renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
No one is more surprised than me that I am back on board the Agents of SHIELD train for Season 3. But the second half of Season 2 managed to be fairly compelling television even though I was furious about the midseason finale. There was a narrative that we don't often see between mothers and daughters and the fracturing of Coulson's iron grip on what SHIELD will become in the future. I'm still on Team "Burn it Down" Rogers, but unfortunately it seems like the MCU as a whole has decided that what we should take away from The Winter Soldier isn't caution, but instead a deference to people with powers and skills, because they know best how to deal with large scale alien or super powered threats. The reborn SHIELD seems to be picking up all the same old bad habits, leaving the whole world vulnerable to the impending struggle to fill that power vacuum and claim control. Anyway, politics are complicated and I made a C in Civics, so I'm not too qualified to talk on that point. I'm just here for the feelings.

I feel like a minority because my favorite part of the show continues to be Skye, who is now going by Daisy (cue those feelings I mentioned). This is probably because I accidentally found myself in an anti-lady echo chamber where a bunch of professional writers I follow who are men sit around and complain about how boring she is while often writing male characters just like her in their own work. Not that I am unbearably bitter about this or anything.

Her development is my favorite part of this show and why I'm so glad they've shifted the focus from Phil Coulson to her. It's not big news that we've seen origin stories like this before, but I'm continually stoked that we're getting an ensemble show with her explicitly at the center of the plot. She's been foolhardy, wrong, manipulated, heroic, broken, charming, awkward, scared, and powerful and the goal is for us to identify and empathize with her. I'm way more used to seeing her role filled by a man. Especially since men in power generally don't take girls to be protégés (I will accept Phil Coulson as the vehicle for Daisy's ascent to power, good job, completely unexpected and random fan favorite). In a world still waiting for modern day superheroes to be women — a lack that will be addressed again in November when Jessica Jones comes out — Daisy's presence is something I really appreciate. Although Ana tells me I shouldn't hope for Daisy to be a major player in the upcoming Inhumans film, I can't help but be foolish and idealistic, and not only because I love Daisy. It would also bring women-helmed films up to two for Phase III. I believe in you, Marvel!

Daisy with her arm outstretched looking toward the viewer

The first episode was really fun, emotional, and quippy without being too overbearing, escaping the fate that plagued Age of Ultron by not trying to jam everyone's stories into one episode. Amid references to as many Phase II projects as possible and outright foreshadowing to Captain America: Civil War, we got tons of cool stuff. There's Daisy and Mack as BFFs, Bobbi as a rad scientist, and Fitz double-crossing a group of thieves/gangsters in a desperate attempt to find a clue to save Jemma, who was eaten by an evil rock at the end of Season 2. Phil was doing the same old thing with Lance; unfortunately they are the characters I care about the least, but were elevated by their interactions with one of our new characters, Rosalind.

Joey with his armed crossed listening to Daisy's explanation of what has happened to him.

One of the most exciting things: we got our first explicitly queer character in the MCU. Joey seemed like a cool, well-adjusted dude before he took one too many fish oil tablets and got his DNA all swirled up in a Inhuman cocktail. He survived the first episode. Dear show: don't fuck this up. He's being framed as a guy who finally got his life together only to watch it crumble through his fingers, and he swings through anger, denial, and desperation throughout the episode. Juan Pablo Raba gave one of the best performances of the episode, tying with Constance Zimmer (Rosalind) in my book, both coming second to Iain De Caestecker (Fitz).

Daisy and Mack discussing plans with Coulson

Another detail I loved was Daisy and Mack becoming partners. After Mack's half paranoid/half justified suspicion of people with powers last season, it's great to see him working with Daisy in an equal partnership where it seems like they respect and like each other. Their skills complement one another really well. I loved Mack in Season 2, although they had trouble giving him a strong storyline until the very end other than his careful rehabilitation of Fitz (I still ship them so hard). However, I really hope him teaming up with Daisy brings him more to the forefront without getting him killed. I love that he's the quippy voice of reason in this partnership. There's a part in the episode where he wishes he had his axe, or even a gun axe, and I was like, "Yes, someone get Mack a gunblade IMMEDIATELY."

Phil chained to a subway bench while Rosalind stands over him and interrogates him

We got Phil and Rosalind bantering while Phil was tied up, which was really great for me. I'm apparently into watching women with more political power than Phil tower over him. I also really like this actress and the cool nonchalance she approaches Phil with; she turns his own easygoing cool-guy routine back on him and she's really great at it. I will take Rosalind as a villain or a good guy or gray area figure, whatever, she is excellent. I was impressed with the little twist they added in: neither SHIELD nor Rosalind's people are killing the Inhumans. So does this mean a future team up, or possibly opposing teams of Inhumans between the government and SHIELD?

