Reviews

Agents of Shield: The Well

Agents of Shield: The Well

by J.D. Cook

Sorry folks. I was hit by an Asgardian cold recently and I barely made it through Agents of Shield or my Wednesday. Thankfully I woke up today feeling great with tons of memories of my time recuperating in Tahiti, “It’s a magical place”.

Oh well back to work on ‘Thor’s Day’. Fitting that the episode I’m discussing actually tied into Thor: The Dark World. At first I felt like this episode was a bit slow and silly. I mean why did all of the people in Norway speak English as their first language to each other? Why didn’t Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Hawkeye or Black Widow respond when the mystical Asgardian staff was giving bad people super powers they were using to reap destruction through whole towns? I mean the news was reporting on it. Surely someone could have told any of those superheroes to step in. All of those complaints aside I wasn’t feeling well at all whilst watching it so maybe my mind wasn’t quite connecting all the dots. It was funny that the Agents of Shield started the episode cleaning up after Thor’s destruction in his film.

Now the episode did get immediately better after it was revealed that Dr. Elliot Randolph (Peter Macnicol) was not actually a Professor on Norse legends but in fact a part of them. He was an Asgardian who came down long ago and decided to live on Earth in peace after his years of fighting ended. It’s an interesting parallel to Thor as he is currently doing something similar. As far as character development went in this episode we got to see a bit of Ward’s (Brett Dalton) back story and that Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) is really in charge of her own dark past. If you didn’t watch the episode the mystical Asgardian staff gives you super powers at the cost of forcing you to relive and dwell on your worst memories. Ward used it and was a mess. May used it and was fine. Although I’m not sure how you can’t be a mess when you basically drowned your brother in a well as a young boy. Don’t know what May’s darkness is but it can’t beat that can it? Well we do know she can sleep with it at the very least. Can I get a sick burn high five?! (puts hand up in eager waiting)

A. (puts hand down with a sad look on his face since you didn’t high five him)

B. (puts hand down and looks at you funny for high fiving your computer screen)

In the final scene we got to see Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) dream of his time in Tahiti where his masseuse told him it was a magical place. He woke up shocked but I’m not really sure why. I mean the audience assumes he’s realizing he’s been repeating what he heard there for months but wouldn’t it comfort him to have an actual memory of being there? If anything that makes things less suspicious. Next week the team returns to being…you guessed it…trapped on the plane. There have been far too many episodes set in this location and I hate it and never want to see it again. That’s all.

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress
Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.
Agents of Shield: The Hub

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Laying the Hammer Down on ‘Thor’s Day’
Boycott X-Men Days of Future Past
Superior Spider-Man
Top 7 Venom Story Arc Countdown
The Avengers Age of Ultron Preview

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Laying the Hammer Down on ‘Thor’s Day’

Laying the Hammer Down on ‘Thor’s Day’

by J.D. Cook

I was not really hyped up for Thor: The Dark World. I mean I certainly wasn’t going to miss it but much like the first Thor I didn’t quite know what to expect. The previews were pretty lite on the details side. They essentially just told us Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) would team up. I certainly wasn’t expecting the emotional depth of feeling that occurred early in the film or the amazing cameo midway through and I certainly did not see the ending coming. If you haven’t seen the film yet and do not want the plot spoiled I will simply say it was well worth the price of admission and extremely funny.

Still here? Ok let’s jump into the minute details other sites won’t touch! The first Thor is probably my favorite Marvel movie behind the Avengers which is, of course, in some other league of films. I mean I love Iron Man and have always been a bigger fan of his going back to reading Warren Ellis’s run on Extremis but something about the first Thor just worked so brilliantly. I think it was the heart that Kenneth Branagh injected into what could have easily devolved into a special effects extravaganza. Instead it stayed grounded. When Odin (Anthony Hopkins) takes away Thor’s power and casts him out you really feel for both of them. When Loki discovers his origins you can’t help but understand his anger and when he finally fades into a black hole you completely understand Thor’s feeling of loss. Thor: The Dark World didn’t quite live up to the first’s level.

