Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.05: "Girl in the Flower Dress"

“You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it. That’s now. Or I’m done with you.”
-Agent Coulson

This episode delves a little deeper into the character of Skye. While I’m anxious to learn a bit more about the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew, I can see why the creative team is focusing on Skye in the early days of the show. She’s new to the team, so she’s a good entry point character for the audience. I think this episode is enough of Skye for a while, though. We learn about her (fairly recent) past, and we learn about her motivations for joining up with S.H.I.E.L.D. We find out that her more distant past is pretty darn mysterious. In addition to delving into Skye’s backstory, this episode also brings back a big plot thread from the pilot. The team once again has to deal with Centipede, the nefarious organization that wants to make superpowered soldiers. They’re still doing experiments on people, and it’s not at all pretty. And it’s still highly combustible!

This episode begins in Hong Kong. A man named Chan Ho Yin is doing a magic act for a crowd. The act involves fire, and the crowd is suitably impressed. After the show, a woman named Raina (wearing a flower dress…hence the title of the episode) speaks with him. She basically strokes Chan’s ego for a while until they go back to his apartment. It seems like Raina is trying to recruit Chan for something, but he doesn’t really have a chance to go along with it by his own volition. He’s nabbed by some creepy guys in fireproof suits. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team, of course is on the case, and the first thing they do is contact the local Hong Kong agent, Agent Quon. Agent Quon has some disturbing news for Coulson’s team. The kidnappers shouldn’t have known about Chan, because Chan had an agreement with S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep his powers under wraps. Quon thinks he knows how word got out, though. A S.H.I.E.L.D. datastream has been hacked by a member of Rising Tide. Everyone immediately looks at Skye, of course.

To clear her name, Skye offers to trace the hack that led to Chan being discovered. She’ll come to regret this, of course. The hack can be traced to Austin, Texas, and it’s the work of a pretty infamous hacker named Miles. The team heads to Austin, where they try to implement an operation to catch the hacker. Unfortunately, Ward is made by Miles when tailing him, and a massive car chase ensues. Miles has some tricks up his sleeve, much to the team’s chagrin. He’s got a device that can changing the programming of stop lights, so he gives himself green lights, and the team gets stuck with red lights. Austin makes it to a safe house, and Skye is there. Apparently they knew each other before Skye joined S.H.I.E.L.D. Miles was her mentor, and it’s quickly apparent that he was also her lover. They’ve been apart for so long that they can’t help but immediately have sex. As Skye is getting dressed afterwards, she opens the door to find Agent May standing outside.

Meanwhile, in Hong King, Raina works on trying to convince a tied up Chan that he really wants to stay put and learn to better harness his powers. She entices Chan with promises of fame, saying he can be a superhero like one of the Avengers. She even gives him a superhero name – Scorch. Chan’s sizeable ego gets the best of him, and he agrees to undergo some tests by Raina’s organization. That organization is Centipede, by the way. Like I already said, it’s the organization that was creating the super soldiers in the pilot episode. Chan is going to come to regret agreeing to the battery of tests, obviously. As soon as he agrees, Raina says it’s time for him to be “drained.” Which can’t possibly end well. Being drained basically means that Centipede wants to take all of Chan’s blood plasma, because it’s fireproof. That’s how he can send flames shooting out of his hands and not get burnt.

After their tryst is discovered, Skye and Miles are hauled back to the bus, where they are interrogated by Agent Ward. They don’t really try too hard to hide anything (I guess they realize they’re already in pretty big trouble). Miles reveals that he was paid for the information on Chan by a woman in a flower dress. She said she had an “eco research station,” and the data was for a study. Skye, of course, is mostly pissed off that Miles sold data, because “information wants to be free” and all that jazz. Anyway, Miles thought Centipede was an organization that studied bugs. He may know how to hack, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have a lot of curiosity.

Now that they have some idea of what they’re up against, there’s going to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on the Centipede Hong Kong lab. Coulson’s team is going to work with Quon’s team to make this happen. Coulson and May are going to be on the ground, while everybody else from Coulson’s team is going to be up on the Bus. Ward’s not especially happy about this, understandably. The fight at the lab is pretty epic. Just when Coulson and company think they have the Centipede minions under control, Chan decides he doesn’t want to play nice with S.H.I.E.L.D. either. He burns Agent Quon and “sets himself free.” There’s just a tiny problem. Without sufficient blood plasma, he might spontaneously combust if he uses his firepower too much. As Raina pointed out, he wouldn’t be the first Centipede subject to burn up.

The lab is in lockdown, so Ward and Sky have to enter the lab so Sky can do her hacking thing to re-enable all the doors. If she can’t do it, then Coulson will probably be nice and toasty soon enough. Skye manages to get the doors unlocked, but Chan takes off after Raina and Debbie, the scientist lady from the pilot who was doing most of the super soldier creating. Chan manages to kill Debbie, but then Coulson catches up to him. Agent May then shoots Chan with Extremis, which I believe is the stuff from the pilot that could stop the super soldiers. Miles does some hacking to shut particular doors and vent a big explosion from Chan safely out of the roof of the building. And so the immediate threat has passed.

Miles is given a bracelet that will provide location data to S.H.I.E.L.D. and prevent him from using any electronic devices. And then he is stranded in Hong Kong. Cold, Agent Coulson. Just cold. Then Skye has to have a chat with Coulson, which is a lot like getting called to the principal’s office. Coulson wants the truth, or he’s “done” with her. Skye says that she joined S.H.I.E.L.D. because she wants to learn more about her parents. The only thing she has ever found about them is an almost completely redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. report. Agent Coulson warns Skye that she might not like what she finds, but he’ll help her find whatever it is. And she has to wear a tracking bracelet. The episode ends with Raina visiting a mysterious guy in jail. They talk about a multi-stage plan and problems resurfacing. Clearly S.H.I.E.L.D.’s problems with Centipede are just beginning.

No comments:

Post a Comment