And by totally unprepared, I mean those who haven’t seen Iron Man 3.
Now, I expect the number of people who haven’t seen Iron Man 3 but are reading this is pretty low, and most of those left standing will have little intention of watching SHIELD this week.
But for that special handful, here’s the primer – which anybody, I suppose, could consider a very small spoiler for SHIELD by implication.
See, you need to know what Extremis is. This video, made to promote Iron Man 3 ahead of its theatrical release, takes you half way.
What you’ll want to know, on top of this, is that Extremis doesn’t work. It causes the people who are subject to its enhancements to overheat, rapidly.
And then explode, messily.
That’s the one area of prior knowledge that you need to make sense of a plot beat in SHIELD. If we’re being honest it’s a plot beat you could easily have shrugged off, certainly as the zingy dialogue and nifty plotting kept unspooling, driving you forward.
The show features plenty of other references to things from the films, and even from the comics, but none of them are plot information. They’re jokes and texture and luxury stuff.
But there was a hole, ironically enough, where Extremis needed to be plugged in.
But now you know everything you need to know to follow the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD perfectly. You probably already did. And even if you didn’t, you’d have enjoyed it anyway.