‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Reveals Chitauri Virus (and Some Heart) – Is It Enough?

Published 10 months ago by , Updated November 7th, 2013 at 8:02 am,

agents of shield episode 6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Reveals Chitauri Virus (and Some Heart)   Is It Enough?

[This is a review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally pushed aside its exceedingly over-reaching tales and, instead, presents a surprisingly intimate and successful story focused on the two characters fans love to hate the most, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). Is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally taking the steps needed to become an earnest series?

In this week’s episode, “F.Z.Z.T.”, written by Paul Zbyszewski, creator of the short-lived, cult-favorite ABC series Day Break, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the team find themselves up against an anomaly left over from The Avengers’ Battle of New York which leaves its victims dead and levitating. After securing what is thought to be the source, a salvaged Chitauri helmet, Agent Simmons finds herself infected by the alien virus and must find a cure before she becomes the next victim, or before S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters steps in.

On the surface, this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D doesn’t appear to be much different from the over-reaching premises and unconvincing resolutions of weeks past. And when it comes to the actual plot device of this week’s adventure – the Chitarui helmet with its living space rust – not much has changed; the overly-forceful attempts at announcing all-things Marvel can be felt, and the references do little to connect audiences to the large and expansive world that the studios theatrical releases exist it. However, if one is able to put levitating bodies aside – even momentarily – an impressive attempt at evolving the characters, as well as the series, can be seen.

agents of shield episode 6 fitz Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Reveals Chitauri Virus (and Some Heart)   Is It Enough?

In a brilliant effort at righting ABC’s upended television experiment, what would essentially be considered case-of-the-week is quickly resolved with a bit of teamwork, leaving a good majority of the episode left to focus on the most encouraging storyline the series has yet to present. With Simmons now infected by the Chitarui virus, a sense of risk and anger, be it ever so slight, is introduced into the series – and with much success.

As Simmons’ final minutes continued to tick away, the extraterrestrial flu that has infected her forces the characters to show their true colors, in one way or another. For Fitz, who would be any fan’s pick as the least-likely hero in group, he showed his dedication to both his team and partner by sacrificing himself to carry his fallen comrade who had, essentially, given up all hope. Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), too, stepped it up this week. Still, the most encouraging and downright delightful aspect of this week’s episode is Agent Phillip Coulson who, for all intents and purposes, finally stepped up as leader of this would-be team.

From the eye of the view, Coulson comes from the world of superheroes and super threats, where any decision could result in success, destruction or, worse, annihilation, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D had yet to actually present everyone’s favorite character in situations where he’d shine. With Simmons’ life on the line, Coulson was able to defy orders from Item 47’s Agent Blake’s (Titus Welliver) all-too brief appearance, buying Simmons some much needed time, while also standing up to Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) about his death. Alas, Coulson’s rejuvenation is still a mystery left to be revealed, and it’s becoming increasingly more unlikely that the reveal – whatever it may be – will be worth the wait.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is now entering into its own version of Phase II, per say, with the series finally catching up to the episodes written before its series premiere, so now the producers are able to tweak aspects of the series they didn’t know needed work before it aired. Does this mean that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will now become the best superhero-esque series that television has ever seen? Probably not. But if this episode is a sign of what’s to come, there’s still a good chance that fans will no longer have to label this show as a reluctant watch.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D returns next Tuesday @8pm on ABC with “The Hub”.

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  1. All kidding aside – I was one of those people hoping that this show would be good. The Ward character is by far the most bland – a block of wood is more interesting than that guy. Skye is just a collection of clichés. I could go on and on. But in the end its just not a good show, and I doubt it ever will be.

    • Yeah…They really have to cut down on how many time they mention Coulson dying in an episode.. Counted 5 last night.. I’m trying to hang in there but the show is just not good. The characters are awful, to be honest i never remember there names. When i read comments on here sometimes i have to look the names up to see who it is..

