Thoughtful & Abstract: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Heavy Is The Head”

In which Shawn (@genx13) and Kim (@kimfreakinb) have instant reactions to the intense Marvel show and the episode “Heavy Is the Head”.

Shawn: No miracle comeback for Lucy Lawless. It’s a Marvel TV show, so I was hoping that we would start this episode and find out that dead isn’t really dead. Instead, it feels like they wasted a really strong female character and gave us another generic bad boy in her place. Lance is our double-crosser of the moment. They appear to be starting a Skye and Lance relationship too. I know that some women can’t help themselves around the bad boy but this feels like such a retread of the road we went down with Ward. Maybe there is something else up their sleeves but the “Lance is working with Hydra” story seems only a half season away.

My main problem is the continuing lack of focus on what attracted to me to the show last season. I love Agent Coulson and Agent May. I love Skye. Last season was very much her story. I like the fun relationship of Fitz and Simmons. But the glue that holds it together is the physical strength of May and the mental talents of Coulson. This season hasn’t unleashed them the way I had hoped. There’s lots of hand wringing and worrying about Coulson. They are spending too much time talking in dark offices. The scenes this week with the two of them when Coulson has his “episode” and then when Coulson saves the day at the end with the invisible jet are the two standouts.

I don’t want to seem like I’m turning my back on the series. Not at all. There are still stories that interest me. It’s more about execution. The introduction of Kyle MacLachlan was not a guarded secret. All the articles have told us exactly who he is. And that scene with the exchange of the Obelisk felt like a very forced – we need an action scene this week. In the end it was well choreographed but for what?

Where are you right now? Too early to decide? What is intriguing you? Is it the Fitz story? I’m thinking that we just need to get Skye laid to relieve her sexual tension. Maybe to a “nerd” so we know that normal guys with a sense of humor have a chance in the world?

Kim: I was so excited when I heard Lucy Lawless was going to be on the show. I thought back, fondly, to the Xena days and thought she’d be the proper amount of kick ass to add to the mix, what with Ward being heavily bearded and creepy now, we needed that. And then, she not only touches the obelisk and gets her arm chopped off, but she dies in the car crash and no amount of anything is going to bring her back.

Let’s talk about Lance Hunter for a minute. The Skye/Lance relationship is troublesome for the reasons you mentioned, but give credit where credit is due. He’s mysterious, he’s hot, and, as we all know by now, I’m a sucker for an accent. I’m not sure where they’re going with him, and I’m not really sure I care. I don’t see the Skye/Lance thing only because he’s still reeling from Hartley’s death. I think to him, she’s just a girl on the team. I see him as more May’s type. Dark, brooding, cocky, capable.

I miss the fun and excitement of last season. Coulson is such a huge character and Clark Gregg has always done such an awesome job with his character. The proper mix of intellectual and bad ass with a bit of mischief and humor thrown in. Where is that mischief and humor? Where is that bad-assery? I’ll tell ya where. It went on hiatus with Fury and I don’t know that it’ll come back. The problem I have with this is just that. Coulson may be the director now, but he is not Fury. To put Nick Fury’s characteristics into the character of Phil Coulson is a huge mistake. Coulson is a fixture for me, as is Fury, in the Marvel Universe. I’m not willing to believe that Coulson and Fury have the same style at all. Yeah, I get Phil is a budding artist and needs to right all of that in his head, but there has to be some middle ground. We’ve taken away that which I loved so much – his smile and his ability to throw you off guard with being a little goofy then hitting the grand slam when you needed it most.

Flowers and Kyle just didn’t cut it for me. That whole, “touch it” scene would have been more intriguing if he was trying to seduce her, not get her to touch an object that may very well kill her. I’m unsure what exactly is happening there. Reina is not a good person, I get that. But how does she bounce from one evil overlord to the next as she does? Where is her loyalty to anything other than herself? I just don’t get it. I didn’t like her character last season and I sure don’t like it now.

