Agents of SHIELD- episode 15

Yes Men AKA “The Lady Sif episode”

Lorelei, Amora’s kid sister, Loki’s friend and sometime love interest; shifts her focus from random newlywed to a gang of bikers to start her army. Similarly to Loki, Lorelei is the younger sibling that never lives up to expectations, Lorelei has recently been confined and unable to speak, so when she gets loose she really blows the doors off of things.

Back at the plane, Skye is still stuck in bed at the prodding of Agents Simmons who is desperately trying to find out more about the “wonder drug.” Ward comes in to visit Skye and makes cute smiles at her while she complains that “she must look hideous” (she’s wearing an awful lot of makeup for someone who ‘hasn’t seen a mirror’). Anyway, Coulson is trying to find Director Fury but no one will let him near him. Suspicion grows! But while Coulson is gone, Agent May holds down the fort. They get a call about incoming Asgardian activity.

They find Lady Sif in the middle of the desert via the bifrost. Lorelei entered unnoticed via one of Loki’s secret pathways. Lady Sif explains that they are up against a sorceress that can bend men’s wills. Lorelei is used to commanding armies and starting wars. She also explains that Lorelei’s power only works on men… they have an inherent weakness..

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Is the weakness a Y chromosome?

The implication is, of course, that no MAN can resist her feminine wiles. But so… even men who are gay? But not women who are gay?

Because I have got to tell you. This would have been a better episode if Simmons was bi and helped Lorelei take down the team. No one would have expected that and we would have gotten some LGBT visibility over here -in the comic book genre/Marvel Universe/primetime network TV realm where there’s not much. And in this case, it wouldn’t have been “inclusion cookies” it would have actually added depth to the episode.

Because I honestly called the rest of this shit.

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The Team + Lady Sif heads to the biker bar where Lorelei is setting up her empire, and I already know that 1/2 the team is men and of that team there are only 3 that really get out of the plane and 2/3 of them are men. If Lorelei is after the greatest warriors then she will head for Ward (even though that makes less sense since Coulson is actually “the leader” but we need angst here people!) and Ward will fall hard and by the time Lorelei squeezed his arm I was already like “We can pack this up here. He won’t betray Lorelei for May but Skye will bring him around.”

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So, Simmons gets sidetracked (because she’s been tending to Skye instead of being in the field and having more involvement in the Lorelei situation) and says that she needs outside help to identify the Wonder Drug. I love driven academic types. Coulson shoots it down. Ward and Lorelei head for Vegas. There Ward references that he cares for a member of the team but that she’s nothing next to Lorelei…

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The the two have a sexy clothes ripping hook up. After she feeds him the line “You’re a real man with the rage of a berserker inside.” Which reminds us that the fury brought on by the berserker staff is still very much alive in Ward (yeah, so in Melinda May, too)

Meanwhile Sif and May bond over weaponry and losing their men to vixens. Sif warns her that Ward, the real Ward is lost to Lorelei’s will. May says “Ward won’t kill me. He might try to kill me, but he won’t.”

And then, while they should be looking for Lorelei, she and Ward take over the plane. This leads to the inevitable May vs. Ward faceoff -where Lorelei reveals that the “beautiful warrior with the heart of ice” is not the one who had his love.

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Sif, meanwhile throwing down with Lorelei is antagonized by the redhaired vixen who reminds Sif that she made the love of Sif’s life obey her every command, that Thor thinks of Sif as a man. Sif subdues her and slaps the magic collar on. Ward snaps out of it just in time to not get dead and stuff.

But here’s the fucking thing though, so none of our “strong” chicks get happiness? Ward tries to apologize to May, she waves it off with an “I told you that you didn’t have to worry about that with me.” Which she did, she was really forthcoming with the fact that it would be no strings attached and that it couldn’t get in the way of work. May also has a heart to heart with Coulson, say that he needs to open up about what he saw, even if it’s not to her, even if it’s to Skye. And he does and he tells Skye that the “wonder drug” was alien blood (btw- Sif mentioned the Kree earlier, I’m thinking my theory was right!). In the closing scenes we catch Melinda May listening in… and she calls it in, saying that “Coulson knows.”

So, damn, May knew?

I don’t want Ward and Skye together. I just don’t. And I don’t really hate Skye. I’m tired of this idea that tough and capable women aren’t worthy of love in the way that special snowflake Mary Sues are.

This episode had a lot going on in the background (Coulson divulging about the alien, the obvious cover-up, Melinda’s informing on them.). And a lot of awesome stuff in the foreground (Lorelei recently reappeared in Loki:Agent of Asgard #2, and it was awesome. And who does not love Jaimie Alexander looking all Asgardian? Nerd cookies everywhere!) But this fucking episode also ignored the existence of LGBT people entirely. And it’s even worse because of Lady Sif and Melinda’s implied fist bump over male weakness. Umm.. no. Because it’s not that. It’s that men are socialized to be protectors and unfortunately women are socialized to be damsels. Which is what happened here. Skye was kicked back all helpless, while May was fighting for everyone’s safety …but who does Ward love? Melinda’s showed him tenderness and compassion (as much as she can) but who does Ward love? Women are socialized to believe that being a true equal takes you out of the running for being a love interest. The backstory of both May and Sif in this episode fucking dead on perpetuated that. Shut up. I feel like there’s something in there about Lorelei using her sexuality for empowerment but not being better than the “strong female characters” -but even so, they don’t get the whole package, either.

