Hands Off My Macguffonium (Agents of SHIELD episode 3) 4

So, I’m not sure how I feel about this episode, to be honest.

First all, of course, all the yay for the snark. And Melinda-senpai. And Coulson is always wandering around in unlikely spaces with his suit. And to be honest, I rather like the cheesiness of the gravity effects.

But… hmph. (Summary, spoilers of course)

Admittedly, I didn’t pay as good of attention to this episode as I could have since I was trying to get my hair henna’ed for the first five or ten minutes. And then it’s just kind of distracting to try to watch TV when you basically have a bag and a towel over your ears.

So this is what I took away from the episode:

There is a crazy uberlibertarian rich guy who has a ball of wonderflonium adamantium vibranium tonystarkinventedmeanium unobtanium gravitonium (SERIOUSLY?) and it can be used to make all the power ever but government regulations. Dr. Wonderflonium, the world’s greatest expert on macguffonium thinks Mr. Uberlibertarian must be stopped because reasons, so he tricks Mr. Uberlibertarian into kidnapping him.

Our intrepid SHIELD team has to go rescue Dr. Wonderflonium, because they don’t know he’s there on purpose. Skye infiltrates and kind of looks like she’s betraying SHIELD but not really (though gosh she is wonderfully sassy). Coulson finds Dr. Wonderflonium and sees that he has turned all the knobs in the lab up to 11, and that is bad because reasons. Since Dr. Wonderflonium won’t turn off the machine and it is causing haywire cheesey gravity effects, Coulson has to stop this. But he can’t quite bring himself to shoot Dr. Wonderflonium, so he shoots the glass between them and the macguffonium machine. Dr. Wonderflonium plummits into the ball of whirling CGI that is the macguffonium and is instantly absorbed, shutting the machine off.

Thus proving, incidentally, that Coulson has never actually read a comic book in his entire life because he didn’t immediately blow up the macguffonium so that a supervillain wouldn’t fucking crawl out of it.

(And as we knew was coming, at the end of the episode we see a hand reaching out of the ball of macguffonium because DUH.)

But that’s what I got out of it. Did I miss something?

So, I felt like there were two narrative parallels being drawn in the episode, and neither of them really worked.

1) Skye and Coulson and their inability to shoot someone. Though I suppose we could draw something nice from the fact that Coulson still killed the scientist anyway (whoops) and thus created a supervillain. So maybe that was the point. But… ugh. Coulson is annoyed with himself for hesitating to shoot the guy, which is an interesting if understated point that will hopefully come up later. (And more hopefully not in the yay I can shoot people again everyone celebrate way.)

2) Uberlibertarian caricature guy versus shadowy government agency. The Uberlibertarian dude was kind of comical. All he was missing was a gold-plated copy of Atlas Shrugged and a chain-smoking Ayn Rand real doll. But we’re plainly put in the position of how we’re supposed to cheer for the shadowy government agency, because the plot engine runs on the false dichotomy between no regulation crazy greedy dude paradise and we’re just doing this for your own good no really. And no. Just no.

I brought up the shadowy government agency as hero issue in a discussion at FenCon over the weekend, and (oh god I don’t remember who I was talking to I’m so sorry!) he pointed out that it’s classic Joss Whedon to start with something like that, and turn it on its head completely by the time the series is over… so hopefully we will see it hammered home that no, the shadowy government agency that tries to keep people in the dark is not the hero.

…if Marvel lets that happen.

But I really feel like episode three didn’t get anywhere it was trying to go. Skye got a little more development, so did Melina May. But the main plot was just underwhelming, and bothered me on a lot of levels.

Don’t worry, I’m nowhere close to giving up on this series, I still love it to bits and can’t wait for more. I mean shit look how long it took me to say hell with The Following and that one wasn’t anything approaching fun. (It’s also a good sign this is making me think about things so much.)

Sadly, I’ll be missing the next two weeks since I’ll be out of the country. SAD DAY. I’ll have to play catch up when I get home.

4 thoughts on “Hands Off My Macguffonium (Agents of SHIELD episode 3)

  1. Reply Keeley Pollock Oct 9,2013 00:38

    I really miss you. I sat and read this (with your voice in my head) and laughed my ass off, thinking of all the times we sat and watched bad anime or terrible B movies.

  2. Reply Roger Morse Oct 9,2013 21:00

    You can complain about gravitonium, but really, this is the Marvel Universe. Adamantium, Vibranium, take your pick of ’em.

    I also think Mr. Ultralibertarainism was shown to be a hypocrite from the beginning.

    Also, I’m sure the whole shadow government thing will come back up. There are multiple comic stories about Nick Fury losing control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and his quest to bring it back in line with the original ideals. I’m sure Coulson will fill those shoes in this series.

  3. Reply Emily Oct 10,2013 14:10

    as roger put it, “adamantium, vibranium, younameium, weinventium.”

    it was a setup for the supervillain, which roger and i kinda saw a mile away (as an old comic book fan, he knew what was coming; and because we’d been watching the avengers cartoon, i could see what was coming). but still, i enjoyed it.

  4. Reply David Merriam Oct 13,2013 19:56

    I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed episode 3 a whole heck of a lot more than episode 2. I’m willing to give it some time, as Joss seems to need about 6-8 episodes to really warm up (I’m looking at you, Buffy and Dollhouse).

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