the question.

#657 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:29 PM:

Like anything he could say, any explanation he could give, could possibly make it OK.

Well, short of getting Hand and Koenig to bring in Skye's birthday cake, and yelling "SURPRISE!"

#658 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 04:36 PM:

James 657: Yeah, or if Skye falls out of bed and wakes up, then turns to Ward and says "Oh, honey, I just had the most awful nightmare!"

But I was speaking of options that don't involve hatemail and shoes through the TV screen.

#659 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 05:16 PM:

Xopher @ 658... And Agent Coulson has been replaced by Bob Newhart?

#660 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 09:04 PM:

"Well, short of getting Hand and Koenig to bring in Skye's birthday cake..."

Somehow I read that as "...to jump out of Skye's birthday cake..." It would be telegenic, anyhow.

Eh. Ward will redeem himself by sacrificing his life. That's how this ends. Everyone can forgive him after he's safely dead and it doesn't matter any more.

(I am predicting this because it's the cheap way out for the scriptwriters. Easy money.)

(Then Ward's body will fall into a bucket of alien snot and he will be ambiguously preserved for a plot thread next season, if there is one.)

#661 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2014, 11:44 PM:

I'm still hoping they'll find a way to kill Ward but keep Brett Dalton. I must say that a bucket of alien snot was not one of the ideas I came up with.

#662 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2014, 02:19 PM:

Anybody want to start a pool on what episode Ward's "Good Twin" will turn up next season? (Assuming AoS is renewed.)

#663 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2014, 05:24 PM:

Not only has AoS been renewed, but "Agent Carter" has been ordered straight to series. I'm pretty happy about that first; I'm seriously stoked about the second.

#664 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 09:18 PM:

Huh.

Was that a circuit board?

#665 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 09:41 PM:

Apparently a design that can't be committed to paper.

Favorite line: "I know what it does." (There were lots to choose from, though.)

Ward not redeemed, but they're keeping that possibility hanging over us for the future.

#666 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 10:50 PM:

I was wondering what was up with the hand we saw in the scene near the end with Flowers. My TV is old, and small, and can’t quite show as much detail as modern shows seems to require. From the close-up, it’s clear I was supposed to be seeing something, but I can’t tell what.

#667 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 11:18 PM:

I thought it was a bang-up season finale. I loved it. And Jackson's appearance as Fury was just icing on the cake.

#668 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2014, 11:35 PM:

@666 Avram
I was wondering what was up with the hand we saw in the scene near the end with Flowers. My TV is old, and small, and can’t quite show as much detail as modern shows seems to require. From the close-up, it’s clear I was supposed to be seeing something, but I can’t tell what.

It seemed to be dripping blood.

#669 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 04:50 PM:

Fitz had better be okay.

#670 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 07:34 PM:

Ok, I called that wrong. Could still happen next season, but now that the time pressure is off it seems like they'd go for the full redemption-and-join-the-team storyline. (Which I do not want. But hey, I could be wrong in several more ways.)

I considered a mighty oath to delay watching more SHIELD until season 2 is complete. But they've raised my expectations enough that I'll watch it straight. Also the Peggy Carter show.

#671 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 10:57 PM:

Is the actor who plays Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) having some kind of contract dispute? Or does he have some other project scheduled opposite filming for next season? I did a bit of googling, and checked IMDB, but couldn’t find anything.

#672 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2014, 11:02 PM:

Cheryl at #664 - some friends of mine speculate that he was writing something in Kree.

#673 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 12:19 AM:

Am I the only person who expected Fitz and Simmon to see the Submariner swim by?

#674 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 02:26 AM:

Pretty sure the Submariner is packaged into the Fantastic Four license, currently held by 20th Century Fox and therefore not a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

#675 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 11:53 AM:

Avram@674: As of a few months ago Namor was still with Universal (not Fox, so not part of the Fantastic Four package).

This list of who-owns-who is a bit out of date (though periodically updated), but I've found it a handy reference. (If anyone has a better one, though, I'd happily take it.)

#676 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 01:23 PM:

I have to say, I loved this particular exchange:

Coulson: "It was supposed to be used for a fallen Avenger!"
Fury: "It was."

*cue look of crogglement on Coulson's face*

#677 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 01:48 PM:

I wonder if Fitz might have an encounter with some Jusus Juice next season.

#678 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 02:04 PM:

I watched two season finales yesterday: SHIELD and Person of Interest.

The latter REALLY left things in a grim spot. Not hopeless, but pretty much.

#679 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 02:09 PM:

Avram... Most likely yes.

#680 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 03:19 PM:

May missed an opportunity there. She had a nailgun in her hand and Ward's head right in front of her. But I think Coulson made it even better, so maybe she knew that.

I knew Garrett wasn't dead. That bit was a wonderfully Whedonic touch. Reminiscent of Spike making his revenge speech right before he gets tagged out by the Initiative.

Don't expect IMDB to reveal anything. Used to be able to find things out that way, but the show bosses got canny about it, and now they put castings in and leave them out depending on what they want you to know. I can't remember the details, but I seem to remember at one point seeing a character listed as being in 7 episodes after episode 7, because we were supposed to think he or she was dead. Then they brought them back and updated IMDB. So they don't just leave stuff out; they LIE.

I'm actually far from unsympathetic on that part.

All in all I found this season finale fairly satisfying, especially with Deathlok turning as soon as he could. I guess he's a superhero now. Should be fun.

I was disappointed that we didn't learn more about Skye's parentage though. Guess I'll have to watch in the fall.

#681 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 07:40 PM:

Xopher at #654:

see why I really want to watch Garrett die slowly and painfully? .... He's going to become a super-powerful something-or-other and then explode or something.

Way to call it, pretty much exactly!

#682 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2014, 11:11 PM:

*bows modestly*

#683 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 11:59 AM:

I enjoyed that.

The thing that's nagging at me now is about Garrett and Ward: Garrett kept telling Ward things like "You don't owe anything to anybody: you achieved this by yourself" and "You should reach out and take what you want", and Ward believes he owes Garrett everything and doesn't want anything except what Garrett tells him to. I guess this is one of those broken-parenting situations where the words are just the thin ice over a completely different message, but I don't, happily, have enough experience with people like Garrett to be confident of my interpretation. Anybody?

#684 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 12:13 PM:

*nudges server*

Let's see, what else?

It didn't actually occur to me that what happened to Fitz might be a contract-dispute situation, because there seemed to me to be sufficient dramatic wossname in the situation by itself. Season finales are a good time to have a regular character's life hanging by a thread, and there's a lot of drama to be wrung out of the inseparable FitzSimmons being separated.

The "fallen Avenger" exchange was one of my favourite moments in the episode. (Quite a lot of the top ten involves Coulson and Fury interacting, come to think of it.)

#685 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 12:37 PM:

Paul A. (684): In my soap-opera-watching days, I used to categorize character deaths as either contract disputes or narrative necessity*. The come-from-nowhere deaths were, of course, the former. (This was without any behind-the-scenes knowledge, just guessing.)

*not the actual term I used, but I no longer remember what that was

#686 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 01:42 PM:

I suppose what I'm saying is that this one didn't seem to me to be coming from nowhere.

On a tangent, because this is one of those things I like to dust off and grouse about occasionally, one of my (at the time) favourite TV shows once did an end-of-season cliffhanger in which pretty much the entire regular cast was trapped in a building when the self-destruct mechanism went off. Massive fireball, fade out on shot of ruined hallway, Who Will Survive? And the answer was: everybody. Their contract negotiations went well, I guess.

#687 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 05:17 PM:

Most of the time I've seen contract disputes, it's been after a series has been on for a while (while noting exceptions like NYPD Blue and David Caruso).

Landing a spot in a series can lead to massive bucks if it's a hit, but that's usually several seasons down the road.

Clark Gregg is making $75,000 per episode. I can't find a link for the other players' salaries, but I'd think they would be at least $10,000 per episode. Anyone know the SAG minimums?

#688 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 06:48 PM:

@687 Steve C.

Clark Gregg is making $75,000 per episode. I can't find a link for the other players' salaries, but I'd think they would be at least $10,000 per episode. Anyone know the SAG minimums?

If I'm reading this correctly, it's... $7,823? "Major role" for a 1 Hour program, no?

#689 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2014, 07:45 PM:

Cheryl, that sounds about right. My guess is they would be making more than scale.

#690 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2014, 11:24 PM:

Have seen. No substantive reactions. Too full of YAY. Especially anything Coulson said to anyone. Also Fury.

No, hang on, my favorite bit has got to be the one where Coulson sees Fury the first time and says something like, "Thought you were dead. And about that, we have to have a long conversation. It might get loud." And then later seeing the tag end of that conversation. :->

Good to see writers on the show who can do at least as good and in-character a Coulson as I've read in fanfics ...

#691 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 08:27 AM:

Elliott Mason @690, just saw it myself. (Yay, Tivo.)

I think my favoritist (yes, that's the word I want to use; deal with it) moment was when Garrett was all fired up making his Triumphant-Villain-Returns speech (my husband and I rolled our eyes; I think one of us went so far as to say, "well, they ALWAYS save the villain to make a sequel...") ...and Coulson disintegrates him mid-gloat. Without breaking stride, or even bothering to tell anyone. "Oh, yes, I *thought* that this was in here..."

My husband noted that it was worth watching the entire season just for that moment.

#692 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 10:39 AM:

The Coulson bits were SO VERY COULSON. And I love very-Coulson bits. It's one of my favorite things to discover about a fanfic writer, that they know how to write that.

#693 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 01:03 PM:

I rented _Iron Man 2_ last night -- I missed it when it was first out.

Odd seeing Coulson used, essentially, as a filler prop and a teaser for _Thor_.

#694 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2014, 10:25 PM:

There are a lot of fanfics that explore the nature of Phil's "hacking" of JARVIS to get to Tony ... and his later reactions and relationship to JARVIS after he knows the computer is sentient (and that therefore he may have unwittingly performed a violation or violence against the AI).

#695 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 07:57 PM:

Okay, I've finally seen the season finale, and I'm kind of annoyed that nobody has pointed out the real gaping scientific flaws in the Fitz/Simmons scenario.

The capsule they were in is only 90 feet down, according to what they said. It's not pressurized (where would the air have come from to pressurize it to their level? The capsule's not 90% full of water...) -- so there's no chance that they'd build up any nitrogen in their blood stream, hence no problem with the bends. Let's assume they can travel 5 feet per second swimming upwards -- and that's an incredibly slow speed. That's 18 seconds to reach the surface. No need for that "burst of pressurized air. So let's assume it's 900 feet, and they can manage 20 feet per second on average -- that's still only 45 seconds, which can feel like a long time but I've managed to hold my breath that long without special training.

And Fitz was without oxygen for "a long time" when Fury was right there to pull him and Simmons out of the water in a evac helicopter? They didn't have any oxygen in the helicopter? Brain damage doesn't set in until several minutes after oxygen stops being provided to the brain -- it did not take them several minutes to get to the surface (see above) and there was still a fair amount of oxygen in their bloodstreams which would have been circulating. Even if we assume that his heart was stopped by the explosion (A Really Unlikely Scenario!), there wasn't enough time to cause the damage they're talking about.

This was clearly written by someone with no diving experience at all, and no actual knowledge of how the bend works. It's Wrong with a capital W, even in a Marvel Universe.

#696 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2014, 10:16 PM:

"It's Wrong with a capital W..."

Sure. Comic books.

"...even in a Marvel Universe."

Ah. No, I can't follow you down that thorny qualifier.

Saying that high-pressure diving works the same in the Marvel universe is like saying that GPS works the same or encryption works the same or the DC police force works the same or hemoglobin works the same or gamma radiation works the same...

#697 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 02:18 AM:

The point is -- it wasn't high-pressure diving. They even comment that the water's going to come smashing in on them, which it wouldn't if they were under serious pressure approximately equaling the water pressure outside.

