Monday, October 19, 2015

Agents of Suck, DOA

That's it. I'm done with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Period.

We know that, with Fox holding the license to X-Men in a stranglehold / death grip, AoS started using the Inhumans in place of mutants.

I just didn't know they'd be doing so much of the X-men plot -- not the awesome plot where they're fighting intergalactic empires, but the plot where people with superpowers are persecuted, and whine about how they have awesome powers and no one understands them.

Yeah. That.

You know what? When they started using SHIELD in place of the X-Men in an attempt to put together Secret Warriors from the comics, I should have known they would go the same exact route as X-Men -- angsty "WAAAHHHH, I'm a monster" bullcrap.  I'm sorry, Mr. "I shoot lightning, but I just want to be a surgeon," get off your pansey ass, grab some spandex, and throw lightning at some bad guys. "Waaah, I'm a Monster?" yeah, well, so's the Incredible Hulk, and the movie Bruce Banner is a lot less whiney than you are.

And you know what? That wasn't the only problem.  The problem was the entire plot is being effected by this. The whiney is spreading.

The last episode pretty much put a nail in the coffin for me. We had two stories -- which, right now, have nothing to do with each other.  Nothing. At All.

One's a swaggering badass. The other is on Agents of SHIELD.
On the one hand, we have an Inhuman from the camp led by Skye / Daisy / Quake's mother last season.  He's an MD who shoots lightning out of his fingers.  Really. And we spent the entire plot thread following this sky, who spends most of the time brooding and on the run, and he doesn't do it half as well as Bill Bixby. And, of course, once "Daisy" tracks him down and starts making out with him...

Wait? What?

No, stop.  Just stop.  It's been made quite clear that it's been six months between seasons and Daisy is only now bringing up that fact that she's in love with this schlub? In love with a character she's spent maybe a few hours with that we're aware of? No. Just no.  Period. I'm so freaking done here.  And hell, while we're at it, the ONLY reason she gives a crap is because she loves the guy? Really? Wow, what shallow-end-of-the-gene-pool writing. How ... Jeph Loeb of them. Seriously, can't that man just go back to Heroes and stay there?

Of course, this story entirely undermines Daisy's moments from previous episodes, where she's trying to bring Inhumans into a big tent under SHIELD, and how they could all be brought in and made to understand what's happening to them, train them, and maybe send them back into society with a change of name and some methods to disappear. But no, she's female and must be motivated by love of this person who is as bland and generic as she was?


The sad thing is that Daisy seemed more sincere and passionate about saving the mutant -- um, Inhuman -- in the first episode than she did saving someone she's supposed to be in love with. No, I'm not kidding.

Of course, this story is jammed into the overarching plot of the new anti-Mutant .... um, anti-"alien threat" response unit.  It might be interesting if they spend more time with Coulson than with Daisy, because I'd rather see the grownups work out these problems than anything else. But, no, someone decided that Daisy was more interesting than Coulson from day one -- curious, as Daisy only became slightly interesting to me this season.

In the other plot, we have Agents May and hunter trying to track down Ward -- tall dark and wooden from Season 1 and 2 -- who, really, shouldn't have made it past season 1. Seriously, whoever's in charge, Ward isn't interesting. He has moments that are completely out of place in his monotone of blandness. This episode was threatening to work up the food chain of Hydra through an old contact of Hunter's, getting him into fight club -- the contact turns on Hunter, and Hunter has to beat him to death.  Somehow, Hunter feels bad about killing someone who he describes during the episode as a cold blooded murdering psychopath who he is not friends with. Really? Um, guys? Character-driven drama only works if I care about your characters, AND IF THEY ARE CONSISTENT.  This is not consistent. This is ... stupid. More below

Meanwhile, a subplot that's barely there is trying to bring Gemma Simmons out of her PTSD fit after being on an alien planet for six months.  And, you know what? This is the most interesting part of the show.  I think we could have had an entire episode dedicated to that. Hell, have her try to interact with everyone when she's at a point where she jumps at the slightest sounds. This is the best acted, best executed part of the story.  It is emotional and passionate, and more believable than believing that Daisy isn't shallow.

Then, at the end of the episode, Simmons declares that she has to to back to the alien planet--- DUN DUN DUUUUUUN.

... Except by that point, I had already given up. I was done the moment Daisy (with no foreshadowing, hint, explanation, or visible on-screen chemistry) kissed lightning-boy in the middle of an operation to extract him from the pile of excrement he was in.

Seriously, I'm done.

Season 1 didn't gel until the last 6 episodes because of movie concerns.

Season 2 didn't come together because they were all over the freaking place for the length of the season, going through three sets of adversaries before they decided who the enemy was.

And now, Season 3 has three plotlines at the start.   Normally, I would wait for the sequoia to hit the submarine, but previous seasons have taught me that they won't know what they're doing until the last six episodes.  At best, the mid-season finale will end one thread and start another, canceling out one of these threads.

