Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “F.Z.Z.T”

And we’re back. Has the week-long hiatus done wonders for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Let’s find out, shall we? Thoughts:

-Alright, time for another staple of the early run of any TV show of this general type: teammate in deadly peril. Seriously though, it’s fine. These kind of episodes allow characters to react to the idea of death, show of some emotion in circumstances that can’t be replicated every week, and allow one character in particular to shine. And “F.Z.Z.T” does it well. Mostly.

-The opening certainly sets this as a Late Halloween episode, with horror elements, but then “F.Z.Z.T” goes off in a different direction, which is fine. I think The Simpsons is the only show that can really get away with Halloween episodes a week late anyway.

-Opening was a bit scary? Sort of? It was so cliché I suppose, but it did its job of setting things up.

-Coulson gets his first scene where he’s not in a suit. And there was much rejoicing. Really hope that moronic little character trait gets dropped and fast.

-“Man of my age? That’s something you say to old people.” “Is it?” I have to admit, I loved that little exchange.

-The initial Fitz/Skye interaction was painfully awkward, and a mite confusing considering where the episode ended up. OK, Fitz has some sort of thing for an oblivious Skye, this was just the most open and awkward sign.

-God damn, but Skye was annoying in sections of this episode. She’s whining about being electronically tagged, when she should probably be in prison. Talk about needing to count your blessings.

-I liked the impersonations of Ward, which illustrated a nice team dynamic, just basic relationships being formed.

-I get that Fitz and Simmons have that combined nickname, but I can’t be the only one who thought that Coulson calling them that collectively when they investigated the first body was mildly insulting to the two of them.

-And they really spend a large part of “F.Z.Z.T” bigging that whole relationship up. These two are in nearly every scene together. Are they ever going to be their own people?

-The spark between Simmons and the body was subtle and throwaway, but had massive ramifications later on. Nice.

-The whole plot was initially set up as a murder mystery, but that was always pursued weakly, on little other basis than “dead body = murderer”. What the plot turned into was a lot better, but only because the production team didn’t really try to make the murder mystery a genuine red herring, as opposed to a temporary diversion.

-And hey, a tie-in to the Avengers, a nice simple one, where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D takes something small from what came before and uses it to good advantage.

-Dear God, that station chief only had two lines, but he was the worst actor I’ve ever seen.

-I really liked the gradual oncoming of the” illness” with the fireman, and the way that his realisation became mixed with fear. That led onto the best scene of the episode, nay, the entire show so far, where Coulson just tried to allay the man’s fears as he faced into a sudden and unstoppable demise.

-And then Clark Gregg started acting. It was the perfect scene for him, where his straight-forward and serious nature actually fit the bill. A really great sense was created of a man trying just to talk someone through it, and sharing something very important about himself in the process.

-Where did Coulson go? I’m still betting Asgard.

-Poor Simmons is revealed as infected, a numbingly brutal scene, in a good way, as Coulson silently quarantines her, unable to even bring himself to speak.

-A moment made suitably emotional by Coulson’s use of her first name, unknown to this point. Quite the gut punch.

-S.H.I.E.L.D is so easily portrayed in this universe as a group of adventurers slinging quips and rejoinders at every opportunity, so it was very jarring to hear the organisation talk of “dumping” Simmons out of the plane.

-Very heartbreaking scene between Fitz and Simmons, as they bicker and recount their lives together, with that unspoken realisation that they are closer than they care to admit…maybe too close. That connection was key to the second half of the episode, driving Fitz forward on some crazy behaviour, but behaviour that we never doubted was real to that character.

-As Simmons got ready to commit a noble suicide, I got the weird feeling that this whole plot might have belonged further back in the episode queue, maybe towards the end of this season, when we are all a bit more connected to the characters involved. Simmons has been kind of boring and one dimensional so far, and while I cared if she lived or died, I wasn’t that wrapped up in her survival.

-Still though, for that brief second where I thought Simmons actually had jumped to her death, I was actually quite intrigued, thinking maybe the show was going to be re-tooled after losing so many viewers since the pilot. I recall another Whedon show where a main character was killed off very early on, replaced by someone else, and was better for it. But it was not to be here, and maybe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be the better for that.

-I was talking about Angel, and the character of Doyle if anyone was wondering. Killed off nine episodes in for actor-related reasons, his absence led the way for Alexis Denisof to stake a place for his Wesley Wyndam-Pryce character, who was one of the shows best. Risk-taking early on can pay off. But, nobody was willing to take that risk here.

-Anyone remember Rainbow Sun Francks from Stargate Atlantis? Of course you don’t, because he was ditched after one season for a better character. I’m getting off the point here, but it can be done well, is what I am saying. I have nothing especially against the Simmons character, but part of me wishes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D could have taken that bold step and dealt with the consequences.

-Instead, we got the real low point of the episode, this James Bond-esque sequence of Ward jumping after Simmons with one parachute between them. In fact, that was a James Bond sequence at some point wasn’t it? Anyway, after the rather serious drama and limited craziness of the rest of the episode, I found this whole sequence fairly jarring.

-And poorly CGI’d to boot, some very obvious green screen work and computer imagery that reminded me of BSG at parts. That show covered it up by having most of their CGI moments either in space blackness or other obscure environments, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D did it in the bright blue sky. Bad idea.

-I did like how Fitz is stuck back on the plane though, which allowed him to suffer this insecurity thing later, trying to get Simmons to realise that he would have jumped out to try and save her.

-Wait, Ward and Simmons would have been in the water for hour’s right? Wouldn’t they die of exposure?

-At some point, I’m going to bet that this show will have some sort of love square situation featuring Ward, Skye, Fitz and Simmons, where they’re all going after the wrong person to try and get the attention of the one they actually want. Then they’ll all end up in the right relationship, and then Joss Whedon will blow up the plane.

-The big hug between Skye and Simmons, after such little work has been done in creating that relationship before this episode, fell very flat to for me.

-Much better was the Coulson/Melinda scene near the conclusion. It was another great one, one of the best of the series, as she points out that his feelings of “being different” is perfectly normal for what he has gone through. The audience has hints of more of course, but that doesn’t make Melinda’s words any different: Coulson feels different because he has changed, irrevocably. It takes someone else to actually point out his massive scar to him for this understanding to dawn.

-I’ll give Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D props for veering away from the Fitz/Simmons hook-up this early, a more chaste version doing just fine, maintaining the awkwardness and giving the Fitz character a little something to strive towards. Seeing him hunched over a pillow like that certainly did the trick, as the two reflected on a day when they both could have been killed.

-It all leads in to a nice, if overly bombastic final scene where Coulson demonstrates some of his changed opinions, an acceptance of his changed nature and a willingness to just go along with it. I expect we’ll see more of the rebellious Coulson in future – along with further revelations of just how his life was saved in Avengers.

So yeah, I would say that “F.Z.Z.T” is the best episode that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has come up with so far during its run. It has plenty of character development, some great interactions between various figures in the show, some genuine peril and an ending that leaves the people onboard “the bus” and the general plot changed. I hope the show can keep it up.

To read my thoughts on other episodes of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, click here to go to the index.

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4 Responses to Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “F.Z.Z.T”

  1. Pingback: Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “The Hub” | Never Felt Better

  2. Pingback: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode Review Index | Never Felt Better

  3. Pingback: Review – Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “Seeds” | Never Felt Better

  4. Pingback: Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D – “Providence” | Never Felt Better

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