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March 27, 2015

One Door Closes ~ Agents of SHIELD: The Art of Evolution

March 27, 2015  

One Door Closes
I didn't want this!
Well then, Bobbi, maybe you should have stopped this instead of saying that Coulson was a threat and had to be removed. What did you expect?

According to this print, the fifth of twelve, it looks like Bobbi Morse (a.k.a. Mockingbird) will be playing the prominent role in the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "One Door Closes." But which door? And on whom is it closing? The titles always intrigue and scare me a little, especially last year's "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Beginning of the End." Going by title alone, it sounds like another important one. Going by the sneak peek, it also looks fantastic, which is in keeping with the rest of the series. If there's ever an episode that isn't fascinating or fun in some way, then that would be a rare oddity. This is a series that just keeps getting better, more intricate with all its moving pieces, deeper with its relationships.

Speaking of deeper, I sure hope these final episodes of the season don't leave emotional scars like the last. The first season saw the team betrayed by one of their own and the organization they dedicated their lives to, the organization they thought was protecting the world, spectacularly intertwining the series with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Winter Soldier, which had been tried earlier on a smaller scale with Thor: The Dark World. Wait, what am I saying no emotional scars? The more the team has to overcome, the better the writing, acting, and story; the more that world draws me in. So what I should be saying is that I hope for more heartbreak for Coulson, Skye, Fitz, Simmons, and May. I don't know who will be on their side at the end (Hunter, hopefully), so I'm sticking with the core team, the people I loved from the beginning. But instead of distraught and on the run for their lives, I would like them to get more of foothold to push back. Stategically striking Hydra agents where they lived was a good start. Two S.H.I.E.L.D.s joining forces would be another step in the right direction.

I haven't seen the print that screams "the one" I have to get this year, though I'm sure "One Door Closes" will have greater meaning when the episode airs. I still want to make Bobbi and Mack my punching bags - more so than Ward, because his is an old wound while theirs is fresh. Artwork that's all about Mockingbird will not be my favorite until my feelings about her change. I guess I can't call it treachery since she's working for another organization that seems to be trying to make a difference in the wreckage of what Hydra left. But I can't stand people who insert themselves in others' lives and pretend to be their friend and colleague only to stab them in the back. It would be lovely if, after "the real S.H.I.E.L.D." tries to take down the real S.H.I.E.L.D., they could realize they need to come together to fight against the real enemy. I don't know if anything like that happened in the comics, so I can't wait to see what comes. According to Fury, people like Coulson were the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D. That was never more important than after the revelation that Hydra had so thoroughly infiltrated it. So after everything Coulson has been through, and the goodness he carries, he deserves to be the one to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. into what it should have been. There's no one better.

...

Sadly, I must go now. Fridays are the days I SKIP BREAKFAST just to write about these prints. I need to go hunt down a bagel, but I'll leave you with some final thoughts. The best moment for me was Coulson bringing Skye to a safe house for a few weeks' isolation, which led to a goodbye hug that I knew was coming. You could just feel it. That's how brilliant the actors are, how well done this series is. It's written right so that moments like these occur and they are incredibly satisfying. It's a small moment, but a powerful one. There are always mediocre series where people who have been through everything together still seem distant. They don't get relationships right, because the case of the week is always more important, and everything suffers; there's no balance, and the writing in other areas tends to be just as incompetent and meaningless. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. knows better.

This is the kind of show that is in such good hands that they even make some of the bad guys sympathetic. People aren't always villains for villainy's sake. They have motivations. Even though he did the worst thing and is a bit unstable, I still have moments where I care for Ward, the manipulative prick. It was great to see him again. (Brett Dalton is also a punny delight on Twitter.) And poor brainwashed Agent 33. She is struggling with having no identity. It doesn't help not having a face she can call her own.

A great example of humor on the show to lighten things up in the midst of the darkness, just like anything in the wonderful MarvelWhedonverse, was the Ward/Agent 33/Talbot subplot. The moment I finally liked Talbot was when he said that he would be up to his ears in Edible Arrangements. This was after pointing a gun at his wife, yelling at her, and bringing her to tears, thinking she was a disguised Agent 33. Humor is important. It makes me care far more for characters. It's charming and disarming, and when these people get hurt, it hurts worse than if they never cracked a smile.

