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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Agents of Shield

   
Author Topic: Agents of Shield
millernumber1
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Anyone catch this last night?

There were several Joss “puncture the moment while still trying to sound ineffably cool” moments, and one Joss “I have serious things to say about serious things” moment (the “you promised” thing where I was more than a bit annoyed at the lack of any kind of sense in terms of who “you” was).

Overall, quite a decent pilot, which is to say kind of a crap episode, but reasonably promising. Probably better in terms of plot than the Elementary pilot (which really is very disappointing, though probably prettier than Shield’s pilot).

I like the concept of the characters, but I want more focus on relationships and backstory and moments of emotion. All of those went to the Super of the Week, which was annoying, even if it’s nice to see Gunn again.

The nerdy Fitz-Simmons couple is probably my favorite.

I watched a bit of Avengers afterwards, and was interested to see how Joss packed more emotions and character moments into the same amount of time in the film over the episode. I know movie scripts are a lot more finely tuned than tv scripts, but there just wasn’t any oomph.

Yet.

One thing did specifically bug me about the characters - the treatment of Maria Hill. Maria Hill is perhaps one of my favorite comics characters from the last decade. She’s smart, she’s lonely, she’s harsh, she’s righteous, she’s the best agent there is.

I love Cobie Smulders. Her turn as Robin in How I Met Your Mother is brilliant, and I love that she’s so dedicated to her role as Hill.

But so far, I’m disappointed. She’s mostly Basil Exposition, in both Avengers and in Shield’s pilot, and so I hope that somehow, she’ll get her development.

Because right now, it’s wasted potential in terms of character and actress.

But still. I’m glad she’s there.

I’ll hang in there.

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MrSquicky
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It was different to be sure. They conspicuously tied it into the whole Marvel universe thing they are doing.

It's funny, I could tell within the first five minutes the one character who I (and I expect most other people) wouldn't like. Can you guess who? (It's probably the one you don't like too.) Other that that one, I liked all the characters.

I especially like that they made (Gunn) Mike kind of stupid. It fit perfectly with his story, but it was very much not a mainstream tv thing to do.

I love Agent Coulson (and Clark Gregg), so it was good to see him back. I agree about Maria Hill, but I'm wondering how much she's going to be a regular, what with her other stuff going on. She may be necessarily relegated to the background.

I'm not sure if this is a comics thing, but it was a little jarring how young many of the super awesome people were and how effortless everything was for them. Joss has generally given his young heroes an air of inexperience and/or a mentor relationship, which seemed absent here. Also, there really wasn't much sense of struggle, especially with the Fitz and Simmons. I expect that this will change as time goes on, but it felt a bit like a generic "team of super awesome pretty, young people solve problems" show, with somewhat better quips.

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Wingracer
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Oh man, I forgot to watch it. Will have to check and see if it's on demand.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:

It's funny, I could tell within the first five minutes the one character who I (and I expect most other people) wouldn't like. Can you guess who? (It's probably the one you don't like too.)

take one part Manic Pixie Dream Girl, add compulsory super ncis haxxor. stir. toss out window.
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millernumber1
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It's on Hulu right now.
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millernumber1
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The characters I found most irritating were the hacker and the "I don't play well with others" agent dude. I thought the scientists were most promising - but really, other than the Super of the Week, everyone (including Coulson) was just kinda generic Whedon quippy. I really hope they turn the focus on the team and away from the Super of the Week and the villains, or this show is just going to kinda tank.
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Lyrhawn
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To be honest, I didn't really like any of the characters. They were all horribly stock characters, and just because Whedons dialogue was coming out of their mouths didn't really make up for that fact. The Fitz Simmons pair was the worst offender of that. Could on was the only one I liked, even if he was a Whedons one liner PEZ dispenser.

Having said all that, I will give it a good chance. I has a lot of potential.

Maria hill will be in more episodes once HIMYM ends.

