TV Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 6 / November 5, 2013)
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EPISODE 6: "FZZT"
SYNOPSIS: The team investigates an electrostatic disease that may claim members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Coulson also confronts his own mortality.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
After a week off for Halloween, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up with an opening teaser featuring a bunch of boy scouts telling spooky stories around a campfire only to have weird lightning strikes, floating objects, and the Scout leader floating mysteriously in the sky. A nice opening that would fit in THE X-FILES, FRINGE, or even ALIAS. From there, we get our typical shot of the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet flying in the sky and we are off.
As the team starts investigating the weird electrical storm, we find them analyze that there are three possible explanations for the anomaly: a freak natural occurance, a new high tech weapon, or someone with powers. I hope that this show is not going to go through a regular rotation of these three scenarios to make up their season. The team sees nothing on the surface to indicate what could be the cause and look into the victim's hometown. As Fitz and Simmons spew technobabble about the body, another anomaly is detected and they head out in pursuit.
The two victims turn out to be volunteer fire fighters who were responders to the Battle of New York. The next scene shows the killer polishing a Chitauri helmet that is pulsing with the same electricity that killed the victims. Arriving at the fire station, they meet Tony Diaz, the man who has the helmet. Coulson recognizes the pale and sweaty man's erratic behavior as he begins to hear a humming noise and items begin to float around him. He reveals that they cleaned the helmet and Fitz and Simmons determine that some sort of alien virus must have been on the helmet and they are infected.
In a surprisingly quiet scene, Coulson sits down with Diaz as he nears the electrical impact from the Chitauri virus. After Diaz dies, the team is scanned to see if the virus has moved to them, and the results show all clear. As they transport the helmet to The Sandbox, the team work to find a cure for the disease, which turns out to be transmitted by electro-static energy. A floating implement shows that Simmons is infected.
With an estimated two hours before Simmons will explode and the plane over the middle of the Atlantic, no one can find the cure besides Simmons herself. Fitz and Simmons begin to infight with each other as they struggle to find the cure/anti-serum. Coulson is instructed to jettison the helmet due to the infectious properties but he ignores the command. Fitz and Simmons break down and hope is almost lost until they realize the Chitauri was a carrier for the disease but was not infected. Fitz joins Simmons in the clean room and they get to work. After a brief moment of hope, the final lab rat succumbs to the disease and Simmons resigns herself to her fate.
Knocking Fitz out, Simmons lowers the cargo hold to jump and save the rest of the team. Fitz sees the rat survived thanks to the anti-serum and screams as Simmons jumps from the plane. Ward jumps after her with the anti-serum in tow. The team say their requisite happy thoughts and all are well as they live to see another day.
The closing scene has Coulson facing Blake at The Sandbox to drop off the helmet. Blake threatens Coulson with losing his team and Coulson says he would like to see them try.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
The use of a Chitauri remnant from THE AVENGERS brings the series full circle to the film that inspired it. Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) makes his return to the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the first time since ITEM 47. Coulson also says his iron levels are a bit high but not to call him Iron Man.
"I don't sweat, I glisten." - Agent Coulson
While the skydive scene was pretty well done, I have to give this week's best scene to Coulson's reveal of his feelings about coming back from the dead.
DO WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?
Coulson's explanation about what dying felt like gave some nice insight into his emotional state but still doesn't give much information as to what happened. Coulson also reveals to May that he requested the physical that, despite being normal, he still feels different. He shows his scar to May who tells him you cannot die and come back and not be changed.
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 9/10
Probably my favorite episode of the season, the show gives a nice mystery that would have fit nicely on FRINGE while also giving us the most insight into Coulson's post AVENGERS resurrection. The acting is top notch and the tension feels more real than it has in the previous episodes. Maybe it is the reduced roles for Skye and Ward, but it just works.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
"The Hub" - Grant and Fitz are sent on a suicide mission, and Coulson desperately works to save their lives from within S.H.I.E.L.D.
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