With the rise of women in STEM, television has been working hard recently to keep up with that representation. In crime procedurals, women are playing the “logical” side of head/heart combos more and more, and genre shows are fighting harder than real world dramas and comedies to level the playing field. Recently, PaleyFest held a panel in New York with actresses portraying these women to discuss their interactions with female fans. Unfortunately, not all discussions surrounding this rise of women has been positive. The AV Club recently released an article criticizing the the main representatives of female computer science whizzes on network television, highlighting a trope exemplified by characters like Felicity Smoak and Agent Skye from superhero shows Arrow and Agents of SHIELD.
Ohhh boy well now THAT was an episode! Agent of SHIELD’s mid-season finale wrapped up some of the main storylines of the first half of the season while leaving others at a satisfying stopping point. Warning: the rest of this article contains spoilers for not only 2×10, but also spoilers for some Marvel comics and speculation for future Agents of SHIELD episodes.
No American network series premiering in the fall of 2013 received more hype than Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show sought to draw in both long-time Whedonites and “the masses” who ensured the box office success of the Avengers saga. And yet, even faith to such beloved previous films and television series couldn’t keep people watching past the decent pilot and mediocre (at best) first three episodes. Critical reviews of the first half of the season were mixed, Genre viewers with limited downtime during the week decided they’d rather invest in FOX’s Sleepy Hollow, and viewership plummeted. At one point, the show’s ratings were so low that TV Line said that the renewal, “Could go either way,” rather than being “a sure thing” or even “a safe bet.”
Despite having a balanced ensemble (with women making up half of the six-person team), the first two episodes didn’t have the feminist attitude I’d come to expect from Whedon. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) did nothing besides bicker with Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) in a forced manner, Skye (Chloe Bennet) was a Mary Sue at best, and May (Ming-Na Wen) did nothing other than drive the bus and kick ass in each episode’s climax.
And then someone had the genius idea of giving the show a Super-Show Serum to shoot up with.
Warning! Spoilers for the second half of SHIELD and Captain America: The Winter Soldier below the cut!