What does SHIELD Stand for Agent Ward?
“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”
“And what does that mean to you?”
“It means that someone really wanted our initials to spell out SHIELD!”
– Agents Maria Hill and Grant Ward – S01E01 – Pilot
If You Don’t Know / Now You Know / Agents of SHIELD
This is a bit of a strange comparison, but bare with me on this one. The Notorious B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smalls) was, and arguably still is, my favourite hip hop artist of all time. Life After Death, the follow up double LP to Ready To Die, was an incredible offering to the hip hop music culture in the late 90’s, and was always within reach when I wanted to get into work mode back in my college years. When I wanted to get into the zone I would pop the first disc into my Sony Discman (remember those nifty things?) and immerse myself into the musical styling of Bed-Stuy’s Biggie, bobbing my head from one track to the next. I would take disc one out, right after the last track [I Got A Story To Tell], and then insert disc two so that I could continue the experience starting with the next track [Notorious Thugs]. Biggie was boss. But guess what? In the beginning I did not really like him. The late and great B.I.G. and I were not always friends.
My affinity towards Biggie was a slow progression. Do you see where I’m going with this? When I saw his first video, Juicy, on Rap City (boy do I feel old) I wasn’t that impressed. “It was aiight.” were the under zealous words that came out of my mouth. Little did I know that Biggie was about to blow my mind with Ready To Die. I wasn’t able to love and appreciate his music until I heard the entire album in all of it’s remarkable glory. I had to get past the first song to uncover the sheer brilliance that Biggie bestowed upon us, which is a lesson that is relevant when it comes to certain prime time television shows like the show that I’m about to focus on right now. And this is where I segue.
Too Hot For TV 🔥📺
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best action, sci-fi, drama on television right now and some of you out there don’t even know it because you’re not able to get past the first half of season one. Well I’m here to tell all of you to get over yourselves! There, I said it. It had to be said and I had to be the one to say it. Sorry, but it’s true. Not only is Agents of SHIELD the best ActSciDrama [that’s my new word] on TV; it’s the best show on TV period! You’re thinking to yourself, Ok, now he’s lost it. What the hell is this guy talking about? Not only does he suck at playing video games, he has bad taste in TV as well! Think what you will, but I stand by my words. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the best show on television and possibly one of the best spin-offs to air in decades.
There Is Abundant Life After Death
It was inevitable. The show was going to pick up…and voila, it did. All you had to do was wait for it. Just like those of us who desperately wanted to see how Marvel was going to bring Coulson back to life for this debut TV series, we had to wait for it. I thought that all of the questions would be answered in the series premiere, but that was asking way too much. And, to be honest, I knew better. I had to wait for those answers just like everyone else. But I knew that the answers were coming, much like I knew that the show would come back with a vengeance after it slowed down to an unfortunate crawl. Which, and let’s face it, can happen more often then not with a lot of the shows on television these days. The trick however is to not let that deter you. You have to be steadfast and have faith that the show you hold with such high regard will bounce back. And just like Jessica Rabbit’s breasts on a bright and shiny day in Toon Town, Agent’s of SHIELD bounced back. Little did I know that the events that transpired in Captain America: The Winter Soldier had to cross over first in order for the momentum to pick back up, but nevertheless it has been an epic thrill ride ever since.
🎤 Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns…
…as I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons / Get in that ass, quick fast, like Ramadan / It’s that rap phenomenon Don Dada, fuck Poppa / You got to call me Francis M.H. White / Intake light tokes, tote iron / Was told in shootouts, stay low and keep firin’ / Keep extra clips for extra shit / Who’s next to flip on that cat with that grip on rap / The most shady, (Tell Em!) Frankie baby / Ain’t no telling where I may be / May see me in D.C. at Howard Homecoming / With my man Capone, gumming, fucking something / You should know my steelo / Went from ten G’s for blow to thirty G’s a show / To orgies with hoes I never seen before / So, Jesus, get off the Notorious / Penis before I squeeze and bust / If the beef between us, we can settle it / With the chrome and metal shit / I make it hot like a kettle get / You’re delicate, you better get – who sent ya? / You still pedal shit, I got more rides than Great Adventure / Biggie (How are you gonna do it?)