The dialogue just didn’t sound as great as the firsts or the Avengers. Except for the moment Loki transformed into Captain America of course. That was amazing! The action seemed a bit wonky at times and hard to follow. I mean I couldn’t quite tell what happened in the climactic moment where Thor defeats Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). Did he simply stab him? Did he hammer him? Did he stab and then hammer him? Well all of those sounded bad but if you saw the movie you get what I’m saying. That scene would have been a great moment for some slow motion to fully feel the impact of Thor’s final blow. That said I definitely felt the emotion in the film when Thor and Loki’s mother died. That Asgardian funeral was fantastic but it sadly tied the Asgardians of the Marvel Cinematic Universe down to mortality. I would have loved some kind of circular cycle like in the comics and Norse mythology. Ok the ending. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t see it coming.  I loved everything about it and I really can’t wait to find out if Odin has been killed or imprisoned by Loki.

That leads me into the theories section. Did Loki order Lady Sif and Volstagg to deliver the Infinity Gem to the Collector or did they do it to hide it? If they did it to hide it shouldn’t they be running to tell Thor what Loki’s done? Hopefully their motivation is touched upon in the Beta Ray Bill Guardians of the Galaxy, or Thor 3. Speaking of, why did they put the scene where Thor returns to Earth after the credits? I mean people are going to need to know that so they understand that A. he is not in Asgard totally ignorant to the fact that Loki is ruling it and B. know why he is on Earth during the Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Collector scene was the true after credits scene for the film anyway. I Didn’t understand why they put them in the order they did. Ok I know I picked at the film a bit but I really did enjoy just about everything about it. The plot was perfect in my book, even if it didn’t fully delve into the nine realms as much as I wanted. It established a credible threat that only Thor had the means to take on and made Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) a really appealing and interesting female lead for the second time. Oh and let’s not forget the naked antics of Stellen Skarsgard! Lastly both Hemsworth and Hiddleston were amazing. Their chemistry is great and I can’t wait for it to come to a head in the next film. Then we get the Ballad of Beta Ray Bill in Thor 4 right?

Past Comic Book Commentaries
Boycott X-Men: Days of Future Past
Uncanny Venom, Hilarious Captain America
Batman Still the Crown Jewel of the New 52
The Superior Spider-Man
The 1st Comic Book Commentary
Defending Remender and Attacking Racism

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Agents of Shield: The Hub

Agents of Shield: The Hub

J.D. Cook

The newest episode of Agents of Shield was interesting for a couple of reasons. My favorite of which was that Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) story is slowly starting to simmer with progress. I’ve made no secret of my belief that Coulson is in fact a life model decoy that will play into Avengers: Age of Ultron somehow, possibly as Ultron himself or the Vision. In this episode Skye (Chloe Bennet) jokingly said, “It’s like he’s been replaced with a robot version of himself”, in reference to Coulson when he tightened up in the capital building of S.H.I.E.L.D, the Hub. There are a few different moments in the show where more is hinted at and I’m really hoping that plot thread is unraveled by the season’s finale. Skye’s back story was also a central theme in the episode and my friend believes she will be revealed to be Jessica Drew a.k.a. Spider-Woman at some point in the future. I’m not really up on that character but after doing a bit of research it certainly seems like an interesting and extremely feasible possibility.

Now while those were the parts of the episode that really interested me the main plot of it revolved around Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Ward (Brett Dalton) in the field being hilarious. This episode was definitely one of the funnier ones to hit the television so far. I did have some minor issues with the episode though. Last week’s episode, F.Z.Z.T., focused on Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and this week on Fitz. It just seemed a bit too formulaic for my taste. I mean those are probably my favorite characters on the show but I think I would have liked a break from their stories to focus in on a slightly different character this week. Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) hasn’t been featured much of late and I’m wondering why that is. It’s also becoming clearer that Shield is less and less noble and Melinda May might just be a Shield operative in place to keep Coulson in line. Fitz does get major bad ass points in this episode for rigging up a ‘vibration gun’ that blew up enemy weapons. That was mighty cool.

