Mission BriefingAfter murdering Agent Koenig, Ward has absconded with Skye, hoping to finally get the encrypted S.H.I.E.L.D. information off of the hard drive. Coulson and the team move to find Ward and rescue Skye, but Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) shows up to providence with the U.S. government, hoping to convince Coulson to stand down, since S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't rightly exist anymore.
The AgentsEveryone's on deck this week, but not necessarily playing for the same side. Ward has essentially kidnapped Skye so she can decrypt the hard drive while Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Triplett are following the breadcrumbs left behind by Skye. Meanwhile, May is stirring things up behind the scenes, and Maria Hill provides some much-needed backup in a special guest appearance by Cobie Smulders.
Mission FalloutMay gets into contact with Maria Hill, who is pursuing work in the private sector after the dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D. May wants the know the identity of the person behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. project, hoping it might finally give Coulson the answers he’s been seeking, but all Maria has to offer is a cryptic riddle left by Nick Fury (Director Fury is apparently a poet in his off hours).
Meanwhile, Coulson and his team are wondering what happened to the Bus and their missing agents. Surveillance shows May leaving Providence a little while after her fight with Coulson. Fitz wanders around the base and discovers a secret message scrawled onto one of Keonig’s Faux windows: “Ward is HYDRA,” just as Gemma is discovering Koenig’s body stashed in the supply closet. Simmons examines Koenig and determines that Ward was the only one who was capable of killing him. Fitz freaks out, as he’s wont to do, and the team works on figuring out how to save Skye. Luckily, they discover that Bus is in Los Angeles, but not before Providence comes under attack. Maria Hill shows up with Colonel Talbot and U.S. military in tow. She urges Coulson to stop working under S.H.I.E.L.D. and accept that the agency doesn’t exist any more. She suggests that the agent allow his staff to walk away from S.H.I.E.L.D. and join the private sector. Coulson informs Maria about the Ward situation, and the agent helps the team escape so they can go after Ward and rescue Skye.
Elswhere, Skye tells Ward that the location needed to decrypt the drive is the same diner where she first met Mike Peterson in the pilot episode. Ward rushes Skye to decrypt the drive, but she expertly stalls for time, giving the HYDRA turncoat enough jabbering Technobabble to keep him satisfied. Skye needles into Ward about his allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D., and reveals that she knows he’s really a member of HYDRA. She calls the police to the diner, but Ward quickly subdues them. Skye almost escapes, but is soon re-captured by Deathlok. Deathlok, always the pragmatist, tells Ward he has only five minutes to get Skye to decrypt the drive. Ward confesses that his feelings for Skye have always been genuine and the he was just “following orders,” but Skye his revolted by Ward’s true colors. Deathlok stops Ward’s heart and forces Skye to tell him the encryption site before starting it again. The agent reveals that the drive needs to be 35,000 feet in the air before it can be unlocked.
Before Ward can get the Bus in the air, he finds himself locked in a standoff with Maria Hill, who's piloting another Jet. The two exchage verbarl barbs which gives Coulson enough time to sneak aboard the Bus. Coulson locates Skye and escapes the Bus mid flight in Lola, Coulson’s flying corvette, but not before the drive is unlocked.
The team shacks up at a skeezy motel, having lost not only their agency but their home. May surprises Coulson in his motel room. She reveals that the lead behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. project was Coulson himself. In a message sent to Fury before his death in The Avengers, Coulson reveals that the T.A.H.I.T.I. project was created to revive a mortally wounded avenger, but that the project should be shelved due to it’s horrific side-effects. Coulson learns that he was, in fact, searching for himself this whole time. How exestential.
Most Valuable Agent This Week’s MVA goes to Skye for managing to outwit and outgame Ward at his own game. Not bad for a new recruit.
Mission Highlights- Adrian Pasdar is back as the burly, no-nonsense, fake-mustache wearing Colonel Talbot. Let's hope he sticks around a while.- I love Ward’s insistence that he’s definitely not a Nazi. Evil terrorist? Sure, you’ve got me pegged, but a Nazi?! Whoa buddy, let’s not jump to conclusions.- “If I come out, will you shoot me? Cause then I wont come out."- Chloe Bennet gives some of her best acting yet in this episode.
ABC Television Network
Mission BriefingIt's back to school for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team. A rogue cadet at S.H.I.E.L.D.'s research academy is trying to bump off his or her fellow classmates with a nasty piece of freezing technology partially designed by Fitz/Simmons. The team heads back to their alma mater to investigate the mysterious attacks. Meanwhile, Coulson and May finally delve into Skye's past, and end up finding out more than they bargained for.
The AgentsThis week, Fitz/Simmons, Skye, and Agent Ward are investigating the attacks at the school, while Agents May and Coulson venture to Mexico City in order to track down Richard Lumley, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent linked to Skye's past.
