Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Recap Episode 101: Pilot

Meet MIchael Peterson. He’s a father who’s stumbled on hard times who happens to be in the right place at the right time. A nearby building explodes in a fireball, and Michael displays superhuman abilities to save a woman from the disaster. A nearby pedestrian catches a glimpse of his face. Michael Peterson, our first “unregistered gifted” of the brand new series.

Hit the jump to read more but obviously there are spoilers.

Cut to Paris. Meet SHIELD Agent Grant Ward on a mission to retrieve a Chitauri (remember those aliens from the Avengers) neural link. He’s made aware a hacker group called Rising Tide has posted the location of his objective so time is of the essence. Utilizing high-tech SHIELD gadgets, Ward retrieves the neural link and kicks some ass. While debriefing with Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders, of course), Ward is introduced to his new assignment by way of Agent Phil Coulson. Dun Dun Dunnnn… naw, you knew that was coming.

Meanwhile, nearby pedestrian stalks Michael Peterson.

Ward gets the deets on Coulson. His death was faked to motivate the Avengers. He recovered in Tahiti but came back due to Rising Tide footage of the “unregistered gifted” in Los Angeles. Ward does not want part in Coulson’s team but Hill isn’t bending. A SHIELD physician informs Hill that Coulson’s team has passed their physicals, but brings up concerns about Coulson. After Coulson leaves, the doctor and Hill talk about how Coulson must never know what really happened. (Yay… big mystery #1!)

Skye, the bystander from earlier, finally ambushes Mike. She warns him that SHIELD will be coming after him. She also encourages him to step out as a hero with a speech about great power and other stuff. Skye also manages to steal Mike’s ID.

Back at SHIELD HQ, Coulson recruits Melinda May to “drive the bus”. Melinda May has some kind of intense history we don’t know about that makes want to stay stuck behind a desk, but she is quick to take her role as the pilot.

Ward introduces himself to Agents Fitz and Simmons (typically identified as FitzSimmons) who work on the Engineering and BioChem respectively. They are kooky and weird. Fitz takes a hammer to Wards’ new communicater while Simmons forcibly swabs the high tech comm system into Ward’s mouth. Coulson arrives on the plane with Lola, Coulson’s classic Corvette. Once Melinda May is on board, wheels are up and the team are off… to kidnap Skye.

Ward and Coulson interrogate Skye. She keeps fairly mum but does tip her hand about Project Caterpillar. After some futile sexual tension filled bickering, Coulson pulls Ward out to retrieve a truth serum. Coulson uses the serum on a Ward to disarm Skye. Meanwhile, Fitz, Simmons and May are at the burnt out building from earlier. They discover that the source of the explosion came from a secret lab. Using little quadrotors, apparently named after the Seven Dwarves, Fitz also discovers a camera which he should be able to use to recover some more info.

After failing to convince the doctor who gave him his power (via centipede looking arm attachment), Michael Peterson attacks his former boss. A news broadcast of security footage showing the assault convinces Skye to reveal Mike’s identity. She also offers to provide audio from the lab which she’d been observing prior to the explosion. (Not so much a bystander, I guess.)

Mike visits the woman he saved. Not for praise though, but to get help from doctor who gave him the powers. She’s angry with his unstable nature, but he’s becoming deluded. He thinks he’s going through his origin story to become a hero.

Fitz reconstructs the explosion with the corrupt video footage and Skye’s audio data. Along with Simmons’ analysis of a corpse at the explosion, they discover the same centipede Mike is suited with: an intravenous system for a cocktail of various super-soldier serums including gamma radiation and Extremis. Extremis is that thing from Iron Man 3 that made people heal, breath fire, and explode. Fitz and Simmons are tasked with finding a way to save Mike.

Mike kidnaps/saves Skye. He gets her to erase his history so he can start new. She hints at doing this before (… for herself?). She also uses the opportunity to hack SHIELD and send them her location via code.

The team arrive to face down Michael. He runs into Union Station to escape but Skye manages to get free by kicking a gang member in the balls. Sounds like a good plan right? Well, it works for some time. Mike has to fight the guys friends which gives Skye and his son a chance to get away. The doctor is also on site with a hitman in a police uniform. Mike manages to grab Skye when the hitman attempts to shoot him. They run to an upper level where the hitman gets a shot into Mike. Before he can kill Skye, Melinda comes to the rescue. Mike, having fallen to the lobby, heals from the gunshot via Extremis and continues to near explosion. Coulson confronts Mike unarmed while Ward lines up his shot. A speech about what makes a hero gives Ward enough time to take the shot… with Fitz’s high tech rifle… containing Simmons’ cure.

Coulson invites Sky to join the team in an almost Doctor Who like fashion. Wait… Flying Car! Phil Coulson is the American Doctor!

My Thoughts:

The pilot is mired in details carried over from the Avengers and feels the need to plug nods to the shared universe, but the characters are still fun. The mysteries of major characters will be interesting to see play out over the season. I’m also looking forward to the development of an antagonist whether its a singular villain calling the shots or a group like Hydra. The showrunners missed an opportunity using an original character for the first encounter, but we’ve already got teases of Dr. Franklin Hall aka Graviton. Looking forward to next week when we find out what the hell a 0-8-4 is.

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