Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1E1 - "Pilot" Recap

In a post-Avengers world, people are now aware of the fact that there are some with extraordinary abilities, though it doesn't make those that are gifted more inclined to come forward and make their abilities known.

In East L.A., a man named Mike Peterson is having an outing with his son. While Mike pays for a hot dog, his son looks longingly at some Avengers action figures on display in a store window. The man tries to ask his son which his favourite is, as his birthday is coming up, but the boy brushes off the question. It's revealed that Mike is struggling with money, having just lost his factory job. Mike reassure his son that things will turn around soon but the touching father-son moment is interrupted by an explosion in a nearby building. Mike tells the hot dog vendor, Bernie, with whom he appears to be on friendly terms to watch his son as he goes running towards the building to see if anyone needs help. He runs around back and begins punching and kicking into the brick wall in order to climb up to a window and get inside. There are sounds of a woman screaming for help and then we see Mike, with his hood up, leap from the building and land safely with the nearly unconscious woman. Throughout the chaos, many onlookers are seen filming the event on their mobiles, including a girl named Skye, one of the show's main characters. She makes eye contact with Mike right after he lands, before he runs off. Mike comes from behind to get his son and head home.

In Paris, Agent Ward is on a mission and gets word that the location of the package he has been tasked with retrieving has been compromised by an organisation known as The Rising Tide. Ward is nonetheless determined to complete his mission. He poses as waiter to obtain some fingerprints and breaks into a home where he uses said fingerprints to open a safe containing this package. Hostiles arrive right as Ward retrieves the package, so he unleashes some bad-ass fighting skills to take them all down before heading to the roof and being airlifted away.

Ward is being debriefed and probably more for the benefit of the audience, he states that S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. He described the organisation as being responsible for keeping people safe when the world and the "weirder" world meet. He's interviewed by Agent Maria Hill and we see that the package Ward retrieved was a Chitauri neural link, which Hill takes and places into a box for transport. Hill tells him that he has been recruited to join a new mobile command unit headed by Agent Phil Coulson. Ward states that he is Level 6, and therefore knows that Coulson was killed in action by Loki. But that's when Coulson emerges from a dark corner and welcomes him to Level 7. This team's first mission is to bring in an "unregistered gifted" - they watch internet footage of Mike from the top of the episode, but do not yet know who he is. They also want to utilise The Rising Tide, given their strong skills at getting information even before S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward is less than pleased, as he doesn't seem to be much of a people person, but Coulson promises to let him go back to flying solo if he fails to complete his mission. Additionally, Coulson's recovery is not what even he believes it to be. He thinks he spent time in Tahiti hiding out after being brought back to life, but after he leaves, Hill and a Dr. Streiten discuss the fact that Coulson still doesn't know what really happened to him; Hill says that he must never know.

Skype approaches Mike in a diner, after following him for some time, and tells him she knows that he is the Hooded Hero. She warns him about S.H.I.E.L.D. and tries to convince him to be a superhero, even offering up her computer services. He's not interested, and leaves, but not before she swipes his ID off of him.

Coulson recruits Agent Melinda May, who is currently working a desk job by choice. She doesn't want to go back into the field but Coulson assures her that he only needs her to "drive the bus." Yeah. Right.

Ward arrives at the super-sized jet known as the Bus and meets Agent "FitzSimmons" - which is actually Agent Fitz and Agent Simmons, who specialise in engineering and biochem respectively. He also meets Agent May and is amazed since her reputation proceeds her. Coulson also arrive in style - his vintage car which he calls "Lola." Together, they track The Rising Tide down. Turns out, it's just Skye in her van. They kidnap her and bring her aboard the Bus, into an interrogation room. She's less than pleased about being taken against her will and refuses to hand over Mike's identity. She mentions "Centipede," a secret project of which not even S.H.I.E.L.D. is aware, and gloats upon learning of their ignorance.

Mike is with his son at his apartment. While his son watches television, Mike is on the phone, pleading with an unknown doctor to let him reveal his secret so that he may be a "hero." Mike's change of heart has come from the fact that he has been served an eviction notice. He also reveals to the viewers that he has a metal device on his inner forearm that looks oddly enough, Centipede-like.

May, Fitz, and Simmons visit the site of the explosion and find that it was a secret lab. Fitz sends some flying bots about to examine and collect data.