Mission FalloutThe team ventures to the science and technology division of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s training academy, which is essentially like Hogwarts for science nerds. At the campus, Fitz and Simmons are rock stars. They are the youngest agents to ever graduate from the academy, and they revel in the attention. Meanwhile, Ward seems uncomfortable at the disappointing lack of things to punch unconscious. The team begins investigating a lead, but their investigation changes course when their prime suspect, Donnie Gill, becomes a victim himself. Donnie is a brilliant student and a loner, and Fitz sees bits of himself in the student. Fitz helps Donnie with a couple of his secret projects, but realizes way too late that Donnie and his friend Seth, the student attacked in the first incident, staged the attacks in order to lure Fitz to campus. They needed Fitz to fix an issue with their device, which they intend to sell to Ian Quinn, the industrialist scumbag from the third episode.
Meanwhile, Agents Coulson and May track down agent Lumley, who went off the grid over 20 years ago. After a misunderstanding sends the May and the agent into fisticuffs, Lumley tells Coulson that baby Skye was originally a 0-8-4, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s code name for an object of unknown origin. Skye has some sort of powers, and an unknown party began killing her parents and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents protecting her. Coulson decides not to tell Skye, but has a change of heart after realizing that he experiencing first hand how the secrets that S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps can be damaging. The team regroups when Donnie's device causes a massive winter storm. May flies the jet through the eye of the storm in order to rescue Donnie and Seth, but a lightning bolt hits the device and kills Seth and injures Donnie. The team manages to save Donnie, but not before the teen develops some ice powers and an even icier disposition. Can you say super-villain origin story?
Mission Highlights- "Time will come when you won't make fun of me for that. You'll be jealous, jealous wrinkly old hags" Fitz can sure be a diva sometimes.- Coulson should definitely drive "Lola" more often.- Now with the genesis Blizzard (Donnie) and Graviton (Dr. Franklin Hall from 'The Asset"), S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be collecting quite a group of super-powered villains. Hopefully they reappear sooner rather than later.
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This week’s Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels largely like a retread of the pilot episode. But without the fantastic J. August Richards adding heart to the monster of the week, things feel pretty cold and distant, which is especially disappointing considering the baddie of the week has the power to create fire.
The episode opens on a bustling street in Hong Kong where a street performer is doling out low-rent magic tricks to a crowd of semi-interested on-lookers. The magician turns up the heat and reveals that he has fire powers. But calling them "powers" is a little generous, considering he has the pirokinetic ability of a human bic lighter. The magician is approached by a sultry woman who takes special interest in his cigarette lighting abilities, but she turns on him in what is probably the most obvious kidnapping in human history.
The magician, named Chan Ho Yin, was being watched by S.H.I.E.L.D., and his disapearence sets of some alarms. It turns out that the folks at The Rising Tide were the ones who leaked the information to Chan's kidnappers. All eyes turn to Skye, who denies involvement. The team tracks The Rising Tide hacker to Austin where Ward gives him a chase, only to lose him after the guy employs some nifty hacking on the city's street lights. The Hacker get’s home only to find Skye there, who starts to berate him about stealing S.H.I.E.L.D info. The two then do the most logical thing to do when an impossibly powerful multi-national security force is searching for you, it's obviously time for a quickie. When the deed is done, Melinda May is waiting right behind the door, just as Skye is looking for her shirt in a terribly obvious reveal. Skye is in big trouble with Coulson and the gang, and she tries to pretend that they're only friends, as if that would make tipping off a rouge hacker okay.
Centipede is revealed to be behind the kidnapping and they inject the human bic lighter with the Extremis serum from the first episode, believing that his fire ability will stop the drugs' unfortunate side effect of blowing people up. Chan's powers multiply and he becomes more of a human blow torch. Centipede then steal his blood platelets (which were controlling his powers) resulting in some nasty burns. Chan then begins attacking both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Centipede agents, so Coulson must make the tough decision of killing him... though they didn't try all that hard to save him in the first place. I'm starting to think that Coulson likes to skip all the moralizing and just kill the "out of control good guy turned bad guy of the week" just so he can get back to his jet sooner. Lola needs a good buffing anyway.
An angry Coulson meets with Skye and demands to know what she's hiding. It turns out she joined S.H.I.E.L.D. to learn what happened to her parents, information that was redacted by none other than S.H.I.E.L.D.. For some reason, she's still allowed to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent after all of this. I guess Coulson lost his common sense when he got stabbed by Loki.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still resting on the fact that action and superhero name checks are a suitable replacement for actually creating interesting characters and compelling stories. Everything about this episode was terriby bland. Everyone's decisions and actions ring false, and the show makes impossible to emphasize with anyone. It's trying to be a show for everyone, but it's failing at entertaining anyone.
