Monday, September 22, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Break ALL THE CLICHES!

"I'm not falling for it," I said when Ward shot Victoria Hand and revealed himself in actuality a Hydra spy.

Sure he is.

I mean, the blood dripping down Hand's hand was convincing and all, but a few episodes down the road, I knew she'd pop back up alive and well and it will all have been an elaborate ruse to decimate Hydra.

Why? Because the whole oh-look-we've-been-infiltrated-by-the-enemy-and-one-of-our-own-is-actually-a-spy twist is totally cliche. I've lost count of the times I've seen it pop up in a TV show, and it's always a lie. It turns out they were originally planted as a spy but now they've grown to love their former enemy and couldn't possibly betray them, OR it's all a ruse from within to bring down the baddies.

I refused to fall for it this time. Episodes passed, and as Ward and Garrett plotted how to bring Coulson's team down from the inside, I kept waiting for the moment Ward would turn on him. "Nope. Any second Ward's going to secretly contact Coulson and say 'Okay, here's the deal...' "

Because the main-cast character is NEVER ACTUALLY A BAD GUY.

Over the years, I've come to terms with this fact. A good guy might be suspected, they might be planted, they might have been a bad guy who turns into a good guy, but they will never be a real-life, turn-on-Phil-Coulson kind of bad guy. 

Because this supposed traitor is usually my favorite character, I'm generally okay with it. I experience a panicked moment of 'Oh, don't you dare!' and they don't and I'm always glad. But...but... the possibilities.

In the back of mind, I always wonder, 'But what would happen if they really WERE a bad guy?'  Because, ohmygumdrops, the new ground! The unpredictability.

When Ward killed Agent Eric Koenig and I realized he actually *was* Hydra...yeah, I was surprised. Perhaps slightly devastated. But unbelievably excited.

My mind is racing with all of the things they can do with this new storyline, with the incredible potential for character development. So. Much. DEVELOPMENT.

This was only one of several cliches they went on to shatter in last season's final episodes.

One of my pet peeves about 'cliffhanger' finales is when they leave the main character in a life-or-death predicament and want you to wonder whether they'll survive. Of course they're going to survive. You can't very well have a Rizzoli & Isles without Rizzoli or Isles, or Castle without Castle. So after FitzSimmons' stint on the bottom of the ocean, we're not left to wonder whether or not Fitz will live, because of course he's going to live, he's FITZ! What they make us question is what condition will he be in? Honestly, this is such a better way to leave me hanging. I've fretted the show's hiatus wondering whether Fitz is going to be partially paralyzed, or suffer some short- or long-term brain damage, or- or-

The possibilities are endless. After all, Ward really was Hydra, so I have no idea what kind of gall these writers have. They could do anything, and I am looking forward to the character-building ramifications of it all.

I've enjoyed this show from day one, because it's great fun. #CoulsonLives and then some. But I adore it now because I don't know what to expect. There are certain cliches in television storytelling that everyone falls into, and the writers at S.H.I.E.L.D. are throwing them out the window. Not only is it an awesome expansion of the Marvel universe, with great characters, but as a TV show it's covering new ground. Break the cliches, I say, BREAK THEM ALL.

With the last few minutes of the Season 1 finale, I must admit I thought they ruined the incredible potential for cliche-shattering the writers had begun to build for themselves. 

Really? REALLY?! The moment Garrett 'died', every single person sitting in my living room shouted at the television. "Cut off the head! Cut off THE HEAD!" 
And they were doing so well! They were chopping cliches down left and -



I don't know about you, but I'm totally ready for whatever cliche-busting they have in store for us this season!

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