If I had seen "Love in the Time of Hydra" a second time this week, I'm sure I'd have a lot more I could recount, but that's it for now. Can't spend all day. Remember to order your print before they're gone. One Door Closes, like all prints, is limited to 100 pieces. And if you missed the preview for next week...


March 20, 2015

Love in the Time of Hydra ~ Agents of SHIELD: The Art of Evolution

March 20, 2015  

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Coulson and his secrets? That's the threat, and I think it's time that we remove that threat.
~ Bobbi Morse

It's Friday again somehow. That means the fourth Art of Evolution print is here! And it has nothing to do with the quote I chose. It was the only one I could really use from the sneak peek. It only had one shot of Ward that went by so fast that I almost thought I imagined it, until today's print was revealed. Apparently, Ward has more to do with this episode than the commercial let on. Love in the Time of Hydra depicts Ward with both Skye, a woman he claimed to love (and I think he really did) and May, a woman he was involved with. It seems to me that they are just ghosts, memories of what he gave up by giving in to Hydra. According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeff Bell, the face-stealing, Hydra-brainwashed Agent 33 is a big part of this episode. We last saw her helping Ward, so maybe he has a new love with the face of an enemy and no identity of her own. That could get a bit confusing emotionally, and Ward is already screwed up enough. But anything that can remind him how to be human could be a good thing.

But we won't know how this will play out until next Tuesday at 9 PM. Until then, I'll just have to say a few things about the previous episode, "One of Us." I'll start with the most pressing issue. I need Fitz and Simmons to forgive each other. They are so great together. He told her he loved her before he sacrificed himself. Then she basically ran away when he needed her the most. Granted, she was needed to go undercover, but she never knew what to say and welcomed the opportunity to disappear. Hopefully their shared moment over May and her ex, where they both acted like themselves again for a scene, is an indicator that their friendship will be salvaged. I don't know what the writers will do, but that's how it seemed. FitzSimmons were too good together, such a fun pair, so in sync and enthusiastic and sweet. They just brought joy to the show. That's been lacking, for very good reason, replaced by dread and danger at every turn. They eventually have to find a way back to a place where there's room to breathe again. And maybe they'll be stronger for it, having gone through so much.

Of course, FitzSimmons aren't the only one's trying to adjust. Normally I would assume that someone with Skye's newfound power just needs time to learn to control it. I love the twist that it comes out in her dreams. That's a scary thought that you can kill everyone you love while you're unconscious. And when she's awake, trying to direct the quake internally comes with terrible consequences. She has to let it out. Since I'm clueless about Marvel characters until they are revealed on screen, that was a nice surprise. Even nicer will be seeing Skye just letting go when dealing with a villain.

I wish I had time to say more, but time is really running short today. I mentioned Bobbi and Mack last week, so I don't need to say much more. Now we know they're working for a new S.H.I.E.L.D. I didn't expect them to be bad since I knew bit about them from peeking into the corners of the Marvel Universe (though I try not to so I don't spoil anything), and they seemed sincere even in their collusion. But still I had my reservations, because I have no idea what the writers will change in order to mix things up and keep fans guessing. I'd just like to know how could work with Coulson and be adamant that he needs to go? He is such a good guy and has has done everything he can to keep his team together, to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. while being hunted...and haunted, by betrayal, by what happened to him, by what happened to Skye and Fitz. They all went through so much and they're stronger for it. What a thankless job Coulson has.

It looks like "Love in the Time of Hydra" will be memorable, but that's not unusual for this series. It may even be one of the game changers. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just keeps upping the stakes and outdoing itself, even as it introduces more characters while being sure to stay emotionally tied to the ones we've been invested in from the beginning.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Hello, Angar the Screamer, scary guy with the unhinged jaw. Damn nightmare fuel there.

I love being introduced to all these rich Marvel characters that I never knew. I have to thank Robert Downey, Jr and Iron Man for getting me interested in the first place. Oh my God, that was eight years ago. Eight! What?!

I need more Blair Underwood, in this show as May's ex husband Andrew and in general. He's not in enough of my shows.

Get your Love in the Time of Hydra print before it's gone. They are limited to 100 each. And if you missed the previous prints, all three are still available at Marvel Shop.


