Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D S01E06: F.Z.Z.T

F.Z.Z.T (did I miss something obvious? What does this name mean? The sound that is made when the virus kicks in?) gives Coulson plenty of chances to think about his temporary death in New York City. He started the episode in this reflective mood by asking to have a physical done, this continues when he comes face to face with the fireman who is about to die, and when he is dealing with Simmons’ dealings with the alien virus. Sadly, by the end of a very good episode we are left with more questions than answers about Coulson’s makeup.

The episode opens to scary stories being poorly told around the campfire, until the leader hears a Humming sound and goes off to investigate. While gone the group is terrified by an exploding car battery and the scout leader is found dead floating in mid air.

We’re back at the ship and Simmons is giving Coulson his physical and attempting not to insult him about his age. When she asks why he is asked for this checkup, he said the physical therapist requested it when Coulson told him he was feeling rusty. Simmons says he is in perfect shape for a man of his age.

Ward is in the lab complaining to Fitz that a gun is an ounce too heavy. He leaves, and Fitz takes the time alone (and a winning Ward impersonation) to flirt with Skye. She doesn’t seem to notice. She is too busy wondering when she is going to regain Ward and the rest of the team’s trust. Simmons comes in and offers a Ward impersonation of her own, at which point Ward comes back and tells them they have a new case to work on.

The crew sets down and checks out the campsite of the floating murder mystery. Simmons gets a bit too close to the body, which causes it to fall to the ground. They speculate on causes.

Back at the ship Skye presents all of the data she was able to dredge up about the victim, while complaining about her spy handcuffs. Ward continues to mistrust Skye for her actions in the past episode. Coulson mentions that her latest work might be the first step in establishing trust.

An alert comes in and a similar anomaly can be found at a farm house nearby. May, Ward , and Coulson rush over to find another floating dead body. While investigating the crime scene Skye finds a link between the two victims, and the trio heads to a local firehouse. Coulson encounters a fireman who is acting suspiciously. He talks to him and comes to the conclusion that he is another victim, and not a perpetrator. This group of firemen had been in New York when The Avengers had shawarma and did other more heroic things. While there they found a Chitauri helmet and took it home as a trophy. The three victims acquired an alien virus while cleaning the helmet.

Coulson talked this third victim through his last couple of minutes. He brought up his own time dead and told him he is going somewhere wonderful. May listened to this conversation intently right outside the fire house. The fireman sent Coulson out right before he went floaty. SHIELD agents packed up the helmet to deliver to the Sandbox, a secret facility, and took the other members of the fire crew in for observation.

Things start to float behind Simmons as she excitedly describes what she has found out about the alien virus. Coulson is forced to quarantine her. He receives a video conference from a SHIELD muckity muck at the Sandbox and he is told that HQ has told him to jettison any material that is infected. He feigns technical difficulties to buy more time. Knowing that if she succumbs to the virus she will cause the entire ship to explode.

Fitz and Simmons have a touching moment through the glass and they brainstorm ideas about creating an antidote (it’s an antivirus!). They figure out that the helmet probably has the answers they need and Fitz rushes out to get the crate holding it and crashes into the lab bringing the helmet with him. FitzSimmons comes up with the answer. They try it out on the third mouse bringing tears all around. Simmons makes Coulson promise that he will call her Father first to report her death. Another call from SHIELD higher ups come in and Coulson reiterates to May and Ward that they are going to attempt to find cure Simmons.

Simmons knocks out Fitz with a fire hyrdant and rushes from the lab opening the air lock. Fitz wakes up and sees that the mouse they thought died, was just knocked out. And he jumps up excitedly to tell Simmons. She is at the airlock about to jump out. He scream at her to stop. She jumps anyway.

Fitz gets the anti-virus and rushes out of the lab and starts to put on a parachute. Ward comes down the stairs and grabs both and jumps out of the plane dives after her. He catches up and gives her the cure, and opens the parachute.