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SenojRetep
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I didn't enjoy it at all, so I turned it off after about 20 minutes. I doubt I'll watch any more episodes.
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LargeTuna
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i'd say i found the first ten minutes very methodical and dull, with the exception of the J. August Richards side story. However, was totally won back by the final act, which worked well.

I'll hang on for a while, I just need the show to do more interesting things and create more interesting conflicts than just being an NCIS or Burn Notice with superpowers.

Here's to hoping they approach breaking stories more like a Firefly or Angel!

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AchillesHeel
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I adore Mike's speech at the end, up until it hit the giants bit. I hope they keep him around, not only because he is THE James Gunn, but because I like the idea of an actual everyman in the mix. Mike is a bit naive and fearful, and so are we, so why not leave him a little bit of juice to make him an asset so he really can become a "hero."

Fitz and Simmons were adorable if a bit too quick.

Ming Na Wen's fight was perfect. Quick, accurate and ended with the enemy viciously subdued. Here's hoping we don't see much of Whedon's patented block-block-punch block-block-kick/duck a kick/punch. I'm not sold on her character yet but I have faith in her acting ability.

The plane seems a bit small to be the full scale HQ set. Did anyone else flashback to the Serenity when the camera hit the tail end of the plane?

Oh look, it's Shepherd Book. Joss Whedon really does love us.

Lola is my least favorite character.

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Geraine
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Keep in mind the first episode had the task of introducing a bunch of new characters to the Marvel Universe, so we need to give it some time for the character development. It IS Joss Whedon, so it WILL happen, it is just difficult to do in 47 minutes.

I thought the ending of the episode was a kind of lame but funny wink to Back to the Future. I enjoyed the episode, I'm just afraid people are going into the show thinking it is going to have the same quality as The Avengers and being let down when it isn't. Producing a show like this on a TV budget isn't going to give us Avengers quality effects, or writing for that matter. In a film you have years to write for a two to three hour film. On a show like this you have to write for 20+ hours of content, and you have probably 8 months to do it. Things are going to drag on a bit.

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Aros
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A lot of hate here compared to elsewhere online.
- Was it plain bad?
- Was it bad for Whedon?
- Was it bad for a Whedon / Avengers follow-on? Expectations too high, maybe?

Tell me -- it has to be better than the Dollhouse premiere?!?!?!

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umberhulk
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A lot of things are better than the Dollhouse premiere.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
A lot of things are better than the Dollhouse premiere.

A lot of things are. From what I saw, this was not. The acting was just a leaden, but the set-up was less fresh, the manic techs were excruciatingly twee, the characters were more one dimensional. I simply did not like it.

I don't feel like my expectations were very high, although I will cop to being more excited than I have been for a scripted network premiere in a few years. But that's just because scripted network television hasn't had many good new shows in the last few years, particularly of the type that appeal to me.

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Jeff C.
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I honestly hated Dollhouse, but that had more to do with the main actress than the plot. I don't know why, but I just don't like her at all.

As for SHIELD, I have high hopes, but I'm thinking about waiting until the first season is done before I jump in.

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umberhulk
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Dollhouse is one of the two worst shows I've ever watched to completion. But I did watch all of it.
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Aros
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The last half season of Dollhouse was some of the best science fiction on tv. Ever.
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advice for robots
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It reminded me of Heroes, honestly, but Heroes started out way better.

I would have liked to see a stronger story arc introduced in the pilot, rather than jumping right into the superpower of the week. What SHIELD seems to be fighting at this point seems so shadowy that they didn't even really want to mention it. The acting and directing was subpar, and the effects maybe rivaled those of ST:TNG in the early 90s. So it needed a good story, but it didn't have it.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
heroes is worse

Well, over time it got bogged down under its own weight. But I thought the first season was quite good.

Edit: I see you retracted. [Smile]

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umberhulk
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I thought you were comparing it and Dollhouse, but I realized you were talking about AoS.
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GaalDornick
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The pilot, for me, was just good enough to keep me watching but only because I already like Whedon and anything Marvel (for nostalgic reasons). If it were any worse or if not for the fact that I already felt a little invested before it started, I probably wouldn't keep watching. Overall, I thought it was mediocre.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
The last half season of Dollhouse was some of the best science fiction on tv. Ever.

