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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.