THIS SHOW IS INCREDIBLE.
Are we clear? Good. Moving on.
In the preview review for S.H.I.E.L.D., I shared my hope that this show would be the bridge between the people of the MCU (Marvel cinematic universe) and the epic heroes. I think my pleas were heard. I mean, I know the pilot finished wrapping months ago, but I like to think they went back to the studio and filmed an extra scene just for me. Which scene? The one where Maria Hill (hate her as I may) tells Agent Ward (hereafter referred to as Lone Wolf for his expert portrayal of that archetype) that Thor just may be a god because of those arms. Humorous though it is, it sets the tone for the big S.H.I.E.L.D. question of what exactly is a hero? In fact, what separates heroes from monsters?
I imagine that this question with recur throughout the wacky adventures of Team Coulson, but the pilot gives us a working answer. The difference between a hero and a monster? Perspective. Mike Peterson (Gunn to you Angel fans out there) is the super-powered but spiraling lab experiment who takes hacker Skye's amateurish excitement over his powers as a mandate to become a hero. He continually explains that he isn't a lab experiment; he's just writing his origin story. Boom. It's all about the spin.
Speaking of, government spin is the biggest issue that Skye, our hacker living out of a van with perfect hair and designer clothes, and her nefarious Anonymous-like pals, The Rising Tide, can't live with. They are on a mission to expose, starting with S.H.I.E.L.D. Skye explains it all (not really. She's bad at words) to Mike after she records his show-opening rescue and volunteers to basically be his superhero agent. By the way, she doesn't come off as the protector of the public; she comes off as a drama junkie.
Cue the black bags. All it takes is one conversation with Lone Wolf (drugged up on truth serum and funny) for Skye to flip over to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s side. I know I'm supposed to bust out my pom-poms and cheer on the home team (and I do--Team Coulson!), but Skye lost my respect instead of gained it. It was a surprisingly ill-written plot device. The anarchist hacker girl is going government, and we're supposed to believe that she's sincere? I can only hope that she is planning to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. and take them out from the inside-out. At least that way, she will have an interesting story as she comes to respect and believe in Team Coulson. Otherwise . . . she's like Faith 2.0 without the personality.
Skye is S.H.I.E.L.D.'s major weak point, but that's okay. I can deeply love a show and objectively discuss it's weaknesses, especially when I have Coulson's witty dad humor covering an iron will and kick ass smarts. He is honestly a great character, and his secret, unknown to even himself, promises to be a delightful puzzle for Marvel theorists and great story for anyone along for the ride.
Shepherd Book! Please don't die. My Browncoat heart can't take it.
I loved that The Avengers aren't called The Avengers outside of S.H.I.E.L.D. The window display in the opening scene labels them The Heroes of New York.
Someone needs to parody "A Whole New World" from Aladdin with this show.
Melinda May is secretly a ninja.
It didn't fit in this article, but I promise to write a whole review about how this show utilizes the internet and plays off the idea of people being first on the scene. It's going to be a conflict for Team Coulson, guaranteed.
Of course the villain is an innocuous girl with big brown eyes. Oh, Joss.
"By luck, I mean unappreciated genius."
This followed by this. You're welcome.
Stay for the end of the credits next time.