I feel as if “F.Z.Z.T.” is a turning point for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Instead of a smooth, polished episode, we got a dark, intimate, painful episode that was truly beautiful. There’s chemistry between the actors now, we’re getting past the outer layers and discovering the quiet fears and weaknesses of the characters. I hope this means that we’ll be getting more episodes like this one.
While I wasn’t crazy for the opening, I was on board the moment Fitz started trying to pursue Skye. It was so adorable I instantly sympathized with him. There were several endearing moments throughout the episode including a heart-to-heart between Skye and Ward as well as Fitz and Simmons and even Coulson and May. There was a breathtaking moment of agony and then joy, and some really deep moments. We are delving deeper at last.
Part of the reason I’ve been complaining every other episode was that the writing was too polished, too smooth. You knew they would figure out a solution every time so it was just a matter of seeing them go through the motions to arrive at the inevitable conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need an emotional rollercoaster every week, but I want to be shocked and unsure of what’s happening in a story or else I get bored. Life is not a mechanical routine. It’s messy, unpredictable, and scary. If every episode is so formulaic that I never worry about the characters, I don’t get invested in them.
“F.Z.Z.T.” changed the show in a lot of ways. It was an excellently written show, but it was by no means mechanical. Emotion ruled this storyline as the characters were placed in darker settings, opening themselves up just a little bit so that we could begin to see the chinks in their armor. Shooting the episode in a little darker lighting really encouraged the emotion to shine through. I loved how it made the characters feel closer not only to each other but to the audience as well. When you sit with someone in the dark you can say things you wouldn’t say in the light. You feel safer, somehow, as if less light cloaks you in a way that allows the truth to be heard.
I also find it fascinating that “F.Z.Z.T.” brought up the subject of death in a way that allowed all the characters to interact and process through the events. Ward was angry because he couldn’t protect his team from an unseen foe; Coulson contemplated how much he’s changed since the events in New York, even though he still doesn’t know everything related to his death; and Simmons bravely faces the inevitable.
This was the first time I felt something for the characters. As soon as I figured out what was going on (we didn’t find out until later in the episode, which I think was a smart move – it lulled us into a sense of false security and right after I thought, “Really? How are they going to make this mean something?” they did), my heart skipped a beat and I became angry.
“They can’t kill someone off this early in the show!” I said, even as I mentally calculated how many characters die early on, particularly in sci-fi shows. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Simmons. I was hurt that they would get rid of her so soon, and when she dove off the plane my heart fell with her. I writhed on the couch during the commercial break weighing what I know about Joss against “F.Z.Z.T.”‘s writers. I still hadn’t managed to make up my mind by the time the show came back on so I watched, holding my breath, hoping that Simmons would be alright.
I did not think I was invested to this degree. It’s a great sign that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been able to do this in a short period of time, and I do hope they continue the trend of more emotional, less action storylines. Or at least find a happy medium.