But no, I don't care.

I might have been curious about how this all ties together at the end ... but no. I'm not.  I'm more curious about how it'll tie in with the next Captain America film.

You know, had they possessed some concept of what they were doing from the beginning, this show may have had a chance. But no, it's an ensemble show that has been saddled mostly with people I cannot care about, whose motives are contrived at best, and at worst, are capricious as hell.

Also ... I think I found the problem with this show. It was while I was going over the "Hunt for Ward" plot.  Ward is now the head of Hydra, and this mission is dismissed early on as though it's a side project, and a purely personal vendetta...

Wait? Really? Hydra are the bad guys; they are professional bad guys. They need to be stopped and staked and put into the ground. Does no one remember than Hydra is the reason SHIELD is a pile of bricks that Coulson has to single-handedly (pun not intended) rebuild? Why isn't there a team behind May and Hunter tracking Ward down?

This led me to one very important point -- Where are all these Agents of SHIELD?  Why does Coulson have to be involved directly with everything? Where's the rest of this organization? After all, remember how Nick Fury showed up to make an appointment with Pepper Potts in Iron man and went undercover with Stark in Iron Man 2, and then took over the Mjoliner landing site during Thor and met with the General at the end of The Incredible Hulk? Yeah, neither do I. Because Coulson was the point man.  Fury was the man behind the curtains who could play spymaster and pull strings, and only move in when he absolutely had to.

Coulson doesn't have a Coulson -- he doesn't even have anyone he can trust enough to act on their own. In any capacity. Daisy looked like she was getting there, but no, she was undermined by a subordinate as well as Coulson himself -- on the grounds that the team leader who can level buildings has to be protected from random government minion #3. Yeah. Sure. Right. Dumbass excuse for more dumbass reasoning for more dumbass forced choices and for the love of God stop it, Marvel. Fire Jeph Loeb. Better yet, shoot Jeph Loeb, if only because he wrote Ultimatum.

Let's dress her like a badass ... then make her motivated by love and undermine her command authority because
she "needs to be protected."
And, while we're at it, has anyone noticed the command structure lately? Who's the head of SHIELD's science division? Fitzsimmons? Cute trick, since both were basically MIA for six months -- one in outer space, the other trying to find her. Who's the Deputy Director of Operations? Who's the DD of Intelligence? I think the answer to everything is Coulson.

Come to think of it, who's in charge of SHIELD's armed forces? Because when Fury showed up in a helicarrier in Age of Ultron, I presume he didn't dial up everyone on his Rolodex personally. We know that Fury was behind Coulson, and it should have been "Hey, Phil, I need a helicarrier and enough personnel to run an evacuation of a floating city in Eastern Europe." We know that Coulson had the helicarriers in mothballs, and there have to be enough people to maintain them ... so where are all of these people?

In short, Agents of SHIELD is stunted. We're only just now in a place the story and the show should have been over a year ago. It doesn't feel like Coulson's running the CIA. It still feels like he's running a single team, only out of a basement instead of a plane. In fact, after the whole two-SHIELD storyline last season, there was supposed to be rule by committee ... where'd the committee go? Coulson's been making several high-level command decisions lately, and he's not consulting anyone.

It's amazing. It's been three years of this show and so little has changed.  After all this time, they've given acting lessons to Fitzsimmons and Daisy, given their useless hacker superpowers and training, but it's too little, too late. It still feels like nothing has changed -- one step forward, take a light-year back.

It's been argued  that last week's episode (S3, E3) was just one episode. But no. It's really the last straw. It has proven that, at the end of the day, Agents of SHIELD will always manage to focus on exactly the wrong thing. Instead of Daisy as she's getting interesting, focus on the latest X-men reject who doesn't actually want any help. Instead of focusing on Hunter getting in with Hydra, let's take two minutes to mourn for a raging psychopath no one cared about, including our characters. Instead of focusing on Simmons and Coulson for most of the episode, the focus was on almost everyone else.

And I'm tired of it. Goodbye, Agents of Suck. I may tune in for the last six episodes and see how much Civil War is going to impact your plot line. But aside from that, I await news of your ultimate cancellation, and hopefully, Coulson's return to the Marvel theatrical universe, or perhaps his appearance on Netflix, assembling the Defenders.

Because otherwise, I just don't care.


  1. So, you're saying I can take this one out of my backup DVR queue? (My DVR records 2 at a time and when 3 are on at the same time I put all 3 in so if one doesn't run for some reason, the other two will still be recorded. e.g. NCIS:LA, Blindspot, Castle)

    1. That's what I'd suggest, yes. By all means, make your own decision, but I've just had it.

  2. I love it when the world rids itself of wasted potential. You know, I actually wondered why they had both Agent Carter *and* Agents of SHIELD as separate shows. If they had made ONE show, and combined effort, some of the negatives from each might have canceled each other out. Maybe, just maybe they could have produced something worth watching.


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