March 13, 2015

One of Us ~ Agents of SHIELD: The Art of Evolution

March 13, 2015  

I want everyone to know what you do to people like us.
~ Calvin Zabo

One of Us is the third print in a series of twelve, available in the Marvel Shop every Friday. If you missed last year's Art of Level 7, and you have what some may call an unhealthy obsession with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., definitely pick up one of these prints before they're gone. They're works commissioned by Marvel from talented artists and each is limited to a series of 100. If you don't get at least one, I know you'll be kicking yourself later when you scour eBay and come up empty or have to pay double its current price.

This is another spectacular work about the upcoming episode, which looks like it will be both creepy and fun; Kyle MacLachlan is always a treat. It depicts Coulson surrounded by a team of villains, with Skye's delightful whackjob father looming over them. It was created by a team of comic book artists, illustrator Declan Shavley and colorist Jordie Bellaire. Those names might mean something to you, but I'm just restating what I read this morning in Entertainment Weekly's article about the print. I've never been heavily into comics. Not my fault that I didn't have an allowance or a nearby comic shop as a kid, as I've mentioned a couple times before. I'm catching up as an adult...very slowly since it's such a rich history. Only yesterday I found out Skye's superhero/inhuman nickname - Quake. (Cool!) So, I didn't have any reaction to finding out Skye's name back before the long break for Agent Carter (another great show). If it had been familiar to me, I'm sure it would have been a goosebump moment.

Any fan of the show knew she was special from the second episode of the first season, 0-8-4, but until the middle of this season there was only speculation as to what she would become. Somehow I never had an idea to look up the name Daisy Johnson then. I also never researched who her father was. Sometimes I want to find out more about a character. Sometimes I don't want to spoil a single thing. I'd rather let the story tell me in its own time. This time I don't know what happened. I've been distracted by life and other shows for a few months and completely forgot to read into their backgrounds. Anyway, I can't wait to see where all this goes, especially leading into the future movies, like Inhumans, which is, sadly, quite a ways off. That storyline is starting here, and it was meant to be that way from the beginning. People who abandoned the series get to miss so much. I love the interconnectedness of it all.

Before I leave for work, I have a few thoughts about the last episode, "Who You Really Are." First of all, poor Skye. Having dangerous powers that aren't yet in her control coupled with the reaction she feared is a sad outcome. Poor Jemma. Fitz thought she couldn't be trusted with a major secret. The way she has been talking about destroying Raina because she was changed rightfully made Skye and Fitz wary, but Simmons would have wanted to help Skye. It was good to see that the experienced and level-headed leaders, Coulson and May, stepped up to protect Skye, as I knew they would, while Bobbi, Mack and Hunter were mostly concerned for themselves.

Speaking of Mack, I'm finding myself wishing he'd been the one to turn to dust. I like him, but he's been so on edge and scary angry, which is perfectly understandable considering what everyone's been through. But then to combine that with whatever secret he and Bobbi are keeping has tentatively changed my mind about him, about both of them. There's been enough betrayal for a lifetime with Ward, and SHIELD disintegrating in the fires of Hydra's resurrection. I get the feeling that Tripp would have been one to support Skye, but I will of course see how it goes with Bobbi and Mack before condemning them. What are they up to? I hope it doesn't involve trying to tear apart the team. This is another point I won't be looking to theories to answer. I want the show to tell me in its own time. And wherever they go I will follow. If I didn't have an emotional reaction, whether good or bad, then the show wouldn't be worth it. And it is so worth it.

Also, it was nice to Lady Sif again. And Eddie McClintock as a Kree! Loved that, both that there's a Kree and that it was McClintock. (I miss Warehouse 13.) Although, I did accidentally see a teaser CG pic of him as Vin-Tak on Twitter earlier in the week and he was unmistakable, so it wasn't exactly a surprise on the show.

Before we part, you still have a chance to buy Who You Really Are and Aftershocks at Marvel Shop.


March 6, 2015

Who You Really Are ~ Agents of SHIELD: The Art of Evolution

March 6, 2015  

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

You want her, you go through me!
~ Phil Coulson

Oh no, it's Friday again already. I'm going to be saying that for the next ten weeks, because that means I have a regular schedule to keep with posting these. It means I need to dedicate a chunk of work time in the morning, and I am not one who's good at wrapping things up quickly. I talk and talk and talk.

