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Amongst very high anticipation, Marvel’s first television show Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 1 premiered Tuesday night on ABC!

Our Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 1 recap looks back at the events that took place during the pilot episode directed by Joss Whedon.

Note: This is a reprint of the recap we wrote after seeing the episode in July at San Diego Comic-Con.

The episode begins with a little boy and his dad (who may look familiar to Angel fans, as he is played by J.August Richards) looking into a shop window at some toys when all of a sudden there is an explosion in the building behind them.

The father quickly jumps into action and uses his hidden supernatural abilities to scale the brick building, plunging his hands into the brick with each movement. He then jumps and lands safely, bringing with him the woman he has now saved.

While all of this is going on, we see the girl we will soon know as Skye, filming the entire encounter with her cell phone, plunging us all into queries of “Who is this girl?” and “I wonder whose side she’s on?”

While the audience was left to wonder about this mysterious girl, a new face, Agent Grant Ward steps into the scene, pulling off a caper in which he steals fingerprints off a glass, uses them to break into a fireplace/safe and manages to fight off the hostiles that appear quickly and escape on a helicopter.

The introduction of this character does one thing exceptionally well, it shows just how capable Agent Ward is of handling things by himself.

Related: 5 theories that could explain how Agent Coulson lived.

The next punch comes as Ward is talking to someone we haven’t seen, and the reveal shows it is none other than Agent Maria Hill, played by Colbie Smulders, and they are discussing the presence of beings with supernatural powers, including the green guy, the retro guy in a star-spangled suit, and the god from that fight in New York City.

Ward goes on to say, “I don’t think Thor is technically a god.” and Agent Hill responds, “You haven’t been near his arms.” We then get our first look at the very much alive Agent Coulson just as Agent Ward is discussing the knowledge of his death. It will never not be great seeing our favorite agent donning his own version of a super suit.

We go on to find out that Nick Fury faked Coulson’s death in order to bring the clan of superheroes now known as the Avengers together to save the planet. Coulson was sent to a grass shack in Tahiti, where he got a little time off, but he is now more than happy to be back on the job.

'Agents of SHIELD' episode 1 recap

Next is the first mention of the Rising Tide, a force that we believe may be the antagonistic force for season 1. We also get a little thrill as Ron Glass (better known as Shepherd Book to any and all Firefly fans out there) steps on screen in a small role, but it is never not thrilling seeing him involved in another Joss Whedon project.

Agent Hill and Ron Glass’ character share a quick moment about Coulson’s trip to Tahiti that suggests that everything may not quite be as it seems with the faking of his death. There are definitely some variables in play that we cannot wait to see more of in season 1.

Next we fly back to Skye as she sneaks in to meet with the hooded hero we saw at the beginning of the episode. The immediate feeling about her personality is that she seems a little bit of a fangirl when it comes to guys with superpowers.

She tries to convince the hooded hero, whose name is Mike Peterson, that he should come out of the shadows and be proud of what he’s done. She also gets a chance at an iconic line, but doesn’t quite get it right when she says, “With great power comes… a ton of weird crap.” She leaves him with a warning, “They’re coming for you.”

We then get our first look at Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda Mays, a clearly experienced agent that has opted for desk work in exchange for the ever crazy field-work. Coulson tells her just how badly he needs her help, and she reluctantly agrees to “drive the bus.” The “bus” is a very impressive black jet that serves more as a flying command center for their outfit than simply a mode of transportation.

The following scene is a first look at Fitz and Simmons, a dynamic duo when it comes to technology and investigation, including a Hermione joke from Simmons, which made this writer instantly love her and her partner.

It was at this point in the episode that it was clear that this was just another amazing property from Joss Whedon, and that his stamp of wit, humor, and action is all over Agents of SHIELD.

Next we go back to Skye as she is broadcasting herself talking about the Rising Tide, threatening SHIELD amongst other things. Coulson triangulates her position and interrupts her by thrusting open the van door and throwing a black hood over her head. They take her back to their turf and interrogate her about the name of the hooded hero.

She mentions something called Centipede, which elicits a ‘What?’ look from Agent Ward. When she refuses to name the hero, Coulson threatens her with a newly developed truth serum, which he surprisingly injects into Agent Ward, leaving his agent in the hands of a skilled hacker who has a few interesting questions to ask.

