Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 1 Review


With every new movie and one-shot the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown larger and larger. It’s not so different from its comic book counterparts where you can pick up an issue of Invincible Iron Man and know that you’re in the same universe as the Hulk.

When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was announced, the plan was for it to slot in to the universe. We had to be able to watch it and believe the Avengers were out there somewhere in that world. And that can be tricky when Joss Whedon decided that there shouldn’t be any big cameos. His theory being that too much attention would be drawn away from the real stars of the show.

There are mentions of the big names and there are certain elements in the story itself that call back to the various stories from the films. It’s enough to make you feel that this is most definitely the same world that was attacked by aliens and saved by the Avengers.

Joss Whedon’s vision for this show was to tell the story of the regular people. What happens to them in a world where superheroes can drop out of the sky?

The pilot brings a top team together with a wide mix of characters. As can be expected from Joss and his team, there are some really great characters here. There’s a gruff stick-in-the-mud (Brett Dalton), a cute English biochemist (Elizabeth Henstridge) and her partner a Scottish engineer (Leo Fitz).

Ming-Na Wen plays Melinda May, an expert in combat with a messy enough past that she doesn’t want to be in the field anymore.

The highlight however has to be Skye (Chloe Bennet). She begins as an outsider who causes nuisance for S.H.I.E.L.D. by hacking their information and getting to the superheroes before they can. Her perspective on things is a little different from the official agents and there are touches of humour to her character that could so easily have been left out.

That isn’t to say that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has an entirely original cast. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is back from the dead to lead the team and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is on the sidelines providing advice and a little bit of intrigue.

There’s a short explanation that Coulson gives about how he survived but Maria Hill and Dr Streiten (a surprise cameo from Firefly star Ron Glass) drop small hints that things might not be as simple as Coulson believes.

With so many characters jammed in to a single hour it’s amazing that all of them got such a decent share of the screen time. But more importantly you walk away with some attachment to some, if not all of them.

The dialogue is witty, with a sense of humour that seems to be lacking in so many other prime-time dramas. This of course is thanks to the writing talents of Jed and Joss Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen.

The plot of episode 1 is designed to bring the team together whilst also setting up other mysteries so it’s fairly standard. Man has superpowers, man gets noticed, S.H.I.E.L.D. want to speak with him and once they track him down they discover something dangerous that introduces a time-limit.

There are certain things left unanswered, sometimes this is because they’re setting up for later episodes but one or two are more likely down to time constraints.  Such as a mystery cure that appears just in time without very much build up or explanation.

In terms of setting up for the episodes to come, then the pilot certainly did its job. By the end you’ll be excited and ready for episode 2. Sometimes the first episode of a new show can be tricky to get in to but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just seemed to get it all right. Gorgeous visuals, loveable characters and enough intrigue to have us coming back for episode 2.

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