Tahiti is a Magical Place – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

October 9, 2013

Joss Whedon has been a pretty busy guy lately. Especially now that more and more people seem to actually know who he is and support his projects. Marvel trusts in him so much after the success of The Avengers that they let him have a TV show on network TV. Generally, this doesn’t bode well given the sad and still depressing fates of Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was created and is already doing well after only three weeks.

From the get go, I was a little suspicious. Not only because focusing on the government style agency without the Avengers seemed like it could be less exciting, but also because they killed off Agent Coulson in The Avengers. Yet there he was popping up in the premiere, which takes place after the movie. They got around this claiming Nick Fury constructed his death as a way to bring the Avengers together. In the show, they continue to repeat the mantra that Coulson, while wounded, took a trip to Tahiti: “a magical place.” I’m game now. But still very suspicious.


Aside from Coulson, over the course of the first three episodes, we get to know the team he’s put together that live and work on an specially outfitted cargo plane. To me this seems like making more Firefly, only in the Marvel world, and I’m very okay with that. And that brings us to the third episode, “The Asset.”

The episode steers us in many directions before revealing the truth of the situation, from the stereotypical trucker who is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to the precious cargo being a man, Dr. Franklin Hall. Those of you familiar with the comics will know that Dr. Hall later becomes Graviton, making this episode somewhat of an origin story that connects with our S.H.I.E.L.D. team as Fitz and Simmons studied under him.

Gravitonium affects the big rig.

Gravitonium affects the big rig.

We also learn more about Skye, who seems completely unmotivated to become a field agent (and we still don’t know what her end game is), while Ward struggles to teach her fighting techniques. When the team learns that Ian Quinn has kidnapped Dr. Hall through use of a mini Gravitonium ball that flung a semi truck around like it was a rag doll, they plot to rescue him. Little do they know that Dr. Hall is not a prisoner helps Quinn develop a 12 foot Gravitonium ball.

Through her expert hacking skills, Skye gets an invite to Quinn’s party and volunteers to help Coulson and Ward get past the barriers to rescue Dr. Hall. While sneaking around, she gives herself up as working for S.H.I.E.L.D. to Quinn, veering us in the direction of assuming she’s betraying her new team. Instead she uses Ward’s disarming technique–although she still can’t shoot the gun–and jumps out the window. The security guards catch up to her, ready to eliminate her before Ward rescues her. Meanwhile, Coulson tries to rescue Dr. Hall, who instead powers up the Gravitonium in an attempt to save the world, which will not only destroy the material, but take the building with it.

After flailing around a topsy-turvy room, Coulson shoots the glass from under Dr. Hall’s feet, sucking him into the giant Gravitonium ball and stopping its power. Skye is now more motivated than ever to become a field agent, finally dedicating herself to learning from Ward. And at the end, when the Gravitonium is stored unlabeled in the deepest basement level S.H.I.E.L.D. has, we see a hand reach out…

The episode had the classic Whedon balance of action, humor, and drama. While I found some of the drama of Ward and Skye’s past a bit cheesy, the action was fun and the quipping between the teammates was amusing. Now that we know a little more about Skye and Ward, I hope we get to know Fitz, Simmons, and May better. And maybe someday they’ll tell us what happens on Tahiti.

About the Author
Stephanie is a TV obsessed, cosplaying, cat enthusiast with too many college degrees. She can usually be found parked in front of Netflix for hours or out and about in Chicago discovering a new craft beer. Aside from her 9-5, she works as a freelance writer and editor.  Read her blog at http://stephanieplusverb.wordpress.com/

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