Agents of SHIELD
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 2: 0-8-4

Bob Chipman | 2 Oct 2013 10:05
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  • Speaking of Rising Tide, are they the guys with the red plastic masks and berets seen prominently in the series' advertisements? (Maybe a takeoff on Anonymous' appropriation of V For Vendetta's Guy Fawkes mask?) Could very well be, though the berets and the their appearance in Switzerland has some folks speculating that they'll be an incarnation of U.L.T.I.MA.T.U.M. - aka Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind - an "anti-nationalist" terrorist outfit from the late Mark Gruenwald's legendary Captain America run led by banker-turned-revolutionary Flag-Smasher.
  • Another interesting note about Flag-Smasher? In the comics, U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. wear white masks with their black berets, not red ones like seen here. However, a key point in their story came when Flag-Smasher learned that "his" men had been co-opted from within by a secret benefactor... The Red Skull.
  • Coulson's belief (apparently untrue, at least according to a few of his superiors) that he only "almost died" at Loki's hand and spent a vague period of time recuperating in Tahiti comes up again, as does his stock description of it as "a magical place." We'll almost-certainly be waiting a good long while for this to pay off, but here's something: Skye brings a box full of knick-knacks from her van with her when she boards The Bus. Displayed prominently (as in twice, in closeup) among them? A plastic dashboard statue of a Polynesian Dancing Girl.
  • Speaking of Skye, her more tangible connection to Coulson is that they're both superhero fans turned pro and that she also has a blank past - or, at least, blank to everyone else, as it's implied she erased her own past life. I'm hearing a lot of theories bandied about that peg her as a stealth introduction of a Marvel heroine, specifically Jessica Jones. That feels like a reach to me, but I wouldn't be against it.


Do we know how old Coulson is supposed to be? His collectibles habit comes up again in this episode, and I wonder if it's worth noting that he seems especially fixed on WWII and postwar-era material - Captain American most prominently. He's also got "Lola" the hover-car that seems to be only a build or two removed from the one Howard Stark was showing off at the 40s Stark Expo in Captain America. Maybe he's one of those guys who inherited the entirety of his pop-reference directly from his father?

Or maybe for him this stuff really is genuine nostalgia...

There certainly seems to be something out of the ordinary about post-Avengers Coulson, or at least the way he got to be up and walking around again. Is he a clone? Was he healed through some kind of sorcery? Is he a robot - the original Coulson's mind downloaded into a Life Model Decoy?

Or do we have it backwards? What if he was never normal in the first place?

The most persistent theory about Coulson's planned trajectory - originating back when everyone only assumed he would be killed or injured in Avengers - is that his resurrection will involve robotics and will eventually lead to him becoming The Vision. Interesting factoid about Vision: In the comics, his body was actually built from the chassis of another "deceased" hero, the original WWII-era Human Torch. He was an android that would burst into flames when his body made contact with oxygen. This character (or, at least, his body) has already been seen in the Marvel movies - locked up in a glass display (attributed to Professor Phineas T. Horton, Torch's creator in the comics) at the Stark Expo in Captain America.

Wouldn't it be something if "Horton's Synthetic Man" was still up and walking around among us? If "Agent Coulson" was so oddly fixated on strange WWII-era marvels of science because he is one? If nothing else, it'd add a weird bit of poignancy to what right now seems like a more basic "car guy" attachment to "Lola" - one forgotten invention looking out for another.


Supposedly, Episode 3 (The Asset) will feature the Agents' first encounter with a Marvel villain who hasn't appeared in any of the movies yet, Graviton.

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