Two Minutes of Perfect Cinema – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Episode 23 – Beginning of the End

00:34:44 – 00:35:51

Okay, this scene isn’t a full two minutes and it isn’t really from cinema but it is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so that kind of counts. Anyway, I don’t have a series of posts called One Minute and Seven Seconds of Perfect Telly, so just go with it. It is such a good scene I had to share it.

This is right at the end of the last episode and concerns the main bad guy so we are talking major spoiler here. It’s over a week since it aired in the UK though, so I’m guessing that most people who care about that have seen it already. Enjoy the moment with me once again then, or if you are new to the show then I hope this will whet your appetite for Season 2. Give it a go, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is a program that knows filmic conventions and likes to play with them.

A quick bit of context for the uninitiated first. The show picks up on several threads from the Marvel movies, particularly the Thor and Captain America sequels, but when it started it was essentially a spin off from The Avengers. In that film Agent Coulson had been killed by Loki but had since undergone some mysterious resurrection and here he was, back and heading up a new team to sort out weird stuff before it got too freaky. Imagine the X-Files in a world where everyone knew the truth because it was already out there. After all, nothing exposes the existence of aliens like a huge invasion of New York City.

It became evident early on that a lot of the stuff Coulson’s team was dealing with episode by episode was being engineered by some bad guy called The Clairvoyant. As it turned out, he didn’t have sight beyond sight as his name suggested, he was just an agency mole with high level clearance.

Right near the end, the guy in question, John Garret, is jacked up on magic E.T blood and is ready to talk over the world. It doesn’t work out for him though, the cyborg super soldier he has been controlling turns on him, incinerating him and stamping on his head.

We’ve seen this before though and what do you know, he’s not quite dead. Later we see his empty body bag lying by the motionless form of a guard. A bloodied hand reaches up into the world’s most uncomfortable La-Z-Boy and Garrett, charred and scarred, down but not quite out, climbs up on to it. Robot arms start fixing metal implants all over his body. (Over the top of his clothes, how’s he going to get those off to clean them now? That’s just unhygienic. No matter the other guy they robotised the same way was mad at him.)

You thought the big bad from Season 1 was gone, now here he is. They should have checked he was dead, they should have gone for the double tap, have they not seen Fatal Attraction? With his new mechanically enhanced body he will return to dominate Season 2. I have to admit my heart sank at this point. Please, is there not one TV show that will offer me a bit of closure?

Well yes, there is because just as RoboGarret steps down and starts his soliloquy he explodes, shot by Phil Coulson who has come back into the room looking for a particular weapon and on finding it has seen the perfect target to test it on.

Through four films Agent Phil Coulson had been the implacable, business like super spy, unflappable and formidable. In this TV series though we had seen his weaker, emotional side and the character had lost some of his mystery. In this final moment though, dispatching Garret with no histrionics or fuss, the Agent Coulson we know and love was back. He just shot a guy in the back, blowing him into a million squishy pieces but no reason to fuss. He’s calm but he knows what needs to be done and he doesn’t hesitate or flinch in doing it.

Coulson is cool again.

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