Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Season 1, Episode 3 — Defying Gravity
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. viewers, I truly hope that you’re rapidly becoming Skye fans — because if not, this episode probably had you as frustrated as Agent Ward every time he sees her in those skinny jeans and can’t do nothin’ about it. Like it or not, the peppy computer hacker with (I think?) a heart of gold is rapidly becoming our eyes and ears in this wacky S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, and she took center stage tonight in a mission that could very well lead us to our first major villain of the series.
And that villain is… Loki!!
Just kidding, Hiddlestoners. The Big Bad is Graviton, a gravity-defying villain who could have been very useful to Sandy Bullock in the phenomenal major motion picture Gravity that is currently playing in a theater near you. But that’s neither here nor there, nor up nor down nor anything else that makes sense because gravity is confusing.
Graviton — or, more accurately, the man who will become Graviton — died tonight, after Coulson and his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. decided to pursue a powerful weapon/force of energy that could probably take out the human race in an instant if it found itself in the wrong hands.
Fitz and Simmons’ former mentor Dr. Franklin Hall knew this, so he decided to sacrifice himself in a blaze of glory lest this new, next nuclear bomb/tesseract cube come to life, which would have been a very noble way to die had he not been instantly resurrected as some sort of grayish, FernGully-esuqe Gravity Monster.
But more on that later, I’m guessing. In the meantime, let’s get to…
So how did Skye — a 20-something computer hacker with a tragically lacking educational background and ambiguous motivations — find herself front and center in a super-duper-secret Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. government mission?
That’s easy, silly. Because of the government shutdown! Everybody else was furloughed!
Err, not really. But everybody else was kind of screwed, since Dr. Hall was kidnapped by a handsome, greedy corporate type named Ian Quinn and brought to Malta, a foreign land in which anything goes except for foreign intervention. Quinn’s people nabbed Hall in the middle of a S.H.I.E.L.D. operation gone wrong thanks to gravitonium, the very substance Hall, S.H.I.E.L.D. and co. were trying to protect. Quinn’s greed and the sheer power of the substance/force of nature served as Hall’s impetus to call it quits and bury the matter in the first place, but more on that in a second.
So while this deadly, Priority Red kidnapping was taking place, a surly-as-usual Agent Ward was training Skye in the ways of deadly combat up on The Bus. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife, but they didn’t tear off their clothes and go at it because this is a family show on a family network, dammit. Sex won’t happen until at least February sweeps.
In the meantime, Ward and Skye flirted via sharing painful childhood experiences, which for Ward consisted of getting beat up by his older brother in order to save his younger brother, and for Skye consisted of getting thrown out of a series of unloving foster homes. I’ll leave it to you to decide who had it worse. Ward also told Skye that the truth serum he was given back in episode one was all a giant fake-out to get Skye on board, but this has not yet been confirmed by Coulson and therefore cannot be accepted as fact.
After the team was given word on Hall’s kidnapping, Agents Fitz and Simmons freaked out and said a whole bunch of science-y things that I didn’t understand and don’t care to because A, it doesn’t matter, and B, I am finding it impossible to care even remotely about Fitz or Simmons at this moment. I’m being deadly serious when I say that if they just didn’t appear in next week’s episode I probably would not even notice and henceforth would never think of them again. Maybe ABC could axe them, combine their salaries, multiply them by 34,934, and get Chris Hemsworth to make a cameo on a future episode. IT WOULD BE WORTH IT.
Anywho, so Dr. Hall was now a prisoner in Quinn’s giant Malta mansion instead of a recluse in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s bureaucratic bosom, but lucky for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, the boisterous Quinn was about to throw a rockin, invite-only science party. Skye used her Rising Tide hacker knowledge to score an Evite, which brought us to the series’ first sexy, Alias-esque spy rescue — complete with red dress and multifunctional compact mirror.
Skye’s mission, as I understood it, was to hack her way into a complex grid that was guarding Quinn’s compound/legally keeping the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team out. She completed said mission, but only after a very effective fake-out that had me and, admit it, the rest of you convinced that Skye was pretty damn evil and working for Rising Tide this whole time.
Well, I guess she technically still could be, but she wasn’t today — and a lot of that may have something to do with Agent Ward. Quinn gave a compromised Skye slack for teaming up with S.H.I.E.L.D., a Big Brother bureaucracy that “preys on fear, loneliness, and desperation,” but Skye quickly countered with a poorly worded argument about medium brothers protecting little brothers from mean big brothers and… I don’t know, it was silly, but we all got the point that Skye likes Ward just as much as Ward likes Skye.
Skye then used some of Ward’s training techniques to nab Quinn’s gun and sneak away, while Coulson and Ward invaded the compound to rescue Hall. Only when Coulson finally got to him, Hall basically told him to eff off.
“Our strategy did not take into consideration you saying that,” Coulson said, adorably. (ASIDE: Do I even need to say that at this point? Can we just assume from now on that anything Coulson says and does is saturated with a level of adorableness previously reserved for corgis and Hemsworths?)
Hall explained to Coulson that the gravitonium — a substance that easily destroyed a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. vans in the cold open — was far too powerful for human hands, and when Coulson objected, Hall very fairly pointed out that the last time S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to explore a new power source it ended in alien invasion. Hall’s plan was to take the gravitonium to the bottom of the ocean, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, Coulson essentially murdered Hall by dropping him into the center of a gravitonium orb-thingy that can really only be described as Eye of Sauron-esque.
This would have been a “that’s all she wrote” type of thing if it weren’t for the tag sequence that made your DVRs run until 9:01. (This is the part where you run to your TV to make sure that it still recorded Supernatural.) As the credits rolled, we saw that S.H.I.E.L.D. got the Eye of Sauron gravitonium thingy after all, and as they locked it away deep in the bowels of S.H.I.E.L.D.-land a creep-tastic CGI hand furiously reached out to let the world know that It. Was. Mad!!
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention Agent Melinda May in this here recap, and that’s because she essentially didn’t do anything until the final moments of the episode. (Well, the final moments BEFORE the final moment where the hand popped out.)
Mysterious May has been silently sulking about in the background throughout the first three episodes of the show — which is a shame, since she’s infinitely more interesting than either Fitz or Simmons. But we were treated to a sign of positive things to come when she approached Coulson after tonight’s mission, essentially to complain about how bored she was. “I want in,” she said. “Reporting for combat.”
Alright then! I’m excited to see what May’s increased involvement will bring to the table, since as of now only three members of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team have proven themselves to be somewhat engaging. (And, admittedly, I really only enjoy Ward as a love interest for Skye.) A major big bad like Graviton could really help the show too, since I really don’t think that the Avengers crowd will continue to tune in for a weekly procedural spy show. This isn’t CBS, it’s Marvel — we want monsters and aliens, dammit!
What did you think of the episode, viewers? Are you hoping to see more of Graviton? Are the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. growing on you, or do you miss the Scar Jo’s and Jeremy Renners of this world? Let us know in the comments!