Silhouette of Lash with only his feathers limed in light in a dark hallway

The actual bad guy is a giant blue lizard bird with some kind of energy power who apparently doesn't like the Inhumans at all and plans to track them all down to burn out their hearts from their chest while they're still alive. So, a really swell dude who handled his acquisition of powers super responsibly! Lincoln, Daisy, and Mack working together barely bring him down, and Daisy eventually saves the their asses by dropping him through the floor. I loved that she got to have the save. Let's continue this trend, show! Daisy is the best. :D I'm curious about how they're going to handle Lincoln, given he's not so chill with his powers anymore and doesn't seem to be a big fan of SHIELD, either. I sense factions!

Fitz screaming at the large black stone monolith

Probably the most emotionally devastating part of the episode is Jemma's disappearance, sucked into the evil monolith and vanished, while Fitz searches the world for answers about the monolith and what could have happened to her. The clumsy, uncertain Fitz of the first season is completely wiped away, replaced with the Fitz we have now, pretty broken, bravado resting on someone who doesn't care what the answers cost, and unwilling to accept that Jemma might be gone for good. I did not see him getting a gun to go physically threaten the evil monolith coming, which is a great example of how he's changed: in the first season he might have just taken Phil's (asshole) advice and moved on. Not this Fitz! Nope, time to go beat the hell out of he rock and yell. Fitz was an emotional time bomb this whole episode. It was great and thumbs up to De Caestecker.

Jemma looking behind her at the abandoned desert of an alien planet and the outline of two strange celestial bodies in the sky

Of course, Jemma isn't dead, but she is on a strange alien planet being chased by something that can track her by her blood. This is what I thought would happen as they continue to expand the universe, although Ana's theory that Jemma would come out possessed by aliens was also good. But on the other hand, I'm not sure I want to lose another female character to wondering if they're stable or not, given that fact that this first episode had a distinct lack of Melinda May, who took a vacation and never came back. MY WORST FEAR REALIZED.

More thoughts:

  • Lance is going to go look for Ward, apparently, which is a terrible idea on so many levels given their relative skills at maiming, emotional abuse, and death. Compared to Ward, Lance is a pile of vegetables sitting next to a hungry honey badger. I can't wait for that confrontation.

  • I am really digging Daisy's new suit and her physical presence! GIRL.

  • Phil being unable to get Daisy's name right and his obsession with reminding everyone he lost a hand: ugh, Phil, learn to let go and don't misname people! They kept his hand and it's just hanging out in the lab. I'm trying to give him a break but we get it, Phil. You lost a hand. We're sorry the writers are obsessed with Star Wars. Move on.

  • They kept the axe and it's hanging on the wall in Phil's office.

  • So are they going to do the whole queer/Inhumans thing? Because I sort of thought that was the X-men's schtick. *clueless about comics history*

  • I got so upset that the scroll Fitz went through so much trouble to get turned out to disappoint him so much. What kind of user guide is that, evil monolith experts? Cut us some slack.

  • Can we have more Sif this season?

Date: 2015-10-04 09:31 pm (UTC)
samjohnsson: It's just another mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] samjohnsson
From the IMDB summary of the 3.02: ...and Agent May is at a crossroads in her personal and professional life. Which means that they did in fact learn from the too-many-threads lesson of AoU. If they shoe-horned May in there too...

Date: 2015-10-05 05:50 am (UTC)
monanotlisa: (bobbi morse - aos)
From: [personal profile] monanotlisa
One of the most exciting things: we got our first explicitly queer character in the MCU. Joey seemed like a cool, well-adjusted dude before he took one too many fish oil tablets and got his DNA all swirled up in a Inhuman cocktail. He survived the first episode. Dear show: don't fuck this up.

Yesss, I thought the same!

Also very much into the Daisy-and-Mack team, and into Rosalind...and c'mon, Bobbi. I'd watch a show just with her in a heartbeat. In less than a heartbeat! See icon.

Date: 2015-10-11 06:13 pm (UTC)
biting_moopie: (kurt wink by blasthisass on lj)
From: [personal profile] biting_moopie
I don't have much to add expect that your recap is great and YES to Daisy's portrayal and development.

Heh, I thought the same thing about the scroll. It wasn't any use at all. Didn't everyone already know that the monolith was deadly?


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