Back in the plane Coulson gives Simmons the riot act. Which she takes with a smile, and is surprised things are over when Coulson just sits down. After they leave his office Simmons admits that the gun isn’t the right weight, and Ward responds with an impression of himself. Skye rushes in to give Simmons a huge hug. Fitz and Simmons have a quiet moment where Fitz apologizes for not jumping out of the plane, but Simmons tells him he was brave just for helping her find the answer.

May talks to Coulson about the physical he actually ordered for himself. She tells him that she knows from experience that almost dying changes a person and after he opens his shirt to show the scar, she says that those scars are there to remind them what happened.

The muckity muck from SHIELD comes and tells Coulson that if he keeps disobeying orders he is liable to lose his dream team. Coulson tells him that he would like to see them try, and muckity muck says he is not the Coulson he remembers.

I thought this was an especially effective episode. I have to admit, knowing Whedon’s track record of killing off main cast members on previous shows I was genuinely afraid that we were watching the end of Simmons. And, when Fitz screamed through the glass after finding out that the anti-virus had worked I was gutted thinking she was going to die for no good reason. In other areas, we got a bit of movement on Coulson’s story. He has a feeling that something is off, and is trying to find out what is wrong on his own. May’s scene with him was touching, and it strengthened the bond they have. I’m glad that last episode wasn’t forgotten and Skye still has work to do to regain the trust of Ward and the rest of the crew (and get rid of her wrist band.) Most importantly, the scenes between Fitz and Simmons all the way through the episode were great. At this point, the show has done nothing better than show how strong a relationship these two have.


  • The Ward mockery was genuinely funny. Except for Ward’s impression of himself. That was just painful.
  • The scars on Coulson’s body show that if it is another body somehow, they at least did a good job of making it look like the old one.
  • I could do with fewer characters telling Coulson that he is different.
  • Coulson didn’t say anything about that guy touching his car!
  • It might have been funnier if Coulson had said they were going through a tunnel.
  • I am not sure how realistic the saving Simmons scene in the air was, and I don’t care. Because, that was awfully cool.

Good opening. A little X-Filish but that’s okay. At least it wasn’t as contrived as the red mask opening.

There seems to be a love triangle (or maybe a rectangle) in the offing. Skye seems interested in Ward, Fitz is interested in Sky, and I think there were hints Simmons is interested in Fitz.

I felt the virus thing was too similar to the Extremis story that they already used in the pilot (and Iron Man 3).

I didn’t like the fire hydrant knockout. I couldn’t help thinking how easily a blow like that could kill or seriously injure somebody. The idea of knocking somebody out with a blow to the head without causing any injuries is a bad movie cliche. It would have been better anyway if Simmons had used her science background to knock Fitz out with some gas or injection that she whipped up on the spur of the moment.

During the commercial break, I was debating with myself over whether or not they were really going to kill Simmons. On the one hand, it was a perfect Whedon death. On the other hand, Whedon himself must realize that and is trying to avoid (or, in this case, lampshade) the cliche.

A small hint about May’s background. When she was talking with Coulson about his death, there were hints that something had happened to her so that she could relate to somebody dying. So she obviously had some traumatic experience, which was presumably the reason for her withdrawal from field operations.

I thought Blake touching Lola worked. It highlighted the confrontation between him and Coulson.

I love that the writers have been trolling the fans. Both with the Coulson teases and with threatening to kill Simmons.

Maybe May is a robot, too, just like Coulson (a little heavy on the iron? Please!).

I’m not saying this was Agents of SHIELD’s Man On The Street, but we’ve seen enough of these characters now that they’re starting to be individuals, not just action-adventure show ciphers. Having said that, I think this episode put the show into the next gear. Lots of meaningful character interaction, FitzSimmons focused on as never before to the, IMO, enrichment of the show, Ward showing near-genuine emotions (dread in that he might be called upon to execute a teammate, bravery in rescuing Simmons (you think you could jump out of a plane at a dead run, acting largely on faith that Fitz was right), and even a glimmer of a sense of humor at his own self-parody), more and perhaps more meaningful pieces of the Coulson puzzle, and even a hint or two at some of May’s past.

