S.H.I.E.L.D. The Girl In The Flowered Dress

Lame Magician with flame powers gets hit on by a girl in a flowered dress who is way hotter than him, but when he’s attacked by guy in flame-resistant suits, he’s surprised.  He is the only one.


Nobody could ever have seen this coming.

Nobody could ever have seen this coming.

Skye and Ward and playing boardgames because Ward likes boardgames, plus he wants to give her a break and also she makes him all warm and fuzzy even though that never stretches to smiling because Field Agents just don’t do that, but it’s nice to see him happy and relaxed anyway.  Also I like boardgames too.


You sunk my battleship.

You sunk my battleship.

Melinda May and Coulson look on fondly, and then Melinda actually full-on smiles

Wanna go do some Tai-Chi in the early morning hours before everyone else is awake?  You know, like in the old days?

Wanna go do some Tai-Chi in the early morning hours before everyone else is awake? You know, like in the old days?


and then she flirts with Coulson.  


world gone mad Patrick Star Has the World Gone Mad?

Turns out Lame Magician was found because Rising Tide hacked their list of people with powers (called The Index) and so then he got kidnapped.  Everybody looks suspiciously at Skye.  Which is totally unfair, because obviously there are other hackers in the world, and as far as they’re concerned she’s been pretty freaking loyal, but oh ho, if it’s a hack, it must be Skye?  This conversation is stupid.  But Ward believes in her, because she played Battleship with him and only complained a little bit about how it’s a really dumb game.  Skye says she can trace the hack, and does, to Austin TX and some guy named Miles Liden.  Who is a famous hacker.  (Or “hacktivist” as Skye calls him, which please, dear god, don’t let that be a real word).  Because THERE ARE HACKERS OTHER THAN SKYE.

The Girl in the Flowered Dress (which is the episode title, and coincidentally what I called her in my notes!  Me and S.H.I.E.L.D., we’re like this.  Please imagine two fingers very close together) tells Lame Magician that he can be less lame if he becomes a superhero.  He says, but I don’t wanna be a superhero (thereby proving his lameness) and she says, but if you were one, you could have a name like….Scorch.  He says, oh, okay then.

Liden makes Ward in about two seconds flat, because he’s standing all still and suspicious and spy-like.

I am stealthy and not at all a spy.

I am stealthy and not at all a spy.


Coulson chases after Liden (they’re in cars now) and Liden gets away by using his turn-all-the-stoplights-green app.  Hey, that’s from The Italian Job!  Seth Green did that!  Remember, y’all?  Yeah, nobody saw that movie but me.

But no!  Liden didn’t make Ward because he was unstealthy, Skye warned him!  And here she is at his apartment.  She’s mad about the hack, but…not that mad.

"That's where you keep it?"

“That’s where you keep it?”


Skye keeps a microchip in her bra.  She can’t find her shirt.  She does find Liden charming, which I emphatically do not.  He looks like he smells.  Skye opens the door, to find a not-smiling-anymore Melinda May holding her shirt.


"Get dressed."

“Get dressed.”

Ward has to cuff Skye, and to add insult to injury, Simmons tells Skye she missed a button on her shirt.

Has it come to this?

Has it come to this?


The Girl in the Flowered Dress is injecting Scorch with a serum.  Which is always a bad idea.  That little flame is now a big ball o’ fire.


Great ball o' fire.

Great ball o’ fire.

Liden and Skye are in a holding cell, and I find Liden deeply annoying and preachy and I bet that windowless room really, really smells with him in it.  Ward finds Liden deeply annoying too, and then so does Fitz because it seems Liden is better at minecraft than he is.

Melinda May goes to tell Coulson I told you so, only she won’t, because “I don’t do petty.”  And so in a totally not petty way, she tells him “When somebody breaks into my house I usually don’t ask him to stay.”  Also “Are you sure [the spear Loki stabbed you with] didn’t go through your brain?”  Coulson says, “You don’t really do comforting either, do you?”

FitzSimmons, of course, find more than minecraft skills to hang over Liden’s head–the freedom of information hacktivist sold the list for a million dollars.  There’s a great moment where Ward gives Liden about two seconds to ‘fess up to Skye before he does it–superspy Ward is on the moral high ground for once, and he’s enjoying it.  Liden says he checked it out, it was just going to an ecoresearch place (because, you know, ecoresearch places have a million dollars to spend on lists of people with powers), and obviously it’s Centipede.

Scorch has fancy flame-resistant platelets, so Extremis doesn’t make him explode.  (Which begs the question, did Pepper Potts have fancy platelets too, and that’s why she didn’t explode?)  So The Girl in the Flowered Dress is taking his platelets to give them to the Extremis Soldiers they’re building.  Because nobody could have seen that coming, either.

Skye breaks up with Liden.  He says, well, I hope you find what you’re looking for, and looks pointedly at her boobs.  Which is probably because of the chip stuck in there, but he’s such a douche it’s hard to be sure.