I've heard things along these lines before. I watched the first five or six episodes, purely because I thought Whedon would right the ship eventually. But they just kept getting worse.

Once it got released on Netflix, I went back and watched the final episode of the first season, because people said that's when it started to turn around. It seemed better, but it wasn't enough better to keep me watching.

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Lyrhawn
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You mean Whedon isn't the bestest best awesome infallible showmaker ever?
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Chris Bridges
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I am in the tank for Whedon so hard you can't even see me. But it wasn't a home run.

Overall, really liked this. Lots of potential here, and Clark Gregg killed it in so many ways.

That said, here's what felt flat or not-quite-there-yet for me:

- Scope. Wasn't quite epic enough for me. Shots from Paris are nice, but I'd have liked to have seen a glimpse of the vast workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. before we iris into our little ragtag group. One mid-size monitor room with screens looping Avengers footage over and over didn't do that for me. I wouldn't expect that the whole series, but a shot in the pilot to take our focus from the movie scale down to the TV show would have helped.

- Sound. Liked the soundtrack, but there was a little too much of it. Not every scene needs music. Or at least not loud music.

- Characters. I admit I'm comparing it to the Firefly pilot -- I compare everything to Firefly, let's get that out of the way right now -- but I still don't have a clear sense of all the characters the way I did after Serenity. Each of the Firefly cast was instantly iconic in a way that this cast simply isn't, but that probably couldn't be helped. For one thing, people here will largely be dressed and groomed similarly, and shorthand like that goes a long way.

- Desperately needs a Cordelia. Or an Anya, or a Jayne. Possibly Skye will serve that role, again, need to wait and see.

- Skye. It's not that she's too pretty to be a hacker, as some idiots have put forth. But she did seem awfully put together, mentally and cosmetically, to be a hacker who lives in a van. We're given the impression that's her only home. I don't look that good living in a house with a shower, how does she look so good on the street? That would have been an excellent way to separate her even more from the rest of the well-groomed cast, at least at first. Instead she looks like she goes to the same salon they do. She just didn't strike me at any point as someone desperate enough to choose that life. Intense, sure. Not desperate.

- Paced too quickly. I got the feeling they had a list of stuff to get in and for a pilot that's fine. But I hope we have some quieter moments, and some examples of what this team can do even without the tech.

I'm hopeful. The Back to the Future ending didn't bother me, it made me laugh because it's a direct homage to Nick Fury's flying car in one version of the original comic.

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LargeTuna
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episode 2: all aboard the magic school bus

I wish they would show instead of tell. All of the repetitive exposition is exhausting.

Melinda May is probably my favorite character at this point.

Again, I thought the last 15 minutes were FANTASTIC and am on board for another episode.

Anyone else have any strong opinions?

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Geraine
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I liked the episode as well, but not as much as the pilot. Melinda May made the episode for me. Dislocating her wrist, hanging upside down, taking out a guy, then landing on her feet, only THEN fixing her wrist was pure badassery.

Coulson is still awesome. Seeing Nick Fury get after Coulson was even more awesome. "This plane... I'ts got a bar....A really nice one" was my favorite line.

I'll continue to watcht he show. Skye really annoys me, as does Ward. I know they need a hacker and a special ops meathead on the show to check the appropriate boxes, but I wish they were written better.

Having Skye be a double agent is interesting but it is already ruined due to her hesitation in responding back to the text. She's been with the group a few days and already looks like she is feeling guilty about being a double agent. It's also a little cliche. You know she it is going to blow up in her face, that Shield and the team will eventually forgive her, and that she is going to hook up with Ward one day. Meanwhile she will use her hacking skills to open and close doors, probably defuse a bomb or two, and get into some country's internal network.