It’s been a rocky road to this point, and it ain’t perfect by any means, but I for one am glad I stuck it out. Hope it gets even better from here on out.

Good episode. Fitz made his play for Skye, struck out, and realized he loves Simmons. That’s a good thing. Skye never needs to boink Ward. Some tension there is tolerable, but it’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed.

Coulson can’t be an android. Too much medical evaluation for it not to be detected. I guess he could be a clone, or a sentient non-rotting zombie, or…something, but whatever he may be, he’s made of flesh and blood.

The free-falling rescue seemed like a shout out to James Bond, but was still pretty cool.

I got a different feel from their scene. It wasn’t that Fitz realized he loves Simmons. It was him realizing she loves him. That’s the reason she always arranges to have him working with her.

I agree. The physical seems to have been put in the show just to shoot down the robot theory.

Also the similar scene in Iron Man 3.

I’m sticking with robot until proved wrong. :slight_smile:

Oh? I haven’t seen Iron Man III yet. Hoping to catch it on HBO or something. Am planning to see the new Thor movie this weekend…

I need to watch it again because I wasn’t able to fully focus the first time around (hurry up iTunes!) I took the scene differently again. To me, both Fitz & Simmons had a moment of realizing they love each other - but I don’t think necessarily in a romantic sense. That said, I have thought all along Simmons feels more for Fitz than she’s prepared to admit at this point, but I thought the moments they shared in this episode were more about a long term closeness kind of love they have for each other than a romantic feeling.

Be sure you go see Thor because…

There’s a tie in with the episode coming up in 2 weeks time :slight_smile:

Also you need to catch up on IM3 then re-watch the first 6 episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. to catch all the bits you missed :slight_smile:

I’m getting to the point where I’m probably gonna drop the show. I want to watch a series about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not a mediocre police show with bad drama* with “encounter group” overtones.

The dialog ranges from forgettable to terrible (that thing between Coulson and whatshername at the end “Little heavy on the iron, but don’t worry, you don’t have to call me Iron Man” was cringe-inducing), but they make up for it by ignoring the actual characters. By episode 6, we KNEW who Buffy, Xander and Willow were. We had an idea of their motivations, their basic character…here? They care about what the character is, not who they are. We know nothing more about Coulson the person than we did in the movies. Yeah, there’s some subplot about him being a robot or something…but that’s not WHO he is, it’s what his plot function is.

Ditto for everyone else. Hell, I don’t know if Fitz and Simmons are (as I thought up 'till this episode) brother and sister or just remarkably similar boring people. We know nothing about whatshisname, the main agent except that he’s a dick with a heart of gold, Skye…her big secret is “mommy and daddy issues”? Yawn. The only reason I care about Ming-Na’s character is because the actress is good. I’m sure once they give her a back story, they’ll remove any desire I have to like her though. :wink:

And they’ve got the “The Flash” problem. Where are the foes WORTHY of SHIELD? I don’t want to watch The Flash stop white-collar criminals from committing insurance fraud and I don’t want to see SHIELD fighting Electro-viruses with the “Race against the clock to create an antidote” plot that’s so cliched that it wouldn’t work as a parody. They have ~80 years of Marvel/Timely/Atlas toys to play with. And this is what we get? I want them to explore the extreme/fantastic elements of the universe they’re in. I don’t want them to recycle crappy X-Files plots.

You want to do a lightning themed story (and why did the dead bodies float? Lightning doesn’t make people float)? Have Zzaxx show up…or that Living Lightning guy…fight him and, if you MUST do the dumbass “create the antidote in too short of a time” plot, have him infect them. As opposed to a lame-ass quasi murder-mystery that took up 1/3d of the limp little plot.

