Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4A, “Ghost Rider;” MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 December 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with particular focus upon “Ghost Rider!” 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!

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

Image result for agents of shield season 4 title

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.

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: Season 4 premiered on ABC on September 20, 2016, 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 Midseason

Season 3B (post-finale)

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently reconvened “around the water cooler” to discuss Season 4A and the introduction of “Ghost Rider” as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments of the second half of the fourth season (and to speculate upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation). Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in December 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first 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 catch up on coverage of a CPU! favorite, in podcast format for the first time – and just in time for the program’s last season. Next week, CPU! introduces a new panel of old favorites as we talk about seasons three through five of NBC cult favorite Grimm.  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) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

ANSWER: As we discuss in the podcast episode, not much back story was flushed out in this half season regarding the time jump.  In fact, the panelists universally felt that the time jump was largely meaningless and did nothing for the story.  What we do know is the following:

–Afraid that the events surrounding Hive, Lincoln’s death, and Daisy’s (Chloe Bennett) response to Lincoln’s death might lead the government to shut down SHIELD, even though the agency previously existed as a black ops division, Coulson (Clark Gregg) removed himself as director and appointed Jeffrey Mace (Jason O’Mara) as the new Director. Mace is (SPOILER) an Inhuman, as well as a public relations dream and a long-time camera-friendly politician, so Coulson felt that Mace was best positioned to legitimize SHIELD in the eyes of government figureheads and the public and to downplay some of the more high profile SHIELD missteps (or events that looked like missteps).

–Daisy, aggrieved by Lincoln’s death, went rogue and decided to go after Inhumans by herself, for reasons unexplained.  She used her powers openly and without discretion in the process, allowing the public to dub her, somewhat fearfully, with the “Quake” moniker.

–Coulson and Mack (Henry Simmons) searched for Daisy with Mace’s approval, but she consistently eluded them, trying the new director’s patience and vexing the paternal Coulson.

–Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) positioned herself to be promoted through the ranks at SHIELD and to earn the Director’s trust enough to be made an assistant within his inner circle.  As a result, she is subjected to random lie detector tests to ensure that she is not withholding secrets from him, which, of course, she is.  She’s also in the process of buying a place to live with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), which is nice.

–May (Ming-Na Wen), Mack, Coulson, and Fitz are all agents tasked with securing Inhumans, aliens, and, by extension, Daisy/Quake.

–Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) was pardoned by the government/SHIELD regarding his dubious cybernetics practices and is kept on as an adviser, though he is expressly prevented from working on robotics and cybernetic technology as part of his pardon. He doesn’t comply, of course.

In the end, not much happened in that ballyhooed six months, so none of the panelists understood why the jump was necessary or why a passage of time to demonstrate yet another chase for Daisy would add to the story.  Also, we felt that it was not executed well.

3) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

ANSWER: Daisy is definitely Quake now, owing to the public’s Cisco Ramon (DC REFERENCE!) like ability to name superheroes.  Her aim at the start of the season is to track Inhumans and, particularly, Ghost Rider on her own.  She is totally rogue and totally off the grid and not working for SHIELD, finding the agency’s rules and bureaucracy “too confining.”  She is, in fact, or so it is implied by May later in the season, off the reservation because she is grieving Lincoln’s death.

4) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

ANSWER: As above, Mace is the new director.  Coulson stepped down more to protect SHIELD itself from politicians who feel that SHIELD is sheltering (i.e. allowing to live/roam free) rather than containing Inhumans at humans’ expense. One side bonus of this move, however, is that he could track the hurting Daisy with more freedom as an agent under the radar than he could as SHIELD’s high profile director.

5) 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.  The Inhumans/Cree story lines and alien mythology were subverted this half season in favor of creating the “Ghost Rider” story arc.

6) 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.

7) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

ANSWER: The panel was not heeded, to a point, and the show was the worse for it (listen to us, man!). Some time was devoted to Coulson and Mack’s chase of Daisy. Fortunately, a frustrated Mace prevented Coulson from being distracted by this eventuality for too long, feeling that Daisy outmaneuvered Coulson and Mack every step of the way and to no avail and at a significant expenditure of SHIELD’s resources. Eventually, everyone catches up with each other in the end.  That’s usually how it works.

8) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

ANSWER: The “Big Bad” is as yet undefined.  It could be the Watchdogs, the anti-Inhuman terrorist organization that first appeared in season three.  It could be politicians like Senator Ellen Nadir, who seem to be funneling money and resources to the Watchdogs.  Or, it could have been Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider’s Uncle Eli, who toyed with quantum physics and got himself sucked into an inter-dimensional rift by playing with forces he did not understand.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this half season was a bit messy.

9) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though panelist Jen predicted that Senator Nadir could possibly be, or be connected to new heads of, Hydra, since she is holding captive Inhuman(s) undergoing terra-genesis for as yet unknown reasons (with Mace’s knowledge; listen to the podcast for details).

10) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though it would be nice for SHIELD to accidentally bump into them at some point.  I can’t imagine they would stay gone for good, unless budgetary reasons prevent them from returning.

New Questions

1) 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?  The podcast panelists felt that the GR arc combined with the several other story lines introduced or continued in this half season (Daisy as Quake, the humans vs. Inhumans, SHIELD as an evolving SHIELD) was ultimately a misfire in execution, mostly, on the part of the producers and writers.

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

3) Ada (Mallory Jansen), Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May.  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.

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

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

6) Is Mace 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?

7) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy as a possible future SHIELD director?

8) Are Mack 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?

9) 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.

10) Was Ada 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?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel believes that the show’s critical crossroads has come and gone, and that in the case of Marvel Agents of SHIELD, in the heretofore described “make it or break it” scenario, SHIELD may be close to breaking it.  The panel felt that the show hit a low point in this half season, comparable to the first half of its first season, while rebooting its trajectory post-Hive and post-departure of Brett Dalton.  The panelists, though still willing to continue watching, feel that the show has become stale and somewhat boring as it flounders to find a new focal point, though we still have numerous questions, as above.  In addition, though Daisy would be a logical choice for that new focal point, the panel also universally felt that the writers have short changed one of the more popular characters this season by creating Daisy’s petulant, somewhat flat response to her grief, while the character herself is mired in a repetitive story line centered on her developing powers and Quake persona.  Furthermore, the fourth season’s first half has only served to confirm another panel perception: the time jump was anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and did not create an enticing enough cliffhanger to convince fickle fans to continue watching, resulting in lower ratings overall. The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in to SHIELD, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, though, for the first time, all three panelists felt hard pressed to recommend the show to others, as all panelists believed strongly that SHIELD might not be able to recover from its current, disorganized, post-Hive path. In fact, viewers who stopped watching the show much earlier may finally be justified in their quick prejudgments, though the panel still asserts that the first three seasons are worth the watch.

LOOKING AHEAD

A full season of Marvel Agents of SHIELD was ordered upon renewal, but both our podcast panel and other TV pundits believe that renewal for a fifth season could go either way, meaning that the show has unofficially entered bubble territory; thus, no official announcement about the show’s fate has yet been made.  Agents of SHIELD returns from its mid-season hiatus on January 10, 2017. The podcast panel will revisit this program at the end of season, so keep checking back with CPU! for all the latest blog posts and podcast episodes. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage. Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3B; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 July 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all things Hydra, Inhuman, and Hive! 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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 3 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

agents-of-shield-season-3-logo-900x500

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, though it is currently on hiatus.

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 3 finale aired on ABC, Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

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

Why: Two reasons: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of the Marvel property it recently acquired.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

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

CPU! began this season of Agents of SHIELD by publishing our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three; we then recorded a second podcast episode bridging the gap through the mid-season finale.  If you would like to catch up, click the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently convened once again to discuss Season 3B and all things Inhumanly Hive as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since SHIELD was renewed for a fourth season by ABC. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the third season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel 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 revisit Gotham and the second half of its second season, dubbed “The Wrath of the Villains!”  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Revisited: Will we learn about the secret society and how far back the knowledge of this alien portal goes?

ANSWER: The secret society is, in fact, the root of what we know today as Hydra.  Part of Hydra’s existence is defined by the worship of the alien creature on the Planet, who we find out was exiled to the Planet by the Cree.  The secret society formed around the discovery of the portal, which is most likely Cree in origin, though nothing has been confirmed.  The secret society, for centuries, has engaged in a ritual in which sons of fathers were forced to draw lots (via selection stones) in order to determine who would “volunteer” to venture through the portal and search for the creature.  None came back alive until Ward/Not Ward (Brett Dalton), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Fitz (Iain de Caestecker)/Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) orchestrated their respective escapes.

2) Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is?