Best Quips and Other Observations- "Oh crap. They gave him a name."- "Scorch" is such a lame name for a superhero. It's a shame Chan got so attached to it.- Even lamer than Scorch is Centipede. Really? You named your terrorist organization Centipede? Watch out for their fearsome sister-organization "Gentle Bug."- Couldn't Coulson just shoot the guy in the head when he snuck up on him instead of purpously blowing him up? How is that "minimizing the damage"? Thats actually increasing the damage... by a lot. - Just how long was Melinda May waiting behind the door while Skye and generic hacker guy were getting it on? Was she just waiting there listening? That's kinda creepy.
David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Bridges' son Jordan stars as Frankie Rizzoli, Jr., a police officer in Boston, Massachusetts, on the hit TV show, and he saw an opportunity to work with his little girl Lola in an upcoming episode.
He tells People magazine, "I saw the first draft of the script and it called for a girl who looked a bit like me and could potentially be my daughter."
But Jordan Bridges, 37, admits it wasn't easy keeping playful Lola focused on the job at hand.
He says, "She's outgoing and loves to perform. But this was a lesson that it's work. You can't be off chasing butterflies - which she did sometimes. There was a location with a pond, and she made herself a little fishing pole. When they call the actors to their places, you've got to move. And she was like, 'No! No! I've got to catch more fish.'"
Little Lola will have plenty of career advisors if she chooses to pursue a career in Hollywood when she's older - Jordan's uncle is Oscar winner Jeff Bridges.
The "American Psycho" saga has taken another twist. After the movie ratings board made a final 11-4 ruling Wednesday upholding the film's NC-17 rating, Lions Gate Releasing announced that director Mary Harron will re-edit the film to achieve an R.
The film, which opens in April, stars Christian Bale as a young executive with a psychopathic taste for murder; it was given its rating for a scene depicting group sex among Bale and two prostitutes. But not to worry; we're sure the original cut will make its way onto DVD someday.
UN-MODEL BEHAVIOR: Supermodel Naomi Campbell apparently has worries deeper than which world runways to strut, as we reported Wednesday. The British diva pleaded guilty in a Canadian court to assaulting her former assistant and was given an absolute discharge, meaning she will not have a criminal record in Canada.
Campbell, 29, was accused by Georgina Galanis, who worked as her personal assistant while the model filmed a movie in Toronto, of grabbing her throat and hitting her on the head with a telephone Sept. 9, 1998. Three months later, Campbell surrendered to Canadian police.
British newspapers recently reported that Campbell spent nearly four weeks at a U.S. clinic to learn how to control her anger. She wasn't in the courtroom to plead guilty herself; the prosecutor explained that "she is a celebrity, she is a public figure, and there's all kinds of people under serious violent allegations wandering the courtrooms." Serious violent allegations. What was that old saying about people who live in glass houses?
HEALTHY HARVEY?: Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein left the hospital Wednesday and is now recuperating at home from a mysterious illness no one can figure out. His brother and Co-Chairman Bob Weinstein released a statement saying, "He thanks everyone for their support and good wishes and looks forward to returning to work during the next several weeks." Rumors have run rampant over the seriousness of his condition, which has been reported to be a bacterial infection. No other information was given.
MAMA MADONNA: When one child is a handful, have another? Madonna seems to think so. She told Jane magazine that she would like to have another child, because well, daughter Lourdes is becoming a brat. "I think Lola [Lourdes' nickname] should have a brother or sister," the Material Mom said. "I think she's incredibly spoiled. She needs a bit of competition." The 41-year-old singer also gushed to the Calgary Sun that 3-year-old Lourdes is "a great little singer and dancer and she has perfect pitch. ... She memorizes whole songs and then goes around the house singing them. Right now, she's into Mary J. Blige, the Spice Girls and me."
MUSIC BEAT: D'Angelo's latest, "Voodoo," finally bumped Santana's "Supernatural" from the top of the Billboard album charts this week. The R&B singer's album debuted at No. 1, while "Supernatural" fell to No. 2. Dr. Dre's "Dr. Dre 2001" held at No. 3. Celine Dion's "All the Way: A Decade of Song" and The Lox's "We are the Streets" round out the Top Five.
The Top Five singles in the country are: "I Knew I Loved You," Savage Garden; "Thank God I Found You," Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees; "What a Girl Wants," Christina Aguilera; "Get it on Tonite," Montell Jordan; and "Smooth," Santana featuring Rob Thomas.
QUICK TAKES: Jane Fonda and Haley Joel Osment have been tapped as presenters for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards on March 26 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Fonda, 62, a seven-time nominee and two-time Best Actress winner (for 1971's "Klute" and 1978's "Coming Home") will appear on the show for the first time since 1992. Eleven-year-old Osment is a likely supporting-actor nominee for his role in "The Sixth Sense," for which he has already won several critics' awards ...
... Ving Rhames has been named ShoWest 2000 supporting actor of the year by the National Association of Theater Owners. The 38-year-old actor appeared in two films this year, Martin Scorsese's "Bringing Out the Dead" and the Sean Connery hit "Entrapment." Rhames will receive his honor at the ShoWest convention March 9 in Las Vegas. Please refrain from jokes about giving the award to Jack Lemmon.