Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets hot & steamy in “Girl In A Flower Dress”. Plus Skye’s true motivation is finally revealed.
Continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 5.
Hello Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans and everybody else! This is a brief and very late recap. I won’t be recapping every story beat, but I’ll be happy to discuss the show with you further in the comments section.
Based on the first five episodes, the show could facetiously be retitled ‘Skye and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Skye is our P.O.V character, the person taking us into the inner workings of S.H.I.E.L.D. The writers want her to be the emotional heart of the series and for viewers to see this super human world through her eyes. But’s she’s not resonating in the way the show needs her to be. Not yet.
If you’re a fan of BBC’s Torchwood, you’ll recognize that Gwen Cooper served a similar function as an ‘audience surrogate’. Gwen began as a new agent recruited into a top-secret agency that defends Earth from supernatural and extra-terrestrial threats. Through out the series, Gwen wrestles with what is the moral thing to do as well as balances her normal family life with her work responsibilities. You know when she’s not battling aliens.
While Gwen Cooper’s conflicting nature is universally relatable and adds depth to her character, Skye is divisive to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fan base. Beyond detractor’s nitpicks that Skye’s humour is more hammy than witty or she wears fashionable clothes yet lived in a van for two years or even that she doesn’t fit our preconceived notion of what a hacker should look like, her core beliefs are at odds which is a challenge to reconcile.
If Skye believes in freedom of information why would she want to work for an espionage agency? The end of episode two presented an explanation: she’s a double agent. Fair enough, but as a possible mole, an operative that is secretly working against S.H.I.E.L.D.’s agenda, she no longer functions as our audience surrogate. Imbuing Skye with ulterior motives and duplicity makes it harder to identify with and invest in her. If she’s our protagonist, viewers need a compelling reason or an emotional connection to be on her side.
In a few ways, episode five reframes our perspective of Skye, not so much with revelations but with missing pieces to a puzzle. We learn that Skye adopted her hacktivist views from a mentor/lover whom she looked up to. Though not necessarily her own intrinsic values, she has to come to terms with them when her mentor who embodies these ideals becomes corrupt.
In the end, Skye takes a stand for the principles she truly believes in when an innocent man’s life is at stake due to classified information ending up in the wrongs hands. This episode depicts Skye rejecting Rising Tide’s way of thinking and while not embracing all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s methods (can you say body probes?), she sides with Coulson and company.
Like many viewers conjectured, Coulson sensed Skye is hiding something more. Learning the truth that becoming a Rising Tide hackactivist and joining S.H.I.E.L.D is really a pretense for finding info on her birth parents, helps to align the seemingly disparate elements within Skye.
While this episode might not untangle all the knots (or noose) the writers inadvertently made for themselves with Skye’s initial character arc, it thankfully book ends the Rising Tide ‘not a double agent’ story line. The mystery with what happened to her parents and how it’s connected to S.H.I.E.L.D. will hopefully be a story arc that strengthens her character rather than pull it apart.
Moving forward her function on the team, aside of her computer hacking skills, can be to pull in the reigns when S.H.I.E.L.D.’s shady sense of ethics and justice gets out of control. (What’s the deal with the bracelets?) I hope upcoming episodes will show Skye earning back the confidence of her teammates as well as viewers who have issues with her portrayal so far.
The second half of the episode is by far the stronger half. What I liked about Scorch is how his need for recognition and glory which was hinted at in the opening magic scene became twisted and consuming. I also liked the notion that if S.H.I.E.L.D. took a proactive role in grooming Chan Ho Yin he possibly could have been guided to become a force for the greater good.
At the same time, Chan’s dark character flaw has always been a part of him. Centipede just accelerated his corruption with the super power injections and by taking away the part of him that kept him from combusting. There’s also the underlying allegory of Scorch’s uncontrollable ‘roid rage’ after one too many injections to boost his powers which is effective on a basic storytelling level, albeit is not exactly sosphicated writing.
What is did you like or dislike about “Girl In The Flower Dress”? Who is the clairvoyant? Did you like Raina?