Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

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Healy
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Healy » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:40 pm

Soooo, I heard this came back on yesterday. Did anybody here take one for the team?
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Niku
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Niku » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:43 pm

Honestly, this episode is probably where the first half of the season should have been by that point. Clunky as hell dialogue aside (At least three insane cliche lines in an episode probably hits some kind of bingo card), there is actual plot movement happening. I liked it. I'm also not as down on the show as a lot of people though, so I'm not necessarily the one to trust on the matter.
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby TA » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:29 pm

Basically everything Niku just said. Shit is very definitely going down for reals, and it's really interesting, but I've been following and interested in the show and what it's doing since the first.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:21 am

I am inclined to disagree. I feel that every time I think I couldn't like these characters any less, they find out that the bottom of the barrel is a false bottom and there's actually an even lower bottom of the barrel underneath it. This week: Ward murders a man in a wheelchair because words on a computer screen make him angry. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

Of course, given that 75% of the dialogue for the remainder of the show is about just how weird and out-of-character that was (it really kind of wasn't, because everyone on this show is terrible, but okay), they seem to be building toward some kind of it-wasn't-really-his-fault reveal. Possibly actual mind control, though (1) that would be pretty lame considering they just did that literally one episode ago and (2) they seem to rule out the Clairvoyant having any actual mental powers after all. There's still some possibility of blackmail or coercion, I suppose -- remember, per the previous episode he's got a mystery True Love out there somewhere (Agent Hand?) -- but frankly at this point if his arc ends with anything but him either sacrificing himself to try and make up for what he's done or getting sent to prison for life I think I'm going to be disappointed.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Niku » Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:20 am

I think that's actually why I liked it. While the series still has a pretty severe tonal problem of whether or not we're supposed to be rooting for much of the shit they get up to, this episode felt like they might be ready to acknowledge that fact. Maybe they just had to spin their wheels until Captain America 2 went "yep, SHIELD is up to no good" or whatever happens in the movie to get to that point. The onus on them to actually close out the season well, but the first step in that is for things to actually happen. Like I said, I'm not as down on the show as a lot of people, but it is a super fucking problematic show even so. This episode was one of the few in the season so far that actually felt like what the show ought to have been all along, and the things that happened were a far more interesting example of where the various team's loyalties and ideals lie than the "Is May a double agent or not??" red herring. Ward was complete scum in this episode, but that's an actual narrative hook, and while they haven't proven they can deal with it properly to date, I'm at least willing to see through the rest of the season to hope they really did think pretty damn hard about what their plans are in between the front and the back half.

Bigger problem with the episode for me was probably all of the guest agents being way more charismatic than the existing cast, come to think of it. Patton Oswalt coming on board soon isn't going to change that.
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:00 am

Niku wrote:Bigger problem with the episode for me was probably all of the guest agents being way more charismatic than the existing cast, come to think of it.


Oh, I remarked on that in the first scene. "Why are they opening the show by pretending it's a different, better show? That just means I'm going to feel let down for the rest of it."

And then I said it again in the big Clairvoyant confrontation scene: "The villain is the only likable person in this room." (Seeing as by this point Bill Paxton was mocking a guy in a wheelchair.)

(Course, I'd lay even odds at this point that Bill Paxton IS the villain. Though I'm inclined to go with the bald pencil-pusher guy everybody keeps talking shit to. Hand or Brand or whichever fucking hardass female SHIELD agent she is is an obvious red herring.)

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Niku » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:20 am

I gotta say, if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was actually watched by more people than it is, revealing significant plot points from Captain America: The Winter Soldier five days after it comes out would be a pretty bold move.

Making Ward a Hydra agent was pretty much the logical conclusion after seeing the film, which of course made Paxton's reveal even more obvious (though casting him specifically for a three episode stint right when shit goes down kinda did that anyway).

