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.

Commentary about Female Heroes’ Costumes (part 2)

So in Part 1 of this rant I touched on the fact that I like showing off my body. I do. I really do. And you can tell me “society told me I needed to” I don’t actually care. I like make up, I like tight clothes, I like looking good. So I sympathized when I Setsu Oh raving about Lara Croft’s recent breast reduction, People jumped in from left and right about how it’s more “realistic” and less “hypersexualized” as if DD cups don’t exist in the wild. @SetsuOh also went on to say that big breasted women are usually touted as bimbos, so a well endowed PhD and survival skills? Bad ass and out of the normal stereotype.

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But I think this is a situation where either way there’s something to complain about. But asserting that big breasted women can’t be Indiana Jones because it’s not realistic is fucking stupid.

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Which leads me to my next point. Of women who show off their bodies, the more endowed: the higher the chance it will somehow be labelled as vulgar. Because having a female body is vulgar. No, I don’t believe that, but it seems to be the consensus among most of humanity. 

What do I mean?

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This image was posted along with an article about cosplayers hypersexualizing characters. I agreed with some points… BUT the accompanying text for this reads, “I mean, really? REALLY? If I had kids with me at this convention, I would actually be pretty pissed off as a parent.” And I just have a question: I mean these kids will, at some point, go to a beach or pool, am I right?” She’s wearing slightly more than you average bikini. And yet it’s easy to look and say “SLUT” isn’t it? I have news… That’s not her fault. That’s everyone else’s fault for buying into the hype that if a girl shows off her body then she’s a bimbo and a slut and not worthy of respect. (The post is here, and I agreed with everything up until that point)

Actually, I found this article about MJ’s sexualization over the years. It’s fascinating. It’s also fascinating that photos of Kirsten Dunst from the films were included based only on the fact that she has nipples. 

And on cosplay in general “By wearing their likeness, you are allowing all that the character has come to represent. By emphasizing your own body in the costume that you yourself have created or paid for, you are granting another the right to utilize your form first as approval for continued actions and for generating the idea that women both appreciate and prefer to be cast in this light.” From the post Cosplay and the Female Form and I always feel a little betrayed when those who include themselves as “geeks” and “feminists” say something that is so dubious. Maybe this statement seems innocuous to you, so I’ll explain my position: I like to look good. I like when men look good, too.

So what? It is, in fact, certain individuals claiming feminism who say that women cannot both be beautiful and clever, sexy and strong, pretty and courageous. 

I’m all set.

But with that in mind, I think that the costume should fit the character. Lady Sif should not show up in a chainmail bikini… But you know what, Sonja doesn’t have to go full armor either. I actually think that MJ Watson costume is really dumb, I just don’t find it offensive. I don’t find Kirsten Dunst having nipples to be sexualization, I don’t need other women to tell me what to wear so I can properly represent my gender. No one has to do that.

Don’t understand? I’m assuming we all have Netflix at this point, watch the 30 Rock episode “TGS Hates Women” with guest star Sarah Silverman. She’s hired on and comes in looking like a “sexy baby” and Liz Lemon goes to council her on how she’s too girly for the Girly Show, Tina Fey whose character Liz Lemon became a feminist icon for holding a high profile job and being “real bodied” and too lazy for sex and wanting to eat junk food immediately hates on Sarah’s character for not being like her.

Right after this Sarah lays the smackdown. There’s not clip on youtube, you’ll just have to watch it. You should anyway.

But some images are more ridiculous than others:

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Agents of SHIELD- episode 14

Skye is still hanging by a thread. The team gets a negative report about the likeliness of her coming out of this intact. Everyone gets sad, May storms off- to beat the crap out of Ian Quinn -billionaire who shot Skye, lackey to the Clairvoyant- she does, Coulson calls her off and then he says he has a plan. SHIELD saved him and he was long dead, Skye is still alive. The doctors who traeted him can help her!

Only another SHIELD team shows up to collect Ian Quinn and stop them for this horribly unsanctioned mission. The agents are Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Agent Triplett (BJ Britt). Bill Paxton was a cranky older agent with a vendetta against Quinn who repeatedly referred to Skye as “the girl” despite the fact that she is an adult woman. BJ Britt is fine as hell and his character got a crush on Simmons.

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I will ship Trimmons. No lie. Come back soon Triplett.

Anyway, in the journey to find the facility and the doctors, Simmons finds out one compound that might save Skye: gh375. And May gets suspicious about all the unanswered questions in Coulson’s file. But they get to the facility and the security door asks them “How was the drive from Istanbul?” And no one knows so they blast their way in. Coulson gets freaked when he sees the robot thing that poked his brain. Yeah. And he finds what they need for Skye. He sends Garrett off with it, but he needs to see behind the door marked: T.A.H.I.T.I. and behind that door Coulson finds… And Coulson yelled “Don’t give that to Skye!” But Simmons already had. And Skye convulsed, but then she started breathing and her heart beat normally again.