It's the writers being sloppy, and there are easy ways to have managed to create the same problem that don't require that kind of stupidity -- for example, Fitz getting hit on the head by the window blowing in causing blunt force trauma, because he had to stand close enough to the window to get the explosive to go off.

#698 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 04:05 AM:

I gotta say that I'm with Tom here. There are two kinds of impossibility in an SF or fantasy narrative: the premise, and the blunder.

The premise is something that the writer knows is wrong, but handwaves for the sake of the story: Stan Lee knew quite well that gamma rays wouldn't turn people into super-strong monsters, or that toxic waste wouldn't give them super-senses; but it made a good story and we go along with it for the story's sake. The blunder, by contrast, is the error that creeps in through simple ignorance.

They are generally not at all difficult to tell apart. There are established ways of signalling "this is a premise", and in the vicinity of a blunder those signals tend to be conspicuous by their absence.

The writers of my stories can have as many premises as they want, but I strongly prefer them to avoid blunders. I didn't know enough about deep-sea diving to recognize this one, but now that Tom points it out, I agree: it was a blunder. It being a comic-book universe doesn't make that any better.

(Really, I'm surprised that we have to have this discussion in a context of SF fandom. When Larry Niven had Louis Wu travel east at the start of Ringworld's first edition, did fans say "Oh, it's just science fiction, anything can happen"? No more should we say "oh, it's just a comic book, anything can happen.")

#699 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 08:51 AM:

No need for that "burst of pressurized air."

I think that the premise on that one was that they'd get their breath knocked out by the water coming in, and would need to "recharge" to make the swim. Thus, Fitz was starting from a significantly poorer position than "has just taken a big lungful". The solution there, I think, would have been to press themselves to the wall next to the window so as not to be right in the path of the first rush.

Also they should have both hyperventilated before they hit the button, which Simmons was kind of doing because she was crying but Fitz was not, which wasn't clever of him.

#700 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 11:13 AM:

Yes! Lazy writers! Big unforced blunder to make a story work! What about this surprises you?

(This is the "{How dare you be shocked / How dare you be unsurprised} that Republicans support {whatever}" argument, shifted to the entertainment sphere.)

I concede that my list was biased towards character premises (the Hulk and gamma rays) rather than episode premises ("location-based encryption"), but that's because my knowledge of comics (and Marvel in particular) is shallow. I only know the most famous examples plus what's made it to TV/movies. But come on. I watch a fair amount of TV weekly, and I swallow lazy mistakes this big weekly. I don't happen to care about diving, although I could tell that that scene was full of wrong. I care more about encryption and Internet privacy; I don't need to cite a list of blunders in that sphere.

On "Orphan Black", the big reveal at the end of season one was that gur pybarf jrer frpergyl cngragrq. You don't have to be a lawyer to realize that achieves self-contradiction in two words flat. I laughed a lot. But it's still a great show.

(To be fair, in mid-season-2 the writers put in some dialogue whose import was "That was stupid and we will handwave vigorously for thirty seconds to cover our asses." Which is all I hope for in TV writing.)

#701 ::: James Quixotic ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 12:19 PM:

Ward's history was pretty messed up. Bully-by-proxy as a child, arson and attempted murder as a teen, then subsequently raised with equal parts neglect/praise/abuse by a sociopath. That's straight from the dysfunctional family playbook.

I'm not sure if the show creators are trying to explain or excuse his behavior. After all, we haven't seen that level of presented back story for any of the other characters. That they left him alive is telling. I expect we'll be seeing him next season, possibly as a reoccurring nemesis.

"How did you get out of prison?"
"Turns out I have a skill set that the government finds useful."

#702 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 12:32 PM:

That explains a lot, Andrew: "I watch a fair amount of TV weekly, and I swallow lazy mistakes this big weekly."

I watch very little TV. And I watch a lot of Joss Whedon TV -- and he's been very good about not making this sort of stupid blunder. Which implies that he's a lot less involved with this show than I'd wish. This kind of stupid blunder is part of why I don't watch TV. So yeah, I'm going to complain about it, because I haven't lowered my standards to a level that will allow me to accept it without complaining.

You make a different choice.

#703 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 12:41 PM:

My old McGuyver rule was this: the first dumb science mistake is free. I've been trying to find an equivalent for "Agents of SHIELD" and I just don't know what it is. I mean, we've got Asgardians on invisible helicariers as a premise, but we have to have SOME standards.

I definitely give stupid a free pass if it has a history [the pause-button-for-dying box is a premise now] but ... there is still "too stupid".

#704 ::: James Quixotic ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 01:43 PM:

It's a Super-Science universe, so you can violate the laws of physics with Science! In this case (FitzSimmons underwater) they don't have that excuse.

#705 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 05:50 PM:

James Quixotic: Yes, that's the boiled-down version of me@698. No problem with Science! (or heck, even Magic!) but the excuse needs to be there.

#706 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2014, 07:09 PM:

Tom Whitmore@702

This is not actually a Joss Whedon show. The people in charge are Jed Whedon (Joss's brother) and Maurissa Tancharoen.

Joss does have an "executive producer" credit and may have had some input but Jed and Maurissa are the showrunners.

#707 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2014, 12:17 AM:

Michael I @706: I do know that, but I keep hoping that intelligent plotting actually will run in the family. And much of this show has been intelligent in a good comics sense, and a nice update of the original, which I was buying off the newsstand as they came out - recently found my X-MEN #1, which now lacks both the cover and the outside 4-page spread (and so is not worth much at all). But probably still worth more than the 12c I spent for it....

#708 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 03:41 PM:

Following up on my comment #675: here's a graphical guide to Marvel character movie rights.

#709 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2014, 04:38 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @700: On "Orphan Black", the big reveal at the end of season one was that gur pybarf jrer frpergyl cngragrq. You don't have to be a lawyer to realize that achieves self-contradiction in two words flat.

Was it an extrapolation from national security letters and secret executive-branch “reinterpretations” of law and similar intelligence community shenanigans?

#710 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2014, 08:17 PM:

I haven't seen the first ep of the new season, but I was wondering whether those who have want to revive this thread (or start a new one). Any thoughts? First ep was broadcast yesterday, and will be available free next week.

#711 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2014, 10:31 PM:

I have seen the first ep, and this season looks more promising than last season. Our Heroes have both a relatively obvious goal and a couple of obvious adversaries (some of whom qualify as enemies, others as the proverbial enemy of my enemy), while leaving room for both monster of the week episodes and season-arc episodes.

Also, Lucy Lawless.

On a more serious note, I think season 1 was hampered by a requirement to tie into the movies on Marvel's release schedule, rather than allowing the season's overarching plot to develop at its natural pace.

Since the next movie on the schedule is Avengers 2, I hope this season will be able to avoid that mess. I don't mind references and in-jokes -- I do object to tightly coupling what should be distinct entities.

#712 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2014, 10:44 PM:

I like the ep. The Fitz and Simmons situation brought a mistiness to my eyes.

#713 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2014, 11:34 PM:

Singing Wren @ 711... Yes. Once "winter soldier" was out of the way, the show really took off.

#714 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2014, 09:56 AM:

Reactions, stream of consciousness:

Peggy!! Also, the Dum Dum Dugan/Morita dialogue was perfect. If the rest of the ep is half as satisfying I shall be well pleased.

I like the "an 084?" / "THE 084" world building detail very much.

Fitz/Simmons is more interesting than it originally appeared.

I thought the value added target was going to be springing some captive SHIELD personnel from the Toybox, not a Quinjet. Oh well.

And is it just me, or does Dr Whitehall look a bunch younger than he ought to?

#715 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2014, 11:01 AM:

Ep 2, Heavy is the Head, live reactions:

"That doesn't sound covert." Hee hee.
The thing with RAINA at the end definitely intrigues me.

#716 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2014, 04:27 PM:

Alas for me. The dreaded Internal Server Error screen.

#717 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2014, 04:30 PM:

That having failed, I repost:

NB: I'm not ROT-13ing because this is a spoiler thread. If you haven't watched Shadows and Heavy Is The Head (that is, the first two eps of season 2), skip this comment.

All I've got to say is, if that thing likes Raina, it's a bad thing and SHIELD should be looking for a way to destroy it, not use it or even store it. The show has its gaudy "With this I shall conquer the world bwah hah hah" villains, but she's the most realistically evil: she cares for nothing but her own gain. All too familiar in today's world.

I'm hoping Hydra gets really mad at her and then captures her, because I don't want the good guys to do to her what I'd like to see done. No, I'm really NOT a good person, not when it comes to fictional villains.

Ward was nauseating. He's still trying to charm Skye, or at least wheedle her into treating him better than he deserves.

They're going to figure out some way to use him, because Brett Dalton is in four of the first five episodes (he wasn't in Heavy Is The Head). This is good, because I like Brett Dalton (and I especially like looking at Brett Dalton, though they sure have uglied him up as of the first episode), and bad, because I think Ward deserves to never again see the light of day.

Pretty sure he'll either escape or they'll rehabilitate him; if the latter, I have a sinking feeling that the restoration of trust will be something implausible ("oh, he has a soul now") and amounting to writerly fiat. But perhaps they'll use Brett Dalton the way they're currently using Elizabeth Henstridge.

#718 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 02:35 AM:

I am so glad someone is talking to Fitz like he's still human. I definitely understand awkwardness around someone who used to be very eloquent and is now not (I'm not a diagnostician, but I'd say aphasia is a thing here), but ignoring him and treating him like glass isn't going to make it any less awkward.

#719 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 04:44 PM:

I'm not a diagnostician either, but I've had aphasia and observed it in others, and I think you're right, Em. There are many kinds of aphasia, of course, and he has the kind where you lose certain words, as opposed to the kind where you can't communicate at all.

#720 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 07:53 PM:

I used to tutor a little boy (oh man, I just did the math, and he's eligible to drink and vote now, I'm so old :p) with aphasia who was in my mother's kindergarten class. He was almost mute; when he did speak orally, it was in very short, almost inaudible sentences.

Except in a swimming pool, where he yelled. Context matters!

I hope Fitz finds his swimming pool. As frustrated as my student often got, I wonder if the frustration would be even worse if one hadn't always had communication difficulties and hadn't spent one's lifetime developing ways around it. (My student was very good at making himself understood at the same level as other six-year-olds.)

#721 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 08:25 PM:

And Brett Dalton's IMDB entry has been updated. He's now listed as being in only one more episode.

#722 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 08:40 PM:

And Brett Dalton's IMDB entry has been updated. He's now listed as being in only one more episode.

#723 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2014, 10:45 PM:

What? I have no idea how that happened.

#724 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2014, 03:44 PM:

Huh, one more episode? Maybe we should start a betting pool on which team member he sacrifices himself for -- I'm guessing Skye.

Personally, I'd have put him in front of a firing squad for attempting to murder Fitz-Simmons.

#725 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2014, 04:35 PM:

And he attempted to murder FitzSimmons in exactly the same half-assed way he did a lot of other things. Instead of just shooting them, he dumped them so that he could say he was hoping they'd be rescued. Ward is such a scummy jerk, and doesn't even have the courage of his convictions.

#726 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Well, one more episode out of the four yet-to-be-broadcast episodes on IMDB. They don't put up everything they know about, because they know people like me go to IMDB and try to figure out who's going to get killed.

In fact, sometimes they put outright lies in IMDB, leaving someone out of an ep they're in because there's a "death" and they want you to think it's real...then the character turns up. So I wouldn't rely on this too heavily.

And a firing squad's too good for Ward.

#727 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2014, 06:21 PM:

The most interesting thing about Ward is S2E1 is that we don't know what he wants.

Oh, obviously he wants to make a connection with Skye in any way he can, but that's not a goal.

Ward at the end of season 1 was confident and focussed. At the beginning of S2 he's broken, or is playing broken. The former option has way more story potential.

My theory is that they're setting up a Sergeant Bothari plotline. Ward fell apart when Garrett died, because nobody's holding his leash. He wants Skye as a replacement. And the fun part is, if he gets what he wants, he will be a *valuable* and *utterly reliable* tool in Coulson's toolbox.