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

3) Revisited: Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: The alien, which we learn was the first Inhuman ever to be created by the Cree alien race, was Hive.  Once an Earth-born human, the Cree experimented with terrogen crystals to create the first genetically mutated Inhuman, who had the power to “swarm” and affect the constitutions of other Inhumans and humans alike.  This being possessed the lifeless body of Ward after Will was killed and after Coulson strangled Ward on the Planet with his bionic hand.

4) Revisited: Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: Known as Malick, he became the de facto head of Hydra in this third season. His true mission, like all other Hydra heads before him, was to find Hive and bring him back through the portal, as Hydra officials worshiped the unknown Inhuman like a god (or maybe a devil).

5) Revisited: Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: This half season, Daisy (Chloe Bennett) was able to effect more of a program with metal manipulation guy, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), and a new discovery nicknamed “Yo-Yo” by Mack (Henry Simmons); however, not all of these individuals survived this season.

6) Revisited: Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: The short answer: no.  Though Lash/Andrew (Blair Underwood) survived and was squirreled away to the recesses of SHIELD’s headquarters after the mid-season finale, it turns out that Lash’s specific abilities were apparently ordained by some higher purpose, according to Lincoln; that purpose was to be able to cure Inhumans, specifically Daisy, who were held under the hypnotic “Sway” of Hive.  Sadly, Lash/Andrew completed his transformation and then was annihilated by the formidable Hive in one of many confrontations with the powerful being this season.

7) Will Ward/Not Ward use any lingering sense of Ward-ness (his memories, his feelings for Daisy, his skills, his grudges, etc.) while occupied by the alien being, or will this new Ward be a whole new animal reflective of the being within?

ANSWER: Hive Ward was most definitely a blend of Ward as well as all who Hive occupied before Ward came along.  Ward’s memories and feelings for Daisy did appear to affect Hive’s unusually strong Sway effect with Daisy; he seemed to favor her above all others.

8) What is the alien being’s endgame?

ANSWER: Once on Earth, Hive Ward’s mission was to create a new race of humans by attempting to make all humans Inhuman.

9) What or where is the alien planet?  Is it the Cree home world?  Is it somewhere else? Are there any other occupants on that planet besides the alien being, or did it kill everyone off all over the planet?

ANSWER: What or where the alien planet is remains a question, but it’s safe to say that Hive probably did kill everyone on the planet because he attempted, directly or indirectly, to do the same to Earth in season 3B.

10) Is the alien being the true face of Hydra/did it create Hydra?

ANSWER: Yes, Hive is the true face of Hydra, in the sense that Hydra was created partly in worship of Hive.  Thus, Hive indirectly created Hydra, though Hive was long exiled to the Planet by the Cree who created him.

11) What was the Hydra-symbol shaped structure on the alien planet?  Did the alien being live in it?

ANSWER: Still a question without an answer.

12) Have other alien beings inhabited other human visitors and found their way back to Earth?  Or, is the Ward/Not Ward alien being the first one?

ANSWER: As far as we know, Hive Ward is the only human possessed by an Inhuman to ever come to and from Earth, in either direction, because he was the first of his kind and the only one to be exiled to the Planet.  At least, so it appears.

13) Does the alien being plan to destroy Earth?  Why?

ANSWER: Indirectly, Hive’s intention was to expose all humans to terrogen crystal gas in order to effect their “evolution” to Inhumans.  Many humans do not have the alien genetic marker to allow such a transformation without side effects, mainly death, and though Hive enlisted a scientist obsessed with human evolution (and artificial augmentation) to experiment with human DNA such that humans might be able to accept the terrogen gas mutation without death, the humans subject to these experiments became mindless neanderthals with strength and speed but no real ability and no trace of who they used to be.  Thus, if Hive had succeeded in exposing the globe to the gas, he would have annihilated most of the human population on Earth, but his aim was to create a society evolved like him, as he was once human and believed himself to be altogether superior to humans.

14) Who are the Cree after all?

ANSWER: All we know so far is that they are an alien race of beings not originally from Earth.

15) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

ANSWER: He was not as of the mid-season finale, but he is now.

16) Where will May’s (Ming-Na Wen) head be when the second half of the season starts?

ANSWER: She was largely dutiful to SHIELD and to Coulson, though she vehemently disagreed with Phil in how to handle Daisy after she was affected by Hive’s Sway.

17) Who is the Powers Boothe character (beyond what we know), and is the Ward/Not Ward being what he was after in the end?

