Captain America: What’s the matter, scared of a little lightning?
Loki: I’m not overly fond of what follows.
I figured that quote was somewhat appropriate, not because “FZZT” has anything to do with Thor (that’s next episode!), but because the focus of this episode wasn’t on the lightning (or, the “killer”), but in the repercussions.
Let’s get this out of the way quickly: this episode was firing on all cylinders – good writing, good acting and visually entertaining. If the show can mantain this quality, I’ll be a very happy man. I’ll be a little vague about the storyline, because I want to keep these as spoiler-free as possible, though.
I was surprised by how organic the humor was in this episode. While in previous installments, and I think I’ve pointed it out, most jokes felt too forced or set up, in this one it came from the characters being themselves, whether it’s FitzSimmons bantering or everyone laughing at Ward behind his back. And it worked. However, the highlight of this episode wasn’t the humor, it was the honest-to-Zod good human drama: I felt the stakes, I connected to the characters and I was engaged the whole time. This was everything “0-8-4” was supposed to be, but couldn’t – a small-scale story, mostly in one place, that had great character moments and put the team at risk. “FZZT” did that exactly, hitting all the right notes. Sure, there were missteps along the way: that opening scene wasn’t particularly good or scary, the cookie scene was rather pointless and the first act felt a bit rushed, but, overall, it was the best we’ve seen from this series so far.
I feel compelled to make a separate paragraph to talk about Iain DeCaestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge. I’ve complained in the past about Fitz and Simmons being at times little more than walking exposition, but this time around they’ve got their shot at the spotlight and they were amazing – particularly DeCaestecker, whom I have to give massive props to for one specific line: “You have to fix this.” I could feel the pain in his voice, I saw the despair in his eyes. Just perfect delivery.
Good developments in the SkyWard front. The (little, tiny, I promise) shipper in me is fine with the amount of screentime dedicated to it. We’re starting to see the softer side of Ward, it makes sense that it’s Skye who brings it out.
- Fitz’s attempt at flirting? Hilarious.
- “This guy makes Captain America look like The Dude… The Big Lebowski?… SERIOUSLY?!”
- Titus Welliver! Woo!
- Coulson was a real character! No arms crossed all the time and actually acted like the leader. Nice. His scene with the dying firefighter was particularly compelling. Also, Coulson has now come to terms with his “death”, so perhaps they’ll reveal how the whole thing happened in the near future.
- Skydiving! It’s like the producers KNOW Brett Dalton looks a lot like Superman and just keep putting him in these kind of situations.
- The science jargon was easier to follow than in previous episodes.
- Melinda May was full of BS on that last scene of hers, come on. And can we have someone on the team without a shady past? Please?
- “I’m agent Grant Ward, I just jumped out of a plane without a parachute on and saved your life” – I need more goofball Ward. For realsies.
- The music was a little over-the-top and somewhat invasive at times. I expected better from McCreary, to be honest.
I’m glad to see this show is finally getting better. I find it interesting that this one was the only episode not written/directed by a Whedon alum (Paul Zbyszewski and Vincent Misiano, respectively) and it was the best so far. Looking forward to next episode (Level 8? Hm.), more than ever.
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