Agents of SHIELD. Season 1 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trekker4747, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Terrorist?

    Granted that Skye was part of an organization whose members disagree with SHIELD on a lot of issues, and that said organization's managed to make life difficult for a sizable number of SHIELD agents.

    But how do they end up legitimately labelled a "terrorist organization"?
     
  2. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Destabilization of the infrastructure, creating panic and reduced confidence in national leaders.

    Change the word "reduce" to "increase" and I could be describing FOX News.

    They're criminal because of how they source their information, and they're terrorists because of how they disseminate it, no different than screaming fire in a packed movie house.
     
  3. Gryffindorian

    Gryffindorian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I thought Mary Sue meant a character that was too perfect in every way, e.g., Superman.

    Personally, Skye's character doesn't bother me at all. In fact, she's the most "flawed" of all characters on the show. She's an orphan girl who grew up without much guidance and turned up being a hacktivist. She's searching for the truth about her parents. Her character is a rebel, a non-conformist who at some point spoke out against the system.
     
  4. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I've always taken a "Mary Sue" character to be someone who is needlessly nice and naive to a fault. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses unwilling to see or believe in the horrors of it. Skye is greatly nice and naive but I wouldn't call her a Mary Sue.
     
  5. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I've always taken a "Mary Sue" character to be someone who is needlessly nice and naive to a fault. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses unwilling to see or believe in the horrors of it. Skye is greatly nice and naive but I wouldn't call her a Mary Sue.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You seem to be thinking of the term Pollyanna.

    The classic definition of a Mary Sue is a guest character who overshadows the main characters, who's alleged to be smarter and more skilled and more charismatic than any of them and wins their undying love, but who isn't actually written in a way that demonstrates any of the merits she's alleged to have. Although the term has been broadened to encompass main characters who are unrealistically perfect or undeservedly adored, especially if they're exercises in authorial insertion or wish fulfillment. Bella in Twilight is sort of the archetypal example of a "Canon Sue" -- although you can make a solid case for Wesley Crusher as well.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue
     
  7. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A long time ago, all I wanted was to be the meat in a Pollyanna/Anne of Green Gables sandwich.

    (Yes, I'm watching Reign.)
     
  8. Kytee

    Kytee Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm confused about what exactly was happening with the Tobias character. My understanding is he was shifting between our world and somewhere else. So when he disappeared that was him going to the somewhere else. When he was fighting Ward and May, they could not physically interact with him as soon as he disappeared , which makes sense if he's literally somewhere else. With that in mind, I can't make sense of the scene inside the gas station; If he was able to interact with things and throw them at the gas station attendant, shouldn't he have been visible? if he was not visible, shouldn't he have been somewhere else and not able to interact with physical objects in our world ? He seemed to move objects while invisible on the plane to, he knocked over Coulson's whacha-ma-doddle in his office, and stole Wards cooking knife to lock Fitz in the closet. If he is able to interact with objects in our world while invisible, why did any of the agents on the plane see him, he would have had a much easier time fighting them if he didn't let them see him.

    -Kytee
     
  9. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Commodore Commodore

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    I too am confused about where Tobias went...is it another dimension that looks like Hell? And if so -- does it mean he's still alive?

    As for his interaction in the "real world"... I think it's like "magic" -- the magician distracts the viewers attention elsewhere when he does something else.

    Since people don't know to look for him (they're focused on the girl), he does his pushing & throwing, and then immediately disappears. By the time people know to turn their heads, he's already disappeared.
     
  10. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  11. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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  12. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    That's pretty interesting, but it seems to always deal with the two extremes of fanfic characters and canon characters without mentioning the in-between...licensed tie-in literature, where I (who have never read fanfic) first became acquainted with characters who fit the description of Mary Sue in every way except that the fiction in question isn't fanfic.

    In the case of a main character like Skye, if you don't want to call the character a "Mary Sue", then there should be another term for it, because it's definitely a flawed character of a particular type. In this case, I'd say the main difference between a character like Skye and an uber-competent main character like Tony Stark (as brought up by another poster earlier), is that in the latter case, the character is successful, perhaps even beyond the creators' expectations, at being well-liked and entertaining to the general audience.

    In the case of a character like Skye, there seems to be a gulf between how much the creators seem to like her and how well-liked she is by the fans. The more they try to hit us over the head with how great this character is supposed to be, the more obnoxious the character becomes. Lana held a similar place on Smallville, though in her case, she had genuine diehard fans to balance out her detractors...whereas I don't see anyone getting too wildly enthusiastic about Skye around here...the reactions seem to all fall somewhere between "meh" and utter contempt.

    Also, the type of character in question tends to be a member of an ensemble series who sucks the air out of the ensemble. In the case of a character like Tony Stark, he's supposed to be the main character in his stories, so of course he gets all the attention.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  13. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    So a "Mary Sue" in your definition is a secondary character who is hated by fans but steals the thunder of main characters? That goes back to my suggestion earlier that "Mary Sue" has become so broad as to mean any female character some person doesn't like. Even then, I'm not sure Skye fits because, in an ensemble show, she's not a secondary character.
     
  14. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    ^I'm not sure where you're getting that, but that's not what I'm saying. I never mentioned secondary characters.