Later, May goes to ask Coulson what he found. And he says it was nothing. Says it was all in his head and he just got freaked out. But the audience is treated to the world’s most absurd flashback… And I can’t really explain it to you…. dude, I don’t even know… someone said a Chitauri cadaver. It looked like a mummy of Dr. Manhattan… I don’t even know. The live tweet exploded with WTFs. Even Marvel didn’t know WHAT.

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In the after scenes we see a cocky Asgardian woman enchanting a man away from his wife in the middle of Death Valley. I was thinking it would be Amora banished to Earth by Thor, but it’s Lorelei-

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an ally and confidante to Loki. Lady Sif will be coming after the saucy vixen.

This was a great episode back, but it seemed to throw relationships up in the air. May and Ward barely spoke, May showed concern and tenderness for Coulson, Simmons got all doe eyed at Triplett… le sigh… tragedy always tests romance. I’m sure not sure what T.A.H.I.T.I. stands for or WHAT they injected into Skye. I just can’t even… Glad to have the team back though. I hope BJ Britt has A LOT MORE SCREEN TIME. That is all.

8 more episodes this season! Damn, there’s still time to get more fans on board and keep this show going strong!  Do you think Agents of SHIELD has hit it’s stride?

Edited to add @AllanAnthro threw down that the alien might be Kree. There are blue Kree and Pink Kree. it Skye is part alien (thus her 084 status) she might be part pink Kree and thats why the injection helped her, because the transfusion was suitable for her body? Maybe.

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Nerd News-day Tuesday

Comics Alliance featured an essay about IDW’s “sexualized” PowerPuff Girls #6 variant cover that got pulled in the dust up. It pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter, but NBD if it outraged you. There’s a lot to be mad at about out here. What you can’t be mad about is Eric Stephenson an Image comics publisher throws down for the ladies and tells writers and retailers alike that women WANT comics, be inclusive and they will come.

Of course, dumb-dumbs everywhere think that female supes can’t handle a movie of their own. But, well, tough shit. Black Widow’s getting her own movie. Slated for sometime after summer 2015, it appears Black Widow will get a movie before the illustrious Wonder Woman (because Marvel > DC, just saying). Although the new Black Widow comic book series didn’t thrill me, I think if they did this with a little more 007 flair, I could really get into it. And, come on admit it, the first Captain America movie was sub par and everyone is seeing this one because Marvel cinematic universe is a steam roller at this point +special effects +ScarJo is there. A Black Widow movie would do just fine. (PS Scarlett Johansson is expecting her first child, congrats!) But a recent essay on Storm over at KissMyWonderWoman  about Storm made me think about how rad it would be to have a X-Men movie that followed Ororo and Yuriko. They became fast friends under Claremont’s pen, and it would make sense since Yuriko followed Wolverine to the US after The Wolverine. I’m just saying: you should make that. Come on 20th Century Fox.

We get details about Terminator: Genesis (2015), which will revisit big moments from the first 2 movies. So it’s not remake, but an in continuity retcon. I think. According to MovieHole:

“Firstly, we will indeed be revisiting the events of the original 1984 film again. The ‘Terminator’ from the future will arrive on earth, attack some punks (keen to see who they get to play ‘Bill Paxton’), and then slaughter his way through a bunch of Sarah Connors’ – until he finds the correct target. And all the characters that appeared in the Cameron original, like Detective Hal Vukovich (played by Lance Henriksen in the original), Lieutenant Ed Traxler (played by Paul Winfield way back when), Sarah’s roomie Ginger (Bess Motta in the ’84 film) and, yep, even Pugsley the Iguana, return. So, yep, we’ll likely get to see Schwarzenegger back in the leather jacket and cool sunglasses he wore in the original. And, of course, Kyle Reese (Courtney) volunteers to go back to 1984 and save Sarah – just as he did first time around. But don’t expect everything to work out like it did in the original.. something is going to play out different.”

How (or ‘if’) they’re going to explain the THREE decades older Schwarzenegger, reprising his 1984 role, I don’t know. Which of course makes Hugh Jackman’s recent comments about his days as Wolverine being numbered slightly ironic. Days of Future Past will be his 7th time as the adamantium boned hero since 2000’s X-Men. Jackman recently told IGN “Look, that’s inevitable, man. Anyone who thinks they’re indispensable in this business is fooling themselves.”

And it all comes back to Marvel heroes again: Pumped for Agents of SHIELD’s return tonight? Bill Paxton drops in for tonight’s episode. Check out Comic Book Resources interview with Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchareon where they discuss May and Ward’s relationship, epic guest stars and tiny hints about what’s in the works. Still not OFFICIALLY renewed, though.

Photos from Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For emerge, the older -and blonder Jessica Alba is smoking hot as usual. ❤ ❤ Jessica Alba.

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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.