– The Notorious B.I.G. – Kick In The Door 🎶
Kick In The Door Wavin’ The Four-Four
If I had to choose an album that captured all of the action, emotion and narrative of Agents of SHIELD, Biggie’s Life After Death would be it. It’s like pairing a great cabernet blend with a juicy grilled steak or in this case, pairing a .44 caliber handgun with…whatever the hell you would pair a magnum with. My point is that I think Shield took everyone by surprise. Especially after Winter Soldier. I mean – I knew it was going to be good, but not this damn good. I’ll miss church on a Sunday before I miss the opening sequence for Shield on a Tuesday. That’s how good this [show] is. It trumps religion. The last two shows that had me by the balls like this were Buffy and Angel which last aired in 2004. Two brilliant pop culture phenomenons with one thing in common to Agents of SHIELD. They are all products, and creative strokes of genius, by the amazing writing ensemble known as the Whedons: Joss, Jed and wife Maurissa.
Truth be told I always thought that Angel was the better show compared to Buffy. Not by much, but what made the Angel spin-off truly great was that it was gritty and dark. Buffy toyed with some dark episodes – well a dark season really – but over all it was Angel that depicted the darker side of the Buffy universe. There’s no denying it; it’s our attraction to the dark side that keeps us tuned in and coming back for more. When TV shows walk on that fine line of doing what’s right versus doing what’s wrong; listening to that little devil on your shoulder because you feel you have no other choice. There is so much injustice and evil in these fictional worlds and it’s very infectious to see our, once on the straight and narrow, protagonists slip and transition into much grittier versions of themselves. This is the type of storytelling that I’m a huge sucker for and Agents of SHIELD (now in it’s third season and prepping for a spin-off) has started to dive into this territory.
But there’s so much more to what makes Agents of SHIELD an incredible show. First and foremost is the great writing. It’s clever and funny – not Buffy-funny – but it’s up there and can hold it’s own. Yes, season one did start to drag, but for good reason. The writers can’t take full responsibility for this because the decision to have events from the movies cross over wasn’t theirs. So send your nasty letters to the Marvel studio executives. Next, there’s a good variety of characters (both good and evil) and a fair amount of character development. Not to mention the fact that the world is constantly expanding. Almost every episode has the team travelling to different parts of the globe (and one spooky hell dimension so far) as they try to thwart evil and eliminate the threat. Shield does follow the typical monster-of-the-week formula, but the pay off is always great at the end because the A-story is so compelling. Then you have things like special effects (which are quite phenomenal if you ask me) and fight sequences. Some of the best, if not the best, I’ve seen on prime time TV. Marvel is sparing no expense on Shield and it shows, each and every week. If you have not been tuning in then I truly believe that you owe it to yourself to take a gander at Marvel’s made-for-TV team.
Meet The Dream Team
As the old saying goes: There’s no I in team. So no matter how good the visuals and the story are, it’s the super talented actors and actresses who shine and bring life to every episode. If there is one thing that I can absolutely say for sure, it’s that the show’s creators know how to bring a perfect cast together. Joss Whedon has been doing this for years and has a handful of incredible TV shows (not to mention movies) under his belt. Buffy [The Vampire Slayer], Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse – each show has their own remarkable cast that know how to act extremely well, and jell with one another perfectly. The Whedon crew know how to create these magical dream teams so it comes as no surprise that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is so damn good. Are you ready to meet a few of the notables? Good, but be warned because things are about to get spoilery!