ANSWER: As above, he became the de facto head of Hydra after all other known heads were destroyed.  Yes, Hive Ward was his true objective; he was tasked with bringing him back to Earth.

18) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

ANSWER: Yes. As of the season finale, Daisy was flying, “Quake” style, though this was presented in a time-jump epilogue, said to be occurring six months after the primary events of the season.

19) When is the Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki)/Lance (Nick Blood) spin-off supposed to start, and would it be worth watching?

ANSWER: The purported spin-off was canceled by ABC prior to the network airing the pilot, so it doesn’t seem very worth watching.

20) Does the alien being have any plans for Hydra?  Is it aware of Hydra?

ANSWER: Hive planned to rule Hydra, all humans, and the whole world.  Hive became aware of Hydra when it arrived on Earth and sized up Malick after Malick fed information to Hive in the early days of his return to Earth (he watched a lot of TV).

21) What will happen with Daisy’s Inhuman task force?

ANSWER: As of now, two of them have died, and Daisy is off the reservation as of the “six months later” epilogue, so it is safe to say that the task force was short lived, or it is on effective hiatus, though it did help fight Hive in the end.

22) What will the aftermath of Will’s death be for Fitz/Simmons?  How will they evolve? Will they evolve?

ANSWER: Though Simmons very much missed Will, she allowed herself to explore a long overdue relationship with Fitz.  By the end of the season, they had done the horizontal mambo and come away without too much emotional fallout, so they seem to be well into romance territory.  Let them stay healthy and alive, Whedons!  We know the game!

23) How will the new Captain America movie and the events depicted therein affect our characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

ANSWER: There was mention of the so-called “Civil War” and the “Secovia Accords” on SHIELD, but the film’s events bore little overall effect on our television characters, but for mention of the need for Inhumans to “register” themselves.

24) What is the alien being’s true form?

ANSWER: He was once human but became a being that can swarm and possess others as well as affect Inhumans with his Sway.

New Questions

1) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

2) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

3) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

4) 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?

5) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

6) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

7) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

8) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

9) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel definitely feels that Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit a show high point with season three; in fact, there was consensus, in that we think the third season is the best so far. Even if the panelists vary in whether we think this show is “can’t miss” appointment television, we’re still eager to see what happens next, though the season-ending time jump gave us a significant amount of pause. The body count in season three was high; the cast turnover was, therefore, also high; and there was definitely a sense of “Where can they go from here?” after the tense and engaging story of Hive and the origin of Hydra, especially as Hydra seems to be effectively benched in the show’s story lines.  There is also a sense that SHIELD is at a crossroads; the next season could be a “make it or break it” season for this program, since it seems, after years of following the Ward character through his many transformations, the story will need a new focal point. Will that new focal point be as engaging, as entertaining, and/or as satisfying as the last three seasons of Ward’s evolution and eventual demise?  That’s the question plaguing CPU!’s SHIELD panel today, particularly since the time jump epilogue seemed so anticlimactic in comparison to everything that came before it, but we all intend to keep watching at least a bit longer to find out the answer.  At the very least, the panel agrees that the show is moving along at a great (and better) clip than previous seasons, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD

Marvel: Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.  The Marvel: Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale of SHIELD, which will likely air in or around December 2016.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3A; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 on February 7, 2016, our small but robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 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!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 3 Mid-Season Recap & Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

agents-of-shield-season-3-logo-900x500

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, Tuesdays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on mid-season hiatus.

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 3 premiere aired on ABC, Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at 9:00 PM.

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

Why: Two reasons: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of the Marvel property it recently acquired.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

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

We recently published our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three.  If you would like to catch up, here’s the YouTube link:

Since our first Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. podcast and, really, any true revisit of the series was a long-time coming for CPU!, we made up for lost time, and the fact that so much had happened in the episodes following our last podcast, by reconvening mid-season. Thus, our S.H.I.E.L.D. podcast panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, decided to check in on the series and to dissect what has happened, including the several colossal plot developments in the mid-season finale.  We also decided to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since our favorite agents are in various states of rebuilding and recovery following some unexpected deaths and another visit to the alien world through the portal.  The last three to four episodes of the first half of season three were especially jam-packed; our panel delves into the meat of those episodes thoroughly. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded on February 7, 2015.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, and/or our iTunes channel to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  And remember, new episodes and blog posts come out weekly!

Old Questions

1) Why does Lash leave Skye/Daisy alone?

