Agents of SHIELD and the Things It Really Shouldn’t Be Doing to Science

This week, on Agents of SHIELD:

Borrowed from

What is that on Simmons’ head? Oh, it’s for the surgery that she’s performing in this episode.


A biochemist is performing SURGERY?


And no, her protest that this really isn’t her field is not sufficient to justify this. Not even a little. Seriously, Coulson might as well just do the surgery himself at this point. At least his hands would be steady. I imagine he’d also be much less squeamish.

I mean, what do the writers think a medical degree is for, anyway? Fun?

Borrowed from Ron Glass, in all his doctor-portraying glory

The funny thing is, if they retain Ron Glass for at least a few more cameos, then they have a doctor. Having him take care of this (and check Mike Peterson’s pulse at the end of episode 1 instead of Simmons) would have already been a huge improvement.

I checked out Simmons’ entry on the show’s wikia, to see if anything we knew about her background even remotely made this better (it didn’t). A couple of interesting tidbits from there:

She’s described as a biochemist who specializes in life sciences, which makes no sense because biochemistry is a subset of life science. It would be better to say that she’s a life scientists who specializes in biochemistry, and even better to just say she’s a biochemist and avoid the redundancy altogether.

Another problem is that she’s described as having two PhDs. Timewise, this is theoretically possible since European PhDs take less time than American ones. Reality-wise, it’s not as likely. Two PhDs are not better than one. And “graduate student” is not the highest level you can attain, either. After you get a PhD, you generally work as a postdoc.

The only remotely reasonable explanation I can think of for this is that she started out as a physicist and got a PhD in that–which would explain how she knows so much about Fitz’s work–then pretty soon after, decided she wanted to be biologist instead. Then she went back for her PhD because she didn’t have the qualifications for a postdoc and wasn’t being accepted (or didn’t want to work in) a biophysics focused lab.

Borrowed from

Actually, I’ve just decided that this is exactly what happened. You can’t convince me otherwise.

Other nitpicks:

Why were FitzSimmons taking the same classes under the same instructor (Franklin Hall of episode 3)? He studied engineering and she studied biochemistry. What on earth could this class have been about?

And for the episode 2 reveal: There is no way Skye and the Rising Tide could have predicted Coulson’s eccentric recruiting tactics. They could have arranged for Skye to be interrogated, but that’s about it. No one should expect a Coulson to be in charge. This is not a normal thing.

Can’t wait for the show to pick up, and really hoping Simmons doesn’t do any more surgeries!

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5 Responses to Agents of SHIELD and the Things It Really Shouldn’t Be Doing to Science

  1. Psycho Gecko says:

    I think they’re thing with Simmons was that 1. There wasn’t anyone nearby qualified for the surgery that they could trust and 2. To people who don’t know as much about science, she appears to be the best qualified.

    Well, technically there IS one way they could have predicted Coulson, seeing as they’re a hacker group. I’m fairly certainly that the Coulson on the show is a Life Model Decoy. A near-perfect robotic copy. It’s been noted that he’s changed in personality, is no longer good with a gun, and then there’s that “Tahiti” bit in the first episode with a couple other characters when he’s not around. Plus, with how much he insists on not killing people, he seems to be Three Laws compatible.

    I was hoping they’d have more “cape of the week” kind of stuff. It makes me miss the show The Cape to think about it.

    • Marie Erving says:

      Number 2 is why I bothered to write this post. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault that they don’t know everything, but I feel obligated to point out when misinformation is being spread as much as possible.

      The Rising Tide might have known about Coulson himself, but how could they have known he’d recruit Skye? Because it’s a really insane idea. Most people won’t just recruit some random member of an organization that opposes them, hoping that they’ll turn a new leaf through the power of heart (outside of anime, anyway).

      I was thinking clone (or sci-fi style clone), but robot’s another likely one. Have we seen him bleed? Though I guess cylons technically bleed too.

      And yeah, they’re casting their nets pretty wide, plot-wise, aren’t they?

      • Psycho Gecko says:

        Yeah, he bled in the second episode (I think). The one where they had to deal with the 084 in South America. Not sure if the original comics version LMDs bled, but Stark does claim on the phone in the second film that he’s not Stark, but Stark’s LMD, so the idea is somewhat in the universe.

        Wouldn’t put it past them to change it enough to allow bleeding.

        A truth serum isn’t a real thing IRL either (during the Cold War, the CIA preferred to get people high, while the KGB preferred to use vodka), but if it is in the Marvel cinematic universe, then Coulson would rightfully be looking at one hell of a reprimand for what he did in the interrogation room. You don’t inject one of your own guys, someone who is supposed to be loyal to you, with truth serum and force them to tell a suspected terrorist everything they want to know, starting with having to be completely honest about your own feelings of attraction toward them.

        The agent himself has tried to claim they don’t really have one, but he also had to be woken up after the interrogation, perhaps due to a side effect.

        I guess we’ll see.

      • Psycho Gecko says:

        And I can understand why the misinformation part gets to you. I react similarly whenever David Barton or Bill O’Reilly puts out what they claim is a history book. And then there was the “History” channel making a series on the Bible…

  2. Marie Erving says:

    Coulson’s M.O. in general has been very different from what I’d expect from someone in charge. I keep thinking that only Nick Fury would be crazy enough to allow it.

    I’m interpreting the truth serum thing as Ward lying about it too keep the upper hand on Skye, but it could go either way. I don’t pay much attention to truth serums in media, since they’re all over the place and generally assumed to be science fiction (I imagine).

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