While Skye doesn’t get anything top secret out of Agent Ward, she does feel more like a part of the team, and we realize that Coulson is more interested in making her a part of the team than punishing her for the trouble she has caused.

agents of shield partners wide

We then flash to Agents Mays, Fitz and Simmons at the site of the fire from the beginning of the episode as they investigate what may have caused it in an attempt to solve the mystery of the hooded hero.

The elusiveness of the hooded hero continues, as we saw him taking on the phone to a mysterious ‘doctor’ who somehow managed to give him his powers, and the next time we see him, he is confronting a former boss as he looks desperately for work that will allow him to take care of his son. He ends the interaction by killing his boss, proving that whatever has given him his powers has also altered his mind.

He then visits the hospital to see the woman that he saved, who we quickly find out is the ‘doctor’ he was talking to earlier. She is not happy about his heroic stunt, and scolds him for showing off and exposing them both. We find out that there was a patient before that had also been given the Centipede, and he went crazy and eventually killed himself in an explosion.

While the hooded hero continues to seek knowledge of his condition and find a way to be there for his son, Coulson’s team is getting closer to solving the mystery themselves. Fitz digitally replicates the scene before the explosion, and we find out that the previous patient of the ‘doctor’ was the source of the explosion, not just a victim.

The Centipede may give a person superhuman abilities, but it also causes them to lose their minds and eventually burst in anger due to a volatile substance known as Extremis.

Peterson takes Skye hostage in an attempt to save her and himself, also requesting that she delete any and all of his presence so he can effectively disappear and keep himself and his son safe from the powers behind Centipede.

Related: Marvel reportedly working on ‘Agent Carter’ TV show for ABC.

Skye skillfully triggers a security breach and gives Coulson the coordinates of her position, and our favorite agent responds just as we expect, he rushes to her aid. A fight breaks out as Peterson tries to escape both Coulson’s team and the assassin that the doctor had instructed to kill him, and results in Ward being forced to shoot Mike in the head. (Clarification: Ward shoots Mike with the antidote, which is why he survives and also why everyone smiles. Just to clear that up.)

Fortunately, due to Ward’s shot with the antidote, Mike Peterson survives and last we know, his child is safe as Mike Peterson recovers from his wounds.

Our last look at the episode shows Skye and Coulson zooming away in his hovercraft vintage red car toward what Agent Ward called a “084,” after Coulson requests that Skye seriously consider joining the team long-term and helping them further their cause.

What did you think of ‘Agents of SHIELD’s’ season 1 premiere?

Hit the comments to discuss the show with fellow fans!

  • Ultron

    It was so good! I loved all the references to all the movies! Especially the extremis virus. And definitely that harry potter reference. A+ right there

  • Mary Jo

    I love the MARVEL universe and was hesitant about it.
    But it was very cool. More than expected.
    All the Whedon-esque lines and scenes. The interaction between Maria and Coulson is gold.
    And I’m secretly hoping that the Centipede virus is HYDRA related.

    And best part: LOLA, the hovercraft car…
    I give it an A.

  • http://ravenclaw1991.tumblr.com/ ravenclaw1991

    That was freaking awesome! Loved the Harry Potter reference! And Coulson’s car flies! I’m dying.. My only question is, does this take place before or after Iron Man 3? I’m thinking after, but not entirely sure.

    • Mary Jo

      All the Extremis similarities point out that maybe its before?
      Its hard to tell, I don’t recall Whedon mentioning it.

    • Becky Fathers Cook

      I was wondering that too. Are we pre-IM3 Extremis or post?

    • Caroline J.

      Hermione references ALWAYS welcome. and the flying made me think of MIB lol.

      • Rosalie David

        the flying reminded me of back to the future

    • Amir Khan

      I think this is running along with phase 2 so maybe after. I’m sure they’ll say soon

    • Mel

      I’m guessing after since S.H.I.E.L.D seemed to have knowledge of Extremis and i doubt that if they had known that during IM3 it would have gone the same way it did

    • Chinmay Chawade

      It is after Iron Man 3. Well at least according to me. In Agents of Shield the first time Coulson saw that guy blowing up, he didn’t even think and called him an Extrimis. So he must already know about them. Also the cure which was given to Pepper in Iron Man 3, Leo and Jemma might just have replicated the formula so it probably didn’t take much time to create it this time.