    In the case of genre lit characters who are Mary Sues in every way except that the lit is licensed rather than fanfic, they tend to be guest characters rather than secondary characters.

    In the case of a character like Skye, I said that she's a different type that should maybe have its own name. And I said that she was a member of an ensemble, not a secondary character. It's unlike the traditional Mary Sue or its licensed equivalent in that the character isn't shoehorned into an existing setting and group of characters, but rather is a character who takes too much attention in an ensemble and doesn't tend to be well-liked in spite of, and perhaps because of, said attention.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    First off, you quoted my words under Trekker4747's name. (I wish there were a way to tweak the software so that kind of attribution error in quoting could be more easily avoided.)

    Second, I think what they say on TV Tropes about fanfic can be extended to professional tie-in fiction as well; they're just using the label too broadly. Indeed, a lot of the early pro Trek novelists started out as fanfic writers, so in the early years there wasn't that much difference. I believe the TV Tropes article did say that it was the pro Trek novels that increased awareness of the Mary Sue idea, and the negative reactions precipitated the practice of using the label as a pejorative.


    I have no problem with her. In fact, I think the whole idea behind Skye is that she's not as smart, capable, and all-knowing as she thinks she is. She's cocky and opinionated, but she's out of her depth and needs to learn humility. She thinks she's ready for anything, but stumbles when she has to live up to her boasts. She thinks she has all the answers, but at least half the people on the Bus are wiser and better at this than she is, and she usually ends up being the one who has to learn something. She thinks she's hot and has a shot with Ward, but Ward ends up sleeping with the woman who's old enough to be her mother. So I think you're entirely wrong to assume that the creators are somehow blinded into thinking she's more impressive than she is. She herself is the only one who thinks that, and that's by the creators' design.


    I think that's an outdated perception. Yes, she -- and Ward, about equally -- tended to dominate the first few episodes, but the past few episodes have shifted the focus more to Fitz, Simmons, and May, so over the nine episodes so far I think there's been a reasonably good balance.
     
  16. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Thanks for pointing it out, was able to get to it in time to fix it.

    What I would have said before this week's episode...then I started to understand where her detractors were coming from.

    I wish I had your faith in such an intention/plan for Skye, but I'm not seeing it. They have tried to play up an "out of her league" angle, apparently in an attempt to make her seem more likeable/accessible, but it just hasn't rung true for me. I think that she's intended to be the viewer identification character, but she's the one that more fans vocally criticize than any of the others (with the possible exception of Ward, who takes a lot of heat for being bland).

    If you're right about the creators' intentions for the character, then they shouldn't be afraid to let her fail spectacularly at something, as that's how lessons are learned. So far, the creators seem incapable of allowing Coulson to smack her on the wrist with one hand unless he hands her a gold star with the other.

    Another thing I would have agreed with a week ago...then Skye came back with an obnoxious vengeance with the whole "I have to be the one to do this, ME, ME, ME!" angle.
     
  17. Photoman15

    Photoman15 Commodore Commodore

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    She was right. She is the one of the team that an outsider can relate to and that can relate to an outsider.
     
  18. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    But she literally didn't solve anything this episode. She had a scene where she was nice while everyone else who could do something useful did something useful instead.

    The only reason she was perceived as being useful was Coulson telling her she was. But that's hardly the same thing (and, even then, he was saying that she might one day be good at it but she still had a lot to learn). May saved the day, Simmons figured out most of the key plot details, Fitz did the exploding watch thing. Skye had a heartfelt, kind conversation. It doesn't require a genius to do that.
     
  19. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    Other than "guest character" - and more on that in moment - I believe you are actually describing Skye rather well.

    She is very close to a "guest character" in concept. The SHIELD team are actual SHIELD agents, trained by SHIELD. Skye is an outsider, a guest, and this is the entire point of the character.

    She is "us", the viewers' fantasy of being able to be inserted into such a highly specialized team, even though we have no specialized skills or training.

    Does Skye have specialized skills or training? If she had a degree in computer science and an IQ of 200, I could believe in her. I don't believe she came up with her "skills" on her own. She got it from her boyfriend, and I can't see how she could even understand half of what she does.

    I am sure the writers will at some point show her writing code line by line to reprogram the mainframe in SHIELD HQ in order to prevent armageddon, but there is nothing in her character to make such skills believable. Actually I think the writers realize this because they have been writing the hacking out of the scripts for the last several weeks.

    So that leaves us with an outsider who becomes a member of the team and helps out because she is nice and therefore people will trust her and let her empathize. Occasionally she will look up something on her cell phone and come with the answer that agents are missing.

    The way she is being portrayed is a teenager's escapist fantasy of becoming a hero without having to go to the trouble of actually being good at something other than being a teenager. And with such great hair!! And no responsibility to parents or family!!

    I'm willing to withdraw the term "Mary Sue" since no one can agree on what it means. I'll call her a "Wesley Crusher" instead.
     
  20. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    I might agree with you if Coulson hadn't laid it on so thick. "From the moment I first met you, I knew you had a special talent that you only just exhibited this episode, and my purpose in life is to train you until you've achieved your special destiny of being the most specialist person there is." (That does sound a lot like Wesley....) And her moment of niceness was way overemphasized within the episode to take it as an acknowledgment of her uselessness. More like they're going out of their way to try to make her look useful even when she really isn't.