Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our panel of experts – including moderator Kylie, Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – gathered together once again to Look Back at and to reminisce about Seasons One and Two of CPU! favorite Angel. This is the third part of a five part CPU! podcast series examining two of our favorite television programs, Buffy and Angel, aka “The Buffy-Verse.” If you have not watched any of Buffy or Angel (and I mean, any!), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Stay tuned for Episode 4 of our Buffy-Verse series, in which we cover Seasons 6-7 of Buffy!

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PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Angel,” Seasons 1-2: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Angel,” a cult supernatural, fantasy, action, and horror drama that aired on the Warner Bros. network, or “The WB,” from 1999 to 2004.

What: The ongoing trials of Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire whose human soul was restored to him by gypsies as a punishment for the murder of one of their own. After more than a century of murder and the torture of innocents, Angel’s restored soul torments him with guilt and remorse. Angel moves to Los Angeles, California, after it’s clear that his doomed relationship with Buffy, the vampire slayer, cannot continue, where he works as a private detective with a variety of associates to “help the helpless,” restoring the faith and saving the souls of those who have lost their way.

SYNOPSIS

Angel (Boreanaz) is an Irish vampire who is over 200 years old and was known as Angelus during his rampages across Europe, but he was cursed with a soul, which gave him a conscience and guilt for centuries of murder and torture. He left Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the end of Season 3 to move to Los Angeles in search of redemption.

He soon finds himself assisted by Allen Francis Doyle (Glenn Quinn), another Irish character who is a half-human, half-demon.  Although he comes across as a ne’er-do-well hustler, Doyle has a heroic side. Doyle serves to pass along cryptic visions from The Powers That Be to Angel. They’re soon joined by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter), also a previous cast member of Buffy. Formerly a popular high school cheerleader, Cordelia starts her tenure on the show as a vapid and shallow personality but grows over the course of the series into a hero. Cordelia later acquires Doyle’s visions. Another character from the Buffy series also makes the jump to its spin-off in Angel’s first season: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) joins the team under the brave guise of “rogue demon hunter,” acting as comic relief and initially not well-accepted.

In Season 2 of the show, the trio are joined by Charles Gunn (J. August Richards), a young demon hunter who must initially adjust to working with and for a vampire. At the end of Season 2, they travel to the demon world Pylea, where they save Winifred “Fred” Burkle (Amy Acker), a young Texan physicist whose social skills have become stunted after five years’ captivity.

When: Angel aired on the WB from 1999-2004.

Where: The show is set primarily in Los Angeles, California.

Why: Listen to this episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Angel, though the running theme for all panelists’ discoveries of the series involves the show’s association and spin-off status as related to Buffy.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Buffy as much or (possibly) more than I do, I decided to invite some true Buffy-Verse scholars, in what has, again, become something of a family event, to participate in a five-part podcast series, during which we will take a critical look back at another couple of cult TV shows that fuel our respective imaginations and tug at our TV-loving hearts. In this five-part series, our panel – featuring CPU! regulars and semi-regulars Nick, Kyle, Sarah, and Kallie – look back at Buffy and its spin-off Angel, reminiscing about two shows that have withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as two of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television series of all time.

We have already recorded two episodes in this series, Looking Back at Buffy Seasons One, Two, and Three, and Looking Back at Buffy Seasons Four and Five.  You can listen to those episodes here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 1-3

The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode One, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Seasons 4-5

In this third episode of CPU!’s “Buffy-Verse” series, our panel discusses Seasons One and Two of Buffy spin-off Angel, covering the series’ beginning and initial growing pains. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of these two seasons.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Monday at 7:00 PM, CPU! is going live again!  This time, there will at least be an in-person audience, though we will endeavor to live-stream the whole shindig once more to our Facebook page.  We’ll be back at Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with our 100th EPISODE!!! That’s right, kids!  This little, low budget, garage podcast-that-could is turning 100 in two short years, and our Top 5 Most Available Panelists will be going live with their Top 5 Recommendations from Current TV.  We will then publish an audio-only version on Wednesday, in our best rerun fashion.  You won’t want to miss it!  Here’s the link to the Facebook Event.  Stay tuned!