#728 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2014, 07:15 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @727:

So, Skye as Cordelia? Intriguing. Ward has been far more interesting as a bad guy, and a Sergeant Bothari plotline could keep those aspects of his personality visible. And it would be a great improvement over the "Saved by Twu Wuv" plotline I've been fearing since he weaseled his way back onto the team.

#729 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2014, 01:08 AM:

Well, I had a post disappear, with no error message or anything. It was more or less to the effect of:

Andrew, I hope you're right.

Wren, do you think he's weaseled his way back onto the team? He appeared to be in max-sec lockup in 2.1.

#730 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2014, 04:15 PM:

Well, I had a post disappear, with no error message or anything. It was more or less to the effect of:

Andrew, I hope you're right.

Wren, do you think he's weaseled his way back onto the team? He appeared to be in max-sec lockup in 2.1.

#731 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Aargh. Goddam spotty internet service.

#732 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2014, 07:16 PM:

Xopher @ 729/730:

Aargh! I knew my brain wasn't working quite right when I wrote that comment.

No, I don't think Ward's back on the team. Yet. <Ominous music> I think I meant to say back on the show, but I don't recall anymore.

I do think he's a weasel.

I am worried he'll be written back on the team with insufficient atonement*, or worse yet, the aforementioned "saved by Twu Wuv" plot. A Sergeant Bothari plot sidesteps the need for atonement by ensuring his loyalty in a completely different manner.

*I don't think there is sufficient atonement, not on a show with multiple characters who've been brought back from the dead. Dying to save someone(s) loses some of its nobility.

#733 ::: Serge Broom sees SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 08:28 AM:

Does Hydra really have someone called Bakshi, or did I hear wrong?

#734 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 08:37 AM:

No, I don't see spam. Not sure how this happened.

#735 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 08:41 AM:

Yes, the character's name was Bakshi.

#736 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 08:48 AM:

I wonder if his first name is Ralph?

#737 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 04:09 PM:

Probably. Bakshi should be grateful to be Tuckerized into the Whedon/Marverse!

I feel so sorry for poor Gill. He wasn't a hero, but he just wanted to be left alone. Hydra programmed his brain so he had to be killed.

That "programming people's brains" thing? That's one of my markers for irredeemable* evil. (And yes, that made Dollhouse's Topher into my least favorite character on that show. And he was doing it to ambiguous sort-of volunteers, and with technology; Hydra does it via torture of any SHIELD agent or Gifted person they can capture.)

Not that Hydra wasn't quite evil enough to make me hope they're all exterminated. I'm not sure why they're piling on the evil here...or maybe they aren't, and they're just trying to establish that once Hydra gets someone, a) you can never trust them again and b) acting in Hydra's interest isn't necessarily their fault.

It makes it much less palatable to exterminate them all, come to think. And it will probably make Our Heroes less cavalier† about shooting Hydra agents. That's a good thing for drama.

*In the sense that the answer is to neutralize the people who do it by any means necessary, up to and including lethal force. When someone's done that, you don't let them back into your team, or polite society. Steps must be taken to ensure they can't do it again, even if those steps mean they can't do ANYTHING again.

†Not that they're cavalier now. May's comment this episode that it never gets easier to cross someone off made a good point. It might make them hesitate, which is fine except when they hesitate in combat and get someone else killed. THAT guilt will be good for multiple SEASONS of angst if they do it right.

#738 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2014, 06:44 PM:

Xopher @ 737... Bakshi should be grateful to be Tuckerized

I wonder if his Hydra counterpart will ever say "What's Plan B?"

#739 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2014, 09:44 PM:

Ms. Simmons? She had two Ph.D's at the age of 17 and they call her "Ms."? How about a little professional respect for the woman, Hydra?

Rant aside, it appears Hydra has multiple ways to get people to do what it wants. You've got your True Believers, who actually agree with Hydra. You've got people with personal loyalty to someone in Hydra (like Ward). You've got coercion, possibly aided by comic-book technology (like Mike Petersen). We've got no evidence of it, but I'm sure Hydra's not above blackmail. You've got people in it for the money, whether that's a paycheck, a research grant, or return on an investment. And the particularly nasty one, brainwashing. But like Xopher said, it sets up some nice dramatic situations.

Poor Donnie Gill. But I don't think he's dead. This show is worse than X-Files about making me doubt someone's death*. I don't think I'll believe a character is dead until I see them burn the body and sow the ashes with salt. Possibly at a crossroads at midnight.

*Mulder died how many times?

#740 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2014, 11:49 PM:

And the show is premised on Coulson coming back from the dead. That's where it starts. Means death isn't as certain as taxes in that world.

#741 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2014, 08:43 AM:

Singing Wren@739, there are comics characters who've come back from more definitive deaths than that.

#742 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2014, 09:24 AM:

James Moar @ 741... The last time Jean Grey died in the comic-books, her last words to her love Cyclops were that all she'd ever done for him was to die on him.

#743 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2014, 09:42 AM:

"He's only mostly dead."

#744 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2014, 11:49 PM:

Every episode needs to be that episode. Agent May is the best and I want to be her when I grow up.

#745 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2014, 11:50 PM:

Every episode needs to be that episode. Agent May is the best and I want to be her when I grow up. And also I want to be a disco ball for Hallowe'en.

#746 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2014, 12:05 AM:

Agent May was the best. (When Coulson shot someone later, I wondered why he hadn't shot the false May. Implausible, but I'm not going to complain, since it gave us that great Wen-Wen fight scene!)

Late in the ep, it's bad guys vs. bad guys. That's usually good, but in this case I didn't know who to root for. It was nice to see Raina getting a taste of her own medicine (putting people in impossible binds where there's no non-disastrous choice), but at this point I hate Hydra even more than I hate Raina. I hope they kill her, but I also hope she kills them!

I hate Hydra, but I also fear them. Does that mean I have Hydraphobia?

#747 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2014, 06:36 AM:

Wild speculation (having only just seen the episode from the 15th, because in Australia we have to wait to get nice things): Next episode is going to be about Raina asking SHIELD to help her with her HYDRA problem.

Mind you, my Nostradamus cred isn't too good; after Coulson shot HYDRA Dude, I thought this episode was going to end with him and May using the mask technology to put one over on HYDRA. (Although that was before it turned out the deadline was two minutes; even by this show's standards, figuring out how to work the mask machine in two minutes would have been pushing it.)

I figure maybe Coulson punched fake-May instead of shooting her because it gave her less warning; she might have noticed him reaching for a gun.

Speaking of fake-May, I notice they didn't show her face after real-May zapped her. I speculate that they're leaving the option open to do an episode later where it turns out zapping the mask froze it in place and she stuck as May permanently. It would fit the comic book logic of the series, and it would turn that crack about not having to be May any more into a bit of ironic foreshadowing.

But then, we already know my Nostradamus cred isn't too good.

#748 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2014, 11:33 AM:

Breaking news: Agent Coulson replaced by a double. Here's what he's really been up to: https://twitter.com/NASA_Orion/status/531832768754626560/photo/1

#749 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2014, 04:36 AM:

*watches The Things We Bury*

Well, now. Isn't this eeenteresting.

#750 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2014, 09:27 PM:

Scott Meyer's cartoon take on the show:

Basic Instructions

#751 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2015, 06:52 PM:

Agent Carter: Set in 1946. Not that different from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. More interesting costumes. Some nods to feminist concerns.

Disappointing to see that the good guys-- routinely, apparently-- conduct interrogations by beating suspects. In the very first episode. Oh, Hollywood.

#752 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2015, 08:26 PM:

I don’t know about “good guys”. The other agents (with maybe the exception of that one guy with the crutch) seem more like secondary antagonists, with Carter, Jarvis, and Stark as the good guys. I got the impression that the interrogation scene was deliberately staged to seem brutal and thuggish, to contrast with Carter’s approach.

#753 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2015, 03:32 PM:

In #752 Avram Grumer writes:

The other agents (with maybe the exception of that one guy with the crutch) seem more like secondary antagonists, with Carter, Jarvis, and Stark as the good guys.

The other agents work for the same (fictional) American intelligence agency as Agent Carter does. I'll grant you they're at odds in the plot at hand, but I nevertheless read a message "Our side tortures prisoners," which I am tired of seeing in (fictional) TV shows.*

I got the impression that the interrogation scene was deliberately staged to seem brutal and thuggish, to contrast with Carter’s approach.

I'd agree. But I'm complaining anyway.

*Could do with less of it in nonfictional TV shows, too, but that's scarcely the fault of the newspersons...

#754 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2015, 03:43 PM:

The only thing I can come up with is, "It was a less enlightened age."

#755 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2015, 03:45 PM:

Bill, our side does torture prisoners. I’d rather see that acknowledged and criticized than just ignored.

#756 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2015, 03:57 PM:

Time to start speculating on what happened in the underground city. I think part of it is that the "worthy" person's inner nature is brought to the surface. This would explain why Skye was externally unchanged and Raina turned into some spiky, squamous, rugose monstrosity.

I'm hoping Skye got some superpowers that will manifest slowly.

#757 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2015, 04:06 PM:

I think it's a little less simple than that, given that it's the Kree we're talking about. I expect that it's true that parts of their inner nature are brought forth -- and that Raina is much more of a warrior than Raina. The warrior aspect vs the mind aspect -- Skye, though she has warrior training, is much more of a mind person than a physical fighter. So she's better equipped to be an "ambassador to humans" or speaker for the city than Raina is, who makes a good enforcement arm.

Just a thought.

#758 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2015, 04:56 PM:

We already got some hints about what Skye’s powers are going to be, and we’ve been told what existing Marvel character she is. I’m not gonna spoil it for those who don’t already know and want to see it unfold on TV, but if you’re curious, I’ve given you enough information that you ought to be able to google for the rest.

#759 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2015, 05:10 PM:

Thank you for not spoiling it, Avram. I love being surprised by this kind of thing.

#760 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2015, 11:16 AM:

(not caught up yet)

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the first Agent Carter ep, and I had an irresistable urge to say, "Some things in here don't react well to bullets," in a Sean Connery accent.

#761 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2015, 01:00 PM:

I read a story where a Chicago PD member had beaten someone in custody, was called on it, and was ashamed of it. Which is about how I like to imagine it happened; it was a dirty-cop thing to do and it happened, but everyone knew it was indefensible.

I might be whitewashing the past, in that Once We Had Standards way, but I hope not.

In the Agent Carter context: I may be giving the show too much credit for ambiguity, but I see it as an organization that needs to be replaced. On the other hand, SHIELD was hardly without it's dark-grey moments.

#762 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2015, 01:02 PM:

One ohnosecond later: The story I read was fiction. I don't think it was the Howard Waldrop Keystone Kops story, but it might have been.

#763 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2015, 09:05 PM:

We finally saw an Agent Carter episode on the night of the broadcast. It was sort of a "lining up the pieces" episode, but I really liked the lab scene, which I mentally recast as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew explaining how "every time I've pushed this button I've gotten a horrible shock" while Beaker repeated set himself on fire in the background.

#764 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2015, 11:27 PM:

Dotless I... that was indeed hilarious.

#765 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2015, 11:57 PM:

I'm VERY curious about the blonde who took the bad guy's Gatling gun revolver away from the villain.

#766 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2015, 08:04 AM:

Steve C@765

It's such an incredible coincidence that a spy/assassin moved into Peggy's building so soon after Peggy moved in.

:-)

#767 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2015, 09:48 AM:

She has a rotten cover story, too. Ballerina, at her height? I think not.

#768 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2015, 12:43 PM:

Michael I@766: It's such an incredible coincidence that a spy/assassin moved into Peggy's building so soon after Peggy moved in.

I'll avoid maybe-spoilers out of the comics, but there are suggestive hints about that new tenant (in general terms, at least).

Actually, I'm wondering how many spy/assassins there are in that building. How much do we know about the other inmates?

