Avengers-Natasha

A handful of things

I decided to watch the Agents of SHIELD finale tonight (I quit watching the show after the first few episodes, but have spoiled myself gleefully and it seemed like the later part of the season was getting to be more my cup of tea than the early episodes) and I really enjoyed it.

I've seen a fair bit of rage on Tumblr about Coulson getting the directorship of the new SHIELD over Maria. Which I totally, 100% get, and I am also quite conflicted about SHIELD being resurrected at all; yes, it has a plot function in the MCU as in the comicsverse, but I thought CA2 made quite a good argument that handing over a bunch of power to a shadowy quasi-governmental organization is not a great idea.

But I genuinely think Fury's playing some kind of long game and Coulson is just a pawn in it. For one thing, I know characterization is a little .... flexible between different movies and media (that is, TV!Fury is not necessarily quite the same character as movie!Fury) but Fury's open admission of trust/respect for Coulson seemed less like genuine sentiment and more like Fury playing to Coulson's hero-worship (albeit with shades of genuine feeling mixed in, because the best lies have truth in them). I also think the final scene was setting up Coulson as either a Big Bad or sacrifice/tragedy in the next season. Maybe I'm wrong; and if so, yes, I FULLY agree with the criticism of the MCU writers' choice to dismantle the organization run by the powerful black guy and build it up under a white guy instead. And it may be naive of me to think that's not what's going on ... but I truly think that's not what's going on. I think Fury is still pulling the strings as always, and right now I think he's playing out one long string to Coulson -- with his hand still firmly attached to the end.

Anyway, I do think I will be back to watch it next season and see how things go.

In other (fannish) news, I wrote a story for Remix Madness - they will remain anonymous all week; can anyone guess which one is mine? :D

I continue to spend way too much time on Tumblr, where my Tumblr is about 90% Marvelverse reblogs and 10% other random stuff. (This may be considered either a warning or an enticement.)

And now back to doing useful things (I hope).

This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/951498.html with comment count unavailable comments.
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Hmm. I too watched the first episodes. I haven't done anything as definite as quit watching, but I've let it side for several weeks. If you want to catch up, I had been watching on the free version of Hulu.com. I think they have the whole season available.
Oh, that's good to know! I might check out a few of the past episodes. Although, really, I'm more curious where it's going than interested in where it's been. My main frustration with the early episodes is that none of the characters grabbed me (except for May, a little bit). The show's characterization does seem to have gotten sharper and more defined as the writers and actors found their feet later on, so that's good. :)
Like everyone else I know, I stopped watching early on. Since it's MCU, I suppose I'll watch it eventually? Just for completeness' sake. But I have to admit, this doesn't sound terribly exciting ...

I'm definitely for SHIELD being resurrected, though - all the yes for bringing down a corrupt organisation, but the alternative can't be unsupervised vigilante superheroes doing whatever the hell they please ... (That was the only thing less than perfect about the ending of CA:TWS.)

and if so, yes, I FULLY agree with the criticism of the MCU writers' choice to dismantle the organization run by the powerful black guy and build it up under a white guy instead

Yeah. *sighs*

(Also the reason I twitched when Maria Hill went to work for Stark. Bah.)
Yeah, I think I'm more interested in watching it now in part because it ties into the bigger MCU, and you get little bits and pieces of plot and backstory.

You also have a point about SHIELD providing balance to superpowered vigilantes running around the world. It's a "lesser of two evils" situation, I guess ....


(Also the reason I twitched when Maria Hill went to work for Stark. Bah.)

Valid point, although I think Pepper runs Stark Industries now, so technically she's working for Pepper. (Which doesn't change the fact that the company is Tony's baby, obviously.)
You also have a point about SHIELD providing balance to superpowered vigilantes running around the world.

I think that's a question they'll have to answer eventually, how to deal with a world in which superheroes and supervillaiins are a thing that exists, one way or another - unless they really drop the ball on all the themes of CA:TWS. And I'm looking forward to that a lot. (I just hope it won't be as clumsy and heavy-handed as Civil War, but the basic theme is pretty much unavoidable. I can see a lot of potential in that.)
My reaction is that this plot of rebuilding SHEILD was more for the show than for the movies? Like, I don't really expect Coulson to ever show up in a Marvel movie again. He was a bit player there, but now he has his own story arc, so it would be completely minimizing him to make him a bit player again in a Marvel movie. So given that, I don't really expect the rebuilt SHEILD to play a major part in the movies going forward. So I'm less concerned about the criticism to point out. Like I can't really see there being a major confrontation where Steve Rogers confronts Coulson as the new head of SHEILD. So I think Fury delegating to Coulson is more a way to set up the plot for the next TV season than an attempt to undo what was done in Winter Soldier. And a way to explain why Samuel L Jackson isn't in every episode.
*nods* Yeah, I've seen a few people on Tumblr being all "Now we get Director Coulson in the movies!" and ... no? I expect the movies to show us a very different slice of the MCU than the TV show, and I agree with you that we're unlikely to see Coulson in the movies. That's also a good point about providing a rationale to keep Fury out of the show for the most part.

