Hello, true believers! After a week’s break, we are back to the love/hate relationship that is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In tonight’s episode, titled “F.Z.Z.T.,” the Fury gang finds itself taking on an elusive killer where “no one is safe!” The episode is the precursor to the tie-in episode to this weekend’s much anticipated sequel, Thor: The Dark World, but will F.Z.Z.T. be able to stand on its own? Hit the jump for my review.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has had more than its share of problems when it comes to both the ratings department and, most importantly, the story department. Viewers are beginning to flock away from the show in droves, and the complaints regarding subplots going nowhere and lack of three-dimensional characters are beginning to show more with each passing week. So did this most recent episode address all the problems? Unfortunately, no.
Our episode begins with Skye being readily accepted back into the crew with next to no repercussions for her previous betrayal. It is a bit hard to believe that everyone, minus Ward, is so nonchalant about Skye figuratively plunging a knife into their backs in the previous episode, only to find everyone welcoming her back with open arms. If they were all a group of buddies in a fantasy football league, that would be one thing, but this is S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re an espionage agency which is harboring a potential double agent on the go ahead from their commanding officer, a.k.a. Coulson. More raised eyebrows would be nice, regardless of monitoring Skye’s every move, which one would think they should have been doing from the get-go anyway.
The crew investigates the first of many corpses floating above the ground, pumped full of electricity. Later, it’s revealed that the deaths are being caused by an alien helmet originally brandished by the Chitauri, the alien race from The Avengers, which, if you’ve been reading my past reviews, is a growing complaint that I’ve had with each passing episode. The characters are starting to feel like they’re each vehicles created solely for the purpose of telling us that yes, the Avengers and the New York incident happened. We need these characters to stand on their own, with predicaments and storylines that are self-contained.
Clark Gregg has a heartfelt moment with the firefighter who found the helmet, explaining to him how he can relate to his predicament. Of course, the way he can relate is by once again hinting at his death and unexplained resurrection. It’s yet another plot point that should give the audience more substantial information with each episode, rather than mentioning it in passing a la the Avengers references. Once the firefighter dies due to a virus created from said helmet, the agents find themselves in a scenario that was nearly identical to episode two, “0-8-4,” in that they need to take this extremely deadly item onto their plane back to HQ. Cue Simmons revealing symptoms similar to the dying firefighter, and another great scene of Gregg casually walking outside of the room and locking her in to die, saving the rest of the crew from the infection.
Another wasted opportunity to build on the blank slates that are Fitz and Simmons. If we don’t see these characters developed further when one is about to die, I feel like we’re never going to get there. Throughout the process of Simmons potentially DYING, Fitz continues to crack jokes and the two banter with one another as if the grim reaper isn’t imminently knocking on the door. The joke Fitz makes about the rat dying, which is infected in an attempt to find a cure for Simmons, comes across as really crass and thoughtless. I can’t feel anything when watching the team’s emotions toward Simmons since there hasn’t been a link created between her and the audience. At least some information about their backgrounds, stale as it is, has been revealed in their discussion of their training days prior to S.H.I.E.L.D.
An unexpected twist arises in the form of Simmons throwing herself out of the cargo hold of the plane, only seconds after Fitz discovers a cure. I have to admit that I didn’t see that coming and it could have helped show that maybe our main characters aren’t safe… but she’s saved! The cure in fact worked and Agent Ward grabs her out of freefall. Hurrah… It all just seems so family friendly that it kills any potential drama the show could have developed from the group dealing with and reeling from her passing.
This episode was the definition of by-the-numbers. The problems that have been plaguing the show continue to be there, and outside of Coulson, the characters we are following are barely more than cardboard cutouts. The show needs to find an identity for itself and find its way out of the shadow of its big brother Marvel movie franchise. Start throwing some spackle on ABC, because the cracks are showing.
Agents of Miscellanea:
– “Not a fan of getting poked.”
– “Man of my age?”
– “I know I lied to you guys, but I was trying to protect my boyfriend!” It’s hard to believe this line was delivered seriously.
– Skye and Fitzsimmons’ impersonations of Ward were fairly humorous, as well as Ward’s impersonation of himself.
– “TIME. Any idea what could have caused all of this?”
– S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem has got to be on everything the crew uses. I just can’t see how it’s a good idea, as a spy agency, to identify yourself with a nametag on the side of the Escalade in which you’re tailing a suspect.