Just as last week’s episode promised answers about Agent Coulson’s secrets, this week’s claims the same about super-hacker Skye. We’ll see if it actually delivers, or it just whets out appetites for more with even more mysteries. And oh yeah, special bonus tonight – the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Iron Man super-villain, the Blizzard! Meet me after the jump for more of my thoughts on “Seeds.”
Salvation Coming Soon
First things first, apparently the powers that be are going to ‘fix’ “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I find this amusing because I see nothing wrong with the show, other than it’s not Marvel’s The Avengers, which is what I think the network, and the audience, expected. I think the show is great, no fixing needed. That said, Bill Paxton is coming to save the day (and the series). It seems as if the misguided (in my opinion) powers that be have serious doubts in Clark Gregg (Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (May), and Brett Dalton (Ward) as suitable leads in the action series. I have to wonder how Gregg, Wen, and Dalton feel about the powers that be feeling they can’t carry the series – and that a proven action star must be added to the mix.
Paxton will be playing Agent John Garrett in at least four upcoming episodes. If the name sounds familiar, Agent Garrett was created by writer Frank Miller and artist Bill Sienkiewics for the Elektra: Assassin mini-series back in the 1980s. He was an alcoholic, a cyborg, and possibly a telepath. He was also a tough agent, who was promoted out of the field, but refused to stay office bound. At least that last part will translate to the small screen. Interestingly he will be one of the few SHIELD characters from the comics, besides Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and Veronica Hand, to make the jump to the TV screen in this series.
The Real S.H.I.E.L.D.?
As I said, I don’t feel the show needs fixing, but the addition of a lead character, especially a guest lead character with basis in the source material brings certain questions to mind. First, why are there any S.H.I.E.L.D. characters in the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series? If one were to say to me a decade ago there would be a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, my mind would immediately imagine certain characters – Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan, Gabriel Jones, Clay Quartermain, Sharon Carter, Jasper Sitwell, Jimmy Woo, and the Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine immediately spring to mind. Now we have seen Sitwell, and rumor has it a spin-off (whether it spins off of this show of the upcoming Captain America The Winter Soldier is debatable) series is in the works for Carter, but essentially, this “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is an all new team, led by Coulson, whose origins are solely set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I would have been down for a series featuring these characters, no argument, but I see co-creator Joss Whedon’s thinking in using all new characters. That way, it’s a blank slate, more room to play with these characters and their backgrounds. All in all, a good move, but perhaps not one friendly to an audience expecting the Avengers. And if Paxton will bring in ratings, won’t the tie-ins with the Captain America movie do much the same thing? And if rumors are true about the true baddies in that movie, won’t the entire continuity of S.H.I.E.L.D. be in jeopardy? Perhaps Disney/ABC’s concerns are in the wrong place…
Whew. Back to tonight’s episode. Skye, played by Chloe Bennett, has been our point of view character from the start of the series. We find out about S.H.I.E.L.D. through her eyes, specifically through the eyes of an outsider, and we see how dangerous and secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. really is. We have seen that the main characters of this series are relatively nice, but the higher-ups might not be. Perhaps this has all been a lead in to the events of the big screen Captain America The Winter Soldier, where rumor has it, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the actual adversary.
What do we really know about Skye anyway? We know she can take care of herself, despite her insecurity about such. We know she is a more than able computer hacker who joined first The Rising Tide, and then S.H.I.E.L.D. with a single underlying motive of finding her parents. And she was left at an orphanage by a SHIELD agent before she was killed. As I mentioned it’s an ongoing show mystery second only to Coulson’s resurrection. Oh, and both Coulson and May know her secret, but they ain’t telling. Has anyone put forth the possibility Agent Melinda May is her mother? Let me be the first. Maybe that’s what we’ll find out tonight. Or maybe not.
An icy accident in the pool at the Shield academy brings the team, sans Coulson and May, in to investigate. A pool freezes over with cadets barely escaping. The cause, a device built by another cadet, a bad seed, referencing the episode title. There’s a great Bucky Barnes namedrop when Ward and Skye are looking at the memorial at the academy.
The namedropping doesn’t stop as Fitz and Simmons speak to the class about the origins of Shield and the danger of organizations like AIM, Hydra, and Centipede. Then our guy, Donnie Gill (more on him later) freezes up, literally, is covered from head to toe in ice.
May and Coulson take on a lead about the SHIELD Agent who left Skye at the orphanage as a baby. Apparently she was possibly killed by her partner who vanished shortly thereafter. That guy has just resurfaced in Mexico. Coulson and May’s stakeout leads to a heart to heart about keeping secrets, and how he has determined that that’s just not happening any more. A fight with the lost agent they seek and some nice Lola action follow. I want more Lola. If ABC and Disney want to fix something, do this – more Lola.
When they catch up to the lost agent he has quite a tale to tell. An 0-8-4, an object of unknown origin or a metahuman, killed an entire village in China. The 0-8-4 was the baby. Yeah, baby, the baby, Skye. Perhaps that might explain Skye’s penchant and ease at cracking computers? The guy warns Coulson and May however to stay away from her – where she goes, death follows.
In the original Marvel Comics, Blizzard is an old school Iron Man foe, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #45 in 1963 as Jack Frost, and created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. He later changed his name to the much cooler (sorry) Blizzard, continuing to plague the Armored Avenger for decades. Three different individuals have fought Iron Man under this identity, all exhibiting powers of cold generation and manipulation.
The Blizzard we meet in “Seeds” has the name of the second man to take the name, yeah, you guessed it, Donnie Gill. Donnie, deftly played by Dylan Minnette, is something different in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Donnie is a 190 IQ loner with no friends. We know who he is, but they don’t. He bonds with Fitz for a couple nice, but edgy (again we know he’s Blizzard), scenes.
An Icy Surprise!
In a nice bit of writing subterfuge, and calling the episode title into correct perspective, it’s not just Donnie that’s the bad guy, it’s a couple of cadets. They staged the incidents to bring Fitz and Simmons to the Academy to solve their tech problems. We’re expecting one baddie, not two, nice play.
Once Fitz fixed the device, the kids have a blizzard bomb. Horrible roiling clouds, ice hail, and ultimately an uncontrollable superstorm erupt from it. May takes The Bus to the eye of the storm to save the misguided and trapped cadets. Donnie’s cohort dies, leaving him wrecked.
Good to his word, Coulson tells Skye everything he knows about her origins. May told Coulson about her and Ward. The secrets are out. Skye tries to recover and vows to look forward, with perhaps with her loyalties finally aligned. It was SHIELD who protected her all along after all.
One last secret? As they pull away to take Donnie to The Sandbox for observation we see him tap the window of the car, leaving a trail of frost behind his fingertips. Yep, like Graviton, another super-villain in the making lying in wait for the future…
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” returns February 4th, see you then, with special guest star, Stan Lee!