Note: Spoilers Ahead 😮
Director Phil Coulson Played By Clark Gregg 1️⃣
Pronounced dead after being impaled by Loki’s scepter (in the first Avengers movie), Agent Phil Coulson was mysteriously brought back to life and put back into the field. Only a select few knew about the measures taken to bring him back. Even Phil himself had no memory of what had happened, but he had an inkling that something wasn’t right. After some inexplicable side effects Phil had to take matters into his own hands and get some answers which ultimately leads to him facing some demons that no one should ever have to face. That’s all I’ll say about this. After events unfold [Captain America: Winter Soldier] Phil is appointed the new director of SHIELD by Nick Fury (who was also pronounced dead) and is inundated with the task to rebuild SHIELD. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Agent Melinda May Played By Ming-Na Wen 2️⃣
She’s always very calm and collected, but don’t let that fool you because Agent Melinda May is a lethal weapon [There’s a reason she’s referred to as the Cavalry] and is deadly as they come. May and Phil have history working in the field together – she always has his back – which has earned her the privilege of becoming his right hand. When Phil needs a second opinion she’s usually his go to because May is the voice of pragmatism. Her opinion counts and when it comes time to get the job done May is always there for Phil and the rest of the team. But there’s more to her than meets the eye. May is not without her hang-ups; she’s emotionally scarred, can hold a grudge like nobody’s business, and as intelligent as she is, she doesn’t always make the right decision.
Daisy Johnson aka Quake Played By Chloe Bennet 3️⃣
Daisy, formerly known as Skye, is your typical – the truth is out there – genius-level “hacktivist” turned super hero. She’s the first SHIELD agent (so far that we know of) to possess super powers which manifested after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist. Daisy is an Inhuman – just like her mother Jiaying who she never knew growing up, and believed to be dead all of this time – and has the ability to generate powerful waves of vibration which can produce effects resembling earthquakes (hence the name Quake). She is definitely the glue that holds the team together, and wears her heart on her sleeve; which is why the team loves and values her as much as they do, especially Phil. Before Phil became the director (and before Daisy got her powers) he was very protective of Daisy and formed a father/daughter kinship with her, which was very much frowned upon by Daisy’s estranged, “Jekyll and Hyde” monster of a father, Cal. But no matter what Daisy knows how to stay focused and grows stronger every day with her new found abilities.
Agent Jemma Simmons Played By Elizabeth Henstridge 4️⃣
One of the youngest, and arguably the smartest on the team, Jemma Simmons is the British girl next door with more than two PhDs. Her best friend and SHIELD colleague, Fitz, once claimed that she’s so smart because she loves homework more than life itself. That’s Jemma in a nut shell; a super bright bio-chemist who graduated three years early from the SHIELD academy, and well on her way to becoming a rising star in SHIELD’s research division. Her close connection with Fitz has earned them both the nickname Fitz-Simmons, and rightfully so seeing how the two lab geeks are inseparable. But no matter how many specialized weapons (like the Night-Night Gun) they craft together these two star-crossed agents just can’t seem to take their relationship to the next level. After Fitz finally mustered up the courage to ask Jemma out, she was unexpectedly swallowed up into an alien dimension where she spent the next six months with two unknowns. A NASA astronaut named Will – long story – and an evil parasitic Inhuman with incredible power – an even longer story.
Agent Leo Fitz Played By Iain De Caestecker 5️⃣
SHIELD’s genius-level engineer has much in common with his brilliant lab partner, and love interest, Jemma. They both graduated from the academy early, they both dress alike, and they both were hand-picked to be on Phil Coulson’s team. But the one thing about Fitz is that he’s always eager to help, even if it means stepping into the field and into harms way. This Scottish native is not afraid to take one for the team, and when it comes to Jemma, no force on earth (or off) will keep him away from her. Next to Jemma, the only other relationship that Fitz holds dear is his friendship with Agent Grant Ward. That is until the events of Winter Soldier came to pass and the truth about Ward was uncovered. The fall of SHIELD took everyone by surprise, but none more than Fitz who found it impossible to believe that his trusted friend, and SHIELD agent, Ward could have anything to do with HYDRA’s uprising. The final nail in that coffin was when Ward trapped both Fitz and Simmons in a pod and dropped them into the Atlantic Ocean.