Ok last thoughts before wrapping this up. Coulson has obviously caught on to something as the end of the episode showed him calling about his vacation in Tahiti only to discover he wasn’t cleared to learn of his own recovery. He also didn’t raise the issue with Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) yet which means he has lost trust in him or suspects a conspiracy and doesn’t want anyone to know he suspects anything yet. In the comics Fury is pretty notorious for being machiavellian but he’s never downright evil so my guess is Shield has been infiltrated by evil forces which will come into full combat with Captain America in his sequel. I think it would be pretty cool if Agents of Shield ends with Coulson’s team on the run from Shield in a cliffhanger that is resolved when they emerge to help Captain America in The Winter Soldier. Maybe that is just wishful thinking but since Netflix signed a monster deal with Disney giving them exclusive rights to distributing their television programs I’m wondering if Agents of Shield will be anything more than a one season adventure. Only time will tell.

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress
Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Boycott X-Men Days of Future Past
Superior Spider-Man
Top 7 Venom Story Arc Countdown
The Avengers Age of Ultron Preview
Batman Vs Superman Preview

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Burn Witch, Burn!

Burn Witch, Burn!

by Peggy Fay Albano

New Orleans 1833:
We are shown here, how very evil Madame Lalaurie really was. She even had her three daughters caged up in her dungeon (for a year) because they were plotting to kill her.

Present Day:
All hell breaks loose! The academy is surrounded by the “walking dead” (or is that a different show?) Fiona discovers Cordelia has had acid thrown in her face. After being told by the doctor that Cordelia will be blind, she freaks out. She takes drugs and liquor and walks into the hospital room of a woman who just had a stillborn baby. Fiona places her hands on the baby and the baby opens its eyes. Makes me wonder, why she can’t restore her daughters sight, or, if not her, why can’t one of the other witches?

Cordelia’s murderous husband comes to visit her and when he takes her hand, she wakes in horror “seeing” him kill the woman he had been with.

In the meantime, the maid sees her undead daughter through the widow. She goes outside to beg her forgiveness for having been such a monstrous mother, but her daughter attacks her. The maid has no other resource but to “kill” her.

Luke confronts the undead. Nan goes out to help him. Marie Leveau (who is levitating at the time, in her own place) causes the undead to attack them. Loe then gets a chainsaw and makes mincemeat out of them. This causes Marie to fall to the floor. She then realizes there’s a powerful witch in the academy.

The Witches Council comes to the academy and demands Fiona to step down from her post of being the supreme. Fiona blames one member of the council, Myrtle (Frances Conroy) for blinding her daughter. She proves this by having them expose her right hand which apparently had been partially eaten by acid. She even had me convinced, but we later discover she had Queenie’s help to pull the deception off. The remaining two members of the council ordered Myrtle to be burned. They all proceeded to the stake to carry out the sentence. After tying Myrtle to the stake, Fiona throws her lit cigarette toward her and she’s engulfed in flames.

Later on, Loe goes to the burned body of Myrtle and awakens her….

Nutshell Reviews7 out of 10 Bigbluebullfrog Leaps

Nutshell Reviews is a collection of very short reviews of the most significant movies, books, music, and video games, from both the present day and days gone passed.

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Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

Agents of Shield: F.Z.Z.T.

by J.D. Cook

The Agents of Shield dropped by my home state of Pennsylvania last night! Unfortunately it was because a guy’s brain exploded with electricity caused by an alien disease contracted from a Chitauri helmet (the bad alien fodder in the Avengers if you don’t know who they are). Anyway that wasn’t really much of a spoiler because the real juice of the episode lay in the near death of one of the Agents. The overall plot of the story didn’t move forward very much at all but it had more emotional gravitas than any episode thus far. I felt a tad bored as a viewer until the writers flipped the powerful character moments switch to ON. This happened immediately when Coulson (Clark Gregg) refused to leave the side of an infected first responder who was going to die in moments. He attempted to calm him and told the man about his own near death experience stating that he saw something more when he died and it was, ‘beautiful’.

That was just the opening gambit of the episode though as it was Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) who was infected with the alien virus. She then spent a good bit of time trying to cure herself with the aid of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) . The chemistry between the two was amazing in the episode and they should both be given some kind of awards. That said the undisputed best moment of the episode was when Fitz Splitwas going to jump off the plane after Simmons, who was trying to give the team a safe distance from her exploding body, only to have the parachute taken by Ward (Brett Dalton) who leaped out after her without any hesitation after giving a speech to Skye (Chloe Bennet) about waiting to be needed. It was a very cool and amazing moment. I think I’m still recovering from how much my blood pressure rose watching this roller coaster of an episode. I’m just happy the beautiful and amazing Simmons is still on the show and not a victim of Joss Whedon’s murderous ways! Just kidding of course, Whedon has a reputation for killing characters but he’s actually pretty tame when it comes to doing it. This episode did a great job of making me think he might off Simmons even though all my rational story telling predication abilities were telling me it would never happen. So the episode ended on a happy note with Simmons cured and Ward revealing he knows everyone makes fun of him but is actually amused by it.