ANSWER: Unclear but presumably because Lash, who is Andrew (Blair Underwood) in real life, recognizes her.  Also, Skye/Daisy (Chloe Bennett) is legitimately alien, unlike many Inhumans who are simply reacting to the crystal dust in the atmosphere.

2) What is the ATCU’s true mission?

ANSWER: Roz (Constance Zimmer) believed that it was to contain Inhumans and other “special” people and responsibly put them in stasis, possibly affording ATCU’s scientists the opportunity to “cure” them, which is different than S.H.I.E.L.D.’s traditional courses of action.  As it turns out, however, ATCU is really one of many legitimate faces of the heads of Hydra, which also surprised Roz, who was unaware of that fact.

3) Will Fitz/Simmons rescue Will from the alien planet?  And if they do, how will it affect their tentative romance?

ANSWER: Fitz (Iain de Castecker) volunteered to return to the alien planet, under duress by Ward (Brett Dalton), who would have forced Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) to return to help him find what he was looking for (and to help him get back) if Fitz didn’t go – and Ward convinced Fitz to do this by allowing him to listen to Simmons being tortured in the next room.  While it looked as though he might save Will, he and Coulson (Clark Gregg) discovered that Will was occupied by the unidentified alien in the desert that Will and Gemma previously feared, so Fitz shot the Will-infested creature with a flare gun.  In the meantime, Coulson, with his bionic hand and a thirst for revenge after the death of Roz, strangled Ward to death by crushing his neck.  Yet, Ward’s body was sneakily occupied by the spirit of the unidentified alien, and he returned to Earth behind the others.  Thus, Will has died, and we do see Fitz reunite with Simmons after returning from the alien planet and, presumably, informing her of the tragic news amidst embrace.  The love triangle that could have been is, therefore, currently defunct, but we have not yet seen the aftermath or effect this news has/will have on Simmons and/or her relationship to Fitz.

4) Will we learn about the secret society and how far back the knowledge of this alien portal goes?

ANSWER: All we know right now is that the secret society is yet another head of Hydra or related to Hydra in some way, and that the knowledge reaches back for centuries, based upon some connections that Fitz and Simmons found in some old books.  We also know that there is a Hydra symbol shaped structure on the alien planet, and that the character played by Powers Boothe seems to think that the alien planet is the source of power and knowledge that Hydra has been seeking since its inception.  Other than that, no other blanks have been filled.

5) Will we learn which planet it is?

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

6) Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: A hostile alien being, but we do not know its true form.  We only know that it occupies Ward’s presumably lifeless body currently.

7) Will Coulson learn about Roz’s true motives?

ANSWER: He learned about ATCU, and the connection to Hydra, but he also learned that Roz truly believed that ATCU was doing good work, as she talked about the loss of her husband, who died of a fatal disease, and how she joined ATCU to apply its principles to fighting the likes of, for example, cancer.  We learned that Coulson and Roz had fallen in love, despite their initial cat-and-mouse spy agency competition and sexual tension, and that Coulson was wracked with grief and anger when Hydra agents took out Roz.

8) Does Ward even matter anymore?

ANSWER: Well, he does NOW!  Except he’s not really Ward.  WHAT WILL IT ALL MEAN?!

9) Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: We only know that he is a member of the “old guard” of Hydra and has a lot of knowledge about the organization’s history and mission.  It is still unclear how he fits into the picture, but he was definitely after whatever was on the alien planet, though not even he knows what that might be – is it the alien being?  The Hydra structure?  Or, is there something more to that planet?

10) Will S.H.I.E.L.D. – or Lance (Nick Hunter) – ever catch up to Ward?

ANSWER: And how, only it was Coulson who got Ward in the end, and he got what he thought was his revenge by crushing Ward’s neck with his mechanical hand.

11) Will Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) accept S.H.I.E.L.D.’s protection (and calm down)?

ANSWER: He seemed to calm down, so much so that he was added into the mission as S.H.I.E.L.D. chased Ward (and Fitz/Simmons) back to the castle with the alien portal.

12) Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: So far, the Inhuman program seems to augment S.H.I.E.L.D’s larger mission, but Skye/Daisy is looking after only Lincoln and the guy who could manipulate metal that they found at the beginning of the season.  Future story lines will no doubt flush out this task force.

13) Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: His fate is undecided – it looks like he died, but we didn’t really see it, and it was left open ended.

14) Can Mack (Henry Simmons) get more to do?