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Someone write me a fanfic where Gemma Simmons falls for Lorelei and she hijacks the plane while the lock Ward in the holding cell which would have been the logical thing to do anyway: WHO BRINGS SOMEONE WHO HAS ZERO CHANCE OF NOT BECOMING A HUMAN WEAPON? Where was Agent Hand and Maria Hill?! If “only men are susceptible” why would you not CALL ALL THE WOMEN?!

Someone help. Send logic.

For those of us Fiercely missing Agents of SHIELD

14 long long days until a new episode, TAHITI , where Coulson finds out more about his past and presumably saves Skye. Bill Paxton guest stars on that one, as does BJ Britt (who has guest starred on Vampire Diaries, Grimm and Sons of Anarchy as well as the Wonder Woman TV movie and the flick Vampires Suck).

Of course, you probably don’t care as much about those guest stars as you do about the March 11th episode that features Lady Sif. Jaimie Alexander appears as the awesomely armor-clad Asgaardian in the (hopefully season and not series) finale “Yes Men”

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It’s these kind of nerd cookies and side characters and tie-ins to the Marvel Universe that have really been keeping fans entertained. An IGN blogger compiled a list of who they would like to see make a cameo to keep the hype going. I agree, either She-Hulk would be optimal -but Jennifer Walters is a small time character *snort* please. But it seems like everyone from Jezebel to Stan Lee himself has ideas on how to fix the show and keep viewers excited. Is Jaimie Alexander’s appearance getting you hyped? Anyone you’d like to see hit the SHIELD set?

The series debuted with record numbers, but since 6 million less have tuned in.

No news of being officially canceled or renewed yet. But as a belated Valentine’s Day gift: A look at Skye’s -I mean Chloe Wang’s -I mean, Chloe Bennet’s music career debut.

I’m optimistic about where they could go with SHIELD, who they could bring in and how they will use who they’ve got. The second half of the season has brought depth to Agent May’s no-nonsense persona, Skye’s backstory plotline has wrapped itself up and now we have established characters working through their quirks without relying heavily on being cliche archetypes -everyone’s stretching out of their established comfort zone. And that’s good.

Movie Review#16- Thor: the Dark World

No major spoilers. Super hero movies, gotta love them, right? 

Welllll….

There’s nothing to not like. It’s gorgeous and fun and funny. There’s action and romance and Chris Hemsworth with no shirt on. There’s fake science, there’s drama, there is effing KAT DENNINGS.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth, Avengers, Star Trek, Cabin in the Woods) returns to do battle with Malekith (Christopher Eccleston, 28 Days Later, “Doctor Who”), the vengeful leader of an ancient race of dark elves that seeks to destroy the Nine Realms. I won’t spoiler this for you, but it involves something that Jane Foster -in a role reprised by Queen Amidala herself, geek goddess Natalie Portman- while inspecting an anomaly that defies physics and logic. 

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Odin (Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock, Hannibal) doesn’t even know how to handle the dark elves (who have spaceships- that doesn’t really make sense. elves are supposed to be tree-people… and if the had been nearly obliterated wouldn’t someone have destroyed their tech?)

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When they attack Asgard they wreak havoc in ways that makes busting Loki (Tom Hiddleston) out of jail and committing treason seem reasonable. 

Loki is imprisoned after, you know, wreaking havoc on New York in the Avengers. I personally never really had a soft spot for Loki but this movie definitely won me over. You can’t trust him, but you can trust Loki to be Loki.

Kat Dennings, as per usual, plays a sassy, immature, bold, awesome chick as Darcy, Jane’s BFF and intern. She’s just there for the laughs. But she gets them, so there you go.

What’s unfortunate is that none of the characters has any real character development, everyone leaves pretty much the same way they came. It’s throw into discussion more than once that Thor is going to live 5,000 years longer than Jane. That human lives are a flash in the pan compared to Asgardians, but it is quickly disregarded. The villain in this picture, Malekith, the dark elf is completely unsympathetic, he wants to destroy all the nine realms. He’s evil. There’s nothing redeeming. Loki is the only complex character, which is probably why I fell for him. 

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Loki surpassed my expectations in his third pass as antagonist. While he won’t be back for the Avengers sequel, sources say there may be another chance for the God of Mischief to scheme against (or with?) our Marvel heros. 

 

You should definitely see Thor: the Dark World. The special effects are off the chain, and lets face it, the current stretch of Marvel movies is so good, there’s no point in acting like you are too cool for this one. But nothing ground-breaking happens here. One thing I was impressed with, all the women in this movie have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, it would have been really easy to make Jane into an action chick out of the blue, or make her helpless without Thor. Neither of which happens. Darcy is a one dimensional big mouth, but I like her. Sif… oh man, we needed more Sif (played by the wonderful Jaimie Alexander, who -please please please- may be Wonder Woman). 

I give in a 3.5 …it was formulaic, but flashy enough to make up for it.

Side note- In Norse mythology, dark elves were subterranean and would turn to stone if touched by sunlight. In some mythos they would sit on a sleeping person and whisper evil things to them to create nightmares (which has no relevance within the film) and in other myths, dark elves had more magical potency through causing death, they would absorb the life-force and it would make them more powerful (which would have explained why they wanted to destroy all nine realms in this film.