There were few if any Marvel easter eggs spread throughout the episode and that’s always a bit of a bummer but that wasn’t really the point of the episode. Although Coulson’s blood work was ‘high in iron’ (cough life model decoy cough). My only complaint is that this is the second episode to feature them trapped on their airplane for an extended period. I’m more interested in plots that span different locations and deal with adventure. I’m hoping the mantra for season two is less plane more marvels. Secondly I’m still waiting to see a super power not drive someone insane or be horrible in some way. Oh and why is it reinforced every episode that Coulson is different or that he’s having issues with Shield. I love that story but I want to see some development. He just seems to keep having the same conversations with people about it; this is excluding his great monologue to the first responder which felt very fresh and unique. Agent Blake (Titus Welliver) was a pretty cold antithesis of Coulson though. Fury’s cameo was more funny than serious but Blake seemed to be really threatening Coulson and the moment where he rubbed Lola on his way out drilled home the point that Blake and Coulson could easily be real nemesis down the road a bit. I’m figuring when Coulson realizes Shield isn’t as noble as they seem or when Shield decides to neutralize Coulson.

That’s all for now! See ya next week, hopefully it ties into Thor: the Dark World some how!

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy
Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Top 7 Venom Story Arc Countdown
The Avengers Age of Ultron Preview
Batman Vs Superman Preview
Comic Book Commentary
God Cell: Gate of the Gods

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Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

by Peggy Fay Albano

Episodes 3: The Replacements & Episode 4: Fearful Pranks Ensue

Sorry about missing last week’s article but this week I’ll cover both episodes three and four.

In the former episode, Zoe went to get “Franken-Kyle” and bring him to his mother. She leaves him on the mother’s porch until she sees her take him in, obviously overwhelmed with joy that her son is alive. However, the next day we see Franken-Kyle’s mother try to seduce him and this enraged him so much that he killed her. Zoe later found the body.

Fiona’s daughter, Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), went to Marie for a cure for her infertility but Marie laughed in her face and said she would never help a daughter of Fiona.

In a flashback to 1971, we see Fiona have a confrontation with the then Supreme Witch, who is losing strength as Fiona (the next in line) gains her own strength. Fiona ends up slicing her throat so she herself could be the Supreme (while the butler looks on).

Back to the present day… new neighbors, Joan Ramsey (Patti Lupone) and her son Luke (Alexander Dreymon) move in next door. Madison and Nan (Jamie Brewer) bring them a cake because they want to meet the young man. Joan, who is very religious , throws them out after Madison made anti-religious remarks. As they’re leaving, Madison causes the drapes to catch on fire.

Fiona now concludes that Madison is the new Supreme and is becoming more powerful (while she loses her own strength). So, in a repeat of 40 years ago, she slashes Madison’s throat and leaves that very same butler/witness to take care of the body.

Earlier, Fiona walked in on Madame LaLaurie who is crying while watching President Obama on TV. Fiona tells her she is now the new maid. Later on at dinner, the maid refuses to wait on Queenie. Fiona, who does not tolerate any source of racism, makes her Queenie’s personal slave. While the maid is catering to Queenie, she sees a man, with a bull’s head, looking in at her. She becomes very frightened because she knows he is the man (who now appears to be a minotaur), she had enslaved in her former life. Queenie went out to confront him but instead she tried to seduce him. He then attacked her….Is she dead too?

Too many deaths in this episode if you ask me.

Episode 4 starts in a flashback: New Orleans 1961…

A young black boy who was part of school integration, was chased down by racists and hanged..The boy’s mother worked for Marie LeVeau. Marie did her voodoo magic which caused the dead to come out of their graves and destroy the men who hanged the boy.

Back to the present. Fiona discovers Queenie alive and wakes Cordelia to help nurse her. Queenie stops breathing and Fiona breathes life back into her. The maid, being very thankful for what Queenie did for her, is still very spooked by what happened. Fiona said she didn’t have to worry any more. The next day, Marie receives the minataur’s head in a box.