Oh, and don't forget the life raft in the airplane trick. I'll have to remember to read the safety manual and listen to the flight attendants more when I fly. You never know when you will have to plug a hole in the side of an airplane with a life raft!

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Lyrhawn
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I'm underwhelmed.

Fitz-Simmons are nearly intolerable to me. They abuse technobabble worse than the most techno-babbliest episode of Star Trek. The "in English, please?" joke was barely worth an eyeroll the first time they did it, and was actively annoying the second and third times.

The characters continue to be stock and boring. The storylines appear cliche and meh.

At this rate, I'm not going to make it past the halfway point for the season. It's just so mediocre.

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Shanna
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I would watch an hour of Coulson and Fury bantering.

Honestly, I think the little asides to the larger franchise were the only parts I could enjoy. Its in those moments that I can imagine why the show sounds so promising. I think about the SHIELD presence in Thor, descending on the mysterious hammer like something out of Men in Black. But there's a hint of quirk and humor in characters like Coulson. You quickly realize you're not dealing with a normal government agency when they call in an archer for the sniper shot.

There's no sense of anything new or fun in the tv show though. May is the only character who feels like she fits into the established universe. She wouldn't seem out of place next to Hill or Fury or Coulson.

The technobabble twins have completely worn out their welcome but to their credit, they're the only other names I've been willing to learn. I still can't remember boring double-agent girl's name and I just call pretty-boy agent, Riley.

I feel like I've been down this road with the Initiative story arc on Buffy. It wasn't fun or well-done then either.

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Lyrhawn
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I have the younger ones all nicknamed after older actors and actresses they look like.

But Fitz-Simmons were almost designed to have memorable names. For me, that's part of the problem. The seams are showing. It's like it was put together by committee, checking off boxes on a list, but it's kind of clunky, and I can tell when I'm being pointed towards something.

It needs to be a lot smoother. And I think it sort of needs something interesting so it can stand on its own rather than trying to survive off the scraps left behind by the movies. Right now it really lacks any sort of originality as its own thing.

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It's hard to imagine that there were actually script writers for that episode.
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Jeff C.
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I think that like most Joss shows, this will have to find its footing before it catches on. Personally I am enjoying it, but I do agree it could be a lot better. They need to bring in some characters from the comics like Luke Cage, or at least start introducing heroes and villains.
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Thesifer
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The second episode was definitely a step back from the first. The fact that SLJ actually showed up was the most interesting part. I never thought they would put that in the budget, as much as they've been avoiding even mentioning a "Superhero" name, I figured they were trying to avoid bringing in any big names for as long as possible.

But he was definitely needed for that boring story.

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Geraine
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May was probably written in because they couldn't afford Scar-Jo and they needed a Romanov type character. [Razz]

Scar-Jo probably wouldn't want to do a TV show anyways. She is making too much money doing movies. It's kind of too bad, I would watch the show every week just for her. (I've somewhat of a crush)

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Marek
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
To be honest, I didn't really like any of the characters. They were all horribly stock characters, and just because Whedons dialogue was coming out of their mouths didn't really make up for that fact. The Fitz Simmons pair was the worst offender of that. Could on was the only one I liked, even if he was a Whedons one liner PEZ dispenser.

It occurred to me today that a lot of his characters seem like stock characters at first, and some are, but some are anything but. Most of the firefly characters seem that one dimensional, Jayne the mindless mercenary, Simon the spoiled rich boy etc. Buffy seems to be mostly stock characters who either grow, change, or we learn they are more, Buffy, the helpless teenager (but not), Xander the loser (but he grows, sort of), Willow the geek (but her hidden power...).

Anyway, not sure if this means Agents is gonna be good. None of the characters seem super likable yet as has been said, even Phil is less likable so far, but maybe there is more to them. lets hope

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Lyrhawn
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I don't know. I think you might be reaching a little bit.

Buffy's characters weren't really stock in the 90s. They are now, but even then, it was pretty clear from the first episode that there was a lot more going on with them. Same thing with Firefly.

