By the Corsair's Closet's Liz Carlie, the 'Mad Woman with a Box'
SPOILERGUARD: Do not read the following if you have not yet seen Marvel’s Agents OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 1.5, “Girl In The Flower Dress.” You have been warned.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff.
The buzzword for any fledgling show with a metric ton of potential and a built in fanbase is “patience.” The viewership is there, as are the stories, all that’s left is to give it an opportunity to establish its own identity. One might expect that, for a show spawned by a prolific entity like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would take less time to hit the ground running, but last night’s episode “Girl In The Flower Dress” opened the eyes of even me, a self-professed Marvel fangirl that has found precious little flaw with every consecutive episode.
When a show is spawned by a box office blockbusting giant such as Phase One of the MCU, you need a four-part pilot to get things started.
That’s precisely what the last four episodes feel like after viewing Girl In The Flower Dress. The episode started with a street magician in Hong Kong, Chan Ho Yin, who was goaded into exposing a secret by dubious members of his audience: abandoning his sleights, he produced real fire from his bare hands. Given special attention by a beautiful woman in a flower dress after the show, he took her back to his apartment where posters of the master, Houdini, lined the walls. He poured out his heart, yearning for a higher purpose and the recognition he dreamed of… just before two men in fireproof suits appeared and carted him out on behalf of the well dressed woman.
The abduction of Chan turned out to be the work of Centipede, whom we haven’t heard from directly since the pilot episode, although I have my doubts about the people behind Amador’s situation last week. It seemed his whereabouts were leaked through a hack from our favorite cyberterrorists, The Rising Tide. This brought Skye’s loyalty into question, which was foreshadowed in The Asset, but ultimately the team trusted her and sprang into action smoothly, just like they did in 0-8-4. Even shades of last week’s Eye Spy come into play with Skye’s clear cut change of loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side, and her sympathy for Chan’s plight, which fell closely in line with that of Coulson’s former protégé.
While last week’s episode was our first solid story that was exclusive to the show, this week everything came together with a story that combined the building blocks of heavy Marvel references drawn in the pilot, and the original elements of the show that are making it unique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Chan received a dose of the Extremis-based super soldier serum which magnified his powers and ultimately corrupted him, Skye tipped off Miles, an ally in the Rising Tide and an old flame, about the presence of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their interest in him. Arrested alongside him, both the evidence and Skye’s unshakable loyalty led to the location of Chan. Despite that, he was corrupted by his newfound power and went on a killing spree that forced Coulson and May to put him down.
The episode wrapped up with a stunning yet simple reveal as to Skye’s motives: an orphan searching for the family that gave her up, her search led her to a single document redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and one alternative in her mind: get on the inside. While Coulson offered to help her, it’s clear there’s still some trust issues given that she was given a manacle similar to the tracking shackle Miles was released wearing, along with a warning to leave electronic equipment alone for a while.
A delightfully cryptic epilogue buttoned the episode up, leaving us with more questions than answers, and a burning need to figure it all out. Thus far, I’ve been very happy with the show’s development, even if some of the episodes have been a little slow. This week, it feels like everything has come together, bringing us to what I feel is the true launch of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: the group has a foe, Skye’s underhanded behavior fueled by pure intentions have left us with a conflict, and the mystery of Phil Coulson is only one of about a dozen shoes still waiting to drop.
It’s a slow climb, but an extremely satisfying one. The odds and ends of this episode were fantastic: May in a legitimate combat situation, Gemma’s sweet and forgiving attitude towards Skye’s seeming betrayal, the return of Coulson’s pet gadget to blow the lock off of doors, even Ward’s love of board games made it better overall. I not only want to know more about the driving overall plot of the season, but I’m looking forward to getting more backstory on some of the team that hasn’t come into the spotlight as of yet.
Did you have a favorite moment this week? Who’s your favorite character so far? Disagree with anything I’ve said so far about the show? Hit me up on Twitter, or let me know what you think in the comments below!
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The Corsair’s Closet features Elizabeth Carlie as the Mad Woman With A Box and Kristine Cherry as the Time Siren. The pair co-host Krypton Radio’s wacky and high-energy Doctor Who-themed cosplay show in which they get their geek on by squeeing about Doctor Who, cosplay, pop culture, and fan creativity.
The Corsair’s Closet airs with a new episode each Wednesday at 4PM, and repeats Friday at 5PM.