ANSWER: And how.  Because May (Ming-Na Wen) was emotionally compromised by the discovery that Lash is Andrew, Coulson placed Mack temporarily in charge while Coulson chased down Ward with a vendetta for Roz’s death on the brain.  Mack was insecure but ultimately an able leader, though May helped him out a bit.

Questions Going Forward

1) Will Ward/Not Ward use any lingering sense of Ward-ness (his memories, his feelings for Daisy, his skills, his grudges, etc.) while occupied by the alien being, or will this new Ward be a whole new animal reflective of the being within?

2) What is the alien being’s endgame?

3) What or where is the alien planet?  Is it the Cree home world?  Is it somewhere else? Are there any other occupants on that planet besides the alien being, or did it kill everyone off all over the planet?

4) Is the alien being the true face of Hydra/did it create Hydra?

5) What was the Hydra-symbol shaped structure on the alien planet?  Did the alien being live in it?

6) Have other alien beings inhabited other human visitors and found their way back to Earth?  Or, is the Ward/Not Ward alien being the first one?

7) Does the alien being plan to destroy Earth?  Why?

8) Who are the Cree after all?

9) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

10) Where will May’s head be when the second half of the season starts?

11) Who is the Powers Boothe character (beyond what we know), and is the Ward/Not Ward being what he was after in the end?

12) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

13) When is the Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki)/Lance spin-off supposed to start, and would it be worth watching?

14) Does the alien being have any plans for Hydra?  Is it aware of Hydra?

15) What will happen with Daisy’s Inhuman task force?

16) What will the aftermath of Will’s death be for Fitz/Simmons?  How will they evolve? Will they evolve?

17) How will the new Captain America movie and the events depicted therein affect our characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

18) What is the alien being’s true form?

PARTING SHOTS

Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just keeps getting better; the entire podcast panel still believes that it’s become one of the most satisfying, action-packed “superhero” dramas currently on television, more or less – in fact, there was consensus, in that we think the third season is the best so far. Even if the panelists vary in whether we think this show is “can’t miss” appointment television, we’re still eager to see what happens next. Plus, the show is moving along at a great clip, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  It’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD:

A full season of this program was ordered upon renewal, and both our podcast panel and other TV pundits believe that renewal for a fourth season is a safe bet, though no official announcement has yet been made.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns from its mid-season hiatus on March 8, 2016. The podcast panel will revisit this program at the end of season, so keep checking back with CPU! for all the latest blog posts and podcast episodes.

Coming next week: CPU!’s first look at the TV show Gotham.

New Panels, New Page, New Year!

Have you ever wondered how to become a podcast panelist for CPU!?

Look, I’m not delusional.  We haven’t been around as a podcast very long, so if you’re reading this, chances are you might be pleasantly intrigued but not necessary full of the wonderment about panel participation.

If you have been following the blog, though, or are stumbling across it for the first time, a new page (reachable via the floating dialog box at the top left) will tell you how to become a panelist.  Because, believe it or not, we’re a podcast panelist by the people for the people!  Looking to talk about all kinds of TV with like-minded people?  Ever wanted to be part of something media-related to add to the global internet conversation? Excited to be part of the technology that connects us all?!

Follow this link to find out How to Become a CPU! Podcast Panelist.

Also, from time to time, the Chief Couch Potato (i.e. Kylie) will post a list of shows about which we are looking to podcast.  Starting now!

If you have any interest in joining one of the following panels (English required), comment on this post with your contact information.  You don’t have to love the show, but we only and do ask that you be caught up on it.  You at least have to be knowledgeable about it, after all:

Once Upon a Time (2 openings)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (3 openings)
Resurrection (4 openings – needs one more to run; one time panel)
Revenge (open – needs two more to run; one time panel)
Gotham (2 openings)
The Vampire Diaries (3 openings)
Marvel’s Daredevil (full; wait list only)
Futurama (3 openings; one time panel)

One of CPU!’s New Year’s resolutions is that we’re looking to grow this year, and we can’t do that without the support of listeners and participants alike.  So, if the spirit moves you, message us and let us know if you want to be part of the adventure.  If you’re feeling guilty about binge watching, this is one way to assuage some of that regret – you’re not binge watching!  You’re doing research for a podcast.  Am I right?

Hope to hear from you!  Stay tuned, keep listening, keep watching! Buh-bye!

Kylie, The Chief Couch Potato