  • somegirl91

    I was pretty nervous about how this was going to turn out, but it was great! I especially loved all the humor and references. And Coulson!! <3 But I wonder what the mystery behind his "death" is…

    • thedogking101

      I’m thinking life model decoy maybe?…

      • humanbeing

        I’m thinking the real Coulson really did die, and the Coulson currently seen on the show is either a clone, a lookalike android, an alien shapeshifter (Skrulls, anyone?), or something similarly wacky. It could be a scenario where the fake Coulson absolutely believes he’s the real deal, because of implanted memories (like Blade Runner?), and the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have been sworn to keep the whole thing secret. The idea that Coulson just happened to survive an Asgardian blade through the heart seems a little far-fetched; knowing Joss the truth is darker and more complex and probably won’t be revealed for other 3 seasons. Considering Joss wrote both the Avengers film script and this pilot episode, and obviously originally intended for Coulson’s death to be real and permanent (it was probably a note from the studio heads asking Joss if Coulson could somehow be resurrected, since he was something of a fan favorite), it doesn’t make sense for the whole thing to have just been a put-on for the sake of motivating the Avengers into action.

        • Guest

          There was this moment towards the end of the episode where Mike threw the van door outwards when Coulson and team were asking him to step out of the van. And the other agents dive sideways, but Coulson was right in the line of fire of the door. And he just leaned over backwards. No reaction time needed. And I watched it over a couple of times, and either they were really going for the badass Coulson shot, disregarding being somewhat realistic, or that’s connected to where he really was when he thinks he was in Tahiti. Something has happened (or been done) to him.

          • http://wizforum.proboards.com/ Melissa West

            I was thinking the very same thing. He went back all Matrix like :)

        • thedogking101

          The Avengers don’t know he’s alive though. When the secret is revealed to Ward he says something along the lines of “do the Avenger’s know” and Maria Hill replies “they aren’t level 7″

    • Zeo

      There was this moment towards the end of the episode where Mike threw the van door outwards when Coulson and team were asking him to step out of the van. And the other agents dive sideways, but Coulson was right in the line of fire of the door. And he just leaned over backwards. No reaction time needed. And I watched it over a couple of times, and either they were really going for the badass Coulson shot, disregarding being somewhat realistic, or that’s connected to where he really was when he thinks he was in Tahiti. Something has happened (or been done) to him. .

  • m

    It was good. Much better than I expected. I thought it started a bit slow, but got better and better as it went on. The whole climax and all was really good.

  • Caroline J.

    it didn’t keep my eyeballs glued to the screen in the same way The Blacklist did, but i’m FOR SURE gonna keep tuning in. the cast is GREAT and of course i’m a sucker for anything created by the band i like to call “Joss Whedon and the Tacheroens” (yeah yeah, i know, it’s jed whedon and mellissa tancheroen, just let me have this one)

    • 7Starrchasers

      Haha this is exactly how I felt…it was a fun pilot but not riveting….But knowing Joss, this show is going to be amazing and the season finale is gonna leave us all shocked!

  • Jenna

    I loved it! Maybe I was searching too hard for references to past Whedonverse things but the airplane’s storage are totally reminded me of a mini version of that part of the Serenity ship :D

    • somegirl91

      I thought the exact same thing!!

    • Bell

      Me too! It has the same configuration (although I suppose there’s only so much you can do with a cargo hold). Glad I’m not totally reaching here haha.

  • Sarah

    WOAH WOAH WOAH. Ward didn’t actually shoot a bullet at Mike’s head. He shot a clearly different gun that contained the antidote that Fitz and Simmons were preparing. The antidote laced bullet sent blue light coursing through the blood veins in Mike’s face. Fitz was right next to Ward, and had a SMILE on his face when Ward shot the COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GLOWING BLUE GUN. I don’t think Fitz would have smiled if Ward had just shot Mike through the head. (Also, please excuse the tone and caps lock that is dominating this reply)

    • samusunder

      Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ►► http://tiny.cc/shield-2013

    • Kristen Kranz

      Thanks for pointing out the Ward shooting Mike with the antidote thing. After first viewing at Comic Con, I totally missed the gun swap, so I updated the article to reflect this! :)

      • Sarah

        SMILES :) I thought it was a pretty compelling argument when I wrote it at 10 pm. In hindsight, I was probably pretty hyped up :) on THE PURE AWESOMENESS of this show. Thank you!!!

  • Liderc

    So they’re using the same extremis virus from Iron Man 3, which we already know everything about…and it was super cheesy.. like every character was cheesy. First episode has me worried that this won’t last long at all.

    Coulson just can’t carry an entire show on his shoulders sadly. Hopefully they catch a break with one of these new actors. I’m surprised they didn’t use Cobie Smulders a lot more. She has talent, and TV experience. Using her more would definitely help people take the show more seriously.