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RECOMMENDATION

Angel – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who loves nerdy, cult science fiction and fantasy (and/or horror) series in the vein of Star Trek, The X-Files, and similar ilk and to any fan of Joss Whedon and, of course, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Do not, however, expect this show to be a duplicate of Buffy; Angel, as the panel discusses in this episode, struggled to find a consistent tone that set it apart from its predecessor in its earliest seasons.  Once the show settled on said tone and smoothed out the kinks in the original premise, the series became something much different from its parent series, which either appealed or didn’t appeal to fans of the original show.  Still, fans of David Boreanaz would be remiss to neglect watching the series that, along with Buffy, catapulted him into TV recognition and stardom (and primed him for his role on Bones). Plus, the supporting cast is fun, and the show enjoys cameo appearances and crossovers from Buffy characters throughout, including from the titular vampire slayer herself.

The entire Angel series is available to stream at only Hulu, currently. Though the panel’s reviews about Angel are generally mixed, Whedonverse/Buffy-Verse fans know that there is at least a few somethings to love about the spin-off featuring the brooding vampire, once a carouser named Liam.  If you enjoy Buffy, chances are, you’ll enjoy Angel too (though, perhaps, as we found out in our chat, some Buffy fans will enjoy it more than others). This Chief CP says watch it, and judge for yourself.

Marvel’s Agent Carter, First Look & Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2017, our empowered, all-female panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Selene, and Samantha–gathered together Around the Water Cooler to simultaneously take a First Look while Looking Back at recently canceled spy-centered Captain America spin-off Marvel’s Agent Carter.  If you have not watched any of Agent Carter, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks & Looking Back at “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” an action/adventure, superhero-inspired drama that aired on ABC from 2015-2016.

What: Created for ABC by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and inspired by the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger, and the 2013 Marvel One-Shot short film of the same name, the series features the Marvel Comics character Peggy Carter, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role from the Captain America film series and One-Shot, as she must balance life as a secret agent with that of a single woman in 1940s America.

When: The show aired for two seasons from 2015 to 2016 on ABC.

Where: The show is set in New York City, New York, in 1946, in the first season and in Los Angeles, California, in 1947, in the second season.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Marvel’s Agent Carter.

During the annual Fall TV Preview for the 2014-2015 season, CPU! Chief Kylie picked up this show for viewing.  When I picked it up, I said:

I always wondered what happened to Peggy after Captain America was hurtled forward in time to be an Avenger.  Finally, the answer will be revealed!  I liked her character, and I want to know about the sixty plus years in between Captain America’s jaunts as protective patriot.  Thank you, ABC, Marvel, Disney, for filling this void.  I’m not even being sarcastic!  Hence, the pick up.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING.  HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing.  I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens.  There are things I like, and things I don’t.  We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes.  Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together.  No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys.  It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Marvel’s Agent Carter = 3.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The first season takes place in 1946, with Peggy Carter (Atwell) having to balance the routine office work she does for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) in New York City with secretly assisting Howard Stark, who finds himself framed for supplying deadly weapons to enemies of the United States. Carter is assisted by Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), to find those responsible and dispose of the weapons.  In the second season, Carter moves from New York City to Los Angeles to deal with the threats of the new Atomic Age by the Secret Empire in the aftermath of World War II, gaining new friends, a new home, and a potential new love interest.

THOUGHTS

A group of powerful CPU! regular panelists – all strong, kick-ass women with a penchant for Marvel heroines of a similar type – were ready to don red hats, blue smart suits, and Look Back at Marvel’s Agent Carter, which was unceremoniously canceled after two short seasons by ABC.  Specifically, regular CPU! panelists Kristen, Selene, and Samantha gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to take a “First Look” while “Looking Back” (we’re complicated around here!) at the Captain America spin-off, from Peggy’s return to New York City from the war and the devastation of believing Steve Rogers to have died, to her encounter with zero matter and its destructive effects in LA.  Though this program’s two seasons came and went somewhat quickly, depending upon one’s point of view, they clearly made an impression, which the panel wistfully dissects in the episode below.