I’m holding out hope that this is all some setup for something truly interesting. Something that can bring Ward back to the good side (yes, I refuse to believe he’s lost for good). Something that will pull Coulson back to his center so he can carry the team (and the show) on to bigger and better things. Something that makes me sit back and remember what it was I loved so much about Season One. The Fitz story is compelling to me, but it’s not enough. Judging from previews for next week, it may take over in a big way. What I really want though is something the show flirts with but doesn’t give me fully, and I want it. I want this to happen and I want it to be big and sweeping and take the show by storm. Yes, I want Mac, played by the gorgeous Henry Simmons, to be shirtless. At the very least, he needs better lighting. Please. Maybe he could have sex with Skye and they could be McSkye or something. I’d buy that. With fries.

So, guesses on how long it takes for Skye to meet her Daddy? Will she get answers early in the season, or will they drag it out?

Shawn: I figure that this Skye’s dad storyline gets going and concluded before we’re halfway through this season. The plot has to play out like this: “How does he know me?”, followed by the “He’s not really my dad!”, followed by the “He did something to show he cares despite it going against his evilness?” moment. And the likely person to suffer at that decision is Reina. Truthfully, I’m not sure I even have a ton of interest in this side of the show and it’s the main deal. The Obelisk is huge and means something to the movie universe too. I’m just getting tired head trying to follow everyone trying to get it and all the times it will change hands (or literally change hands to stone) this season.

I think you hit on the key for what I’m looking for in the next few episodes. I want Coulson unleashed back into the field. His scenes are the best parts of this season. He sets the tone that the other actors play off of. We see that May is into photography – maybe that can come into “play” later in the season. I just don’t get the serious scene of her taking a hundred pictures of his alien artwork.

I will put this episode to bed just saying that – there seem to be more just randos hanging out with our crew in the background doing sciency stuff and I loved that Mac and Fitz chemistry that’s brewing. I wouldn’t even mind a little working out and sweaty Mac next episode. The ratings are pretty stable and yet the mood seems to be that the show is lagging. I hope you are right that the pay off is coming soon. Do you think they are going to make Coulson that Fury type of leader? I worry that he’s not that personality. I think he can make the hard decisions but can he be ruthless? I’m back in this week to see where the Obelisk takes us next all while knowing that it’s ultimately going to be a Hydra battle before this ends.

Kim: Here’s what it boils down to. We want Coulson to be Coulson, not Fury. Seriously, if they move in that direction, my undying love for anything to do with S.H.I.E.L.D. may start to dwindle. Thor – woman. Cap – not Cap. Coulson – Fury. No – No. It’s all too much for me. Perhaps Romanoff could show up and do a little “cognitive recalibration” on Coulson to knock some sense into him and bring him back to us. Hey, it worked with Hawkeye in Avengers, so it could happen! May as a photographer would be awful, because she is an ass-kicker. This isn’t a show about the liberal arts, for crying out loud.

Skye’s daddy issues need to be dealt with, and quickly. Parents don’t define us. But if she’s going to have some super-human qualities, best we know what those are and put them to good use. Reina needs an ending. She is not supervillain caliber. She is a footnote, a distraction. We need Fitz-Simmons back or that story ended because it’s being played way too hard right now to go anywhere. You’re not just going to replace her with Mac. That’s a bond. I don’t like Fitz without Simmons and it feels all wrong. But she can’t come back if that means we have to say goodbye to Mac. We want Mac, well lit and maybe sweaty.

I’m in for another week, hoping to see the characters we know and love in the same light as they were when we knew and loved them. Instead, I feel like I’m watching an entirely new show full of new people that I don’t know and I’m not invested in. Sure, the Hydra/S.H.I.E.L.D. shakeup rocked everyone, but you don’t all simultaneously change everything about yourselves. I just don’t buy it. If you can’t give me those people I want to root for, then you have to give me Mac and Hunter. Maybe they can duel with swords or something. Make it hot, because right now I’m simply luke warm.


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Shawn Bourdo

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