This print depicts Lady Sif, returning in the next episode, "Who You Really Are." She must play a big role in it seeing as how she's the subject of the print, with the team splintering before her, as they did at the end of last season at the hands of Ward and which they have not fully recovered from. This is gorgeous, as they all have been, but will I buy it when there are ten more yet to be revealed? Hmm, that's a tough call. I would love to have the entire run of twelve, but I can't justify spending $600 to decorate my walls in nothing but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. So the print has to jump out at me as something unmissable. I would rather one of the team be the subject of the artwork since I don't know what kind of emotional impact the episode will have until it airs, and I can't know if this print will represent that for me. Last year's run of six were all fantastic and representative of the series and the astonishing changes and betrayals it was going through. So far these have been just as high quality, but I have to choose very carefully. If you have the disposable income, then go for it! Maybe eventually I will collect more on eBay, at an an enormously inflated price because of their rarity.

I'm kind of wishing I got the last one (and I still could) since "Aftershocks" was another poignant episode. Everyone is mourning Trip, "the embodiment of the principles [Coulson] wants S.H.I.E.L.D to be built upon...compassion, loyalty, and heart," which are all Hydra's weakness. Simmons is afraid of losing more people and blames herself for ever wanting to make sense of alien technology in the first place. Coulson is just trying to keep everything and everyone together, ruthlessly going after Hydra being the new modus operandi. (We cut off the head. And while Hydra scrambles for a new one, I will crush them!") Mack is blaming Skye for going down in the city and Coulson for giving orders - though that is kind of his job, being the head of the organization he's been tasked to rebuild. He seems barely able to restrain his anger, maybe a residual influence of the tech that Gemma is now determined to eradicate.

You're different now. There's nothing wrong with that.

Meanwhile, Skye is trying to hide what she's become, terrified of what her team, her family, may do about her, the emotion of this situation beautifully portrayed by Chloe Bennet. Poor Fitz puts the pieces together, finding out that Skye's heart rate was 300 bpm when she changed, says that's inhuman, both of them in gasping tears, then runs out on her when she can't control her new powers. That was one of the best moments that these two characters have ever had together, followed by Fitz coming back to help cover up Skye's change until things calm down, and they share a sobbing hug. I thought I couldn't love Fitz more and Iain De Caestecker knocked these scenes out of the park. This is one of my favorite series not just for the imagination, but for talented actors who feel the words rather than just say them. And then there's the coda. Is there even more betrayal in the works from characters we trusted?

Well, that's about it for now. I can't spend all day on this. As always, these prints are priced at $49.95 each. So, you can't get free shipping with code SUPERSHIP unless you spend another nickel. Last time I bought a Captain America tee at the same time, because it cost a bit less than the shipping would have been, so why not? Look around and you may find something you just have to have. And if you missed last week's Aftershocks, it is still available at Marvel Shop. I have no idea how many are left, so it would be best to hurry.

For more about today's print, head on over to Entertainment Weekly or ScreenRant.


March 5, 2015

Binge Watchers Collection

March 5, 2015  

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$17 Tee Sale Ends on March 9

Oopsie! Binge Watchers Collection is a seven-day sale, and I'm finally getting to it with only four days left. I’m sorry. Life is just too damn busy. I’m actually working right now. Got a webinar going on and it’s a bit hard to concentrate, so I’ll make this quick. My favorite shirt here is Open Your Mind by 6amcrisis, because it has Walter Bishop. I miss Fringe. I love Breaking Bad, too, but I've seen these shirts a number of times. They will probably come around again. And the Arrested Development shirts are hilarious. Inspector Spacetime, from Community, is also a great one. I would actually get all of the ones I mentioned if I could. I don’t know how it would translate to a t-shirt, but I would love one for Bosch. I binged on that show (happy birthday to me!) and I’m going to do it again. Titus Welliver, as I’ve already mentioned in a post and in so very many tweets, is incredible in the role. He made me fall in love with the character in one episode and now I need all the books...and the shirts. Someone has to make me some Bosch shirts.

If you miss the sale and I haven't updated the links, just leave a comment with the shirt you want and I will try to find them elsewhere.