Honourable Mentions: Hunter And Bobbi 👏
Agent Bobbi Morse Played By Adrianne Palicki 6️⃣
One of the most elite agents by far, Barbara “Bobbi” Morse – aka Mockingbird – is an expert biologist who can take down just about any foe with her trusted battle staves. She was first introduced as HYDRA’s Chief of Security, but little did the enemy organization know that Bobbi was an undercover agent sent by SHIELD as a security measure to protect Jemma Simmons – who was on a undercover mission of her own. Bobbi’s loyalty to SHIELD is unwavering: she’s a remarkable soldier (she can take a bullet and won’t crack under pressure – even when being tortured) and a team player. But as good as her track record is, there’s one teammate [her ex-husband Hunter] who thinks of her as a “demonic hell-beast”. Certain agency secrets kept by Bobbi put the two at odds and ultimately lead to their divorce, but fate brought the two back together – this time to help SHIELD turn the tide against HYDRA – giving Hunter and Bobbi a second chance at their relationship.
Agent Lance Hunter Played By Nick Blood 7️⃣
The very brash and British – quick-to-go-rogue – Lance Hunter is a force to be reckoned with. The former British soldier, turned mercenary, joined SHIELD based on the recommendation of his ex-wife Bobbi. Things were looking pretty good for Hunter up until the moment Bobbi walked into SHIELD’s new base of operations, revealing to Hunter that she has been a part of his new-found team this whole time. This came as a huge surprise for Hunter and his knee-jerk reaction wasn’t the warmest it could have been. As awkward as the situation was Hunter and Bobbi assured Coulson and the rest of the team that working together wouldn’t be an issue – and it wasn’t…not really. Missions were never jeopardized, but the team had to suffer through countless arguments and witness the fallout of their on again/ off again love life. But for better or for worse, Hunter and Bobbi pull through [with their relationship and everything that HYDRA throws at them] proving that they still actually love each other and that they are in it for the long haul.
In fact this dynamic duo is so compelling that the studio [ABC] has ordered a pilot for their very own spin-off series titled Marvel’s Most Wanted. Actors Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki are no longer full-time members of the Agents of SHIELD cast, but will be reprising their roles as Hunter and Bobbi in their new, anticipated spin-off. Congratulations Nick and Ade! I hope that the network puts together an amazing cast and crew for the both of you to work with, and I hope that the show runs for a TV lifetime.
Last, But Certainly Not Least…
Grant Ward Played By Brett Dalton 8️⃣
Former agent Grant Ward is easily the most villainous antagonist that SHIELD has ever encountered. He was recruited and trained by The Clairvoyant – an enemy of SHIELD who was believed to have psychic abilities, but it was later revealed that he was just a high-level SHIELD agent named John Garrett with a huge chip on his shoulder. John was like a father figure to Ward and used this to manipulate him. Under the leadership of John, Ward took up the creed of HYDRA and later infiltrated SHIELD, going deep undercover as a highly-skilled agent for several years. He eventually got assigned to Phil Coulson’s team and quickly became an incredible asset and trusted friend. But the uprising of HYDRA eventually led to the capture of John Garrett who escaped later with the help of Ward, thus revealing where his true loyalty lies. Many innocent agents died at the hands of Ward which quickly catapulted him to the top of SHIELD’s most wanted list. Coulson, Skye and Fitz took his betrayal the hardest, especially Skye since Ward was her Supervising Officer and potential love interest. After SHIELD fell Ward still had a deep admiration and fondness for Skye, but it was too late. The damage was already done and the situation escalated very quickly, making it impossible for any kind of reconciliation. After more collateral damage, and with nothing left to lose, Ward takes it upon himself to rebuild HYDRA, but is met with hostility from HYDRA’s last remaining leaders: Gideon Malick. The two eventually form an alliance which ultimately leads to an outcome for Ward that both SHIELD and HYDRA could have never predicted.
Are you still here? Go watch Agents of SHIELD already. Seriously…stop surfing the net and get going. There’s three seasons – roughly 22 episodes per – so you better get started. I haven’t given all of the juicy details away. SHIELD has lots for you to discover! 😎