Speaking more generally, we're really enjoying Agent Carter so far, even during what I characterized as a "moving the pieces" episode. The design is beautiful, the script is very nicely put together, I like the actors, I like how they're handling the setting and time period, and I really like how they've choreographed Carter's fighting: the way she uses objects in her environment just makes all kind of sense to me. I suspect I'm going to be very sorry when the miniseries ends.

#769 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2015, 01:18 PM:

Carrie S. @767:

Not as unbelievable as you think -- Maria Tallchief was 5 foot 9, and one of Balanchine's favorite dancers.

#770 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2015, 03:50 PM:

I like the lighting.

My fear for _Agent Carter_ would be that it would be a cartoon about sexism. The original "Agent Carter" short came off that way -- no criticism; it was, what, ten minutes long? But the TV show has done a great job of making everybody complicated.

#771 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2015, 02:00 AM:

As I hoped, Raina has become externally what she always was inside: a hideous monster. I hope she never gets her smugness back, and never has a happy moment again in her life.

Meanwhile, Simmons is on the slide into genocidal mania, which is NOT a happy development.

Seeing Hydra leaders assassinate each other was a joy, though.

As for Agent Carter, I loved every minute. Can't wait for Season Two.

#772 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2015, 11:14 AM:

Pretty sure Simmons is foreshadowing the Civil War plotline that we’ve already been told is coming in the movies.

#773 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2015, 01:42 PM:

That AoS episode smelled pungently of "Here's where the story needs to go, let's change our characters' motivations until they fit the storyline." I didn't recognize Simmons in those scenes, nor Skye really. (Fitz, okay, he'd make that silly move, but someone would call him on it.)

I was amused to see that teleportation still has the BAMF look and feel.

#774 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2015, 11:12 PM:

Andrew, I felt some of that, but I also thought Henstridge did a good job of making it plausible. If she doesn't chill out in a few eps, though, THAT would be out of character.

I'm making my fantasy plots in my head. Locking Raina in a room whose walls are indestructible mirrors for 100 years would begin to pay her debt to humanity, but it's unlikely to happen until the actress wants to leave the series.

#775 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 01:53 PM:

Any thoughts on where this has been going lately? I'm not sure that the two SHIELD's storyline has been working that great. On the other hand, Edward James Olmos is doing his usual good job.

However, I do like Skye's plotline, and the whole Shangri-La thing.

#776 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 02:24 PM:

Having two teams of good guys fight over a misunderstanding when they first meet is a basic Marvel plot. Expect lots of fast pointless fol-de-rol that keeps the characters from having time to talk to each oher.

As for the larger storyline, it's so busy stitching the Inhumans and the Kree to the main MCU continuity that I've lost track of whether it makes sense on its own. In the last couple of episodes I've felt like it's tipped over into that "hall of mirrors" thing you get when espionage plots have too many arbitrary changes of allegiance.

Edward James Olmos is always good.

===

Have I mentioned how much I hate the Civil War storyline? The 616 version is so stupid that similes will freeze solid and stop working after being exposed to it.

#777 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 04:19 PM:

Right now, I'm not too happy with the show. Frankly, someone with some sense should take Mack, Bobbi, and Old Stone Face and hang'em from the yardarm. I'm tired of the lack of loyalty shown by these people.

Can't something good happen for the team every once in awhile?

I really want MY team back -- and it's becoming obvious that the folks on that floating destroyer AREN'T my team.

#778 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:27 PM:

My wife misses Agent Carter. I do too.

#779 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 05:40 PM:

I'd rather have "Agent Carter" come back instead of that "SHIELD" spinoff currently in the works.

#780 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 06:13 PM:

Lori Coulson @777, “lack of loyalty” to whom?

The main cast invests their loyalty in a person— Coulson, whose status as leader comes from his being personally chosen by the previous director, Nick Fury.

But SHIELD is an institution, established by, and presumably receiving funding from, the World Security Council. (Most of the WSC was killed off in the second Captain America movie, but if the organization still exists, presumably the various member nations have replaced their slain representatives.) Gonzales invests his loyalty in that institution, not in a personal leader.

Gonzales’s approach is a healthier attitude for a soldier or law enforcement officer in a democracy. Investing loyalty in a personal leader, especially one existing above the law, is one of the key attributes of a fascist state.

#781 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 06:38 PM:

Avram, my ex-husband used to say that if I ran a day-care, it would be a Marine boot-camp...

The folks from the ship give off a vibe that troubles me...if I could figure out what is bothering me, I might be able to tolerate them.

#782 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 07:25 PM:

The image of a day-care boot camp is making me smile.

"Timmy, you didn't finish your milk and cookies! I want all of your friends to drop and give me twenty! Maybe that will reinforce proper nutrition!"

#783 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 07:52 PM:

Avram said what I was thinking.

The first season, the tension was SHIELD vs HYDRA (once _Winter Soldier_ came out). But it didn't dig into the theme that the movie started -- HYDRA was still defined by mustache-twirling villainy and SHIELD was defined by Coulson. Nothing really played into the "problem is us" angle.

In the second season, the tension turns out to be SHIELD vs SHIELD. That's potentially very interesting, because there are no villains. Everything Gonzales says is justified. Coulson and Gonzales are both legitimate leaders, except that Fury handed over a box to Coulson (and we don't know what the box is).

On the other hand the writers *still* aren't particularly digging into it. Gonzales says he's in favor of transparency, but in practice he runs secret ops just like Coulson does.

(One fan-interpretation is that Coulson is a crappy team leader and has been since the show started, and that the show's POV should not be taken as implying that Coulson is justified in anything.)

#784 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 07:58 PM:

Also, it's cheap to have Other SHIELD use a modified logo. Like Lord Vorkosigan said, the *defectors* can change their damn heraldry.

#785 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 08:13 PM:

It would be extremely interesting if the arc of the series made Coulson a flawed leader who must ultimately be contained or brought into the fold. However, I think that they will proceed to some plot element that makes Coulson a hero again.

Sometimes I feel contrary. What if Luke Skywalker was a terrorist?

#786 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 09:24 PM:

If I wrote fanfic, I’d be all over that alternative logo. Was it an already-existing art asset, or did they have to come up with something new? Did they hire outside graphic design contractors, or do they have in-house creative staff for that? Was it just the logo, or a full-fledged institutional identity redesign? And how about payment— just where is SHIELD getting its are the SHIELDs getting their funding?

#787 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2015, 10:24 PM:

Avram, they tried hiring an outside graphic designer, someone they'd used on other jobs, but all of his designs came out looking vaguely Soviet.

The newest hire in one of the more unglamorous departments, whose résumé, job title, and department name didn't have the words "art" or "graphics" anywhere in them, happened to be within earshot when the problem was discussed. She went home and came up with a design. She made it shield-shaped, because that struck her as more appropriate (she'd been a herald in the SCA). Then she rendered her design in Illustrator, which she hadn't had long and didn't really know how to use. This is why, in the earliest versions, the bottom point of the shield is a little wonky and misshapen.

The new hire brought her design in next morning, got it to print out almost correctly, and handed it off to the person who'd told her about the problem. That afternoon, that person plus that person's boss came into her office and said congratulations, you've designed the new S.H.I.E.L.D. logo.

(Note: this could be a story about the new S.H.I.E.L.D. logo, but it is the origin story of the Tor Fantasy logo.)

#788 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 12:07 AM:

When I watched the recent episode, my comment on Bobbi's remark that "they think we're traitors" was "well, that's because YOU'RE FREAKING TRAITORS."

I also think it's too bad that May didn't test her certainty that Gonzalez wouldn't give her a loaded gun by pointing it at his head and pulling the trigger.

Well, except that he's a much more subtly corrupting kind of villain than we've had before. He's the guy who says only things that sound perfectly reasonable, even highly moral, until you find yourself doing terrible things in the name of "the greater good," like betraying friends. I hope that Bobbi and Mack will realize eventually that Gonzalez is a deep-cover mole for Hydra, and that the others don't forgive them easily.

Edward James Olmos is perfect for this role. Most of us probably think of him from his role on BSG; he's someone we really want to trust. This is true of the characters in the show too, so he's perfect.

Don't think he's a villain? Coulson was "icers only" when he and Hunter were escaping, while the Counter-SHIELD guys were shooting at them with real bullets. One of those assholes shot at Skye with a real bullet, too; he got what he deserved.

Speaking of Skye, I'm liking her plot, in part because of the actors we're seeing there. Luke Mitchell always seems to play a person with special abilities who lives with others of the type in a secret location reachable only by teleport! Obvious casting, but I also like the character, who's very different in personality from the character he played on The Tomorrow People. I hope we see Dichen Lachman a lot, too.

Well, I like Skye's plot except for the part where Raina is alive. Well, I don't want her dead so much as in a room of mirrors, as I've said before. I think if they trust her an inch, Shangri-La is in its last days.

#789 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 09:08 PM:

Daredevil: see it at your earliest convenience. It's deft, intelligent, morally serious, well-paced, coherently integrated into the overall Marvel continuity on a moment-by-moment basis, and visually amazing.

#790 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:03 PM:

I've heard really good things about the Netflix Daredevil. I'll give it a look-see.

#791 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 10:37 PM:

SHIELD doctrine is that SHIELD agents don't have friends.

Coulson ignores this. Coulson has gone far out of his way to protect his friends and protegees, particularly Skye. That is to say: Coulson is an unreliable SHIELD agent. The whole first season was about demonstrating this, except that the show never dropped the (common) media convention that The Good Guys Are The Good Guys and therefore all their terrible decisions are okay really.

If the show ever has the guts to come to grips with this, it will go from "tolerable" to "the best comics show on television."

(Haven't seen Daredevil, as I do not have Netflix. I assume it will be distributed outside the Netflix ecosystem eventually -- maybe next year if they follow HBO's example.)

#792 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2015, 11:38 PM:

So, Andrew, you're saying Coulson breaks the rules? Pretty much like the lead in every cop show or mystery series ever?

Conflict with superiors is a basic trope of the genre. AoS is also SFF, but it has tropes from all the genres it belongs to.

#793 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 10:49 AM:

Steve C., you do have to ignore the fact that it takes place in a Hell's Kitchen of the mind, the older ungentrified version of the neighborhood that owes more to Will Eisner than to the High Line. But within that convention, the detail is extraordinary. This is setting as a character in its own right. You could write an essay on the bad electrical wiring alone.

I keep being struck by how often the composition and coloring reference comics. This is particularly true of the first episode, which kept flash-translating into panels in my head.

A longer-wavelength pattern I'm noticing, four episodes in, is how often the script takes extra time to humanize bad-guy adversaries. It doesn't excuse them; it just reminds you that there's more to their lives than the immediate incident.

The moment that impressed me most (so far) is at the end of an episode in which Matt Murdock can be said to have triumphed, or at least stopped a bad thing from happening. Afterward he goes to blow off steam in a local gym, and while he's punching a bag there's a series of quick cuts to all the related bad things happening at that moment that he isn't able to stop.

It's city all the way down. Everything is measured in feet and inches, and nothing is easy.

#794 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2015, 10:02 PM:

Seconding everything Teresa said about Daredevil, and adding that aside from looking like a filmed comic (much as Unbreakable did), I'm also fascinated, visually, with how unsmooth all the people are.

Everyone's face is stippled, textured, spotted. Pores are visible in amazing detail, almost lovingly lit to accentuate them. Not just the bad guys: everybody's lumpy. The hospital president/administrator had a wash of dark freckles all over her upper chest, and I can't remember the last time I saw that in a major production (without being makeupped away). Vondie Curtis-Hall's face is so craggily lumpy I almost suspect prosthetics to be in play.

Only a very few characters are smooth: Foggy seems to be one, as does Karen the secretary (relatively, at least) and the gallery-owner.

Also, WHOA NELLY very violent, and unflinching in filming it (without necessarily going all the way down the other trouser-leg and becoming pornified). I'm fairly squeamish, and there are definitely parts of fight scenes I have to watch from my peripheral vision until they quit Doing The Thing.