      • I have to agree. So far, I like the show and I watch it whenever I have nothing else on but it needs to improve dramatically in order for me to stick with the series. I gave Arrow about 10 episodes. By then the show dramatically improved and showed it’s direction. It didn’t feel like it was just a “case episode” show but that there was a overall direction of where it was heading. I will give AOS the same 10 episodes to see if it shows the same improvement. I love Marvel but there is only soo much you can take

  2. I completely understand what you mean about ward being a bit uninteresting, but as a whole I realy don’t think the shows that bad, I think it needs to tie itself more into the marvel universe, and make use of the b-list characters available, its going to improve, I can feel it, hang in there

  3. This was probably my favorite episode thus far. Now there was some horrible dialogue and scenes at the beginning but after that I really enjoyed it. I think if they toned down the comedy just a little it would be an improvement and thats one complaint I had about IM3. I think that we will start seeing some improvement in the show just like the article says above because the writers can start to make changes and I hope they see some of our complaints as fans and try to make small changes. Anyone else catch the Typhoid Mary comment? I thought that was cool. Easter Eggs bro.

  4. ‘sigh’……this series still has not improved imo…..this may sound cold – but I was really wishing that the way the episode was going, that this was going to be the way the network would wise up, and kill off Fitz and/or Simmons in order to build real drama and replace them with better characters.
    I really feel that they are part of the problem and why this show is better suited for a Saturday morning cartoon, rather than a primetime show based on supposedly, the most elite secret service in the world.

    • This episode I thought was a little improved. They got tried to tone down the humor a little bit and tried to keep to the story. My biggest issue is that so far it’s all just little side stories, kind of like a case episode for a LAPD type of show. Yes, there’s little easter eggs here and there but will they lead to anything is my thing. They are not planning on doing Black Panther on the show so the whole “secret classified” location in Africa I doubt is Wakanda or it might be but that will be the end of it. I know it’s all suppose to tie in with Cap 2 but right now based on the Winter Soilder story, I am not seeing it.

  5. This episode was an improvement but not by much. I like the easter egg references they throw in but will it all come together as it should? Also I feel like some lesser known heros would go a long way for this series. I think with season 1 of Arrow, around the 6th-8th episode I started getting a good feeling about the series in which things started to turn around and in the right direction. I hope this series goes that route as well because right now I don’t think I will last more than 10 episodes if things don’t improve

  6. i actually liked this episode

    did they ever say how Coulson was resurrected?

    • Not yet. It’s what the show is slowly alluding to… and what the rest of us are waiting for.

  7. Don’t pronounce the alien race name phoenetically…!

  8. I’m a huge fan of Clark Gregg, and I love the Coulson character . . . but for some reason I’m just not feeling it. I think a previous review of an episode or discussion here at SR mentioned that the Coulson character was stronger as a supporting character as opposed to a leading role. I think it’s two sides of the same coin: Coulson has the potential to be a great leading character, but thus far the writing just has not been up to snuff. Maybe Joss needs to write/direct a few episodes and sort of show the producers how Coulson should be done — or maybe Gregg isn’t able to insert enough of his own style into the role.

    There seems to be so many things wrong with this show, holding it back from its true potential. It’s by no means terrible, it’s just rather storybook, cliché, bland overall. Too many stereotypes, not enough honest heart (more so forced, like when Skye was caught betraying SHIELD and Coulson got all soft).

    I think SR’s comparison to Firefly and what worked was a perfect compare/contrast article. Perhaps Joss Whedon isn’t really putting enough energy into it considering his film commitments? I don’t know. What I do know is that I really want this show to work, and a show following a SHIELD team seems like the perfect way for Marvel Studios to break into television. Unfortunately it’s just not working. I blame the writers.

    I haven’t paid too much attention to the writing credits, but what about getting some of the comic writers to help out per episode. Comics are episodic, so theoretically it could work out. I have love, just little faith as of late. Makes me sad. =(

  9. Were all the agents at the quarantined firehouse Level 7? Because Coulson was standing around like him being alive wasn’t a secret.