The team breaks into the lab to save Scorch, but Scorch is such a douche too that he injects himself with Extremis and burns a hole in his nice handler!  Jerk!  But since he doesn’t have his platelets anymore, it burns his hand.  (If he had no more platelets, wouldn’t he be dead?)  But Coulson should be able to handle him, because all Coulson has to do to take a guy out is stick his fist in the air.


I hold my fist up and lesser men break upon it.

I hold my fist up and lesser men break upon it.


Coulson and Melinda May are stuck in there with Scorch, because the building went into lockdown.  Skye can get him out if she’s onsite.  “No way,” say Liden and Ward, and they glare manfully at each other over her head.  “You’re a hacker, not Seal Team 6,” whispers Liden.  “Yeah, but he is,” says Skye.  Ward looks at Liden like, that’s right, bitch.


That's right, bitch.

That’s right, bitch.

They better hurry, because Coulson and Melinda May are having a tough time of it.

Melinda May: “Did his file say anything about him being homicidal?”

Coulson: “They just said he was kind of a tool…”

Scorch: “I am Scorch!”

Coulson: “Ah, crap.  They gave him a name.”


Bigger ball o' fire is what happens when you give someone a name.

Bigger ball o’ fire is what happens when you give someone a name.


Skye breaks Coulson and Melinda May out, and Coulson’s bullets can’t get through Scorch’s fire.  Which is weird, because I don’t recall either Extremis or fire having force-field properties, but whatever.  The Girl in the Flowered Dress says that Scorch is going to bite it without his platelets.  Then she escapes.  Much to FitzSimmons’ dismay, Liden gets to help open some doors so that the coming Scorchsplosion doesn’t kill our guys.


Whatever, dude.  Opening some doors does not Seal Team 6 make.

Whatever, dude. Opening some doors does not Seal Team 6 make.


Melinda May injects Scorch with more Extremis to speed up the process.

Extra Extremis means Extra Glow

Extra Extremis means Extra Glow


  He explodes into a nice little figure 8.

Figure 8 o' fire.

Figure 8 o’ fire.


Liden has to wear a bracelet that works pretty much like Spike’s Chip.  It will do something bad to him if he does something S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t like.  Like touching something electronic.  Liden says, fine, but uh, we’re in Hong Kong and I live in Austin, and ya’ll kinda took the money I got for selling out innocent people, so can I have a ride or something?  Coulson tells him to fuck off.

Liden tells Skye, I wish we could work this out.  Skye tells him to fuck off.

Skye asks Ward, who is drinking with Melinda May, to come hold her hand while Coulson scolds her, and Ward tells her to fuck off.


Girl, please.  There's bourbon.

Girl, please. There’s bourbon.

Coulson tells Skye to ‘fess up to her deal or to get the hell out.  She pulls out her microchip, which has basically nothing on it.  There’s just a document, redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D., and that’s all the information she can find anywhere about her parents.  Coulson offers to help, but she has to wear a Spike bracelet.  Skye does not tell him to fuck off.

The Girl in the Flowered Dress goes to see somebody in prison, possibly the mastermind of all this, and says “You need to touch base with The Clairvoyant.”  So nice to see that word, much prettier than Psychic.  Though I had to look up how to spell it.  Doesn’t it seem like there a syllable between Clair and Voyant?

Empowered Count: 1
(Changing this from Superhero to Empowered for reasons to be discussed)

Pithy Line, and my new mantra:

Ward: Make it a double.

Melinda May: Is there any other kind?

Episode Grade: B+


This show is freaking uneven, yo.  But then most first seasons are, and most Whedon first seasons really are.

While there were a few irritating bits about this episode, and while the episode as a whole was occasionally a little clunky, it was a huge stride forward.  Rather than introducing yet another villain, we were brought back to a previous villain, in a thoughtful and moving-things-forward kind of way.  There can only be one Big Bad per season, and if it’s going to be Centipede, that’s great.  Because we can’t keep having new shadowy villains that we never catch every week.

Better than that even, characters were explored in a less hamfisted way, and their emotions were far more genuine.

And best of all, we started actually getting into the meat of things.  I  like this exploration of where the superpowers are coming from–Scorch theoretically got his from a nuclear reactor problem, but nobody else in the area is showing signs of powers, so maybe not.  It’s always either geniuses or it’s serums, and I’d like things to be a bit more explained than that.  And the episode called into question the difference between empowered and superhero.  In Marveland, everybody’s a superhero or a supervillain, and this episode implies that the show is going to explore the grayer areas, which is of course where the Whedonverse tends to dwell.  S.H.I.E.L.D. itself is morally questionable, but so far that has always been answered with “But look!  We’re helping!  And we’re so nice!”  I’ve always been sure that the show intends to pursue that question more deeply, but the fact remains that they are the heroes, so unless S.H.I.E.L.D. turns out to be divided within (a serious possibility) then it’s not going to go too far.  But gray areas in being super, now that’s going to be something I want to see.