Agents of SHIELD: Impressions and Again with the Science

Agents of SHIELD gives me a lot of fodder to talk about bad representation of scientists in media. But, I also want to talk about my impressions of the show itself. So in an effort to keep this show from overtaking my blog, I’m combining the two.

Part I is my review, Part II is bad representations of science.

Part I:

I expected the first season to be uneven, because even though Joss Whedon ends up putting these amazing works together, that’s just how his first seasons go. Still, even though I expected this, I couldn’t help but hope.

So far it’s a pretty standard show. They’re trying to get to some interesting character stuff, but I can’t help feeling that it’s a little bit rushed. That said, there have been a few cool moments, and the acting is absolutely fantastic. So I’m still waiting for this show to hit its stride.

Of course, I’m going to be watching every single episode for as long as it continues, and I will genuinely believe that a moment of sheer genius is just around the corner all the way.

Next, a few gif-highlighted moments worth commenting on:

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I actually think this theory is plausible. Coulson has been acting like a crazy person, and again, only Nick Fury would have what it takes to put this man in charge of a team. If episode two demonstrated anything, it was that this team was not ready for something to go wrong on this mission. No, Coulson, they didn’t get out of it because they’re that good. They were lucky the week’s baddies captured everyone instead of killing someone–like Melinda May, who they already knew was dangerous.

Can this team become a force to be reckoned with? Sure, it’s possible. They’re on their way. Still, at this stage, would anyone who wasn’t a lunatic take them on a potentially dangerous mission without any back up? I like the show, and I like the team. But Coulson either isn’t that good at his job (I imagine this leadership thing is new for him) or yes, he’s having a midlife/post-death crisis.

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Okay, I actually thought this scene was really funny. But at the same time, it highlights something that I’m glad is pointed out is actually pointed out–you take a random person off the street, and they shouldn’t be able to transition to killing someone quickly. A lot of media doesn’t treat taking someone’s life as a big deal, when it kind of is. Skye’s obviously thought about it already, which is why she doesn’t even hesitate to run away instead. Just don’t ask me how she knew the pool was there.

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This one of the few scenes I liked without any caveats from the last episode. It’s nice to see the shady side of SHIELD pointed out like this (especially since Coulson doesn’t deny any of it).

They did miss the chance to point out how the hacker antagonist sold out his own principles–here he was arguing against SHIELD’s invasion of privacy, and then he took the same information SHIELD had no right to have, and distributed it even wider. Good job, dude.

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Ah, Fitz’s total innocent lack of understanding and Simmons’ empathic explanations. It was totally adorable. Both characters came out positively here–Fitz wasn’t angry, he just couldn’t understand how Skye’s history might factor into their present. And Simmons was really sensitive and thoughtful when it came to thinking about the situation from Skye’s perspective. It was a great scene.

Part II:

I don’t really judge the science fiction-y things in shows like this, precisely because it’s supposed to be science fiction. (Girl Genius has tons of science fiction-y stuff too and it never annoys me the way that SHIELD does.) What I’m concerned with is more general, like the portrayal of scientists or science in general.

On the plus side, at least scientists are being portrayed as having varying personalities. But by having them science-talk all over the place, the show is just opening itself up to inaccuracies.

I think I’ve put my finger on the number one most implausible thing about FitzSimmons as scientists:

They never ask any questions.

Seriously, they should be asking questions all the time. That’s what thinking is about. What if this? What if that? I don’t understand that, explain it to me.

Instead, they just rattle off facts. All the time. It’s like the sum of human knowledge has been injected into their brains.

And even worse, this happened:

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Yes, FitzSimmons apparently understand Skye’s hacking now.


Well, this pretty much blows my Simmons-is-also-a-physicist theory out of the water. But I have a new one, one that’s more plausible than anything else I’ve come up with before.

They’re cyborgs. They have cyberbrains.

It’s perfect. Their minds just hook up to the internet and instantaneously access information. They present everything as facts because they don’t have time to develop an understanding of the complexities of the problem–essentially, they function by compiling information.

To clarify–I love FitzSimmons as characters, but this isn’t a great portrayal of scientists.

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