Aired 05/11/13 on ABC
Guys... This show is one I really wanted to like. The premise was great, I love the Marvel world, it was by Joss Whedon; by all accounts I should like it. But I think I can finally admit that it is further into the con list than it is the pros. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot better than some of the other shows out there, but it has its flaws. Many of them.
I’ve narrowed it down to the main dislike, and episode six helped solidify my findings: I don’t like the characters. It’s a combination of the characters themselves, the acting and the writing. I know that we are only six episodes in so we haven’t had a chance to flesh them out to be decent human beings yet, but even so, we are six episodes in. That’s plenty of time to get us to at least feel some kind of warmth towards them. And I don’t.
The two main culprits are FitzSimmons, the scientist tech people, and this week it was their turn to share centre stage as the episode focused on them. Two guys had mysteriously died from a massive force of electricity that left their bodies floating in mid-air. It was revealed that they were bored fire-fighters on shift one night, who decided to polish some dust off their alien helmet they got as a souvenir from the battle of New York. Except this dust was actually an alien virus that caused them to have massive amounts of electricity in their body, which eventually exploded out of them with a massive electromagnetic pulse. Sucky way to die.
The gang solved this pretty quickly, but the main event was that Simmons had become infected by the virus, which spread person to person via contact, when she was shocked by the wound in one of the victims. Cue everyone becoming upset as she tried to whip up an anti-serum while she was quarantined in the lab. Fitz was obviously the one who was most upset, as they discussed the fact that they had been side by side ever since school and he was the one who eventually ran in and risked his own life to help save her.
For a while it didn’t look like it was going to work, so Simmons, thinking that she was soon to explode and take out the entire plane with her, knocked Fitz out with a fire extinguisher, opened the cargo bay door, and jumped out of the plane. Got to hand it to her, that’s pretty ballsy and noble. Of course, Ward jumped straight out after her with a parachute and the working anti-serum, and we all pretended to believe that he would be able to keep his eyes open and spear through the air to grab her and administer it successfully. And all was well again.
I will give it to Fitz - I didn’t mind him in this episode. He wasn’t being the whiny boy child he has been, and Iain De Caestecker sold me in his performance as the upset friend. But Simmons still grates on me completely. It’s going to sound harsh, but I think it’s mostly down to the actress. I was listening to her dialogue and imagining it being said by some cool American scientist lady, and it would have worked. The way Elizabeth Henstridge plays her is just inherently annoying.
Speaking of annoying, Skye and Ward didn’t really have a lot to do this week, except the whole impromptu skydive. Skye was bitching about the monitoring bracelet she wore, which is understandable as she did lie and contact the Rising Tide last week, and Ward was acting cold and robotic towards her. No change there really.
May is still a complete badass (her cookie ‘interrogation’ scene was about ten seconds long and it was enough to make me quiver), and there was more stuff about Coulson’s death-maybe-not-death. I will give this episode props for one thing: the conversation between Coulson and the fire-fighter who was about to die was so good. We saw a little more about Coulson’s feelings towards his death, and he comforted a guy who was about to electrically explode like a boss.
That’s one example of good writing that I know comes from Whedon and his troops. I just wish they would apply this to the rest of the characters and not have it just being something that’s buried between mediocrities. Perhaps Simmons should have died and it would have made Fitz more interesting – perhaps a story line about how he struggles to cope with the grief etc. But nope, we’re stuck with them both next week too... Great.