    • I don’t think they have any idea who Phil Coulson is so they wouldn’t be surprised that he is alive. They knew as much after he showed up as they did before hand.

      I mean, if you were a regular person in the AoS universe and Phil Coulson walked up to you, you would not go “Oh s***! He’s alive!?!?” You would more likely go, “Who the hell is this dude and why is he telling me what to do?”

      • Nevermind. You said agents. Ignore my post.

        • Haha, I was mainly referring to the two guards that open the tent. Worst Level 7 position ever!

          • I think if they’re real low level, they wouldn’t know who’s Phil Coulson. He’d be just “the guy in charge”. More importantly, in the pilot, Ward said to Maria Hill something like: “I’ve got level 6 clearance, I know Phil Coulson died before the Battle of New York”. That means agents up to a certain level wouldn’t have been told that, and Coulson’s death was a secret as well as his “ressurrection” (or whatever).

            • @Daniel -
              So Level 1-5 clearance doesn’t know who Phil Coulson is.
              But Level 6 knows he died.
              And Level 7 knows he’s actually alive.

              Why not cut out that information to Level 6 agents? Keep all agents in the dark about this guy and then reveal who he is when they have clearance. They only need to worry about those who survived the attack on the helicarrier that knew about Coulson’s untimely demise. And I’m guessing the Nick Fury and the other agents on board that have a confidentiality clause.

              Level 7 clearance is a silly plot device that allowed Phil to return. I hoped they’d keep his resurrection more secretive and have him meet agents one on one who have clearance, but he’s out in the field on every mission. If he keeps this up, his death won’t be a secret anymore…and maybe that’s what they want.

              • I’m guessing they carved out Level 6 clearance partly because of the Avengers (the team not the film). Based off the pilot scene, as a Level 6, Ward knew pretty much what the Avengers knew about the Battle of New York- that Coulson died in the battle. So, my guess is that people with Level 6 people would be the ones who would interact with members of the Avengers or be stationed in places where they would run into them. If they are, it makes sense for them to know as much as the Avengers do (like that Coulson died).

                However, when we reach Level 7 clearance, you learn about the things that Fury doesn’t even let the Avengers know about (including Capt, who I’m pretty sure is equally clueless as the rest of the Avengers despite working with SHIELD). Though, I must ask: Where do you think Black Widow and Hawkeye fall? It’d be crazy to think agents like Ward would get Level 7 but not Black Widow and Hawkeye, but at the same time, it could be dangerous to let the two of them know given their ties with the Avengers, a group they’re actively keeping in the dark. What do you all think?

                • @Shadow – “Where do you think Black Widow and Hawkeye fall?” – These are the types of questions that keep me awake at night ;)

                  Honestly, that is the best description of different agent levels that I’ve heard. Perhaps, the writers of the show could incorporate a little more detail into this issue (as you’ve done here), so the viewer understands better. A good way to do that would have been in episode 7 to explain to Skye while at the HUB. They missed that opportunity.

                  Oh well, I’m still watching, so it must not bother me too much.

  10. The show would have been a lot better if all five agents jumped out the plane without parachutes and Coulson just looked at them as they fell to their death.

    • haha, +1

      • +2

  11. I enjoyed the focal shift away from Skye. She doesn’t bother me as a character but it seemed the writing was forgetting about the rest of the ensemble. This was the first episode where I felt like the performers were all on the same page, working together instead of merely sharing a stage. The backseat role fit Skye and Coulson much better this time, though, I was left wondering if one of them will serve as the John Myers character from the first Hellboy movie.–One of them introduces the audience to the team, then departs for good at the end of the season.

    There were a few scenes when Ward actually came to life, but I kept thinking of how phony the skydive scene looked without him having eye protection. (Nitpicking, I know.) The episode (rightly) belonged to Fitz & Simmons.

    Hopefully the writers will soon allow May to stop looking bored. I suspect she’s biding her time until Coulson leaves her in charge to go shoot a movie. ;)

    • +1

      In total agreement, except for ‘Coulson taking a seat’ part, since he’s, like, the main reason why anyone’s tuning in to watch.

