Episode Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – F.Z.Z.T. Oli Dowdeswell 8 Nov 2013 TV We’re now six episodes into Agents of S.H.IE.L.D. and, having spent the last few weeks trying to impress us with action, explosions and an impressive roster of villains, ‘F.Z.Z.T’ provides a nice change of pace which focuses on the pairing of FitzSimmons (it seems a shame to call them by anything other than their acronym). The episode opens with a twist on a classic urban legend: A group of scouts sit around a camp fire telling ghost stories when their leader, upon hearing strange noises in the woods, goes off to investigate. Cue some weird goings-on including floating cutlery and an exploding car and the young group are suddenly brought face to face with their former leader suspended above the ground and very, VERY dead. The titular agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are, of course, summoned to investigate and are soon on the case of what appears to be a serial killer hunting down a group of fire fighters involved in the battle of New York. With the set up for the episode complete and the team on the case, it looks very much set to be another ‘freak of the week’ storyline in the vein of the previous episodes in the series. This idea is quickly flipped on its head however when the team discover that what is hunting down the fire fighters is not a person, but an alien virus contracted after their exposure to a Chitauri artifact left over from the battle of New York. To make matters worse, the virus is spread through contact with one of the victims (passed via an electric shock) and the team’s own Agent Simmons appears to be infected. With a grisly death awaiting one of their own, and limited time to save her, the team are forced to confront their own mortality, leaving Agent Coulson to further question the circumstances of his own mysterious resurrection. While ‘F.Z.Z.T’ may not be completely perfect (there’s some hilariously cheap CGI towards the end of the episode), it’s refreshing to see that the show isn’t afraid to mix things up; the previous episodes’ format of ‘team encounter bad guy, team chase bad guy, team defeat bad guy’ was becoming a little formulaic. By flipping things on their head and not providing the team with a villain to fight, the focus of the episode is shifted to the characters and the relationships between them, providing some much needed character development. The episode also focuses on the dynamic between FitzSimmons (Ian De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge) and gives us a little of their backstory; the chemistry between De Caestecker and Henstridge in these scenes is evident and any screen time dedicated to them is time well spent. It’s also interesting that the show seems keen to not leave audiences in the dark about its various mysteries: The previous episode revealed the true nature of Skye’s secretive communications, as well as giving us more information on the mysterious villains haunting the group; this week reveals that Coulson is as aware as the rest of the team that there is something suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his brush with death. Given that this is likely to be series one’s biggest mystery, the show’s creators are revealing some healthy chunks of information rather than going down the Lost-route and setting up plenty of questions without giving many answers. There’s also some neat tie-ins with the wider Marvel universe again this week, the most obvious being the appearance of the Chitauri helmet. Here’s hoping that, with the recent release of Thor: The Dark World, there might be some super powered cameos in the coming weeks. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is broadcast on Fridays at 8pm on Channel 4 and Channel 4 HD.