‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: 5 Questions That Need to Be Answered by Season’s End

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by Joshua Kaye on December 9, 2013

in TV

To say Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a disappointing television series so far, well…it’d be true. S.H.I.E.L.D. had LOADS of potential coming into the fall lineup building upon a cinematic universe that has thrived. So far, what we’ve gotten is a show that’s still struggling to find a tone, characters that aren’t fleshed out, relationships that aren’t interesting, and stories that just don’t thrill.

There is hope- we still haven’t hit the midway point of the series and with episode 10 coming up, there’s a whole lot more that could happen (or a whole lot more that won’t happen). Showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen have left a lot for the audience to ponder, and these are a few of my thoughts up to this point and what I’d like to see coming up.

What exactly happened to Coulson?

This is the most obvious question that audiences have been asking. There’s been numerous, subtle hints that Coulson may not exactly be human (that nod to Dollhouse was pretty great), but we’re heading into the tenth episode and at some point it has to come out. There are tons of theories out there, but the one I think may be the best is that Coulson is a Life Model Decoy.

agent coulson life model decoy_opt

For those unfamiliar with LMD’s, they’re “S.H.I.E.L.D. designed robots that duplicate all outward aspects of a living person” (thank you Wikipedia). The theory is that he’s not just a LMD, but is actually from the early Steve Rogers years. Coulson is a fan of old nicknacks and has a vintage set of Captain America trading cards. It’s a wild theory I’ve read, but it’s one that, in the realm of this universe, could make a lot of sense and make for an interesting discovery for Coulson himself.

 

Who the hell is behind Project Centipede?

We’ve seen Project Centipede twice so far this season…in the pilot episode, Mike Peterson (I’ll get to him next) is given the serum and he has superhuman powers and is pretty badass. It’s discovered that the serum is made up of alien metal (Avengers), gamma radiation (Hulk), the Extremis virus (Iron Man 3), and the Super-Soldier Serum (Captain America). Due to the Extremis virus being active, the participants eventually…well…blow up. Like a bomb.

project centipede_opt

In the fifth episode, the serum comes up again as it’s given to a street magician who has pyrokinetic abilities. The serum is tested on him and due to his special fire-y abilities, he doesn’t blow up. It’s clear that this…group or whatever has an agenda but who the hell are they? What are they trying to do? There’s clearly more than one question involving Centipede and all involved but just answer anything.

 

Will we ever actually get to know these characters?

I’m aware S.H.I.E.L.D. is still in the early stages, but the character development hasn’t been one of the most impressive parts of the show. Coulson is the only character we really know even a little bit and that’s because he was in every Marvel film. The biggest selling point of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Agent Coulson and how he survived. Coming into the show we knew nothing about Fitz, Simmons, May, Ward, or Skye.

agents of shield skye pink_opt

We’ve gotten very little insight into those characters, even when there were episodes that centered on them. We know Skye is trying to find her parents (and is stunning in a pink dress), May had a mission go wrong , Ward had a traumatic childhood event. Fitz and Simmons got to join some of the action-oriented episodes but we know nothing about them aside from the fact that they went to school together. When it comes down to it, we really can’t connect to anyone in the show.

 

Could Mike Peterson join the S.H.I.E.L.D. team?

If you don’t remember Mike Peterson: in the pilot, he was easily the most intriguing character of the episode. We got to know him more in those 43 minutes than we’ve gotten to know any other character since. To get to the main point, Peterson was a participant of Project Centipede which gives him superhuman strength but he struggles with who he is as a person.

mike peterson_opt

After the Invasion of New York, he struggles with himself as a person, feeling so tiny when there’s these larger than life people out there…these Gods, these actual superheroes. Peterson is eventually talked down by Coulson before being sedated, but that tense Coulson/Peterson exchange was one of the best of the show so far. Peterson is making an appearance in this week’s episode so we’ll see where things go. J. August Richards, who played the character of Peterson, brings a dimension to the role and would add an element to the show that has been lacking — emotion.