#795 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 08:46 AM:

Although JEEZYPEET having now seen all the way to the end of Ep4, Jvyfba Svfx (rot13'ed just in case) needs a trigger warning appended of "canon-appropriate violence for this character. If you haven't read the comics, HOLY CATS, VIOLENT."

#796 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 10:45 AM:

My wife and I have seen the first two episodes and we both liked it.

Teresa @ 793 - Not being that familiar with NYC, the Hell's Kitchen setting just translated to me as the "that sketchy part of a big city" area. The setting is perfect for the series, very gritty and feeling very real.

I haven't read any of the DD comics since the early 70s. What I do remember the most is the athleticism of Matt Murdock and how his "radar sense" seemed plausible to me.

I'm impressed with Elden Hansen's portrayal of Foggy. He's part of what makes this more of an ensemble show.

Definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of them.

#797 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 12:35 PM:

Re : Anyone know of a site that's looking at Madam Gao's dialogue and transcribing/translating what she says? I'm betting there's some amazing dramatic irony between what she says and what Fisk's #2 reports.

#798 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 12:36 PM:

(that should say Re:Daredevil.

#799 ::: Rail ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 01:03 PM:

Elliott Mason @797: There's a reddit thread taking requests.

#800 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 01:56 PM:

I'm impressed with the show's willingness to air untranslated non-English and not apologize for it even slightly in the show. That's rare, on TV, nowadays.

#801 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 04:12 PM:

Elliott Mason @800:

Starz Outlander does it in Gaelic...

#802 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 04:12 PM:

Elliott Mason @800:

Starz Outlander does it in Gaelic...

#803 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 04:15 PM:

Lori Coulson:

I keep expecting you to start posting as "Lori Coulson (no relation)" in this thread.

#804 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 04:18 PM:

I thought about it -- I posted on RDJ's Facebook page, and had people ask about that.

I claimed I was no relation, but they wouldn't believe me!

#805 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2015, 06:47 PM:

Lori Coulson @804, Well, of course, that's what you WOULD say....

#806 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 12:54 AM:

Lori, does your mom play the cello? Just asking...

I haven't started DD yet. I don't like graphic violence, so maybe I'll wait until I'm feeling strong.

About AoS (am I the only one still watching it?), tonight's episode answered a lot of long-standing questions about May, and by "long-standing" I mean they came up in S1E1.

So Raina's precognitive. That will make her more difficult to take down when they finally realize there's no other solution.

Different possibilities about Coulson, only one of which is that he really did everything they said, for a good reason. The Counter-SHIELD people could have made up "theta protocol" out of whole cloth, for one thing. They had lots of time to fake all the "evidence" May and Simmons found.

My bet is still that he did it for good reasons though.

#807 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 01:41 AM:

No, my Mom's an RN, and I think Phil is younger than I am!

Tonight's episode was interesting -- I've got a BAD feeling about that dinner party. Poor Skye.

You know they practically hit us over the head with Raina's gift. Not surprised she's turned out to be "the clairvoyant."

Go Fitz!

#808 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 08:21 AM:

Someone tells Raina she's not a monster. Me, to the TV: "Yes she is. But she was a monster before she had spines, too."

#809 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 10:37 PM:

What I want to know is where the funding is coming from. There's Our Heroes, who have a base and the bus and various missions to pay for. There's Coulson's Sooper Sekrit Project, said in the latest episode to have a budget equal to the main SHIELD budget. And there's the other SHIELD, who have an aircraft carrier to maintain, not to mention they've got to have someone backing them, based on the fact that no one seems interested in hunting down said aircraft carrier.

(I figure HYDRA grabbed the royalties from any patents SHIELD held and is funding their evil projects at least partially from that.)

#810 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2015, 11:49 PM:

Quietly, now: I'm going to leave this thread open tonight. If any part of the Hugo thrash takes it as an opportunity to migrate here, just sit back and wait for the bloodletting to come.

Good night --

#811 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 02:05 AM:

Carrie 808: Someone tells Raina she's not a monster. Me, to the TV: "Yes she is. But she was a monster before she had spines, too."

Exactly! Her inner nature has been made visible, that's all. Well, and she got a power.

#812 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 10:36 AM:

Xopher, I have to say that I dread thinking of what she's going to be able to do with precognition, once she twigs. It makes sense, in that her talents have always lain in predicting what people will do in response to pressure, but ugh.

#813 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 11:27 AM:

They hype is out for the next Avengers film. I am annoyed--the gender ratio appears to remain 5:1 male to female. That's worse than the 1960s start of the comic... and note how there are white America males, no white American females...

Question, can anyone ere think of an Idnaian subcontinent or Indian subcontinent ancestry Marvel comics characters?

Meanwhile, I find it reprehensible in the extreme, that in 2015 Marvel films are less diverse tan the comics were in the eraly 1970s.... The world demographics have been changing. Marvel movies's characters don;t reflect the makeup of the region I live in...

#814 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 11:46 AM:

Paula Lieberman @813: The current Ms Marvel is of Pakistani origin although she does live in the United States. Wikipedia lists a few others, but I don't know if they're remotely current or not. Ms Marvel is current and fairly popular. (And Awesome.)

#815 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2015, 03:07 PM:

cyllan@814: (And also one of the positive things about this year's Hugo nominee list.)

#816 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2015, 11:49 AM:

#84 cyllan

Thanks!

I stopped reading most comics years ago, some if it ws income crash, some of it was annoyance at the entrenched institutionalized misognyny/objectification/victimization of women. "tolerance exceeded" hit.

Another factor was the gritty noir downbeat stuff cyberpunk memes and "let no one stay in a stable happy mature relationship" stuff. The TV show Max Headroom had grit and downbeat stuff, but at lesat there was a sense of humor I could appreciate and be amused by in it and I found most of the characters sympathetic or at lest amusing. And even the CE who was apparently so pandering to ratings, had a core where there were moral lines for him which he would not cross over or stoop to the level below.

In movies, I liked Batman Begins and intensely disliked the sequel to it. I have not seen the conclusion of the set of three, because I was so offput by the second.

I was not an X-files fans. I saw te odd episode here and there,but...
When the two leads became a formal couple, crash went the show.

HOWEVER... Barabara Bain and Martin Landau were on-scren and offscreen a married couple in Space:1999 (hey, it was the best TV that was on AFRTS when I was up in Greenland... the competition included pilot and five episodes made on spec so bad shows they were donated for tax writeoffs to the US Government, and never aired on commercial TV ever)from before the start to after the end of te show. Castle is continuing along holding interst despite the characters becoming a formal couple and marrying--so it does not HAVE to be tht to maintain 'dramatic tension" one must have the leads NOTbond permanently and stay bonded...

#817 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2015, 11:09 PM:

Ward: We do not believe you. We do not believe that you're trying to reform, we do not believe you want to do "the right thing", we do not believe that you're capable of being a good person. We do not believe you.

Ugh.

#818 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2015, 11:41 PM:

So, the two newbies on Ultron came from Hydra's experiments...terrific.

Glad to see Skye has a handle on her powers now.

I was SO hoping that Simmons was going to off Ward.

#819 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2015, 08:20 PM:

Ward is boring. Whatever he says, nobody believes it. He can't be shown to want anything because it's always a lie. A character with no goals is boring.

Back in comment @727 I was guessing that Ward wanted a new Garrett. The show didn't go that way. He wanted to kill his family, but that's done. Now he doesn't want anything, as far as I can tell.

I can sort of believe that he wants back on Coulson's team, but not in any deep way. It was fun times for him, he'd do it again, but he'd bail again in a quarter-second if there was a reason. Bleah. Waste of a good character idea.

Searching back, I use the word "boring" a lot in this thread. Sorry! Now I will watch the new Flash episode, which is not boring.

#820 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2015, 08:40 PM:

My wife and I finished watching the Netflix Daredevil series and we were both quite impressed. Heroes and villains alike were shown to be ultimately human.

The acting all around was superb, and it was a real pleasure to see Vondie Curtis Hall again. His portrayal of Ben Urich was pitch-perfect. If I was a betting man, I'd say he's a strong candidate for a supporting Emmy.

#821 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2015, 09:40 PM:

Following up: Harrison Wells is an *interesting* character who's been lying since episode one. Because sometimes he says things that we know are true. (Sometimes he's talking to himself, Gideon, or someone who is in no position to spill his secret! A pragmatic approach to putting truth on his lips.)

Wells has always been a character with goals, even before we knew what they were.

Also, Tom Cavanagh just jbexrq gur uryy bhg bs gur becuna-oynpx gevpx -- ur cynlrq Ongrf cynlvat Uneevfba Jryyf, naq vg jnf whfg rabhtu bss-xvygre gung V gubhtug "uhu, gung'f abg dhvgr evtug" jvgubhg ernyvmvat jung jnf ernyyl tbvat ba.

N pbhcyr rcvfbqrf ntb, Pninantu cbegenlrq gur bevtvany (gehr) Jryyf naq vg ernyyl jnf n pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag punenpgre. (Juvyr Zngg Yrgfpure qvq n qnea tbbq wbo bs cbegenlvat gur Jryyf jr abj xabj naq xvaq bs ybir.)

#822 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2015, 10:39 PM:

So, unlike last week, I was pretty sure what was going on this week. To be fair, I was also in the middle of a fairly frustrating cold during last week's episode, so it could have been just me.

I don't blame Skye for wanting to go back to SHIELD - they treat her like an adult. Sometimes even a trustworthy adult. As opposed to her father, who still seems to want her to be about five, or her mother who is convinced she knows the right thing for everyone to do.

I do like what they've been doing with some parallel situations in the show. Particularly this week where first we had Ward go through every possible way to screw up an apology and attempt to dodge responsibility (and no one accepting his bad apology), then got Mac giving a much better apology to Hunter where he acknowledged what he did wrong, and offered to make it up. And Hunter was gracious enough in accepting the apology (if a bit demanding when conversation turned to what Mac owed him), as opposed to declaring "I should have shot you in the face" (even though it was true).

I'm also pretending Skye had a) lots more training time as a field agent with May than we've seen, and b) spent a lot more time learning to control her powers than we've seen. Because otherwise I don't buy that she was able to be that good in her fight scene (no matter how much I admire the choreographer for remembering guns do not have infinite bullets).

#823 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2015, 12:01 PM:

Training for anything can be a slog -- there's no way the TV show was going to give us chapter and verse of Skye's training, whether it was with May OR Skye's Goddess-of-Mercy wannabee mother.*

Since Skye's always been a fast learner, I'm not surprised that her control over her powers came quickly once she was no longer afraid of them. She's a hacker -- once she knows she can do something she rarely hesitates. I almost laughed when she used them to become an AED for Lincoln.

*Note: I do not like Skye's mother, and I'd trust her about as far as I could throw her.

#824 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2015, 08:09 AM:

It is ironic that the way the Inhumans actually got into trouble with regards to Raina was by NOT trusting her one of the few times she was actually being mostly honest.

Not that anyone who wasn't a mindreader would have trusted Raina over Skye's mother in that situation.

#825 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2015, 10:43 PM:

Is anyone else wondering why they're calling these folks Inhumans? It's got no connection at all to the group of that name that was a staple of 60s Marvel comics. And it'd be kind of fun to see either Black Bolt or Medusa show up -- but now it looks like that won't happen in the cinematic universe. (Wendy Fletcher [Pini, later[ did a 3-page sample for Marvel of "The Avengers Meet the Inhumans": pencils, inked, colored, and story, all by her. It's an odd bit of comics alternate history to think if they'd hired her....)

#826 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2015, 10:46 PM:

No Black Bolt and no Medusa? That means no Lockjaw either? :-(

#827 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2015, 11:05 PM:

Dammit -- not Jemma!