This podcast was recorded in July 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points in Agent Carter. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday – another schedule change! – we’ll return to our Buffy-Verse Series around the Water Cooler when our panel Looks Back at the first two seasons of Angel, with admittedly, moderately lukewarm results.  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The panel recommends Agent Carter to all but particularly to women, as Peggy Carter is a strong, smart female lead who can take of herself and save the day when all else fails, all with a keen 1940s fashion sense.  The panel proved particularly effusive about the visual presentation of this show, from art direction to costuming, from cinematography to visual direction (not necessarily including pacing and other aspects of the direction, which particularly faltered near the middle of each of the available seasons). Several of the panelists also see this program as easily reviewed and watched again, with only 18 high quality episodes to digest, marked notably by Atwell’s strong, charismatic performance as the titular character, guiding the proceedings.  Agent Carter also keeps its tongue firmly in cheek, containing gratifying winks and nods to the Captain America films and other aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Plus, the chemistry between Atwell and D’Arcy is highly enjoyable as the odd couple of unlikely spies that they become.  Though each season is self-contained, the second season unfortunately ends with the briefest of teasers featuring a loss of a major character at the hand of a mysterious, unidentified figure, meaning the show ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger, unlikely to be resolved in the near future.  The panel, therefore, qualifies its recommendation with caution, as the button cliffhanger left the panel with a lack of closure or easy satisfaction, which we expect would be a common reaction.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Canceled!  Agent Carter was canceled after two seasons by ABC.  What’s worse: it gets no streaming love!  You are able to purchase the season separately on Amazon.com as a digital streaming copy or as DVD/Blu-Ray.  There is no neat button ending on this series, so while the panel generally recommends the show as above, the panelists do so with caution, given the less than satisfactory cliffhanger ending attached to the final moments of the second season.

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2017, our continuously small but newly more robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Jen, and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panelist Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing upon the “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Episode sponsored by: Curious Arrow’s production of “Lucid”

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: CURIOUS ARROW

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And their inaugural production of “Lucid,” a performance of original short plays

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Opening Friday, September 15, 2017, at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

For more information, visit Curious Arrow’s Facebook Page or buy tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM (as of this past season).

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The Season 4 finale aired on ABC on May 16, 2017, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Mid-season

Season 3B (post-finale)

Season 4A Mid-season
Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about the heady second half of the fourth season, with two sections subtitled “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra,” respectively.  What’s especially exciting is that our SHIELD panel has experienced some growth of its own for the first time since its inception (which could bode well for the show…maybe…).  Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie are joined “around the water cooler” by an individual new to the panelist but not to the podcast, namely Micah, most recently heard as part of our ongoing Once Upon a Time panel.  Our newly, slightly more robust panel of SHIELD agents tackles talk of Season 4B as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the fifth season and speculates upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation, especially since the network is delaying the premiere of Season 5 until mid-season and is moving the show to a precarious Friday night time slot. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in August 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will stay in the MCU as a handful of familiar panelists gather around the water cooler to take a First Look while simultaneously Looking Back at the gone-too-soon but never-forgotten, girl power driven spin-off of the Captain America films, Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) Still a Question: Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers. 

3) Still a question: Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

4) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?

ANSWER: Robbie/GR returned in the season finale, emerging from some sort of portal to a hell dimension, bent upon recapturing the Dark Hold.  His appearance also served to provide Coulson (Clark Gregg) a way to defeat the ultimate Big Bad of the season – the android Aida (Mallory Jansen), whose interaction with the Dark Hold motivated her to aspire to turning herself into a human and to bolster a virtual reality/artificial computer-based matrix created by Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), nicknamed the Framework.  Further explanation of Ghost Rider and what his mythology is and how it relates to the MCU overall was not provided this half season, perhaps expecting some reliance on knowledge from the comics.

5) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

ANSWER: Nadir funds and protects (politically) the Watchdogs, the ranks of which contain some former Hydra agents.  Hydra as an actual entity – this side of the Framework, that is – has not, as of yet, returned or does not seem to exist. Yet, events of this season may signal the return of some growing heads of the many-headed enemy.  So speculates the podcast panel.

6) Aida, Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May (Ming-Na Wen).  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

ANSWER: The real May is the captive May.  The doubled May, indeed an android version, breaks open the precious bottle of scotch that Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May were saving for the right time to drink.  This half of the season dealt heavily in the notion of androids, as Aida became more proficient in creating them alongside her creator, Radcliffe.

7) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

ANSWER: It is a book of dark magic that permeates the Marvel Comics (listen to the podcast episode for Kristen’s research).  The show does not explain the book’s origins beyond its presumed mystical properties.

8) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

ANSWER: Unknown.  We never see this Inhuman again.

9) Is Mace (Jason O’Mara) going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

ANSWER: Mace remains SHIELD’s director until he (spoiler) meets his heroic end in the Framework.  The only trouble is, as Jen predicted, Mace is hiding a shocking secret: his Inhuman powers are drug-induced and not actual Inhuman powers.  He is not an Inhuman but part of an experimental program spearheaded by General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), in which humans injected with a super serum develop superhuman powers; however, if those in the program do not receive regular injections of the serum, they suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and eventual loss of the enhancements initially provided by the drugs.  Mace, however, always has his heart in the right place.  He wants to help people, particularly, he confesses, after he was recognized for being a “hero” when he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The future of SHIELD, on the other hand, hangs in the balance.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

ANSWER: It’s hard to see this eventuality as truly possible as of the end of this season, particularly since the Framework fallout cast a gray cloud over SHIELD as an agency once again in the eyes of the judging fictional public.  There’s no question that Coulson is fond of Daisy, though.

11) Are Mack (Henry Simmons) and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

ANSWER: They are, and they do, make a legitimate attempt at coupling (in all the ways), and it’s a true connection, filled with simmering sexual tension and consummated and mutual romantic interest.  The audience, via Mack’s revelation to Yo-Yo, learns that Mack lost a child, a daughter named Hope, a few days after her birth.  He and his ex-wife, Hope’s mother, mourns this loss annually and privately, wondering what might have been had Hope lived.  This loss haunts Mack more than any others in his past.

12) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

ANSWER: We haven’t so far, unless you count Framework Hydra…which does not really count…

13) Was Aida truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

ANSWER: There is no question that Aida is consummately affected by the Dark Hold – it gives her knowledge, ambition, and desire far beyond her initial programming.  “Evil” and “insane” are strong qualifiers that do not quite fit the situation, though. Aida is ruthlessly efficient, incapable of considering collateral damage and human cost beyond the calculations she completes, first to help Radcliffe build LMD’s like her as well as build the Framework, and then to help herself in terms of completing Project Looking Glass, which enables her to become human through a merging of science and mysticism from the Dark Hold.  As such, Aida’s increasing observance of Radcliffe’s ambitions (fueled by an unmistakable God complex) matched against her own desire to be human and to be loved – specifically by Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – positions her as the season’s Big Bad and the ultimate force that our heroes must defeat this go-round.  Radcliffe surely knows that Aida surpasses her own programming but is forced to catch up to the realization that Aida has loftier aims than merely creating a Framework, which Radcliffe builds to preserve the consciousness of his real life, ailing wife Agnes, the physical/bodily inspiration for Aida.

New Questions

1) Will we see Ghost Rider again?  Or, is he being limited to this season?  The podcast panel votes for a spin-off for this version of Ghost Rider, with frequent guest appearances by Daisy.  They have a certain chemistry, we think… And Ghost Rider and Quake together are kind of bad-ass.  At the very least, he should simply return from time to time, as long as he is not used as a method of convenient last minute escape (lest his appearances feel cheap).