 

Will we see any actual super villains from the comics?

Now, when I say “super villains” I’m not expecting big time characters on par with Loki or The Mandarin. In the Marvel Universe there are TONS of villains to choose from, and S.H.I.E.L.D. teased this with the addition of Dr. Franklin Hall in the third episode of the series. Dr. Franklin Hall in the comics is known by the name of Graviton, and as Graviton he’s able to mentally control gravity. While I don’t know too much about the character, I’ve seen enough of him to know that he could potentially be a bad-ass. He creates hell for The Avengers and it takes trickery to actually defeat him.

Graviton_opt

At the end of episode three, Hall is pushed into the Gravitonium and is suspected to be dead. That may not be the case as there’s movement within the gravitonium, meaning Graviton could be coming to life. It’s more unknown villains like these that could be good for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since it’ll make the stakes so much higher and the sense of danger will be real. Being a fan of Joss Whedon shows, I always have it in the back of my mind that at any moment a character could die. I get that S.H.I.E.L.D. is more family-oriented, but there’s just no sense of danger. Having a villain arc span two or three episodes could really shake things up.

There’s a lot more on my mind about the show…what I would change, what I would keep, how many Marvel Universe references I would make. I enjoy the show for what it is but it really has so many flaws that have to be fixed and soon. I absolutely expect the show to get a second season…the latest episode brought in 9.69 million viewers (about a 2.0 million increase from the previous episode), but there’s just nothing that special about the show. It’s unfortunate too, since the Marvel Cinematic Universe is pretty extraordinary and so elaborate. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a lot it can work with and could eventually become a solid show…but at the moment I’d have trouble recommending it to friends and others. Either way, I’ll be tuning in on Tuesday to watch episode 10, The Bridge.

Joshua Kaye (@JKaye57) is a recent college grad with a BA in Cinema Studies. A Queens, NY native, Josh hopes to one day rule all of New York, then the United States, then the world. But after he writes an Oscar winning screenplay.

  • Kevin Hellions

    Why couldn’t they just make J August Richards into Rage? At least then my New Warriors loving self would be hooked. I’m hanging in there, hoping this is all a slow build to something great. But its becoming a very slow build.

    • HowardTheDeck

      That definitely would have been cool.

  • wat

    Man, just imagine what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be if it had the team of writers behind Breaking Bad or something. I don’t think there’s any saving this show.

    • HowardTheDeck

      ANY show + Breaking Bad creative team = better show

      • wat

        SO true. And I think the creative team for House would fix the character identity problem. House went in-depth with each character’s lives and expanded pretty widely on their relationships with the other characters. You ended the show feelings like you knew them all personally.

        • HowardTheDeck

          Great point, House was excellent in regard to character development.

      • wat

        Also, I wish the whole Avengers was more mature. Think of how great the show would be if it were on AMC or HBO or similar networks?

  • @eclectik

    I like the show and will watch it till it goes away, the worst thing though is even if all of these questions are answered … the show still wont be very good lol

    The characters just arent compelling, even if we find out all of them have super powers are are really the secret defenders … the show is missing something.

    There’s nothing to truly care about yet, everything that would be interesting that they could put on TV has been announced for netflix

    Had SHIELD been a spy show with Widow and Hawkeye … it wouldve been gold (cause face it they will never get a solo movie) … of course it wont happen with the actors.

    Street level Power Man and Iron Fist wouldve been great for SHIELD … but that’s Netflix

    I’m going to keep watching because Im a marvel fan, but it needs to be a totally new show for it to be actually good

    • HowardTheDeck

      This show was doomed to criticism from the moment it was announced. Thing is, the Marvel movie universe had set the bar so high an regard to what we thought of SHIELD, that a weekly episodic without mega-cameos every week could never live up. I’m with you though, I’ll stick with it til the end.

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