  12. Ward went all “iron man” on us. lol This show, I said I was giving it 2 more episodes, this one and the next, then I was bailing.. but I think I can stay around for 2 more episodes to see where it goes..

    I really though they were going to kill someone off… I wish they would’ve to show they have the guts to do so.

  13. Damn I didn´t enjoy this episode.
    They did a good job on focusing in the ´unfocused´ characters,
    But still…

    And there´s the Coulson conspiracy..
    which in this episode they show it like he just survived Loki´s stab and that event changed his personality a little bit for good.

    I rate it 7.

  14. I think it was great to show Coulson getting real, since it always seemed like nothing fazed him.

    I know FitzSimmons aren’t well-liked by many, but I always find them entertaining, so I was like “AW! They went after the kids!”. I liked how they were forced to break out of their banter. And I’m VERY glad this wasn’t another Ward/Skye episode. I really hope the writers avoid the obvious. Keep them apart, at least.

  15. This episode bought up an interesting plot point about the team, Fitz/Simmons in particular. They claimed to have never passed the field assessment test, which kind of shows. In the six episodes they have aired the thing that stands out to me is how ineffective this team is and how it makes S.H.I.E.L.D. look like a bad version of G.I. Joe.

    What else I don’t get is how this show gets away with breaking so-called “sci-fi protocols” for the sake of the plot when other shows/movies get hammered for it. Why would a floating body effected by some unknown force just be hanging ten with no quarantine area around it so that someone could just walk up and get zapped.

  16. I really feel like they’re improving but it’s still not quite there for me. I know that most people didn’t catch it but my biggest complaint about this episode was that synthesizing an antidote from the live culture on the helmet was the LAST idea that occurred to the SHIELD agent with 2 biochemical doctorates that Coulson can’t pronounce. How was that not the first thing she tried? That’s the easiest way to do it. I know to most people it’s sciencey mumbo-jumbo, but I feel like the writers should have put a little more thought into that.

    • I think you misunderstood. A live culture could be used to create a vaccine; but, as was mentioned several times in the show, what they needed was an antiserum. They were able to develop an antiserum by using the DNA (may not be appropriate for an alien life form) of someone who was immune to the virus, the alien who had worn the helmet.

  17. I have to be honest. As soon as I heard Skye and Magpie #1 talking about relationship issues I said to myself “I am not doing this.” and changed the channel.

    Yes, I have lost that much faith in the series.

  18. They need to blow up the plane with everyone on it…blah, blah, blah. Let them keep having fun, find their footing, why you folks can’t simply enjoy they are finally trying is beyond me. Enjoy your hatin’. Remember when we had nothing, I do.

    • Remember when everyone was griping about Buffy? Give Joss Wheden at least half a season before completely shutting it down. It took Buffy almost that long to get its legs under it. Firefly tried to jump into edginess and the corporations panicked and cut it off at the knees. I can see where edgy writing can come in and make Agents… even better, but I can see why he’s being cautious about putting it in too quickly.

  19. I watch agents of shield every week but its not getting any better

    arrow is miles ahead of this show

    look at the likes of smallville then look at agents of shield it wont last 10 seasons or even 2 seasons unless they start making better stories

    buffy the vampire slayer angel fireflay all had great story acrs agents of shield has nothing like that

    joss whedon needs to step up or this show is ruined dont let this show turn into dollhouse joss please

  20. I was under the impression that this series was going to drop hints (not spoilers) into other possible heroes and possibilities that marvel was heading towards. This show is bland and borderline boring and the only thing really keeping it afloat is Coulson. The one Samuel L. jackson cameo is not enough or will not be enough to keep it going.

  21. First episode I didn’t have to get doubly stoned to watch…

  22. I cringed when whats her face was interviewing the boy scout leader, stared at him for a second, and said “wanna cookie?”

  23. This episode was awesome.. Really happy with how the series is progressing thus far.

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