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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1x12 - "Seeds"

This week, on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we learn it only takes one bad seed to start a Blizzard. Or something. The second major (well, minor, but for this show, major) Marvel supervillain debuted on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the form of Donnie Gill, who in Marvel Comics goes by the nom de crime Blizzard. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Donnie Gill is a sullen, ostracized, teenage scientific genius matriculating at the S.H.I.E.L.D. science academy, dreaming one day of being assigned to The Sandbox. We meet him and his fellow academy schoolchums when they sneak into the S.H.I.E.L.D. swimming pool at night for some sexy time swimming and promptly find themselves in a pool frozen in ice. An incident like that is just slightly weird and inconsequential enough to the security of the world to bring Coulson's crack team to the academy on the case. Well, not, all of them. Coulson and May drop the kids off with Ward in charge while they zoom off to Mexico City on a hush hush mission of their own. Ward's gotta hang with a school full of S.H.I.E.L.D. science nerds who think Fitz is the coolest thing since gamma rays.

A few weeks back, Skye made a crack that she never attended "S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts." It turns out S.H.I.E.L.D.'s academies are actually a lot like Hogwarts; they are divided into different "Houses," like Operations, where Ward learned his secret agent killing skills, and Science, where Fitz-Simmons were the youngest graduates and now return like rock stars to their old stomping grounds. S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts is even run by a British lady, Agent Weaver, who acts like a school marm and not the administrator of a facility that trains adult future spies dabbling in dangerous, sometimes alien, technology. Ward makes a point to show Skye the famed Wall of Valor present in every S.H.I.E.L.D. academy, honoring the names of graduates who fell in the line of duty. Skye immediately finds "Bucky Barnes," which is a cool shout out to Captain America's World War II sidekick. Wait, Bucky came from the science academy? That doesn't make sense. Double wait, Fitz-Simmons pointed out S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II and Bucky was dead by then, so how is he an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and why would he be on this Wall of Valor? Perhaps Captain America: The Winter Soldier will provide some answers?

Fitz-Simmons dropped some other cool Marvel references in their speech to the academy, mentioning Hydra, Centipede, and A.I.M. But their presentation (and the pictures they promised) was interrupted when Donnie Gill suddenly found himself frozen in a block of ice. Fitz-Simmons and Ward spring to action and free him from the ice after Ward cleverly stomps on the ice device. Fitz then decides to befriend Gill, since he can relate to being a brilliant loner in this school, while Simmons shows Ward and Skye the Boiler Room (of Requirement), the secret place all the students go to hang out in, which has a bar and a pool table. It looked a lot like the Comic Con after party I attended last year, minus the guys in Optimus Prime cosplay dueling with lightsabers while dancing to Nintendo theme songs. It doesn't take long for Fitz-Simmons to figure out Donnie Gill and his school chum Seth Dormer staged the swimming pool incident to lure Fitz-Simmons back to the school, specifically so Fitz could befriend Gill and help him fix his ice making device. A fiendish plan that worked to perfection! With a larger, more powerful ice device now completed thanks to Fitz's unwitting help, Gill and Dormer KO Fitz and abscond with the ice device, intending to sell it to the odious Ian Quinn, last seen offering Skye a job in "The Asset," which introduced Graviton into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  So Ian Quinn's always around when the Marvel comic book villains pop up in the show?

The cool, cruel Donnie Gill and Seth Dormer attempt to complete their sale of their super villain ice device to Ian Quinn, but the heat was on and Quinn backed out. Like dummies, Gill and Dormer turn on the ice device anyway, creating a super storm that forces everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. academy to pause and gaze up at wonder at the inclement clouds in the sky and ice balls raining down from above. The device explodes and Dormer is injured, but May pilots the Bus through the eye of the storm so they can rescue Dormer, while Gill gets away, now newly ice powered and still in league with Quinn. A Blizzard is coming.  Coulson personally calls Quinn and makes with the threats, but Quinn replies that he's buddies with The Clairvoyant, so Quinn is in like Flynn with Centipede. 

Meanwhile, in "Mexico City, Mexico," so that we're all clear where "Mexico City" is, May and Coulson are hot on the trail of a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was the partner of the dead lady agent who dropped baby Skye off at the orphanage. With Coulson in a perpetual Quiet Mode, still brooding over the surgeries S.H.I.E.L.D. performed that brought him back to life - especially that gross thing the medical droids did to his brain - Melinda May becomes Chatty Cathy, trying to blab Coulson back into talkitude and reaffirm his faith in S.H.I.E.L.D.anity. Coulson, now not a big fan of secrets, pretends he doesn't hear when May reveals she and Ward have been bumping uglies on and off The Bus, but their target was in sight so Coulson and May spring into action, even letting Lola take flight.

Soon, they've captured their former colleague, who spins a yarn that 24 years ago, his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents tracked an 0-8-4 and got massacred. The 0-8-4 was the baby who would later name herself Skye, and after Agent Avery, who dropped Skye off at the orphanage was killed, Agent Scaredycat got scared and hid for 24 years, but not before instituting a protocol so that Skye would always be under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection by being cycled to different orphanages and foster homes as she grew up. So the tragic past Skye hated where she felt like none of the foster families ever wanted her was really all for her protection from whomever wanted to kill her. That's pretty cool. Now that she knows that S.H.I.E.L.D. has actually been protecting her all her life, plus she got to hang out at Hogwarts, it only reaffirmed Skye's desire to become part of S.H.I.E.L.D. As Ward watched Skye gaze once more at the Wall of Valor and the names of the Agents who protected her as an infant, one half expected for Skye to start singing "Part of that World," like Ariel in The Little Mermaid.  Later,  Coulson explained what makes Skye such a special person to May in a speech so hackneyed, it would make Stan Lee blush. Thereby truly making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Marvel as it gets.