Honestly, this was an interesting way of doing TV. Agents, as usual, suffers in comparison to its film source. This feels more like an extended riff on things you see in Cap 2, a companion piece to say "well yeah, but what's happening at this other place while this is going down?". In a way it's almost the answer to "why isn't Iron Man helping Thor stop Malekith" except nobody's actually asking why Agent Coulson isn't there to stop Malekith instead. Cap 2 practically being a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie as much as a Captain America one, it makes sense to show the flip side in the series, but while the series is elevated by Having Things Happen, it's still not what it could and should be overall. Especially not if they just get right back on the wingycarrier and resume business as usual, instead of really dealing with the repercussions of a world without S.H.I.E.L.D. in a way we won't otherwise be feeling until Avengers 2 comes out. I guess we'll see where it goes, but ending the episode with Coulson's team repairing the plane isn't as exciting as seeing them striking out on their own might've managed.
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:16 am

I haven't seen Captain America 2 but I have to say that's the first episode of the show I would actually describe as "good". Not great, but good.

I still don't like anybody on the show except possibly the villain, and it bugged the shit out of me that people spent the whole episode not telling Ward that it's not okay to shoot dudes in wheelchairs. "It would have been fine except you shot the wrong guy." NO, MAY. NO IT WOULD NOT. SHOOTING DEFENSELESS PEOPLE IS NOT OKAY EVEN IF THEY'RE BAD.

The ending of the episode is one of the three possible resolutions that make it okay (I've already mentioned the other two), but nonetheless I'm pretty bothered that not one single person in the show makes the very obvious point that that guy was in a fucking wheelchair and you don't get to shoot unarmed guys in wheelchairs even if they seem to be making vague threats of some actions they may commit at some indeterminate point in the future.

The parts of the ending that don't make it okay:

Okay, so what the fuck is up with Hand pulling the "Let's just shoot Bill Paxton" bit? It doesn't make any sense except as a narrative device to get Ward to raise the gun and the audience to go "OH SHIT HE'S THE BAD GUY!" Unless they're planning to go even dumber and make this some kind of double-double-cross that she and Ward planned and she faked her death. Which I guess could be because frankly I was pretty surprised they killed her off.

Also, Ward being a double-agent working for Bill Paxton who was also a double-agent? Okay, that means the entire shooting-the-guy-in-the-wheelchair sequence MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. What was the goal there? What did that achieve? In what conceivable way was Paxton's plan helped along by having his agent put in the brig that wouldn't have been served by letting SHEILD take the wheelchair guy into custody and having Ward free? Or just, you know, not having the wheelchair guy there in the first damn place?


I mean, I guess it's POSSIBLE that I'm supposed to be asking these questions and there's actually some kind of elaborate answer at work here. But right now they just feel like narrative laziness.

Still and all, like I said, this is the first episode I would describe as Good.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Mothra » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:47 pm

Same. My initial thought is that Ward is just playing the part and gaining Paxton's trust so he can get deeper into Hydra, with the ultimate goal of removing the heart of the threat. I'd buy that he was willing to kill two people to save thousands.

Hand took one in the throat and two off-screen. It's possible he avoided certain parts of the body to keep her alive, but she'd still be bleeding out of the floor of the jet with no medical attention for the entire trip back to Hydra. She's probably just dead, which... is surprising.

Am I the only one who found Ward's sudden deep and true loving devotion to Skye completely out of left field? They don't really know anything about each other.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:29 pm

Mothra wrote:Hand took one in the throat and two off-screen. It's possible he avoided certain parts of the body to keep her alive, but she'd still be bleeding out of the floor of the jet with no medical attention for the entire trip back to Hydra. She's probably just dead, which... is surprising.


Well, comic books. There are any number of potential explanations as to how it could have been faked. And even if it wasn't, the thing about bringing people back from the dead is that it permanently lowers the stakes. It happened once; it can happen again.

Hell, I haven't seen Captain America 2; I don't know if Fury is actually dead or if it turns out he's alive at the end of the movie. But it doesn't actually matter either way; if they decide they want him back in the next movie, then it's going to happen.

Mothra wrote:Am I the only one who found Ward's sudden deep and true loving devotion to Skye completely out of left field? They don't really know anything about each other.


