Television: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Girl in the Flower Dress"

They push the mythology forward this week by revisiting some of the catalyzing events of the pilot. Namely the return of Centipede, a project being run by some unidentified organization, and which resembles Extremis as seen in Iron Man 3.

The doctor from the pilot who had subjected Michael to Centipede turns up again here to inject a new subject with the substance. This subject is Chan, a man with the moderate ability to spontaneously create fire. S.H.I.E.L.D. had been keeping an eye on Chan, but the titular "Girl in the Flower Dress" (whose name is Raina) enabled his kidnapping and then talked him into becoming a test subject for whatever organization is running Centipede. They need Chan's platelets because his are fire resistant, meaning he can tolerate the Centipede substance much better than typical subjects. The plan is to drain Chan of his platelets so they can begin to engineer them in some way.

But how did Raina know about Chan? Well, for that we have to look at Skye and Rising Tide (again and again and again with this . . . It's truly starting to be a drag). Turns out an old friend/mentor of Skye's named Miles sold the information to Raina & Co. for a cool million. Skye is caught out trying to warn Miles that S.H.I.E.L.D. is on to him, sending us all back to square one: Can she or can't she be trusted? Whose side is she really on? Yawn. I'm getting mighty sick of this ongoing debate.

S.H.I.E.L.D. mounts a rescue mission for Chan, and of course they end up needing both Skye's and Miles's help. But it's too late; Chan is now "Scorch" (as Raina has dubbed him), and he plans to take his souped up powers public. S.H.I.E.L.D. has no choice but to put him down.

The big finish comes with Miles and Skye both being given bracelets that will monitor them and prevent them from, I dunno, hacking? Something. Unclear. We're supposed to take it on faith that these things will do something to keep them on the right side of things, I guess. Miles is abandoned in Hong Kong to find his own way back to Austin, Texas (shout out to my old stomping grounds there); I guess he'll have to hit up the Embassy if he didn't grab his passport on his way to being arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D.

And Skye . . . Somehow they just keep giving her chances. Bracelet aside, it's pretty remarkable they're willing to keep her around at this point. But we do at least get her backstory, how she's been searching for her parents (which is why she's learned to hack, looking for information), and how the only real lead she has is a redacted memo from St. Agnes' Orphanage with a S.H.I.E.L.D. symbol on it. (In other news, S.H.I.E.L.D. runs an orphanage.)

You know that episode of South Park, the first one Towelie was ever in? Where the boys are all, "Don't care, don't care, don't care, we just want our Okama Gamesphere"? Yeah, that's kind of how I feel about Skye and her little story. Can we just not focus on her so much?

What does strike me about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is how it is written, filmed, and even scored like a mini movie. Distinctively and noticeably. The music especially has drawn my attention; at least once per episode I remark it. I don't know if that's good or bad, really. On the one hand, the show is trying awfully hard to live up to its theatrical brothers. On the other . . . Should it be so obvious about it? To the point that it almost distracts? Tough call.

I like the show, and I want to keep liking it. But I won't be able to do that much longer if we insist on spending so much time with Skye. Her situation is so contrived, and I feel like we've gone over the same ground repeatedly with her in regards to whether she's trustworthy. Don't care, don't care, don't care. I just want to get on with the rest of the show.


Christine Rains said...

I can't believe they gave Skye another chance. I'd throw her off the plane at that point. I have absolutely no sympathy for her even with the tears about her mysterious parents, blah, blah, blah. The bad guys are more interesting to me right now. Again, I'll keep watching, but I read as I watch.

M said...

I'll admit curiosity about Skye's parents, but I have no sympathy for her as a character. The relentless focus on her is getting wearing. Is she meant to be the central character? I'd rather she weren't. But yes, the bad guys are more interesting at this point.