Famliy of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

“You fit S.H.I.E.L.D.’s profile: a criminal with a specialized skill-set and no family; that is what these people do, prey on loneliness, desperation, and fear and offer a home when you have no one else to turn to” – Ian Quinn, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

What is family?  Is it blood relation?  Is it those you fall in with and build community around?   Can it be both?  This is a fundamental question that arises in almost every project that Joss Whedon is involved in.  From Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly/Serenity to Dollhouse, The Avengers and his latest project, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this theme manifests again and again.

In every one of these shows, a band of misfits are thrown together; a group of people that have no business connecting.  A cheerleader with powers who wants nothing do do with being chosen to fight evil and those who join her: an english librarian, a nerdy computer girl who has an interest in magic, a comic book obsessed geek, a base player in a band with a terrible secret of his own, and a vampire who the cheerleader falls in love with.  Teeny-bopper vampire tales not your style?  How about a rag tag space faring crew?  A captain that is more Solo than Han himself, a gun loving “hero” (of Canton) who cares mostly about money and women, a high-class escort, a naive grease-monkey you can’t help but love, a man of the cloth with a past, a wise cracking pilot and his wife that could give Sarah Connor a challenge, and two stowaways who happen to be related: one, a genius and the other a living weapon.  All the time just trying to get by and avoid any “Alliance entanglements”?  Gene Roddenberry wanted to give the world “cowboys in space” with Star Trek but Whedon did it better in half a season of Firefly than Star Trek did in three (come at me Trekkies…I kid, until I don’t).

It took a dramatic sacrifice to get The Avengers to become the team (and family) a guy named Phil and his depth-perception challenged boss knew they they could be.   Which brings me back to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  This is another platform to ask questions about misfits and family. A resurrected star agent, a specialist who wants to work alone, a has been field agent with a past who doesn’t want to see combat again, a hacker with no family who desperately wants to be known, loved, and accepted, and two young, geeky, and brilliant scientists who get along well but bicker like the Wonder Twins and/or “something more” they may or may not be.   Throw this all together and you get quite the mix, with more room for character driven stories and growth that the George Lucas of the Star Wars prequels could only dream of until Dave Faloni came along with Star Wars:  The Clone Wars.

This dynamic and desire for family is best embodied in Skye, a talented “hacktivist” that popped up on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar in in a bad way – much like a red-headed former Russian spy –  and has been brought on the team for her blackmarket skills.  As the show progresses we learn that she never really had a home, spent time in foster care, and was never accepted into a family, even when she tried really hard to make that work once but was sent back to the orphanage.  As she says in a moment of vulnerability “hoping for something and losing it is often worse than not hoping at all”  She wants to be part of this team, badly, and Agent Ward, understanding her pain, tells her that “we won’t turn our back”  Now the deeper question is why does she want in? Is it just love and acceptance or is it a more sinister reason because of her connection to The Rising Tide?  Will the team’s acceptance of her (and the eventual romance that is likely to develop between Skye and Agent Ward) be enough to get Sky to go “all-in” with S.H.I.E.L.D. because of her team – not because of commitment to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mission – instead of betraying the team to The Rising Tide and/or those pulling the stings behind the scenes (AIM and/or remnants of Hydra)?  Only tuning in each week at the same S.H.I.E.L.D. time on the same S.H.I.E.L.D. channel will bring the answers to these questions and more.

On a side note, I continue to appreciate this show’s content and mild rating which enables it to be watched by families and show ordinary heroism and team dynamics at a time when it is sorely needed.


Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

One Response to Famliy of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

  1. Ian

    I didn’t realize that Star Trek was supposed to be cowboys in space. I always thought of it more as Magellan in space.

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