    • ConnorF42

      Well they said it was a mix of extremis, serum 47, the military super soldier stuff, aliens dna, but mainly extremis, yeah.

    • Ultron

      She has a prior commitment with how I met your mother so she probably won’t be in too much of shield. And we didn’t really know much about the extremis virus from the movie so I like that they followed up with it on the show. I think it works. Plus it will probably have some sort of relevance in avengers 2. (Probably Ultron)

    • humanbeing

      I don’t know exactly what you mean by “cheesy”; the characters all seemed very Joss Whedon-y to me, and their dialogue in many cases wouldn’t have felt out of place in either Buffy or Firely. It felt very much like a Joss Whedon script, with his typical habit of inserting a lot of sarcasm and humor into the characters’ words. Maybe Joss=Cheesy…although I never thought of him that way. He also tends to start his stories very light-hearted, and throughout the course of them he takes his characters to very dark and depressing places.

    • CliveRogan

      Weirdly, my worry for the show is that it’s introduced too many really interesting characters. Each one has what seems to be an interesting backstory and a strong character with a lot of room for development. With so many of them some might get lost in the background or get ln the way of each others storylines.

      It had copious amounts of cheese but so did the Avengers, so did every other thing Whedon got near. The show isn’t meant to be a serious show, it’s meant to be an entertaining one and.I’d say it definitely has legs, and as part of an existing IP it shouldn’t be as alienating to the masses as something like Firefly.

      • humanbeing

        Well, their individual histories will probably be parceled out a bit at a time, with certain episodes being centric towards certain characters, like what happened on Lost. Too many interesting characters, if it is a problem, is a good problem to have…certainly better than the alternative. On Firefly, Joss never even got a chance to get into the more detailed backstories of characters like Book or Inara, because he was saving a lot of that for later and the show ended up getting cancelled fairly early. Hopefully this show will last quite a bit longer.

    • Angie

      I actually liked that they used the virus. It tied it into the Iron Man 3/Avengers world. It was a nice throw back. Im sure they’ll start diverging from here on out tho

  • http://xyue-mayx.deviantart.com/ Dreamer

    It was really good! Not amazing though… but there’s definite potential to be amazing! The characters a well defined with room for expansion. There was snappy dialogue, as always in Whedon shows. They set up a good plot arc with the Rising Tide. It was fun seeing J. August Richards back. I don’t know if it was just me, but the audio was weird when I watched it. It wasn’t as clear as other shows, there was this constant fuzziness in the background and it was really noticeable during minimal dialogue scenes.

  • Isak

    AMAZING. I can’t believe there are people out there who are just “meh”. I thought the pilot was extremely well done, and the casting was perfect. Very intriguing.
    I didn’t catch something though. Are Simmons and Fitz supposed to be a couple?

    • humanbeing

      So far they just seem like scientific compatriots and playful rivals, but the mere fact that everyone refers to them by combining their last names together seems to indicate that they do spend a lot of time together. Knowing Joss, however, he’ll probably do something to make their being a romantic couple an impossibility (like making one of them a villain, or gay, or he’ll just do what he always does and kill one of them). I’m actually surprised everyone survived the Pilot Episode intact…maybe Joss felt he couldn’t spring the same surprise he did ala Jesse in the first few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

      BTW, I thought the first episode was excellent. Not perfect, still lots of room to grow (as it should be), but very well-constructed, witty, and engaging. Also, when you get a comic-book geek like Whedon writing the show, you get all kinds of Easter Egg references, some of which can be understood by watching the recent Marvel films (like the reference to Dr. Erskine and the Super-Soldier Serum from Captain America, or saying that Ward’s physical tests showed an aptitude almost as good as “Romanoff”, which is Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow, another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent). But there are plenty of other references that only long-time comic readers will probably get (like the reference to Project Pegasus, which was introduced in Marvel Comics way back in the 1970s and was initially established as a scientific base which focused on studying different potential types of energy sources). I also appreciated the Potter reference (something Joss did a few times on Buffy), and liked the little senso-bots that Fitz used at the crime scene, and the fact that they were named after the various Seven Dwarves from Snow White (the one specifically mentioned as being named Bashful).

      • Isak

        Exactly what I think. A good pilot should leave a lot of room to build on the themes in subsequent episodes, and it really did. All the characters were pretty nice and everyone seems to have his or her backstory to delve into.