#828 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2015, 11:55 PM:

I hunted around for news about whether Elizabeth Henstridge’s contract covered next season, and found a synopsis of season 3 of Agents of SHIELD and season 2 of Agent Carter. The summaries are so abstract that they don’t give away anything major (SHIELD will have deadly secret missions to protect the world from threats!), but I know some people are really persnickety about spoilers, so go check it out yourself, or not.

#829 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:05 AM:

Tom Whitmore @825, the Inhumans film was originally announced for 2018 release, and has been pushed back to 2019. I don’t expect the major parts to be cast for another year or two, and those parts are going to go to people who expect movie-level money, not TV-level money.

#830 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:25 AM:

You know -- I've heard rumbles about some of the actors in the Marvel movies not being happy about the pay. I could see the suits going with TV actors for the newer movies if it meant they wouldn't have to pay higher salaries.

#831 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:35 AM:

Yes, Avram, but ABC is calling the power-possessing people Inhumans on their website (though I haven't noticed anyone calling them that in the show: are the Official Synopses canon or not?). And I'm wondering about that.

#832 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 11:51 AM:

I've been told that what Marvel is calling "Inhuman" should really be "Mutant" but they can't use the latter because it's owned by the holders of the X-Men franchise.

#833 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:03 PM:

Tom Whitmore: they're calling them Inhumans because they get their powers from being genetically engineered by the Kree and then exposed to Terrigen Mists -- this is how Inhumans get their powers.

The ones you know from the comics happen to be a specific subset of characters living in a moonbase etc etc -- these characters may exist in the MCU and just not have revealed themselves yet. But all the characters called that in the TV show are in fact legitimately Inhumans by origin; that's how you make Inhumans. They're just original Inhuman characters.

(also they can't use any mutants at all, because Sony owns the rights to that, so they're looking at all the canon methods of making supers)

#834 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:11 PM:

Shorter me: Inhumans isn't a team name, it's a "species". It's more "mutant" than "X-Men".

(also I don't think we've heard the term in Watsonian context in the show, it's a Doylean term used by fans who know about extracanonical history)

#835 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:16 PM:

Elliott Mason... The comic-book Inhumans last moved their city to New Jersey.

#836 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:26 PM:

Serge: Wow.

I last really followed Marvel comics (reading multiple titles every month) in the mid-2000s, so I'm out of date. :->

#837 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:36 PM:

Elliott Mason... I know that because "Ms Marvel" is the only Marvel comic-book I still read.

#838 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 12:48 PM:

Elliott Mason @834: It's not just fans. Which is why I asked whether what the studio says outside the show counts as canon.

#839 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 01:37 PM:

The name has been used on the show -- skip to 30 seconds in on this clip:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/article/skye-discusses-an-important-part-of-her-heritage-in-new-agents-of-shield-clip

I'd guess they're saving the Inhuman Royal Family for the film.

#840 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2015, 01:42 PM:

Haven't seen that ep yet; and the listings used the name long before that. So now it is officially canon, and I can stop asking that question.

#841 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2015, 10:12 PM:

Caught up now.

Yeah I dunno.

What was good about this season was the shift from heroes-vs-cartoon-villains (SHIELD and HYDRA) to the conflict of people who wanted to do good through incompatible means. And with differing definitions of good.

What was ungood was leaving most of those plot threads lying on the floor. The conflict between Coulson and Gonzales was not resolved; Coulson was able to work with Gonzales on pragmatic terms and then Gonzales was killed out. Jiaying's definition of "good" turned out to be as cartoonily evil as HYDRA -- with vampiric powers just in case we missed the point -- so that's boring in retrospect. Raina might have been striving to help the Inhumans, but nobody ever listened to her or let her do anything and now she's dead.

The closest we got to an exploration was Cal, who knows he's bad, just not -- you know -- the Big Bad of the season. And he loves his daughter. Good for him, but repudiating Jiaying is (again) not an interesting decision because she's simply evil.

Really the entire season arc went flat when Jiaying started murdering people. Call that the writers' core mistake. It seems like an exciting twist, but then what do you do? Fight scenes and shouting until all the bad guys are off-stage.

Ward remains boring. My notion of what he might have wanted (a new handler) was wrong. Turns out he *did* care about Agent 33, but did anybody take that seriously while she was alive? I didn't; it was just another Ward Head Game(tm).

#842 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2015, 01:17 AM:

OK, everybody else watched this a long time ago; I finally realized I'm not going to see Age of Ultron any time soon and just bit the bullet.

I'm ashamed that I didn't figure out that Jiaying was a vampire. The clues were all there; chopped up into little pieces, but sewn back together and then a whole village died. I really ought to have put that together.

I sure hope they incinerated her body, then launched the ashes into the Sun. Because short of that she could come back.

#843 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2015, 01:20 AM:

And it was beautiful that what Ward was planning for Bobbi happened to him instead...and he did it himself. No one deserves that more than him. And 33 was getting boring.

Can't wait to see what Coulson's new hand winds up being.

#844 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2015, 10:38 PM:

Let's revive this thread.

I've been enjoying this season, particularly tonight's episode. The retrieval of Gemma from whatever portal she went through was great. And it's always a pleasure to watch Peter MacNicol.

The third season of a series is frequently where they hit the high water mark. We're out of the introductory stuff, and past the false starts. ST:TNG hit the beginning of strong stories in its third season, and AOS looks to follow on its strong second season.

The FX on AOS has always been done well. They're keeping that up. Expensive, I'm sure, but well worth it for the verisimilitude.

#845 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2015, 01:10 AM:

I agree with Steve. Really liked tonight's episode, though I have to admit I was hoping the team would all go through and spend several episodes there.

We'll see what Jemma knows, besides that Fitz loves her in an extravagant, heroic way. I hope they don't go back to their standoffish "you're my friend and work partner" relationship, which was getting stupid.

#846 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2015, 01:56 PM:

Xopher, I was under the impression that Jemma was falling for Trip, a relationship that the series nipped in the bud -- at one point last year IIRC she out-and-out told Fitz she wasn't in love with him.

So I have to wonder what caused the 'sea change.'

Otherwise I'm enjoying the series...and really hoping Ward dies this year. And I've got a BAD feeling about the old Hydra leader's son turning up at the college...

#847 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2015, 02:59 PM:

The portal plotline is long-term setup for the Avengers: Infinity War movies coming in 2018–19, right? The Hebrew word that means death seems like a reference to Thanos.

Has everyone else heard that Marvel and ABC are working on a Damage Control TV show?

#848 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 12:13 AM:

Lori, they were working up to them being a couple for about half of last season. And now he's done the grand "walk 500 miles" gesture so essential to romantic drama, they're really deep in a trope.

But it's Whedon, so who knows?

#849 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 02:34 AM:

Avram@847: Why didn't I see that?

#850 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 03:34 AM:

Lori Coulson @ 846

Yeah, because in American broadcast television, everyone that flatly tells their best friend that they are not in love with them really means it. :) Although I won't be surprised if we get a few more episodes/seasons of them not getting together...

#851 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 01:34 PM:

Ok -- I'm happy that Fitz and Jemma are a couple, really, but it bugs me that they just threw away Trip.

And the bit about the Hebrew? When that one came up I'm shouting at the TV "It's a place, NOT a metaphysical term!" But I hadn't remembered Thanos until mentioned in this thread.

#852 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 02:36 PM:

I am right there with you - he was needed as a "romantic interest while the heroes decide to admit their feelings" :) They should not have gone there but it's part of the way stories seem to be built these days. So I am pretending it never happened.

Marvel's universe has a character called Death. So this was my first though there - but Thanos makes a lot more sense.

#853 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 04:59 PM:

Did they just carbon-date sand?

I can maybe buy that, since sand has some organic components (tiny seashells, etc.), but did they just carbon-date sand to be older than the Earth?

Whyyyyyyy. They could have just said "we checked out the sand and it's older than the planet!" and I'd have bought it. But nope. Hmph.

#854 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 05:00 PM:

Did they just carbon-date sand?

I can maybe buy that, since sand has some organic components (tiny seashells, etc.), but did they just carbon-date sand to be older than the Earth?

Whyyyyyyy. They could have just said "we checked out the sand and it's older than the planet!" and I'd have bought it. But nope. Hmph.

#855 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 05:42 PM:

I may be having a slow day but... what is the difference between "older than the Earth" and "older than the planet"?

#856 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 06:19 PM:

Sorry, Annie! That's my fault; I was using them interchangeably and being unclear in my crankiness. The main problem is with the use of carbon-dating, because it requires an organic subject and is only useful on things up to about fifty thousand years old. A rock that predates the planet would not be carbon-date-able.

#857 ::: Annie Y ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 06:51 PM:

As I said - slow day :)

Well - it is an alternative universe - where carbon dating works for even older dates (I know, I know - but they to somehow figure out it is not from Earth - so they took a shortcut and used something that sounds scientific enough. And yeah - it is annoying when they do that. I generally just presume alt universe and let it pass).

#858 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 09:23 PM:

Yeah, I had a flying-snowman moment when they carbon-dated the sand. I shouted "WHAT?!" at the TV.

But then I moved on.

#859 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2015, 11:22 PM:

And of course carbon-dating would be useless on extraterrestrial samples, since there's no way to tell what the initial proportion of carbon-14 was. So there are at least three ways that line was incredibly stupid.

#860 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2015, 12:36 AM:

Carbon dating of sand was an obvious blunder, yeah. But I was able to sort of mentally bleep out the phrase and fill in [some other kind of radioactive dating that would work].

It's true that we don't know what isotope ratios would be for an extraterrestrial sample, but despite that, an age of "older than the oldest rocks on Earth" would have to indicate a non-terrestrial origin. Yeah, we can't conclude from the result exactly how old the sand is, but it is strong evidence that the sand didn't come from Earth.

#861 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2015, 02:33 AM:

Given how often Earth-616 (and presumably Earth-199999) have been visited and tinkered with by extraterrestrials and various cosmic entities, it’s pretty amazing that the techniques used for deriving the ages of stuff generate usefully consistent results at all.

#862 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2015, 01:08 PM:

A stupid blunder -- I know rockhounds who also collect sand, and when you see a display of a hundred or so samples, how different they are...

One example of variety: The Big Island has white sands (source: coral reefs), black sand (lava), and one green sand beach (olivine crystals from decomposing volcano).

The show's writers are trying to be clever (Clue: Ask a geologist, guys) -- it would have been simpler (and more accurate) to say that the sand didn't match any samples from Earth...

#863 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2015, 08:34 PM:

Is anyone else a little creeped out that the-character-formerly-known-as-Skye is insisting on being called "Daisy" now? I mean, she gets to pick her own name, but...that particular choice bugs me.

#864 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2015, 09:17 PM:

I have seen the first two episodes of the season and I'm firing this show. Eh. That's too emotional. I'm amicably letting this show go.

I generally disdain public announcements of disdain... if that's not too confusing... but I want to make a public declaration of Not Watching SHIELD Any More. It'll help me stick to it and that will improve my life.

I enjoy hanging around with the core characters. Everybody's chemistry is great. (I loved Bobbi's little exchange with Daisy re the shrink.) But there is no story left in this story for me. Ward is boring. Hydra is boring. I was interested by the alien-planet/alien-portal mystery, but that's wrapped up now.

The show has consistently failed to do anything I care about thematically -- in three years -- so now is a good time to quit.

Fall shows I am still hooked on (in case you want to compare): DrWho, Flash, Arrow, Haven, iZombie. Tried and rejected: Minority Report, Blindspot. Probably fired: SHIELD, Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow.

#865 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2015, 10:39 AM:

Carbon-dating sand as older than Earth caught my attention too. In the moment, I wished they had gone with a standard bit of Star Trek technobabble: "The quantum signature indicates..."

#866 ::: Rail ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2015, 09:33 PM:

Andrew @864: I was interested by the alien-planet/alien-portal mystery, but that's wrapped up now.

Actually, it's just getting started.

#867 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2015, 01:15 AM:

Rail -- thanks. Useful information.

I still think I'm going to bypass this season. But if people are enthusiastic at the end of it, I might go back and watch it.