I’m really disappointed. I wanted to love this.

*I loathed the stupid “Come up with the cure in 2 hours” thing–and I really hated the parachute save at the end. Even by '60s comic book standards, that was pure cheese.

I liked it. Character growth, some humor, references to the Chitauri…it’s all good. I agree that the “smash him on the back of the head” bit needs to disappear completely. My take on the May-Coulson interaction is that she might have died at some time. She made the “8 seconds, 40 seconds” comparison a rather personal one, so I’m going to guess that she is the LMD.

You’re making it more difficult than it needs to be: they have tranquiliser guns. The tranquiliser guns were being worked on in that very lab during this very episode. Just have her shoot him.

They had better follow up on the implications of this episode later on. If three firefighters from out of town have a bit of Chitauri armor, you can bet that about a million New Yorkers do as well.

Extinguisher, folks. It would be fairly difficult to have a fire hydrant on an airplane. I’m just sayin’.

I wanted to like this epsiode, but so much of it was so cheesy that its badness obscured the only two things I really liked about it:

  1. The scene with the firefighter and Coulson

  2. The character development of Fitz and Simmons.

I will admit to cracking up that the guy who plays Ward is such a crappy actor that he couldn’t even imitate himself, unless he was intentionally doing a bad imitation, in which case he’s a freakin’ genius.

And the whole ‘catching Simmons after she jumps off the plane’ bit was utterly ridiculous. I seriously doubt a person in street clothes leaping off a plane going 450 MPH at 30K feet would last more than a couple seconds before freezing and/or losing consciousness from lack of oxygen. OK, so maybe they were down around 12K feet when she, er, departed the arcraft, but they were still about three hours out from the Sandbox, so being at that low an altitude wouldn’t make any sense. OK, breathe, breathe, repeat to yourself, “It’s comic book physics, it’s comic book physics…”

Lastly, I guess they can’t afford to have Samuel L. Jackson show up more than once a season, but it would have been a much better kick if Nick Fury himself showed up to smack Coulson down for not following orders.

Sorry to be so negative. Not giving up on the show, just hoping they up the game a bit.

You can last longer than that in space.

Here ya go: Moonraker cold open. I loved this reference, and the fact that Simmons hit us over the head with it afterwards by comparing Ward to James Bond.

I’m sure a driving desire of the structure was to have him conscious and screaming at the locked door as she jumped off the plane.

That said, I like that the knock to the head didn’t actually knock him unconscious but just left him writhing on the floor long enough for her to escape. If they went cliche at least they didn’t go all the way with how easy TV/movies make it to knock people out.

But still too much willingness to risk serious injury. She didn’t even need to shoot him with a tranquilizer. She probably could have just done to him what Coulson had done to her. He was distracted. Just walk out and lock the door behind her.

Would Nick have been upset with him? Coulson came out with his team intact - I haven’t read a bunch of comics, but Fury strikes me as an “all’s well that ends well/no blood - no foul” kind of guy.

Especially since it wasn’t Fury himself telling Coulson to throw her out of the plane.

Yeah that last scene seemed a bit superfluous. The agent was just in charge of the base right? Why would he have any authority to give Coulson guff? Maybe they could have made it a little more like colleague to colleague.

And yeah that scene with Coulson and the firefighter was just great. Clark Gregg really does so well in this role and it’s easy to see how the character has become such a fan favorite and canon immigrant.

We also got some decent development with Fitz/Simmons and the others. It’s a slow build but it’s coming. I’m in favor of the fire extinguisher never being used again as a knock out agent. Why didn’t they use Lola?

I like how something that seemed innocuous like a helmet was the problem in the story as opposed to some jerk using it to explode his buddies or a villain grabbing it. Again though, I’d like to see the Marvel Universe sandbox be utilized, there’s no reason not to and so many reasons to.