        I’m actually wondering: would a gay character actually be a possibility in this, being it a Marvel show and all? I mean, I know that Marvel already has gay characters, but including one in the tv-movie universe would be much more of a spotlight.

        • http://drukeeble.tumblr.com/ Sasha

          I feel like if Joss really wanted a gay character/couple in the show, he would advocate very strongly for it (as he did with Willow and Tara ten years ago).

          …but, I don’t know. Buffy’s the only one of his shows that really ever included queer characters.

          • guest

            After seeing The Avengers, I thought maybe Coulson himself was hinted at as being gay…they keep talking about some special-someone of his that’s a cellist in Portland, but I don’t think they ever actually say “her” or “she” in terms of gender.

          • Corbin Bolies

            They said it was a girl.

      • RamblingBabbles

        I loved all the references they did on the show. It even reached the point where I was wondering if they would do a Buffy reference. It was a strong episode and I feel like they’re going to try and explain each characters more and more with new episodes. In the pilot episode, it seems like they were focusing on Skye’s character and how much she will contribute to SHIELD in the future. With that said, I just love her character and her inner fangirl (Cosplaying at Stark Tower?). So maybe if they’re going to give us tidbits or further details of the other characters in future episodes, we’ll start to love them as well if we don’t already. I just can’t see a romantic relationship thing-y between Simmons and Fitz. With the way they work together, it felt like they were twins (if it weren’t for the accents and different surnames thing). I also actually enjoyed the Seven Dwarves reference. It made me want to watch the ep again just to count if there were 7 bots. Also, I wouldn’t be opposed if Fitz was gay. Just sayin’.

        • RamblingBabbles

          or would it be to redundant to have another “brain” as the gay character?

  • humanbeing

    Also, is it just me, or does the actress who plays Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge, I believe?) look an awful lot like another actress named Danielle Panabaker? Look up their pictures on Google or something and compare them side-by-side. Very similar faces.

    And finally, kudos to the writers for choosing to set most of the action (at least in the Pilot) in Los Angeles…not because of any personal attachment or bias by me towards that city (I’m from the Midwest), but because it allows them to avoid showing New York (which is still probably mostly in ruins) and avoids having to deal with the plethora of Marvel heroes who exist in New York (Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, etc). As far as I remember, in Marvel Comics there were very few teams, if any, based out of Los Angeles (maybe the Champions?). I’ve said this before, but it would be cool if the show managed to features some storylines or cameos by some of the lesser, “street-level” Marvel characters, like Power Man and Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Power Pack, Cloak and Dagger, and so on. I understand that the main crux of the show is probably going to be sort of a combination of old-school spy stories (like in the original S.H.I.E.L.D. comics from the 1960s) mixed with a forensics show mixed with supernatural/alien/technological elements, but it still would be neat to see a few more superheroes pop up, especially those who probably aren’t ever going to be featured in any of the big Marvel films.

    • Sarah

      I was thinking that actress looked like Danielle Panabaker the whole time! I’ve seen WAY too many D-COMS I guess. Good thing she has the British accent.

  • Shadowstare

    I’v heard a lot of good things about Agents of Shield before I actually wanted the episode. Mostly, I liked it. I have some nitpicks (Why are there 2 lab focused ‘tech’ people on this team? Too much Colson?) but I can overlook those and enjoy what a show like this can bring to the table. Hopefully they’ll address those issues as the show continues on. (I’m going to need a Hydra and AIM presence on the show.)

    I’m so glad somebody cleared up that last scene with Mike. I wish they addressed it right after it happened instead of the montage of the main characters looking at each other and smiling. The gun being different didn’t register with me, I thought it was some special hi-tech S.H.I.E.L.D. gun. But they shot him with the antidote. Gotcha.

  • Lauren Chapin

    I wanted to see this but wasn’t super excited about it, until I watched the episode. It was great! Whedon’s on TV again! I love the Harry Potter references and all the characters goofy little quirks.

    Thanks for the explanation about the antidote shot, I was a little confused at first.

    Also, does anyone else think that Simmons sort of looks like one of the Panabaker sisters? I thought it was one of them until I heard the English accent.

    • humanbeing

      Whew, I’m not the only one…I think I mentioned the resemblance between those two actresses in one of the above posts. In the lead-up to the show, when they were posting cast photos over the last few months, I honestly thought it was Danielle Panabaker….then I thought it was Danielle Panabaker doing a British accent…then I realized it was another actress entirely.

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