.... About which, incidentally, I am getting a MAJOR kick out of vigilante!Fury. I wouldn't mind seeing him slide back into his old persona eventually, but for right now this is a lot of fun; it also reflects a plotline from the comics in which Fury was forced to go underground for a while, so it's not like there's no comicsverse precedent for it. (That particular storyline eventually involved recently-debrainwashed Bucky working for Fury in a clandestine capacity, and I wouldn't be surprised if things go in that direction in Cap3, though of course they might not.)
MCU writers' choice to dismantle the organization run by the powerful black guy and build it up under a white guy instead. And it may be naive of me to think that's not what's going on ... but I truly think that's not what's going on. I think Fury is still pulling the strings as always, and right now I think he's playing out one long string to Coulson -- with his hand still firmly attached to the end.
I think you're right about Fury. I think he's getting Coulson to do one thing and Maria to do another, but he's getting them both to do what he wants—or at least Coulson. Coulson went right where Fury sent him and is working with one of the very few people Fury trusts—who is also a clone or twin of one of the very few people Fury trusts.

Maybe it's just because I want it to be that way, but I'm thinking Maria is actually freer than Coulson is. We know Fury's watching Coulson. We also know that the entire world will be watching for a rebuilt SHIELD. I don't think people are watching Stark Industries in the same way, and very few will be watching Hill, because she doesn't look that important; she's not running SI. But she's the one Fury trusted most, and I think she's going to be harder for Fury to monitor. And Fury is "always watching."

And I hope I'm not wrong. SHIELD already has race problems that they may be addressing a little bit by replacing Ward with Triplett, but we'll have to see how next season goes.

I did watch the whole season, with gradually increasing enthusiasm that started spiking before I went to see CA:TWS, so it really was the show itself that drew me in and not just MCU. I hope you'll watch the rest (and then post so that we can squee together! I should post too).

I'm also hoping Coulson is neither a bad guy nor a sacrifice. That last scene of him writing on the wall reminded me very strongly of Crichton in Farscape—but I don't know if you and your other readers have seen all of that show, and I don't want to spoil anything more. I really like Coulson and am happy for him to be muddling along doing the best he can with a really messed up head like everybody in CA:TWS. Apparently I really go for that. Who knew?
I think you're right about Fury. I think he's getting Coulson to do one thing and Maria to do another, but he's getting them both to do what he wants—or at least Coulson.

*nods* I think Maria too; I'm guessing that having Maria placed in a key position at Stark Industries is also a Fury plan, since the power vacuum left by SHIELD is quite likely to be filled by Tony and the Avengers. And yeah, Coulson is the "visible" one (even though he's currently underground) while Maria is working behind the scenes.

I like Triplett! The team as a whole is cohering much better than when I quit watching early in the season -- not just as a group but also in their overall interactions. There's more humor and sense of connectedness. I would definitely be interested in reading your thoughts! I don't think I'll watch all the previous episodes, but I'll probably be spot-watching to fill some of the gaps.

I truly hope they don't kill off Coulson or turn him permanently evil, but I expect major repercussions from his resurrection next season.
Yeah, I'm also uncomfortable with the whole "Oh, here's an organization run by a black guy and a white woman, and it fell apart, so let's give the job of rebuilding it to two white guys now!"

As far as Maria Hill, I get that people were upset because she was sitting behind a desk looking like a secretary for Tony Stark, but she was in HR so I'd guess she's doing some kind of research/background/screening on potential employees, much like we first saw her do in the first episode of Agents of SHIELD, which is not an unimportant position. (And let's be real, Tony probably allows her access to almost everything, even if he pretends he doesn't)

And the question I have is that in the MCU, we don't see anyone realizing that Coulson is alive. Yes, SHIELD kept it a tight secret... but then he went smack into the middle of the public transit transfer area of Union Station and had a great big standoff with everyone videotaping it. How does anyone NOT know he's alive after that?
Hill was doing a polygraph test in that scene, not working yet, so we don't really know what she's doing for SI, but doing HR screening and trying to weed out applicants with HYDRA affiliations is a more likely next move for her than answering phones. CA2 marks the third time Tony's work has been used to further a conflict, and I'm sure Tony is heartily sick of that nonsense.

I do not assume that Coulson was a well-known person outside of SHIELD, ever, and he didn't stick around for a press conference, so it's entirely possible that his secret survived the encounter with Mike Peterson. The other threat to the secret is the data dump at the end of CA2. Sooner or later somebody may notice. Probably later, because it has to be a MASSIVE file, which makes for inconvenient reading, and "show me something interesting" is not how computer-assisted datamining works. Of primary importance to the public is going to be questions like, "to what extent did SHIELD spy on me," and "are we restarting WWII," and "is this applicant to my company a Nazi." It's also less important that it be secret, now that HYDRA knows that (and how) Coulson is alive. So we don't really know when (or if) the Big Reveal to the Avengers will be. We've had two near misses-- once with Sif, which Coulson headed off by telling her that he'd rather tell Thor himself, and once when May and Coulson called Fury's line and Steve answered, but Coulson didn't speak during that call.
I mean, obviously Coulson isn't well-known, but every single person there had to have uploaded their videos to YouTube, and of course everyone would be like "Wait... who ARE these mystery people with strange-looking guns?" and the internet would be picking apart every frame because they definitely are not from any of the local law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction there.

And also the thing I'm disappointed that the TV show didn't address: White people with guns shoot an unarmed black man in the middle of LA, and he is never seen again.
The whole social media phenomenon is SO underplayed on TV/movies. TV writers have learned to include ubiquitous cellphones, but haven't yet gotten around to including viral Youtube videos or the mass tweeting that should accompany ANY crowd scene. (See also: Neal Caffrey base-jumping onto Wall Street and no one noticing. HAHAHAHA NO.)
Yeah, we've just begun to see more people holding up phones to take photos or videos of unusual things happening - like that scene, or the one in Thor 2 when the students in the library are all at the windows, and I think the one in Spiderman, it's like the directors have realized that everyone in a crowd scene watching a big show-down is going to be taking photos or videos - but we still haven't seen the reactions to that.