(puts on Hat of Not Caring about SHIELD Spoilers)

#868 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2015, 03:42 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @864: I have seen the first two episodes of the season and I'm firing this show. Eh. That's too emotional. I'm amicably letting this show go.

I gave up on it towards the end of last season. The whole Shangri-La scenario was seriously not doing it for me, and that seemed to be the thing the writers wanted to focus on.

#869 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2015, 04:58 PM:

I didn't stick with iZombie (I want to get to know *her*, not brain-of-the-week), but am keeping Agents of SHIELD for unknown reasons. Geek watercooler talk, maybe?

#870 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2015, 08:38 PM:

Jacque, the Shangri-La was destroyed, and its leader proved to be an evil, murdering vampire. Lots of killing, lots of changes, and now Inhumans all over the world are suddenly getting powers.

And Jemma's back from GKW, and having trouble adjusting...in fact in next week's ep she announces that she has to go back to GKW.

#871 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2015, 01:33 PM:

And the evil murdering vampire was Skye/Daisy's mother...

And I find myself wondering WHO Jemma wants to go back for -- I don't think she made the shiv she was wielding when she woke up...

I'm wondering if this is linked to Ragnarok (I suspect the only way to get back is if Asgard provides a portal) or could it be linked to Guardians of the Galaxy?

#872 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2015, 01:47 PM:

Could be either or both; the MCU is making AoS carry a lot of the expansion/backstory load.

#873 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2015, 04:53 PM:

I've watched the first two episodes now and it seems like the show is going pretty well.
The introduction of the Inhuman, Lash, in episode 1 seems to hold promise in ramping up things.

#874 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2015, 08:42 PM:

I don't care, I still hate Rosalind. If she could show that the Inhumans she's storing were being stored voluntarily, she'd have a case. Storing them because SHE thinks they're too dangerous to be free is...reminiscent of certain other social behavior, also of people I hate.

And I did say von Strucker was terrified. I knew something besides a failed assassination was going on. I just hope they take Lash down before he kills any more innocent people (unlikely).

#875 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2015, 11:20 PM:

Ok -- After last night's episode I'M confused.

Is Andrew Lash? Or can Lash morph to resemble anyone, and has it stashed the real Andrew somewhere?

Still think the writers should stop dumping on Fitz.

#876 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2015, 11:20 PM:

Ok -- After last night's episode I'M confused.

Is Andrew Lash? Or can Lash morph to resemble anyone, and has it stashed the real Andrew somewhere?

Still think the writers should stop dumping on Fitz.

#877 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 12:15 PM:

I initially parsed it as "somewhat ambiguous" - depending on whether the younger Von Strucker lives. I couldn't see his angle in lying about the way it happened, not if he was dying, and I didn't know if he had any info about Lash even existing. But we were shown two versions of the story, Usual Suspects style.

The "Next week on SHIELD" took all the subtlety out, though.

I don't think Lash is a generic shapeshifter impersonating Andrew. Or if so, he hasn't been doing it long. It is possible that just anyone can teach a college course in the Marvel Universe, but I doubt it.

Was there any evidence of Andrew wearing shredded clothes when the ambulance picked him up? I don't remember what we saw of that.

#878 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 01:17 PM:

Yeah, I think Andrew just took some fish-oil pills, like the other new Inhumans. The fact that he's an anti-Inhuman fanatic had to come from somewhere, though. And we still don't know how he got the inside information from Rosalind's group.

#879 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 01:28 PM:

It's possible that being Inhuman just scares him and makes him unhappy and he assumes it must be the same for everyone else. Which he ought not, being a psychologist, but he might also have gotten a bit of a broken brain in the transition.

It does neatly explain why he didn't hurt Daisy(sigh), though. Either he likes her and she's got a special exemption, or she's in control and content enough to count as a "good Inhuman" in his eyes.

#880 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 01:29 PM:

These may be stupid questions:

Why did Raina turn into the same kind of creature as Lash? Does this mean there's a connection between her and Andrew?

-AND-

Was Andrew a mole for the Shangri-La group?

#881 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 01:29 PM:

These may be stupid questions:

Why did Raina turn into the same kind of creature as Lash? Does this mean there's a connection between her and Andrew?

-AND-

Was Andrew a mole for the Shangri-La group?

#882 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 02:09 PM:

Xopher Halftongue@878

Has Andrew actually gotten inside information from Rosalind's group or was that just Daisy & Co.'s assumption because they thought Rosalind's aide was Lash?

Lori Coulson@881

I don't think Raina is the same kind of creature as Lash. They may look somewhat similar but their powers are very different.

#883 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 07:58 PM:

Xopher Halftongue@878, Carrie S@879

Another possibility is that he could have (as apparently Lash did in the comics) appointed himself as the judge of which Inhumans were "worthy". Although if that's what's going on, it looks as if Daisy is the only one who's passed his test so far.

#884 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 08:42 PM:

Michael, it was the other way around. Lash had advance information about where there was an Inhuman, and beat SHIELD there every time. That's why they concluded he had to be on Rosalind's team...but of course he was in on SHIELD's missions too.

But not, IIRC, every time. So it's still a mystery.

#885 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2015, 09:38 PM:

The Inhumans are the result of the Kree mucking about with human DNA, so it’s not unreasonable that certain traits might turn up in more than one individual. If that mucking about involved incorporating Kree DNA, you’d expect blue skin to keep showing up.

#886 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2015, 12:22 AM:

Ha! I knew Rosalind was a bad one. Looks like she doesn't fool them for long, though.

#887 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2015, 02:56 PM:

Damn shame Lash didn't kill her...and I wanted to slap Phil for fraternizing with the enemy.

Poor May..."yet each man kills the thing he loves..."

#888 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 01:14 AM:

And Whedon turns it all upside down the very next episode.

That was the best episode yet. Ward is still Ward, and now we find out Rosalind is being manipulated by Hydra...or is Hydra herself and really really good at it.

And the nature of Hydra is revealed. It's WAY worse than we thought. All kinds of apparently unrelated things are tied together, and in a way that actually seems like it's the way they were all along, instead of a clumsy Moffat-style backfill.

#889 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 12:41 PM:

And Fitz pointed the way...and it looks like Simmons' castaway boyfriend is Hydra. Good. Now there's a reason to kill him.

#890 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 01:53 PM:

It looks to me like the castaway boyfriend was being used by Hydra, which is not at all the same. It would hardly be the first time Hydra had convinced otherwise-good people to work for them.

It's still possible that he killed his teammates for no good reason or to attempt to summon Hydra's "god", but the stuff that happened when Simmons was leaving seems to argue against that.

#891 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 02:50 PM:

I just noticed that one of the episodes this season has a title that sure sounds like one of the old Fantastic Four issues: "Among Us Hide" to "Among Us Hide: The Inhumans!" This is a 40+year old memory, and I haven't checked, but I seem to recall that as one of the great Marvel splash-panels....

#892 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 08:33 PM:

Lori, I agree with Carrie. I think he was used as a human sacrifice (along with his team) by Hydra. He may well have thought he was working for NASA.

Of course, it's Whedon, so the whole thing could reverse several more times before it all shakes out.

#893 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2015, 08:51 PM:

Folks, castaway astronaut seriously creeps me out -- he gives off the same vibe that made me wonder about Ward the first season.

It's about time something went right for Fitz -- and having Simmons go off with someone else would tempt me just to say the hell with this show. Since they threw away Trip, it won't surprise me if this fellow is equally disposable in the Whedon-verse.

I refuse to get invested in the new characters -- I'm not willing to trust that they're going to be around for more than a few episodes.

#894 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2015, 02:46 AM:

There is one thing about Will the astronaut that makes me wonder:
How did he stay sane when all of his colleagues were killing themselves?

I suspect that there is indeed more to him than we were told in his first appearance.

#895 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2015, 03:16 AM:

Wikipedia sez that The Hand (the magic ninjas from the Daredevil comic, who seem to also be showing up in the Daredevil TV series on Netflix) were part of the rebirth of HYDRA around WW2. I wonder if they’re going to be doing anything with that, tying the two shows together.

#896 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2015, 03:19 AM:

Tom Whitmore @891, you mean this issue?

#897 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2015, 08:30 AM:

How did he stay sane when all of his colleagues were killing themselves?

It seems to take different people differently; at least one of them tried to kill other people rather than himself. So perhaps Will happened to be a bit more resistant and would have been of the axe-crazy variety, and once he was the only one left there wasn't anyone for him to attack.

It also seemed like the bad effect was one you could avoid, which would explain why he didn't then go after Simmons.

I agree that he had a strange affect, but I think that's understandable after ~14 years living alone, in constant fear, with no hope of rescue. (It's also...well, if he was a bad person before he got marooned, he's certainly paid for it.)

The scene with Simmons and Fitz had me rolling my eyes going, "You know Gemma, you are allowed to love more than one person." But that's not a solution likely to end up on this kind of show, sadly. Nor is it clear to me that she does love him in any sort of long-term way. They were each others' only company for three-ish months, in terrible conditions; that makes for quick bonds, but not necessarily lasting ones.

#898 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2015, 12:15 PM:

Re: Astronaut (and I haven't seen the most recent episode) -- all we have is his report of what happened with the other astronauts. As with Andrew in the store: that report may well be incomplete, or even significantly wrong in direct ways. That's happened on this show a lot.

#899 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2015, 02:15 PM:

Here's praying Ward and Will encounter one another, and shoot first... (Or the 'evil being' gets Ward, I could live with that.)

I'm also hoping the good guys make it back to Earth by the end of the next episode, but I realize I may be asking for too much.

Hmmm...it just dawned on me that having the 'evil being' arrive on Earth COULD be the midseason cliffhanger.

#900 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2015, 08:23 PM:

I'm personally hoping Coulson and Will get back safely, and then destroy all the remaining bits of the stone, so Ward will be trapped on the blue planet forever. THAT is a fate worthy of his crimes.

Failing that, his excruciating death would also satisfy.

What I think will happen, though, is that he'll be possessed by the evil entity and get back to Earth. No more Ward, but Brett Dalton will continue to be on the show.

#901 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2015, 08:17 AM:

Failing that, his excruciating death would also satisfy.

I have seen a short fanfic in which Ward (who is of course the New Hydra Badass, at least in his own mind) encounters the post-Cap 2 Winter Soldier.

This goes about as well for Ward as you might expect. Very satisfying.

#902 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2015, 01:36 PM:

Ooooooo -- Bucky vs. Ward, the cage match...

I'd watch that.

#904 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2015, 05:36 PM:

Here's another, set slightly earlier in the MCU timeline.

#905 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2015, 10:55 AM:

Oh, Incoherent, I really like that one. Ward being all smarmy right up until the moment it dawns on him that he's completely outclassed is gold.

#906 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2015, 10:43 PM:

Would it be shabby of me to add the Winter Soldier punched like a railroad gun to the Dreadful Phrases thread? (I'm pretty sure they meant one of these.)

#907 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 12:55 AM:

I don't think it's mean to add phrases no matter where they're found, and even a quite good story can have an infelicitous phrase or two.

#908 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 02:28 AM:

Xopher @906, are you sure they didn’t mean one of these?

#909 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 05:52 PM:

Avram 908: Ah. Almost certainly, especially since the setting predates railguns.

Mea culpa. Mea stupida culpa.

#910 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 05:53 PM:

Avram: Nah, he means one of these.

And, Xopher, it is a railroad. For sufficiently liberal values of rail.

#911 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 08:23 PM:

WRT to railguns, it's the "road" part I was contesting, not the "rail" part. Definitely has rails.

#912 ::: kind of embarrassed to say, this is like a DFD thread ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 11:25 PM:

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

TV writers know their audience.
In childhood your great need, outside of home,
was to belong, or else to lose
yourself in reading brightly colored
compensating fantasies
you shared with other solitary readers.
You could not admit to finding metaphors
in comics for the unspeakable;
kids read for fun, you for salvation.