I think there are stock characters and there are stock characters. Because if you try you can describe just about anything and make it sound retread and boring, But I thinks you might be a little off if you want to compare Agents to Buffy and Firefly when it comes to the first impressions of characters.

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Marek
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As I pointed out, I am not saying it will be as good as the others, and so far is not very impressive. I was just pointing out that characters seeming stereotypical in the first episode doesn't really prove much, as it seems kind of the standard way for shows to start. Also I am by no means badmouthing Whedon's other shows, they're some of my favorites.

And hopefully the fact that they seem so one dimensional will make it even cooler when they really do develop. lol. Now that is some serious reaching.

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Tim_Ferno
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I thought the interrogation scene in the first episode was odd, in particular Skhye's behavior.

I thought the male half of Fitz-Simmons also behaved oddly in episode 2, his line about "There's only one bunk left and it's next to mine!" He seemed too excited...

Why are the male characters all attracted to her? Like, to a childish degree that conflicts with their training and personal world views?

Fitz-Simmons will likely figure it out, probably only after Skhye becomes a trusted member of the team, refuses to assassinate Nick Fury and goes AWOL from both SHIELD and The Rising Tide. She infilitrated SHIELD believing that she was working for the good guys and doing the right thing. Oh, she'll get captured by HYDRA and brainwashed, the team will rescue her, she'll overcome the brainwashing because she's a good person and it's what's inside that counts (that fits the theme of the show, right?) and just when Skhye and "doesn't play well with others" guy are about to have a moment, they drop the bombshell - she has pheromone powers (and totally knows it) and has been using them to manipulate the team this whole time.

Pheromone Secretion: Her metabolism generates certain types of pheromones that can create fear, elicit attraction and/or repulsion on others, depending on unknown factors which might include gender and mood.

DPWWO guy will be relieved that as a hardened agent/killing machine professional there's a reason he fell for her so fast, but he'll also feel even more betrayed and their relationship will remain in limbo.

In short, Skhye's real name is Jessica Drew. If you don't know who she is, I just outlined her entire origin in this post, minus some BS spider powers which I think they'll drop or work in later, if at all.

Meanwhile, back in reality I'm going to be upset when this doesn't happen.

[ October 09, 2013, 02:12 AM: Message edited by: Tim_Ferno ]

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Geraine
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Eh, I don't think they would make Skye into Spider-Woman. They've said that the team wouldn't become "The Avengers B-Team" so I think they are going to keep powers out of the core group.

And wasn't Jessica Drew a double agent for Nick Fury, not Hydra?

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Tim_Ferno
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I haven't watched episode 3 yet, just getting that out of the way.

As for the double/triple agent thing... After she left Hydra and became an agent of shield her powers went a bit crazy (she lost some of them and was much weaker) so her fear pheromones were driving everyone away from her and Hydra promised to help her get them under control if she gave them info. She gets caught and Nick Fury steps in to say that "She was working for me all along and the info she fed them was fake/ or a trap blah blah blah..." and it's strongly implied to the reader that she didn't know Fury knew what she was up to. So she really did betray the team and Fury (or on the show more likely Coulson) covered it up. But Fury is like that, always thinking 20 moves ahead of everyone else and not wanting to lose a valuable asset even if she did have a critical lapse in judgement.

I doubt they will give her powers as well (or even make her Jessica Drew), but given her behavior/appearance and how her story already appears to be based on Jessica Drew... I'll still be annoyed when they don't.

So far it looks like she was set up and designed specifically to infiltrate shield. It looks like she believes she is doing the right thing, but will later change her mind and side with shield... They've already had a character in the comic go through that same story, so why make a brand new character and have her do the same thing?

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Jeff C.
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Tim, your entire story arch outline makes me feel like you just spoiled the entire first season of this show (and possibly the second), but since it probably won't go that way anyway, let me simply state that your idea sounds awesome.

On a side note, Arrow is back and I couldn't be happier. Also, Once Upon A Time in Wonderland.

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