Absolutely every character relationship on this show is forced and unearned.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:17 am

Revealing that Skye's real name is "Mary Sue" is the smartest, most self-aware thing this show has ever done.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Z%rø » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:25 am

Trust me when I say if you have any interest in this show, you owe it to yourself to see Captain America 2. It's a good movie by itself, but from what I'm reading here there's a lot of great stuff I missed out on because I don't watch the TV show. I only know of the connections because the second time I saw the movie, the pre-movie bullshit included a commercial for it and there were a lot of familiar faces.
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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:44 am

I'll pay to see Captain America 2 just as soon as Marvel cuts Jack Kirby's family a royalty check for it.




(They should be getting royalty checks for SHIELD, too, but it doesn't cost me anything to watch.)

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Thu May 01, 2014 12:43 am

I don't think episodes where everyone spends the whole time namedropping other, better characters who aren't on the show are nearly as enjoyable to watch as the writers seem to think they are.

ALSO: I am bemused by how little everybody else seems to care about how an international terrorist organization of actual nazis now has access to a treasure trove of science fiction devices up to and including alien technology to bring people back from the dead. Hill's little speech at the end about how this is a personal vendetta was baffling -- no, Maria, it's KIND OF IMPORTANT.

I mean, I KNOW the Avengers can't just sweep in and fix everything because that would be messing with Batman's cake, but having everyone just kind of roll their eyes about Phil Coulson's kooky band of misfits and its frivolous personal vendetta is a pretty odd choice of ways to explain why they're the only ones who can do something about this.

Also also, if I were writing it I would have probably put some kind of change of subject between all the exposition about how Nick Fury has access to technology to bring people back to life and all the handwringing about whether or not Nick Fury is still alive rather than put those things back-to-back in the same conversation.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Brentai » Thu May 01, 2014 3:31 am

I'm tempted to just put the status of Nick Fury under a spoiler tag, but if you really need to get the rundown without watching the movie you can probably find it in any number of places on the internet. All I've got to say is that if television portrays S.H.I.E.L.D. as a pretty inept spy organization, the movies have them falling for straight-up 60s James Bond shit.

The overarching plot of the movie does sort of "justify" all this by giving the Marvel spyverse its own version of The Dark Side of the Force (i.e. anything stupid that people do is probably the work of vampires Nazis). I kind of feel that, as fun as The Winter Soldier was on its own, we're going to end up looking back on it as the ramp leading up to the movie universe's shark. This hand-wavy plot hook is just going to get all over everything and make a horrible mess, like some sort of comic book universe. Though I guess they can just take off into more Asgard/Guardians of the Galaxy stuff if Earth-199999 gets too dumb.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Fri May 02, 2014 1:04 am

It's actually done much the reverse for SHIELD. SHIELD was lousy for the first, what, 16 episodes or something? And then finally got a decent arc once it tied into Winter Soldier.

I was still pretty frustrated with this latest episode, but it's still a damn sight better than the early stuff. I think it was the latest AV Club review that opined that the show should have just skipped the entire first half of the season, started in January, taken half as long to establish the cast and premise, and jumped straight into the movie tie-in. I'm inclined to agree.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Smiler » Fri May 02, 2014 11:49 pm

I saw the movie last night. Has the show gotten anywhere past what happens in the movie yet?

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Mothra » Fri May 02, 2014 11:54 pm

Yeah, it's about three episodes ahead of the movie at this point.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Thad » Sat May 03, 2014 1:00 pm

So wait.

Doesn't Tony Stark having his own private army pretty much flatly contradict the central epiphany at the root of his origin story in the first Iron Man movie*?

I mean, I know Pepper's running the company now, but still.




* And indeed most of the various retellings of his origin story over the past 40 years or so, but not actually the original 1963 version, which was pretty pro-Vietnam War and didn't play the "blown up with his own weapons" irony at all.

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Re: Marvel's Agents of P.B.B.B.B.T.

Postby Bal » Mon May 05, 2014 1:01 pm


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