Coulson views Skye as an asset, since for some reason, there is no information on her anywhere. Weird. Ward on the other hand, has virtually no patience for her and wants to use more brutal tactics to make her talk. Coulson ends up tricking Ward by injecting him with a highly powerful truth serum and leaving him in the interrogation room so Skye can let loose on him and hopefully get answer that will enable her to trust them enough to cooperate. Throughout Ward's truth-state, he reveals many things, including the fact that he thinks Skye is beautiful, he feels guilty after killing people, and is very attached to his grandmother. Looks like Ward is more of a softie than he'd like to let on.

Mike goes to the factory where he used to work and pleads with the manager to give him his job back. Mike loses his temper and wreaks a bit of havoc. He begins to see himself as the hero and the manager is the bad guy that keeps others, like himself, down. He assaults the manager.

Ward is sleeping off the effects of the truth serum in the interrogation room while Skye chats with Coulson. They appear to be getting on relatively well. Coulson then shows Skye news footage about Mike's attacking the manager and Skye realises that the problem is now too big for her to handle on her own. She surrenders the ID to Coulson and the team, minus a still-sleeping Ward, combine their efforts. Skye reveals that she has some audio footage back in her van that Fitz could use his more advanced equipment to remove the extra noise.

Mike visits the woman he rescued in the hospital. In a fantastic twist, she's actually the doctor Mike was just speaking to on the phone. She chides him for exposing her and the program, and she tells him that he needs to disappear. She tells him that he's losing it just like the first guy in the program, who was responsible for destroying the lab. He leaves by jumping from the window.

Agent May and Skye head to Skye's van to retrieve the data Skye had recorded. Skype also slips a secret chip into her bra as they're about to leave. But Mike shows up, even more delirious, and knocks Agent May out. He has his son with him and tells Skye he is "saving" her, and tells her to drive them away. Meanwhile, at the lab, FitzSimmons have pieced together the fact that Mike is suffering from the highly unstable Extremis. The first man's highly unstable chemical make-up led him to be the bomb that destroyed the lab and Mike is on track to do the same but on an even greater scale.

Mike is having Skye delete his identity from all databases and when he questions her ability to do it, she  reveals that she has done it before. It's safe bet that she's referring to herself, since S.H.I.E.L.D. couldn't find any information on her. FitzSimmons tell Coulson that they can either isolate Mike to avoid any additional casualties, or they can put a bullet through his brain. Coulson refuses to accept either of these options and demands that they find a third option that won't leave Mike's son without a father.

Skye uses her hacking abilities to send her location to the team, who follow the lead to Union Station in Los Angeles. Coulson, Ward, and reinforcements approach the van Mike sends the door flying before grabbing his son and Skye, and the three of them head inside. Also, the doctor from the hospital is on the scene and sends one of her men inside, armed and disguised as a police officer. Skye manages to provoke a fight with some local ruffians and get away in the ensuing scuffle. Mike fights them off with little difficulty. Coulson gets Mike's son to safety.

The pretend-police-officer shoots at Mike but misses and Mike grabs Skye and kicks down an emergency door. Coulson informs May, who has just arrived, that there may be a third party on the scene. He also tells Ward to only take the shot if he has to. Mike brings Skye to an overhead balcony where they can look down at the people in the station and when the pretend-officer fires more shots at Mike, Mike falls from the second story back down onto the main level. May shows up and with a few badass moves, disarms and knocks the pretend-officer out.

Coulson approaches Mike, who is nearing detonation, and tries to talk him down. Mike pleads to Coulson, saying that societal and economic pressures are what have put him in this position. Coulson is able to calm Mike down and then Ward takes the shot, which lands square between his eyes. However, Mike is not dead, as Ward shot him with a stun gun. Simmons checks his vitals and sees that his powers have been disabled for the time being. The team all smile at each other and share knowing looks, proud that they were able to work as a team to save a man and others from death.

Coulson and Skye bring Mike's son to his aunt's home. Following this, Coulson offers her a place on their team. They receive a call from Ward, who tells them they have an "0-8-4" (this is the title of the next episode). When Skye questions Coulson as to what that is, he tells her she has ten minutes to decide if she really wants to know. When she says they'll never make it to the airport in that short amount of time, Coulson flips a switch in Lola, which they're currently sitting in, and Lola converts to a hovercar that flies off towards yet another mission.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesdays on ABC at 8/7c.


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