2) Who captured the SHIELD agents during the season 4 epilogue?  Who are the shadowy figures really? Kristen predicts that the government is behind this abduction; Jen predicts Hydra is back and behind this abduction as does Kylie; Micah speculates that a group called “Sword” from the Marvel Comics or the Inhuman Royal Family or groups like “Raid” or “Aim” are all possibilities for the potential perpetrators.  Kylie also hopefully wonders if the Cree own the spaceship/space craft on which Coulson finds himself and if the audience will finally be given more answers around the mysterious alien race consistently referred to in the show’s earliest seasons.

3) Where is Coulson?  How did he end up in space?

4) Where is everyone else?  How did Coulson get separated from the team?

5) How much will Marvel’s Inhumans, premiering in fall, affect Agents of SHIELD, if at all?

6) Will there be lasting effects of the Framework on the team, especially Fitz and Simmons and Coulson and May?

7) Will there be another time jump?  If there is, dear writers, explain it!

8) Did Nadir’s brother Vijay start a second terra-genesis when he fell into the water, as Micah observed?  If so, what does this mean for Inhumans, for him, and for our team?

9) Will Coulson and May finally admit their obvious feelings for one another?  Will a romantic coupling between them feel weird?  They’re kind of like the mom and dad of the whole outfit.

10) Will SHIELD survive the move to Fridays?  We hope so!

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our newly expanded podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD remarkably rallied in Season 4B, paying off the doldrums and missteps of Season 4A with some excellent action-fueled drama. In fact, all panelists find new excitement in anticipation of the show’s fifth season, after the execution of the excellent “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs, which rejuvenated the story, our enjoyment of the show, and possibly the performances of the acting ensemble, as the story and pacing felt more energized and more cohesive in the fourth season’s second half. The panelists are more willing than ever, even eager, to continue watching the program at this stage, given that several disjointed story choices have since been corrected, including reintegrating Daisy back into the SHIELD team (the panel continues to regard the season starting time jump as anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, for the record). The panel now universally recommends tuning in to SHIELD, provided that would-be new viewers begin with the first season, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, as the panel maintains that, despite a bumpy start and a rocky first half of the fourth season, Agents of SHIELD is entertaining and worth the watch, with these arcs and the third season “Hive” arc being the high points for this comic book adaptation.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fifth season by ABC, which is slated to premiere following the complete airing of Marvel’s Inhumans, on a new night and time, Fridays at 9:00 PM.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 5 of SHIELD, depending upon how many episodes are produced and whether or not the show is interrupted by a significant hiatus during a reasonably lengthy mid-point (in other words, will CPU! have enough time to record a reaction panel at some point in the middle of SHIELD’s fifth season? Time will tell).  No official premiere date for this show has yet been announced as of the publication of this post. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

Upcoming Schedule!

Image result for upcoming schedule

Due to lingering serious illness affecting your friendly, neighborhood Chief CP as well as due to technical difficulties during the processing of this week’s podcast episode, we must reluctantly, if at first we don’t succeed, try try again.  As a result, this week’s episode will be released tomorrow night! Our next four weeks of podcast episodes look like this:

This week: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (Thursday).

Next week: Looking Back at Marvel’s Agent Carter (Wednesday)

The following week: The DCTU Series, Episode Seven: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season Two (Wednesday)

The week after that: The Buffy-Verse Series, Episode Three: Looking Back at Angel, Seasons One and Two (Wednesday)

New episodes are coming down the pike, including new panels, such as for Lemony Snicket’s Unfortunate Events and Sense8, and new episodes from old panels, including The Vampire Diaries, New Girl, The Originals, Orange is the New Black, Doctor Who, and the Marvel’s Defenders panel, with an episode covering Marvel’s The Defenders. Don’t miss them! Stay tuned!