Cordelia is talking on the phone with her husband when he has to get off for a “business” meeting. Monkey business, that is. After enjoying time with his lady friend, guess what? He kills her. Very predictable I must say.

The Council of Witchcraft comes to the academy. They were summoned there by Nan who hears everyone’s thoughts. Nan told them she couldn’t hear Madison anymore. The council believes someone killed her.

The butler, who had cut out his own tongue years earlier, loves to have tea time with his porcelain dolls. He now has a new, life-size doll, Madison. In the meantime Fiona realizes that Madison wouldn’t be the one to replace her. So, she killed her for nothing.

It’s Halloween…Zoe discovers Franken-Kyle banging his bloody head against the tub, she tries to console him and after leaving the room, discovers he’s gone. She looks outside and sees no one but trick or treaters. I’m sure Franken-Kyle fit right in.

Halloween night and Fiona dresses like, what else, a witch. She goes to a bar with Cordelia who goes into the ladies room and a little “person” dressed all in black, throws acid in her face. The maid is giving out the candy to the trick or treaters. Afterwards there’s an awful pounding at the door. She opens it to see her three dead daughters. Eeeeeeeee!!!

And the horror continues…

Nutshell Reviews7 out of 10 Bigbluebullfrog Leaps for both!

Nutshell Reviews is a collection of very short reviews of the most significant movies, books, music, and video games, from both the present day and days gone passed.

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Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress

Agents of Shield: The Girl in the Flower Dress

by J.D. Cook

The newest episode of Agents of Shield was the best one since Gravitron’s origin story. We finally got a couple of answers and Skye’s loyalty to the Rising Tide was revealed far earlier then I would have thought. Instead of letting it simmer all season Skye was ousted after doing the nasty with her ex-hacker extraordinaire boyfriend, much to the chagrin of the crush holding Fitz. At the same time the origin of Scorch (discount, or rather rights available Sunfire) was told in interesting fashion. That last part is just a joke obviously Scorch can’t hold a flame to the Solar Samurai Sunfire. That said for a short amount of time in the episode he was very relatable and sympathetic. My biggest problem with this episode was how fast he flipped from being a manipulated good person to a psychopath. Here’s a pretty awesome little factoid though, Scorch is the first honest to goodness Mutant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean yes the show gave the ‘well he lived by a nuclear plant’ explanation to his super mutation but he is definitely a nod to a certain group of misfits called the X-Men. I mean it even seemed like they were trying to conjure the image of Sunfire in people’s minds with the promos.

On a different note this show is really making Shield and by extension large extensive government defense agencies look good. That said Whedon and crew are too smart of a group not to be planning some kind of big switch mid-season. I mean we live in an era where invasive security is a huge threat to modern society and Shield embodies that perfectly. While Coulson and his team are certainly good moral people that can’t be the case with every Shield agent can it? I am craving the episode where the cracks in Shield’s world policing finally start to appear. Also when are the Agents of Shield going to run into someone who doesn’t go mad with power? I want to see a legitimate hero created! Hell I want someone with super powers on the team. I don’t know if this show will endure long term if fans don’t eventually get something like that because we could get a crack team of investigators globetrotting and fighting crime anywhere. We come to watch Agents of Shield for super powers!

Lastly the actual ‘girl in the flower dress’ was revealed as a big villain or she has direct ties to a big villain. Unfortunately the jury is still out on who the bad guys are in this show. My guess is it’s either the remnants of AIM or Hydra. Both are the traditional villains of Shield and work perfectly in the context of the show. It was nice to see Skye decide to fight for the good guys and I wonder who her parents are but I’m far more interested in who the evil organization creating super villains is!

 Until next week my friends!

Catch up with the Show on ABC. Com or Hulu!

Other Episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield: Pilot
Agents of Shield: 0-8-4
Agents of Shield: The Asset
Agents of Shield: Eye Spy

Other Comic Book Related Articles

Top 7 Venom Story Arc Countdown
The Avengers Age of Ultron Preview
Batman Vs Superman Preview
Comic Book Commentary
God Cell: Gate of the Gods

Articles from Around the Web

 

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