Super spies kill left and right, and
wear no mythic costume, not archetypal.
Then, inelegantly they speechify
of inner child and trauma.
Each actor plays two parts,
a killer and a trembling child.
Bad guys’ therapy’s revenge,
hurting others like they once were hurt,
while good guys talk it out and go get help.

So the show must really show
friends at a table, rolling dice,
role-playing superheroes,
and joking out their issues.
The fantasy’s ostensibly escape,
but lets them tell
how they’ve been hurt, neglected, or abused,
and play empowerment.
The screenplay is a transcript of their game.

#913 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2015, 11:37 PM:

Very nice, embarrassed to say! And yes, Skye made that explicit last ep; she had a deeply messed-up childhood, but she turned to helping people, unlike Ward.

As opposed to this new movie Krampus, which apparently casts Krampus as a demon who murders dysfunctional family members, starting with the kids. Or maybe it's people who don't like Christmas. Anyway, the commercial is definitely all I want to see of that kind of evil bullshit.

(And if it's actually a jolly Christmas movie, or a comedy, or ends with Grandma saying "and that's what happens to BAD little children, but it's never going to happen to YOU, my darlings" then the people who did the ad did a lousy job of selling it, and THEY can go to hell.)

#914 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2015, 12:43 AM:

That was a very satisfying "mid-season finale." They found a way to kill Ward but keep Brett Dalton, which is exactly what I was hoping for. Only disappointment: Coulson killed Ward, instead of letting him suffer and go mad on the blue planet.

#915 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2015, 01:28 AM:

I’m wondering how he got through the portal back to Earth.

#916 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2015, 01:45 PM:

The modification of the source of the portal (six separate stones rather than the monolith) may have been specifically keyed to let the bad guy and his puppet through -- the remaining searchers would essentially have been hitch-hiking.

Actually, I was glad Coulson got to kill him, but I'm really, really worried about Phil, because he DOES have a conscience and I think what he did will come back to haunt him.

And now we see why, in cases of possession, it's a good idea to burn the body...

#917 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2015, 03:50 PM:

"I'll be damned. Tatooine."
- Agent Coulson

#918 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2015, 11:07 PM:

Avram, he was burned out of his existing body, and could have taken over Ward's just after (or even before) the final fight with Coulson. All he had to do is jump through after Coulson and Fitz left in the containavator (or left FOR the containavator) and get out of the castle (at what preternatural speeds we can only guess) before the missiles hit.

#919 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 01:01 AM:

Right, but how does he do that? I mean, Ward’s body is seriously wounded (at least two bullet wounds, plus whatever Coulson did to his chest, probably a broken sternum), and the portal isn’t going to stay open any later than the SHIELD crew need it to, and he’s walking, not falling from a plane, so how does he get through without them seeing him?

When Coulson fell through last ep, it required a bunch of unlikely coincidences, but they showed us the events lining up.

#920 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 10:16 AM:

Maybe the dead Ward(*) has been revived with Wolverine-level healing.

(*) I wonder if his name was a homage to actor Ward Bond and to 007.

#921 ::: rm, who was embarrassed to say who he was ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 10:17 AM:

There seems to be a large gap of time and action that the show skipped over offscreen. Based on the fact that Will avoided the creature for 14 years, and the way it moved in Will's body, I don' t think this creature can leap distances in single bounds. Zombie Will does become more limber and strong after he gives up trying to fool Fitz, but he still has to limp on a rotted-away leg. We are shown an oozy slug thing leaving Will's burning body -- after Coulson has killed Ward and Coulson and Fitz are presumably running for the portal. So it has to snake its way over to Ward, possess the body, and run for the portal. IIRC Ward doesn't have major wounds.

I wonder if we'll get more of this action in flashbacks, and if there is a lot we haven't been shown. It's kind of narrative cheating to hide the action like that, but I think the show is hiding a lot. I was wondering why Fitz and Coulson exchanged such a long, intense look -- at the moment I thought they were possessed (luckily not), and it could just be about how Coulson killed Ward, but I think there may be stuff that went down we don't know about yet. It means something, unless the creators just wanted to fuel a bizarre new slash fantasy.

#922 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 10:22 AM:

I meant to add, the biggest narrative cheat was having Daisy there to "keep the portal open," then having her faint, then skipping everything and they all fly out of the explosion. I think we'll be shown either that Daisy woke up and held the door open, or that the order and speed of events we saw on Tatooine was not at all right.

#923 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 10:26 AM:

When Fitz was fixing Will's leg we got a look at the leg, too. The alien told Fitz that Will had been died during the rescue and implied that he had taken over by the corpse. What I took to be a mechanical leg at first glance could have been gangrene/flayed muscle with the bone showing. I didn't feel the need to back the recording up to see for sure. It would explain why every other person in Will's party went crazy. Kill the person, take over their body, and use their memories to fake it.

Will died in Gemma's rescue (if it wasn't just trying to play Gemma in the first place) and the thing took over his corpse. Considering how much damage the Will-body took (at least five shots to the torso before the flare gun deployment) it doesn't surprise me that the Ward-body could run with a couple of flesh wounds and a broken sternum/ribs.

What has me going "oh crap" is the fact that the alien can access the memories from the body/carrier it inhabits.

#924 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 10:31 AM:

Also, it is my theory that the creature only possesses dead bodies. It has to kill you before it takes you over. Hydra sent it fresh people to kill for centuries, but then Shield got hold of the portal and the supply was cut off.

Will's observation that it drove his crewmates insane was based on their not acting like themselves -- he just didn't realize they were dead. The thing was in a spacesuit because the body it was possessing was getting really really old and falling apart. It needed to kill Will or finally die.

So Coulson's killing of Ward, besides being disturbingly grim and deliberate and time-wasting (really, I thought he should have killed Ward when he killed the other minions -- he really needed Ward to "show the way" when he had already tracked them through the sand?) was also a huge tactical mistake, giving the creature a fresh body to use. Fitz understood that and Coulson didn't.

It was the second huge mistake with terrible consequences in the episode, since Simmons let Lash out and immediately twelve innocents died.

#925 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 12:13 PM:

Watching Phil in the last two episodes, the back of my brain kept chanting:

"Fear leads to anger, anger to hate, hate to the Dark side..."

#926 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2015, 04:42 PM:

That last episode felt like they were in a hurry and they forgot to check to see if anything made sense. Smart people acting stupid all over the place, unexplained handwave escapes, it felt like they had to throw something together before the end of the mini-season.

#927 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2016, 08:17 PM:

So, was anyone else underwhelmed by the departure of Bobbi and Hunter? I never really bonded with them in the first place in the team upheaval that accompanied their joining, so dedicating a whole episode to their departure kind of fell flat for me.

#928 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2016, 09:41 PM:

Also, I would like to congratulate Xopher back at #580: "Maybe I'm only thinking of this because Amy Acker was in this episode, but a truly excellent fate for Ward would be what happened to Fred on Angel. Some being (a dying human, or maybe an Asgardian or something) who needs a body moves in after (or at the same time as) Ward's mind is completely and permanently destroyed."

Hope someone's gonna get that phone, because you called it.

#929 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2016, 10:26 PM:

Carrie S. 928: Wow, I kind of did, didn't I?

VERY well deserved for Ward, and it's a Whedonic way of keeping an actor when a character is no longer viable.

I was very happy to see that they were able to keep Brett Dalton, whom I quite like.

#930 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2016, 11:51 PM:

Ward kind of gave me the creeps even before we found out he was a Nazi, but there's no denying Brett Dalton's nice to look at. :)

#931 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2016, 01:10 AM:

He didn't look so good in the corpse makeup, but now that whatever-that-is has eaten several people he's looking healthier!

#932 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2016, 01:13 AM:

Saw Xopher's tweets about this.

I gave up on the show a few months back. Too many unpleasant characters, including Ward. I kept hoping he was playing a double game. Sounds like they came up with an interesting way to keep the actor around.

#933 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2016, 03:34 AM:

A cute little Easter egg the show snuck into the Maveth plotline. Here’s Will describing the fates of his fellow astronauts: “Austin threw himself off a cliff. Brubaker set himself on fire. Taylor took an axe to the gear and then he came after me.”

Steve Austin was The Six Million Dollar Man, an astronaut turned into a cyborg after his rocket crashed. Charles Brubaker was one of the astronauts in Capricorn One, a 1977 movie about the government faking a Mars mission. George Taylor was the protagonist of Planet of the Apes.

#934 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2016, 01:23 PM:

I was never all that into either Bobbi OR Hunter, but I DID love the 'spy's goodbye.'

And they'll still be available should the show need them since they're getting a spin-off, "Marvel's Most Wanted." My brain keeps dubbing it "Tales of the Disavowed." (I think I've read too much Kipling...)

#935 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2016, 01:35 PM:

The scene in itself was pretty cool, I gotta admit. (And probably not something that gets done very often, because in the MCU how often does someone live to be disavowed? I'll bet the vast majority of disavowals are posthumous.)

#936 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2016, 01:38 AM:

Well, this week's episode was damned depressing - not least because it was interrupted twice with some garbage about an election in New York which REALLY could have waited until after the episode.

Depressing that Daisy was the traitor. I sure hope they can fix her; I like her.

TOTALLY MISSED the scene that made everyone think it was Lincoln, due to the abovementioned stupid interruptions.

#937 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2016, 12:16 PM:

Well, I'm hope they don't kill Daisy/Skye. Hell, I really don't want to lose anyone on the team. Right now I'm still really ticked that Sleepy Hollow killed off Abbie.

Haven't we had enough deaths this year? 2016 sucks.

#938 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2016, 03:12 PM:

About time May read Coulson the riot act for using her as his own personal firearm.

#939 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2016, 11:59 PM:

I agree, Carrie. An unusual kind of objectification, but objectification nonetheless.

One of the things that I like about this series is that the good guys do things that are flat-out wrong, and other good guys call them on it.

#940 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2016, 07:56 PM:

I do hope Hive is really dead. I'm afraid Brett Dalton's run on this show is over. I have to hope that it is, because this mind-control thing gives me the creeps.

So, we lose Lincoln, which adds to Daisy's guilt. I'm glad she's doing good, in a Robin Hood sort of way.

I wonder who's the director of SHIELD in that future? I hope it isn't that dumbass general.

#941 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2016, 08:19 PM:

I'm startled and faintly impressed that they killed off the young attractive straight white guy.

#942 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2016, 01:36 PM:

Carrie -- there was a great deal of foreshadowing on that, and I'm not surprised that both Lash and Lincoln's purposes concerned saving Daisy.

I am hoping she'll eventually come back to the team, and I hope Bobbi and Hunter will too.

#943 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 12:49 AM:

Carrie: I know, right? Not that they didn't set it up, as Lori points out, but they followed through on it.

Lori: Now that Bobbi and Hunter's show is not happening, that's more likely.

#944 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 08:37 AM:

Soooo...what was that about Brett Dalton?

Ward showed up right before commercial and Liam and I were both like, "OMG he's Resistance!" Spent the commercial break excitedly debating how perfect that would be. And then: it was perfect. And it makes sense; Ada would have been working from Ward's records, not Ward himself, and he was undoubtedly very careful to not let it get into his records that he was a sociopathic murderer. So he'll have the qualities that attracted Daisy to him in the first place, without the sociopathic stalkery tendencies.

Consider the angst when they've rescued everyone and they have to decide whether to leave the Framework* running. I get the feeling the reason Jemma kept marveling over how real the extra people were is to set up an endgame where they have to deal with knowing there are Real People in there who don't have bodies in the physical world. Turn off the computers and those people go *poof*.

*: Just occurred to me last night that it's called the Framework because they couldn't call it the Matrix...

#945 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 12:43 PM:

May I just say here that I am hating all the LMD and Framework nonsense?

I started watching this show because I enjoyed seeing the team work together. If I had wanted a soap opera I would have said so at the beginning.

Each season seems to fragment the group more and more, and each show is even more depressing. I have reached the point that I am wondering if they should have cancelled AoS and let Agent Carter continue...

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